West Hants kindly staged the recent Dorset County Racketball Championships where there was a weekend full of action packed matches from all age groups and abilities. This year we had over 60 entrants for the tournament and with Jersey bringing some of its more talented players over, I had a feeling this year could be Jersey’s year for taking a major trophy home.
I will start with the over 65’s which was dominated by Bob Cringle who won all his matches, however he did need to save a match point against Howard Thompson of Jersey, who has been so close on many times to lose out at the last minute. As this was a trial event I consider it to be a huge success, however I may make the matches best of 3 instead. As clearly 5 matches over 2 days is a bit much for some people. Well done to Phillip, Howard, Colin, Ian and Bob for making this a worthy competition.
Over 60’s was going to be a tight affair with 2 groups of 3 fighting it out for top spot to play a final. Keith Chambers and Clive Hickford put on a great show and Clive came out the eventual victor in a tight match.
Over 50’s was more of an easier section to predict due to an unfortunate injury to top seed, giving Colin Bunch a fairly easy route to victory over Graham Adams 3-0.
Over 40’s had the match of the tournament with all but 1 seeded player (me) reaching the semi finals. Mike Ypes overcame an extremely tired Nick Jenkins in very quick fashion, as Jenkins Quarter final match with Nick Macey was an hour long battle with him coming back from 2-1 down 6-9 down to win 3-2, clearly took it out of him as Mike beat him in about 20 mins.
The match of the tournament needs to go to Matthew and Ian, for a hard fought 2-3 win for Ian over an in form Matt. Ian was clearly given the run around for the majority of the match, however he showed great determination and just got the better of Matt in the end. The issue with this then led to Ian not being able to give Ypes a real final, as Ian couldn’t barely walk let alone retrieve the hard hitting of Mike Ypes who was clearly on a mission to get up to the level he used to be before all his injuries (which we wont go into, ask him)!!! Well done Mike pretty much unstoppable this weekend.
Ladies draw, was again lacking in numbers with only 4 entrants, which is a real shame as both Bev and Vikki have been National Champions in different age categories over the years, so they have the standard just not the competition. Vikki reclaimed her title from Bev with a hard fought 3-1 win. Well Done Vikki. Also a special mention must go out to Gill Knights from Jersey, who has only been playing a few months but still competed and enjoyed the weekend. Maybe if we have more ladies enter we could make this a show case event.
Mens draw was always going to be an Andy Corben V Gus Bell affair, however with the talented Scott Gautier making an appearance who knows what could have happened. However Scott does enjoy a good night out and that was clear when facing Gus in the Semi final, too many errors gave Gus a 3-0 win. Andy’s match with another Jersey player Ian Furness was a walkover, as Ian had the O40 semi and finals to play, he had nothing left in his legs to give Andy a game. The final between Andy & Gus was hard fought but clearly the fresher legged and Mr Consistent regained his title for the 4th out of 5 years. Well Done Andy.
The last match of the weekend was the doubles and after Nick Macey & Andy Corben had taken out the number 1 seeds in the semis it was poised to be a battle no one really saw coming. Gus and Mike beat Mark & Colin 3-0 in the other semi, with Gus skid boasting their way to victory in a hard fought 3-0. Gus & Mike came out of the blocks in the final with some seriously hard hitting, leaving Nick & Andy trying to enforce the counter attack as much as they could. First game went to the young pair 11-7, 2nd game was more of one way traffic with Andy & Nick winning fairly easily 11-3 after Andy’s words to Nick “patience as they will go for winners way before us” this did happen and match score was 1-1.
The 3rd game was more of a rally affair with Mike & Gus slowing it down to try to tire their opponents, however with some tremendous retrieving by all parties Gus & Mike sneaked the 3rd. 4th game again was a quick affair due to an over excited Gus and some serious number of nicks by Nick (5) to bring it all square.
5th there was never more than 1 point in it up to 5-5, when an inspired Macey pulled out of his bag of tricks an amazing backhand volley rolling nick, which inspired the pair and woke up the crowd. Still the game wasn’t over, 9-9 after a brutal rally Nick & Andy got the first of their 2 match points. During the rally Nick & Andy created what can only be described as the biggest gap in the court to hit a straight drive into, which Nick hit cleanly but Gus pulled off the retrieval of the weekend, hitting off the back wall. With Andy running towards it victory was in sight, however Ypes then kept them in the rally and eventually match point was saved.
A few more crazy rallies to follow with both pairs having match point chances but neither side wanted to take them, eventually Gus & Mike hit some of the hardest balls ever seen hit in racketball to take victory 3-2. Well played boys and a thoroughly entertaining match.
Thanks to all those who came down to watch and support this championships, a special thank you to Colin Iseard SNOWTRAX, Chris Slades SLADES ESTATE AGENT & Rob Bond BOND WILLIAMS RECRUITMENT, for their kind generosity with sponsorship and without their support this would not have the success it currently enjoys. West Hants for giving all competitors use of their fantastic facilities and giving up court time to allow all the matches to be played in the time available.
Looking forward to next year with sponsors already confirmed and happy to assist, so lets see if we can get more than 8 players from all the other clubs in Dorset to enter this event, so we can showcase this tournament in the future.
See you again Nick & Gary.