*Full lowdown on the draws below* It's here! The British Racketball Open 2023 at Hallamshire Tennis & Squash Club has arrived and will kick off this weekend. We have over 110 players entered across the various categories and some serious match ups in store. Let's take a look at who are the players to watch out for...
There has been a great uptake in the three Doubles categories - Open, Mixed and O60s. In the Open we have 12 pairings, notable front runners are the experienced partners of Giles/Buckle, Norton/Chappell and Smith/Allingham. Norton and Chappell arguably the standout with their quality ball skill and creativity. Norton again looks like the one to look out for in the Mixed with his partner Fiona Moverly. Moverly coming back on court post new baby, should be very experienced at looking after someone chucking their toys out of the pram... In the O60s the top dogs are definitely regular sparring partners Osborn/Cordeaux who should know each other's game inside out by now, It will be interesting to see whether anyone can get break down their left/right hand combination!
In the Singles events the two top dogs in the Over 75's and Over 70s are top seeds, and both in with the goal of a British Nationals & Open Double for 2023. In the 75s Howard Thompson and the 70's Graham Greensall, two UK Racketball Major event regulars! Speaking of regulars, Graham Holmes and Peter Fielding are seeded to battle it out in the O65s Final, but with the likes of Stephen Burnett and Peter Marsden to get through on the way they have a tough run. Cordeaux and Osborn will have to put their Doubles alliance aside in the O60s, as they are the top ranked two along with Paul Haig in that particular draw. Let's hope for a happy reunion post event!
In the O55's last year's champion Jim Muirhead sits at the top of the draw, but this is one of the stronger depth categories with the likes of Billington/Wardle/Dodds/Rycroft and Francis all in the mix. This one could end up the survival of the fittest by Sunday night! The O50s features a VERY anticipated potential rematch from the British Nationals as Simon Parke & Mike Gregory look to renew their rivalry. Last year's finalists Morris & Wase will look to do some damage to their dreams though so who knows how the last few rounds will pan out! Another strong in depth draw is the O45s, with at least 3/4 guys all who could consider themselves favourites for an Open title. Matt Lowery sits as 1 seed over Adam Giles at 2, but with Jon Davies and Barry Talbot as 3/4s plus others across the line upo this could provide some sticky matchups along the way!
Smaller entry lists in the O40s and O35s has done nothing to reduce the quality of the line ups. The British Nationals Final looks set to be repeated in the 40s between Alexis Smith & Dan Soar which could be a really good battle. Similarly in the O35s, last year's winner Chris Hall is back from injury and he looks set to be the one to beat, Craig Chappell his standout challenger and a fellow ''walking wounded!'' The B Grade event has proved to once again be a popular category, and due to the more open nature of the entry list for this there could be a number of people who could come through as Champion. Needless to say, someone is going to have to do some good mileage over the weekend to come through it!
Our Ladies Open/B Grade draw has had another good uptake with 10 players in. (The format being that the first & second round losers drop into the B Grade, the top 4 finishing out the A Grade.) British National Champion Amber Marshall looks to add the one title to her belt that she's not managed to take yet, but faces stiff competition from the likes of Fiona Moverly, Charlotte Jagger and Elspeth Edwards (to name a few) in order to do so. She made the final last year, can she convert this time?
Finally the Men's Open event has a (strangely) small draw but again with some real quality in it. One of the spiciest of potential match ups is a possible semi final between Luke Bishop and James Snell, two club mates and long time team partners. In the other half current National Champion Mike Harris has to try and get through the likes of Colin Griggs and potentially Hallamshire club coach Adam Turner in order to meet the winner of that match up, in his first British Open appearance! Again a Nationals/British Open doubles is on the cards there.
Needless to say it will be definitely worth tuning into out live Facebook stream across the weekend on our UK-Racketball page, and keeping in touch with our Instagram uodates throughout. You can find the full draws and schedule on Sporty HQ below
THANK YOU TO OUR AMAZING EVENT SPONSORS!
A huge thank you to Sheffield Autogates for coming on board to support the event as our Lead event sponsor, alongside our other sponsors in Karakal UK, Birford Cable & Harness, Morris Property and Intelligent OH. It is fantastic to have such a great prize fund to showcase our second Major Racketball event of the season and we hope to see some fantastic players battling it out for it!
Our other categories are very well covered, with some excellent prize support from our lead Series sponsors Karakal UK again for the rest of the Singles grades. Then local business Abbeydale Brewery have very kindly agreed to provide the prizes for all the Doubles categories! Plenty of top prizes up for grabs then.
OUR 2024 UK RACKETBALL SPONSORS
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