We have a new set of British National Racketball Champions for 2023!
A highly enjoyable and top quality weekend of Racketball has come to an end at Edgbaston Priory in Birmingham, and we have a new group of Racketball National Championship title holders! This was our largest spread of entries to date, with the youngest being 12 years old and the most senior at 85. A really amazing display of how accessible the game is to players of all ages and abilities.
We were lucky to be hosted once again by the fabulous Edgbaston Priory club in Birmingham and we must say a big thank you to the club, it's staff, and it's Head of Squash Mike Edwards for making us feel so welcome and to opening its facilities (and more importantly it's bar!!) up to us for the weekend.
The event was also very fortunate to have several sponsors, all of whom either contributed to the prizes for all the finalists, or to the entry gift bags & tournament shirts which all players recieved upon signing in. Thank you to all the below for their kind support of the tournament, it is really appreciated by all involved and without it we wouldn't be able to make the event as great as it is!
Go Greek Wholesale Foods
Bond Adams Solicitors
Birford Cable & Harness
Also to Collis Sheik & Tariq Choudhry for their support in getting some of the sponsor contacts set up!
Our full list of Championship winners below:
Open - Mike Harris
Ladies - Amber Marshall
B Grade - Colin Griggs
Juniors - Ben Jones
O35s - Mike Tolman
O40s - Dan Soar
Ladies O40s - Elspeth Edwards
O45s - Mat Lowery
O50s - Simon Parke
Ladies O50s - Tina Wotherspoon
O55s - Jim Lord
Ladies O55s - Leslie Sturgess
O60s - Neil Baldwin
Ladies O60s - Leslie Sturgess
O65s - Graham Holmes
O70s - Graham Greensall
Ladies O70s - Melodie Ripley
O75s - Howard Thompson
O80s - John Shingler
You can find the full draws and results from the weekend's action HERE
A rundown of the weekend's action - the big matches, the upsets and surprises!
This year's event saw a mixture of results, from previous winners retaining their titles for another season, to brand new Champions and upset victories. The former saw last year's Men's and Ladies Open winners Mike Harris and Amber Marshall both take the British title once again, both with 3/0 victories but pushed hard within that scoreline against opponents who were featuring in their first Open category Championship finals - Matt Bedwell and Elspeth Edwards.
In the Master's age groups, Leslie Sturgess managed to take the Ladies O55s and O60s titles in solid 3/0 victories, and Howard Thompson defeated his perennial O75s rival Pete Hamlett in a brutal 3/2 Final to retain his once again.
In terms of new winners, there were plenty across the age categories who were winning either their very first Racketball National Championship title, or their first in their respective age groups. Notably Mat Lowery taking the very last match of the tournament in a tough 3/1 final vs Ian Cox in the O45s, and Simon Parke playing probably the match of the tournament vs Mike Gregory in the O50s Final, winning 3/2 in a really tough encounter with both players showcasing some phenomenal racket skill and nous throughout.
It was great to see the Junior event back again, this time with Ben Jones from Devon taking the title without dropping a game through the event. Kudos to Aedan Matamisa for coming 2nd at just 12 years old! In the Ladies side, Elspeth Edwards took her first O40s title (though not her first National title as I was reliably informed, having made an error in previous write ups!) Local member Tina Wotherspoon also doing excellently to win her first Nationals title in the O50s!
As mentioned there were also some rivalries renewed across the draws and some of the matches definitely didn't disappoint. UK Racketball Series regulars Paul Norton and Callum Arnott met in the O35s semi final and had a brilliant match with both players using all angles and corners of the court to brutalise each other. Arnott eventually taking the match 3/2 11/9 in the 5th game. Collis Sheik & Graham Holmes renewed their Over 65s's rivalry, Sheik having won in the Scottish Open against Holmes earlier in the year. Graham however found that extra mileage where it mattered, managing to see Collis off 3/2 11/8 in the 5th game to take the O65s National title!
Sufficient to say, the standard across the weekend was absolutely brilliant. Thank you to all of those who took part and made it such an enjoyable and exciting event to be involved in. We already have 2024's date in the diary - 20/21st July, so we are planning ahead to try and make it bigger and better! Now however we look toward the Bluebell Wood British Open Championships in Sheffield on the 7th/8th October for our next dose of Major Racketball Championships action.
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