Racketlon Reaches Ipswich
Tournament director Martin Levens and the coordinator of
the inaugural British & Irish Racketlon Tour Keith Lesser
report below from the first Racketlon tour event in Ipswich.
The 5th stop on the British Racketlon Tour made its way to
Ipswich for the first time, as Ipswich Sports Club played host to
a Racketlon extravaganza.
Martin Levens and Hilary Brakefield played elegant hosts to around 25 players. Competitors were greeted with food tokens, grips and t-shirts, all for a very reasonable entry fee! With table tennis and squash in one building, and badminton and tennis in another, the games were played slightly out of order. This however seemingly failed to cause many upsets.
Ladies Final turn around
Louise Rogers took the ladies' title. Louise, gaining her revenge for the previous weekend's club champs loss against Jane Cook. Louise managed to gather enough points in her weaker events, Squash 21-11 and Table-Tennis 21-14, to allow her to use her stronger sports of Badminton and Tennis to come through reasonably comfortably, having won her Badminton 21-7 she was left needing to keep Jane under 18 in the Tennis and although Jane gave it her best shot she ultimately fell short losing 21-9. Let's hope Jane and Louise come to Birmingham to mix it with an international field!
Tennis player Sam uses his Tennis ability to sneak through
In the U-16s Sam Sheldrake Boys U-16 County tennis champion was facing a tough test in county Squash player Jack Simpson. Jack lost the table-tennis 21-18 but after beating Sam 21-7 at Squash and 21-15 at Badminton he must have thought he would manage to get the 5 points necessary for victory, but none of it, Sam kept his nerve and the ball in play and Jack could only manage 2 points.
Mens B dominated by oldie Selwyn
Selwyn Walmsley proved not only too strong for everyone in the over 45s. He was also too good for the B field, he beat Tom Harris and had already won by the time they reached the Tennis court, and also too strong for Alan Cornish in the over-45s final.
In cases where a tie is reached at the end of the four disciplines a tiebreak is played, co-organiser Martin Levens had the pleasure of playing his first against Norfolk County Tennis player Robert Reeve. This tiebreak consists of one Tennis point being played with the player winning the spin getting to call who serves. The downside for the server is that he gets one serve only!
Martin having lost the Table-Tennis 21-8, had then used his two strong sports, Squash 21-8 and Badminton 21-12, to leave himself needing 12 points against Robert. Robert is perhaps not as fit as hed like and at 16-6 in the tennis there followed a couple of unforced errors and a couple of brave shots from Martin and we had a draw 21-12.
Martin won the spin and took the cowards option giving Robert the serve, Robert took the valiant approach and nailed his serve wide on to Martins forehand, with no time to think Martin played a perfect passing shot past Robert down the line.
A somewhat relieved Martin added: "Proof that cowardice is the better part of valour".
Martin went on to finish third beating Gareth Shaw for the honour.
A great mens final!
So a repeat of the previous week's club final, with Ashley looking to gain revenge for the previous week's defeat, and he came oh so close!!
James had nailed Ashley the previous week in the Table-Tennis event, 11-3, Ashley had put some practice time in during the week and it bore fruit, he managed 19 points in the Table Tennis. Ashley is Suffolk county junior champion and took his chance to gain some advantage really well in the Squash, 21-7.
The Badminton and Tennis were now set up for a great finale! James used his smash to great effect in the badminton to beat Ashley 21-10, as each discipline is decided by two clear points it was then simply down to who would win the Tennis.
Ashley went off really well racing to a 7-4 lead; James then used his superior power, particularly on the serve to forge 19-15 ahead, surely all over, Ashley then showed some great rallying skills to set up three great Forehand winners to put himself back in there, however James had his two serves to come. He produced an ace to take him to match ball, Ashley then produced two great retrieving rallies to claw his way back to 20-20, it was now down to one serve each and nerves, James edged ahead against the serve, but just missed a forehand to lose match ball no 3.
He then produced two great rallies and produced two great forehand passes to clinch the Title by winning the Tennis 23-21, it can be only a matter of time before Ashley claws him in, a tremendous prospect for Ipswich Sports club, James was delighted afterwards telling organiser Martin Levens, that he will be playing the English Open in October and hopes to qualify for the national team.
- All in all a great new addition to Suffolks sports calendar! And a great start to Racketlon in Ipswich and some excellent performances from some new faces. With Ashton, Watling, Levens and Reeve not particularly well known on the circuit - all 4 players would hold their own in most elite draws. Certainly, the depth of English Racketlon is growing, with the number of Class A competitors starting to give a Scandinavian feel to it.
See you all at The English Open.
/ML & KL