Manners, Cook & Norton Dominate the 2008 British Open!

The team behind British Open, an international Challenger event played last weekend, offers the following report from Ipswich.

The first scheduled match was Oli Close v Keith Lesser at 9am and the final match was Daniel Gillett against Niranjan Shimoga finishing at 8pm. A long but worthwhile day of sport where everyone enjoyed themselves immensely.


In one of the most thrilling stories (still being written) in UK Racketlon history and perhaps the world is what has to be the best father and son Racketlon combination in the game today. Previously we may think of Tom & Richard Whitehouse. Noone can doubt the Whitehouse quality, however Jermaine & Wingrove Manners potentially eclipse Tom & Richard with a very powerful performance in Ipswich.

Wingrove first. Having drawn a tough first round opponent in Simon Whale (a recent winner against both Darren Kerins and Ray Jordan). 53 year old Wingrove pushed Simon all the way to a -1 loss. Wingrove then went on to win the bottom half defeating Alexander Oliver, Oli Close and Lloyd Pettiford. Both Manners are very good allrounders. Wingrove in fact being the better table tennis player, which is Jermaine's weakness, but Jermaine stronger at the others. This does not withstand that Wingrove is very competent at badminton, squash and tennis as well as table tennis and has no real weakness. The Manners family is certainly a real success story for the sport.


Graham Norton won the Vets with a flawless display, Charles Eaton took a set off Graham at table tennis but Norton never looked troubled. The CSSC champion will move up in the World Rankings accordingly. The Chairman of the Ipswich Sports Club, Dave Howell, also played in the event and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.


Jane Cook as well as organising put in a tremendous all round display dispatching stars of the game such as Dominique Ford. Louise Rogers was in 2nd place on the podium with Dianne Barker narrowly missing out finishing 4th. Antonia Perrott finished 5th with a credible performance.

Players are reminded to register on the Players Corner - to help facilitate their world ranking points. Of course, domestic points will also be rewarded for the event and Cook, Rogers & Co will move up the list!


Paul Mantovani took care of the Class B. Jonathan Healey having won the the Class C event at the British Championships did very well to reach the Class B final and this was after a fantastic semi-final match against Chris Hobbs. Healey, a squash player himself, recovered from a 21-3 loss to Hobbs who was by all accounts on fire! Healey reached the final with better allround ability, however Mantovani after dominating Class B events with Gary Jackson in recent months finally will make the move to Class A where he will no doubt upset a player or two. Paul, of course, is well known as one of the nicest guys on the tour! Also, watch out for Matt Lampard and Colin Jones who along with Hobbs are looking to start a Racketlon club at Redbridge Sports Centre.

Sanjay Poria won the Class C against Ipswich Club member Varun Basil. Varun with a smile on his face, thoroughly enjoyed himself, incidently found out partly about Racketlon from an article on BT's website. Talking of articles, the Table Tennis News article last year has attracted stalwart Gary Tovey and also not to mention the editor of Tennis Collecter's Magazine - Gerald, who has a sensational collection of antique "Racketlon" equipment from many, many years ago.


Manners became only the 2nd English male player to win an international tournament after Doug Struthers. Manners defeated Andrew Hopwood, Keith Lesser & Ray Jordan in a tremendous sporting display. Manners will show the European players what he is made of in the upcoming Belgium Open. With a 10-1 strike rate including a win over the highly rated James Greenhead, Manners has only lost out to Mark Jackson in his short Racketlon history to date (1st round of the British Championships, by one point).

Scores v Lesser - 6-21, 21-7, 21-6, 8-2 - +20

Scores v Jordan - 1-21, 21-8, 21-4, 12-7 - +15

Lesser in turn had taken the scalp of number one seed and World number 22 - Andrew Kim. The best table tennis match of the day saw Kim gain a credible 16 points, however losing the squash and only winning badminton 21-19 left Lesser with a 15 point tennis target which he got. However, Kim was 11-5 in doubt and looked good for the win, Lesser clawed back to 16-15 to clinch a semi-final with Manners.

Rhodri Oliver got revenge for his brother's one point loss to Martin Levens by repeating his victory of 2007 to set-up a semi final with Jordan (a repeat of the 2007 East Anglian final with Jordan won). The same result applied here before tennis. Rhodri, clearly doesn't like playing Ray, however can cause trouble to many, many players with very strong tennis and good table tennis & badminton. Tom Whitehouse facilitated Rhodri's 4th place finish with a pulled achilles.


This website (ed's note: refers to went on record to predict a Manners v Whale final. The reality was it was almost a Manners v Manners final. However, neither of these materialised. Whale beat Jordan in January, however this time Ray was ready and slaughted the Whale like a shark, however, this was not clear sailing. Whale himself, just overcame Wingrove and Ray played his first match of the day being the number two seed. Ray had a dream start winning table tennis 21-4, only after being 4-3 and squash 21-10 (Whale's weakest). However, last time the two met at badders Whale won 11-1 and the Sussex County Player continued in this fashion storming to a 14-1 lead. However, at this point Jordan's tournament transformed managing a fantastic 13 points, losing only by 8. This meant Ray only needed 2 in tennis which he got and was then able to proceed to beat Rhodri and meet Manners in the final. Manners himself cruising through Hopwood and Lesser. Jermaine had set losses against Hopwood (9-21 at squash) and Lesser (6-21) at table tennis, however the table tennis score was 9-6 so this felt like a good result for Jermaine as Lesser won the last 12 points in a row. Jermaine thrashed both Hopwood & Lesser at badminton (Manners an ex-England junior). Lesser got the most! 6-21, however Hopwood (quite a decent player) only managed 2 and Jordan only 4!! Considering Ray's fanastic 13 against Whale, Jermaine's badminton level looks to be very high indeed.

Manners is fast & powerful and strong in 3 sports, International Racketlon, watch out!!!!

2009 British Open in Cambridge?

Next year's tournament looks to move to facilitate greater foreign participation and following the success in February of the Cambridge Next Generation Tournament this may be the way to go. Ipswich need another badminton mat, however, will still look to host a big tournament in 2009. The British Doubles Championships has been offered and this looks likely to be run alongside a singles tournament. The UK Tour (apart from the English & Scottish Opens) looks to be evolving into weekend events, but with specific categories finishing in ONE DAY. This means for example, Men's A can be on Saturday, Men's C on Sunday and Mixed Doubles on Sunday, etc, etc. This will allow those that want to play 2 days to find different events to be able to do so and those that only want to play one day to do so accordingly as to their taste. This is what the player's want outside of the "BIG 2" so this is what they will get!


British Open 2008!


The above article first appeared on and is reproduced here for increased visibility. By courtesy and initiative of English Racketlon.