There were new champions in all events in the recent annual “Restricted” tournament. With some 50 players competing, there was some excellent play, particularly in the group games and semi-finals. Afterwards, Chairman of Selectors Steve Abbott was enthused: “With new champions in every discipline, and with the county’s talented juniors holding their own amongst the seniors, it bodes well for the coming season and it was great to see Philip Pahatouridis take his first county senior title at only 17 years of age”.The opening final on Sunday was the men’s singles which saw last year’s runner-up Philip take on 5 times former champion Richie Eaton, who was back after a season out last year. The game was ‘bitty’ with neither player able to establish control, testament to Richie’s lack of recent match play but he still led 11-10 at the first set interval. It was then nip and tuck until Philip moved ahead 19-18 but there was then a delay of several minutes due to a blood injury to Richie! Unfazed, Philip held on to take the opener 22-20 and continued to be the more consistent of the two, taking the second set 21-15.
The men’s doubles final saw the scratch pairing of Eddie Burgess and Josh Au Yeung taking on the reigning ‘Uppers’ champions in Steve Swan and Kristian Stuart. Eddie and Josh had pulled off the shock of the tournament in winning their semi-final against top seeded Malcolm Lightbown and Rob Wetherell, coming back from 20-12 in the deciding set to take it 23-21: all 4 players seemed a little unsure as to how that had happened! Eddie and Josh took the opening set 21-17 before Steve and Kristian replied, taking the second by the same score. The decider proved close until the interval with the former in the lead 11-8 at the change of ends but three more quick points put the pressure on and the more experienced pair were unable to recover going down 21-12.
The ladies’ doubles saw defending champion Hilda Carr, this time partnered by Katherine McGill who was returning after the birth of her first child. They faced Lucy Dixon and Rachel Frobisher, the latter having been a runner-up in the past two seasons. The presence of a service judge unsettled the play early on with 3 of the 4 players faulted but some strong, all-court play from Lucy saw them home in the first end. The second was competitive until Kate and Hilda led 12-10 but a run of 8 points on Rachel’s serve took the match and made it a case of third time lucky!
The mixed doubles was the final game of the afternoon and pitted last year’s runners-up Ryan Jelley and Lucy Dixon against Malcolm Lightbown (holder of the title for the past 6 years with Sarah Renton) and Hilda, playing together for the first time. Neither pair could establish an early ascendency but Ryan and Lucy led 11-8 at the first set interval and the pattern was to continue until a run of 3 on Lucy’s serve from 16-12 decided the set. The second set saw them lead 4-0 and then 11-8 and, try as they might, Mal and Hilda couldn’t close the gap. The final score was 21-15, Lucy clinching her second title of the day.
Men’s Singles:- Philip Pahatouridis beat Richard Eaton 22-20, 21-15;
Men’s Singles Plate:- Gyan Chadda beat Jamie Tinnion 21-14, 21-19;
Men’s Doubles:- Josh Au Yeung & Eddie Burgess beat Kristian Stuart & Steve Swan 21-17, 17-21, 21-12;
Ladies Doubles:- Rachel Frobisher & Lucy Dixon beat Katherine McGill & Hilda Carr 21-15, 21-14;
Mixed Doubles:- Ryan Jelley & Lucy Dixon beat Malcolm Lightbown & Hilda Carr 21-14, 21-15.