The annual “Restricted” tournament, restricted in the sense that only those people qualified for Northumberland can enter, formed the ‘A’ grade of the opening graded tournament of the season with some 70 entries in total across all the grades. It was expected to be a battle royal between the county’s two leading men, Garrylee McMullen and Philip Pahatouridis, across the three disciplines but they were not to have it all their own way.
The mixed doubles final saw Garrylee paired with Lauren Young and Philip with Rachel Frobisher and their first tussle did not disappoint with the former leading 11-7 at the interval in the opening set before being pegged back to 16-15. They held on well though to take it 21-18. In the second set both pairs responded well to falling behind several times, the most telling recovery being from Garrylee and Lauren who rallied from 17-15 down to reach match point at 20-18. More resistance from Philip and Rachel saw them save two match points to level at 20-all but Garrylee and Loz were not to be denied as they held on to win 22-20.
The ladies’ doubles saw the top two seeds reach the final with past winner Rachel Frobisher, and her regular county partner Lauren Young, up against defending champion Eleanor Laws, this time paired with Elmfield club colleague Cara Vincenti.
The opening game was close with Eleanor and Cara just in the lead at the interval at 11-10. They gradually edged further ahead 14-12, then 18-15 before a run of 3 points on Cara’s serve saw them home 21-15. Back came Rachel and Loz forging ahead to 9-3 in the second set before reaching the interval with the lead at 11-7. Elle and Cara recovered in turn and a further good run of points on Cara’s serve saw 10-13 become 15-13 before it was Eleanor’s turn with a service run from 16-14 to the brink of victory at 20-14. Two match points were saved but they held on to clinch it 21-16.
The group games of the men’s doubles produced some of the best games of the day with top seeds Ryan Jelley and Eddie Burgess unbeaten in their group despite a scare against Philip Pahatouridis and Jamie Tinnion who they defeated only 21-18 in the decider. The other group featured three pairs who won 2 and lost one with Garrylee McMullen and Michael Charlton just edging it on sets difference over Rex Lee and Yap Yi Xuan from Newcastle University, despite having lost to them 12-21, 21-17,21-19. Despite beating Rex and Yap in three sets, defending champions Malcolm Lightbown and Steve Swan were pushed down to third, again on sets difference.
Unfortunately, an injury to Yap’s knee meant they could not take their place in the semi-finals giving Ryan and Eddie a walkover with the second semi being between Garrylee McMullen and Michael Charlton and Philip Pahatouridis and Jamie Tinnion. This produced one of the tightest contests on the day with the opening two sets being shared, both with a score of 21-19. The decider saw Garrylee and Michael being the steadier of the two pairs and, once they had established a lead, they held on to take it 21-16.
The final started scrappily with neither pair playing that well but Garrylee and Michael just had the lead at the first set interval at 11-10. The lead kept changing hands until a run of just 3 points on Eddie’s serve got his side ahead at 16-13 and, with Ryan gaining more control in the forecourt, they took the opening set 21-17. Buoyed by that success they rapidly led 9-3 in the second before Garrylee and Michael rallied to only trail 11-8 at the interval. Ryan and Eddie gained control again though and raced away to 17-9 and then 19-10 before a late rally pulled them back to 19-17 but they kept their nerve to run out winners 21-17.
A disappointingly small entry in the singles nevertheless produced the expected final with both Phil and Garrylee getting through without the loss of a set.
These two normally produce a close contest and this was shaping up in similar fashion with Garrylee leading 11-8 at the first set interval. He edged further ahead to 14-10 before two errors in length by Philip and two cross-court winners from Garrylee saw him race ahead to 18-10 and he took his chance to run out 21-10.
The second set was not dissimilar to the first with Garrylee again edging it 11-7 at the interval and, maybe sensing that his opponent was not at his best, he produced an excellent spell of attacking play to stretch away to 17-7 and there was no way back for Philip making it two out of three for Garrylee.
Full Results: –
Men’s Singles: – Garrylee McMullen beat Philip Pahatouridis 21-10, 21-9
Men’s Doubles: – Eddie Burgess & Ryan Jelley beat Michael Charlton & Garrylee McMullen 21-17,21-17;
Ladies Doubles: – Eleanor Laws & Cara Vincenti beat Rachel Frobisher & Lauren Young 21-15,21-16;
Mixed Doubles: – Garrylee McMullen & Lauren Young beat Philip Pahatouridis & Rachel Frobisher 21-18,22-20.