2nd & 3rd February 2019
Dorset County Closed Racketball Championships held at
The West Hants Club
Finally got my breath back after a weekend of high’s and low’s from the hugely popular Dorset RB Closed tournament. We had a massive entry of 67, however with the few drop outs and with a couple of regulars from Jersey not playing this could have been closer to 80. Still there were lots of games played by everyone, some more than others!!!
This year we tried something different with the Doubles event, making large groups of 6 pairs!! Good idea or bad idea the jury is still out with this but the feedback I got was more positive than negative.. The pick of the group matches sees Clive Ewins & Mark Hurd playing against Alexis & Assen, 90 mins later after some ridiculous rallies the vets pairing took the victory 2-1. Each pair playing 5 doubles matches plus singles on the same day, did take its toll on some which did mean that there would be only 1 semi final to be played on Sunday. Ewins/Hurd v Corben/Macey ended in a hard fought victory for the 2 times runner’s up. Final was played straight after the men’s final which had already taken its toll on Andy C and it was reduced to best of 3 instead of 5, Phil and Andy Metcalf were worthy winners in an entertaining 2-1 victory. Maybe 4th time lucky for Corbs/Macey!!
Ladies was again lacking in numbers, but nonetheless the quality was still on show for everyone to see. After a hard fought round robin group, Bev regained her title beating Sam Burnand in the final. It would be great to see more ladies enter and keep this event alive..
Over 50’s Doubles was won by Top Seeds Alex Di Re and John Herbetko, who beat Clive Hickford and Chris Watts in the final.
I will start with the Over 60/65 which was split into 2 groups of 4. Some highs and lows for a few players, with little twinges causing some dropped games during the long day of battles. 2 Jersey players managed to squeeze into a semi final each and both winning against Clive Hickford and Peter P to continue to the first all Jersey final. Mike Tait overcoming Neal Pickersgill to take the title. (They have never played against each other before either!!)
Over 50’s was a much easier affair for Mark Hurd this year and without a few players Mark was hardly troubled beating Clive Goodwin in the final.
Over 40’s was the draw of the tournament as usual, with organisers prediction coming through after some very long battles along the way. James Allingham took the title for the first time and after last years disappointment losing to Nick in the quarters, he made it his mission to come back stronger and fitter, James certainly had a point to prove this year. James had a fairly good run through to the semi where he would face his old adversary Mike Ypes (who wasn’t really looking as fit as last year!!) after a hard fought 1st game, Ypes had to withdraw due to an injury. This left James waiting to see who he would play. Austin Snelgrove put up a good fight against Nick Jenkins, however the 85 mins quarter final against Nick had certainly taken it out of his legs!! Nick Jenkins appeared to look fresh and ready for James but Mr Allingham’s quality and ball striking got the better of Marathon man Jenkins!!
I now save the best til last, Men’s draw had some huge matches along the way if the seeds could manage to behave and not slip up. Seeding’s all went to plan and the 1st Semi final was set up to be a cracker. Phil Sargent v Gus Bell. This match needs to go down as a possible nightmare for Gus, however after Phil had decided to become “The Entertainer” Gus took it upon himself to not get involved in Phil’s flamboyant shot making and knuckle down to take the win 3-2. It wasn’t the tightest of play but certainly some of the shots were rather special or borderline ridiculous!! Next up Alexis v Andy Corben, this was set to be another possible upset, however Alexis had a much harder QF against Andy Metcalf and it was clear he didn’t have the legs to keep court sprinting for a long period of time. Andy ran away with the victory. Next up the big final, would Gus finally beat his mentor and hero to take the soon to be renamed “Andy Corben Trophy” away from Andy. As the match went on you could see that the difference in time on court was becoming apparent between the 2 players, Andy just finishing a long doubles semi to go straight into the men’s final was a huge ask but we can’t take anything away from Gus, his maturity is finally showing and he kept the pressure on Andy all the time, this paved the way for his first Dorset Singles Trophy. Well done Gus and I think I can say on behalf of all entrants “its about time!!”. I am sure next year Andy will be giving it his all to get his trophy back!!
Lastly it leaves me to thank Slades Estates Agents (Chris Slade) and Snowtrax (Colin Iseard) for their kind assistance in sponsoring this event and to The West Hants Club (Sir Elviss) as without their support this event wouldn’t be a success..
Personally I would like to thank all players, markers, supporters and sponsors over the past 7 years. I have really enjoyed giving something back to the County and look forward to playing and not stressing next year!!
Dates: Saturday 2nd Feb – Sunday 3rd Feb 2019
Venue: The West Hants Club
Closing Date: 20th Jan 2019