Thursday, March 27, 2014
Sidmouth Leisure Centre held their first ever racket ball tournament last weekend, writes Karen Cann.
The competition began with group stages which meant everyone played four matches in a round-robin format before progressing through to either the Cup, Plate or wooden spoon play-off!
Even in these early box games there were many impressive performances considering games involved regular team players taking on recreational players!
The pick of the early games was the one between Rob Cann and Nic Whittaker. The pair played out a ‘marathon’ match eventually won by Whittaker who went on to top the group.
In the play-offs and finals Julie Little and Chris Rogers enjoyed a close encounter for the ninth and tenth spots with Little winning 2-1.
The semi-final of the plate saw Chris Olive defeat Karen Cann in the third of three close games. The second semi-final was won by Mervyn Salter who pulled off a tremendous victory without dropping a game against Stephen Varley who he had never beaten in the past!
In the plate final Salter’s fine run came to an end as Olive’s experience showed on the critical points and he lifted the plate without dropping a game.
The first semi-final in the main cup saw Andrew Rugg-Gunn eventually succumb to Nic Whittaker in straight games whilst in the second semi-final Rob Cann and Carl Sowden fought out another marathon match!
With the tie in the balance at a game each it was the third game that decided it in favour of Sowden who, after some superb rallies between the players, forced a couple of weak returns from Cann to edge his way through.
The final was another titanic battle, with both players already having played five matches to get to this final the energy and movement around the court from Whittaker and Sowden was incredible; long rallies, powerful shots with good width and length, it was certainly entertaining for those watching and they (if not the players) were pleased the match went down to the deciding game!
It was in the decider that earlier exertions clearly began to affect Whittaker and Sowden took advantage to seal victory and become the first Sidmouth Leisure Centre Racket ball champion!
The winners and runners-up all got rackets as prizes donated by the regional officer Matt Baker through England Squash and Racketball Association whilst all entrants got T-shirts, water bottles and balls.
A special mention must go to Andrew Rugg-Gunn who has been chosen to represent Scotland in his age group in the Squash home internationals in Dublin in May, well done!
Sidmouth Leisure Centre are holding a free racket sports day on Sunday, April 27 from 10am tom 6pm when all equipment will be provided so just turn up and play. There’ll be squash, badminton, table-tennis or racket ball on offer.