The First British Champion?
British racketlon is moving forward at a pace seen almost
nowhere else - see previous State of
Racketlon article. The next step forward is the
first ever British Closed Racketlon Championships in Birmingham
Homepage for more info). Read English Open
Tournament Director Keith Lesser's preview below.
Tournament: Mad4Rackets British Closed Racketlon
Date: 1st & 2nd April 2006
Venue: Next Generation Club ? West Midlands
Order of Play: Table Tennis, Badminton, Squash and Tennis (5 Serves)
The first ever British Championships looks set to be a
formidable show. With Douglas Struthers and Calum Reid absent,
the stage is set for John O'Donnell to take the plaudits.
However, with both O'Donnell and Director Websdale (The 2nd seed)
nursing injuries it could be another to emerge or even an
unknown. Ex-International Badminton player Adrian Casey could
prove a tricky first round opponent for English traveller Jon
Foulds. Another new face is Oliver Reed, according to Dave
Greatorex, a dark horse with exceptional tennis and solid
badminton and squash. Steve Sharpe, a late pullout, sounded like
a Doug Struthers type alongside Adrian Murphy who was narrowly
defeated in the British Open 2003 by multi-time Belgian King of
Rackets Luc Van Bogaart. Both will compete again and further
racket strength has been uncovered in the British Isles.
The Return of Auchterlonie
The 2002 English Open Tournament Director returns to competition. Time will tell if Mike has the power to defeat Calum Munro in the first round but it could be a more pleasant baptism of fire than his original opponents in 2002 which I think may have been Roland Helle! (ed's note: Michael Auchterlonie's words after playing Magnus Eliasson in the group play have long secured a place in the hall of fame: "He stuffed me! It's an eye opener!". This happened at a time when an Eliasson vicotry could still trigger surprise among his opponents...) It could indeed be a farely open draw with Jeremy Bennett, Mark Jackson and Tom Whtehouse all dangerous. Who could forget table tennis specialist Raymond Jordan? A very tasty draw indeed.
More New Faces
It is excellent to see the staff at the centre Nigel (rackets manager) and Rob (development) in the Class B draw. Hunter, the most deadly, an ex-full time tennis player displaying decent ability in the other three sports. Gareth Shaw is also one to watch and comes from the Thurrock corner of the racketlon globe - host to the upcoming doubles championships (enter online now at www.activeeurope.com ). Chris Johns also stands out as a debutant with decent table tennis and tennis ability, looking to breakthrough in the other sports.
Lawrence to take the plaudits?
No Mcfadyen or Buchanan sees Lawrence the big favourite. Lorna See comes to try her luck, sprouting from the Thame centre of racketlon excellence. Rumours of strong badminton and squash credentials could see Lawrence struggle in round one. Sue Woods and Rachel Hood must use their experiences from Prague to oust such unknown talents as Laura Whitehouse.
Can the Moose stop the Whitehouse machine?
Great to see Ged Doherty back also - the partner of Nick Macey in their famous gummi-arm loss to Michael Mattson and Niclas Larsson in the first ever international doubles competition in the British Open 2004. Macey, of course always a threat, unfortunately cannot compete. Do not count out 2005 Czech Open star Ken Bound. Ken, himself, a respected racketlon journalist, should not be counted out. Richard Whitehouse has shown vicious ability, particularly in squash, where he has despatched player after player to single figures. If you take the Veterans Final in Prague and Bredberg beating the solid Appleton 21-3 at squash....Did you know Richard beat Ulf in Vienna 21-2 at squash (losing the match in the tennis). Greatorex after competing internationally in all 3 events in 2006 will be starving for glory. The Veterans could be the best event of the lot.
/KL (keith.lesser @ racketlon.com)