Success for young players at the inaugural South East Open

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Stop Press: The first ever South East Championships – organised by Ed Hatton – were enjoyed by a good turn-out of 13 players in the singles and seven pairs in the doubles. These included a crop of young players and several faces new to the tournament circuit.

It was some of the young players who scored notable successes: Ed Kay beat David Butler (2010 and 2012 National Schools’ singles champions, respectively) to win his first senior singles title, while Ben Beltrami and Ben Chua (both school-leavers this year) were paired in the President’s Cup-style doubles and went on to take the title with a comprehensive win over Ed Kay and local lad Morgane Spillane, originally a handball player from Ireland. The one exception was the evergreen Tony Hamilton – the oldest player in the tournament – who used all his experience to take the singles plate, while the doubles plate was won by seasoned campaigners Tom Kiggell and Nick Woolfenden.

 

Ed Hatton writes: The inaugural South East Championships attracted thirteen competitors in the singles and seven pairs in the doubles. The top seed and Cambridge no.1 Ed Kay made faultless progress through the group stages, and the other top-four seeds of Butler, Murby and Hatton were also comfortable, despite a strong challenge to Murby by Ben Beltrami. Tom Kiggell provided the impressive result of the quarter-finals to defeat Ed Hatton in three, although Theo Parker pushed Richie Murby hard in the first and produced a storming second game win; however he could not sustain the level and Murby closed the match out efficiently.

The story repeated itself in the semis as Murby could not quite sustain a strong challenge to Dave Butler; then the super-fit man from Durham himself did not quite have enough left in the tank as Kay (a comfortable semi-final winner) came through as a dominant winner in the final. Tony Hamilton battled through a taxing Plate competition to win a group whose combined age was not much beyond his own.

In the doubles, a gigantic round-robin allowed six guaranteed games for all and a President’s Cup-style draw made for some very competitive pairs and games. Unsurprisingly, Kay made strong early progress, ably assisted on the left by Morgane Spillane, only two days clear of laser eye surgery!

Beltrami continued his excellent recent form and was well complemented by a reinvigorated Ben Chua, making a successful transition from the Winchester code. In the end they were too much in a final game for the tiring Kay & Spillane and ran out as worthy winners, and possibly one of the youngest pairs ever to win an open tournament. Meanwhile Kiggell and Nick Woolfenden justified their experience with a win in the Plate.

 
Scores from the South East Open at Christ’s Hospital, 23-24 August 2014

Singles

Group stages:
Kay bt Kiggell 11-0, bt Tickle 11-0; Kiggell bt Tickle 11-1
Butler bt Kent 11-2, bt Parker 11-6; Parker bt Kent 11-1
Murby bt Beltrami 11-6, bt Hamilton 11-2, bt Chua 11-3; Beltrami bt Hamilton 11-5, bt Chua 11-2; Hamilton bt Chua 11-3
Hatton bt Waller 11-6, bt Wylde 11-0; Waller bt Wylde 11-5
Quarter-finals:
Kay bt Waller 11-8, 11-1; Kiggell bt Hatton 11-9, 6-11, 11-5; Butler bt Beltrami 11-5, 11-3;
Murby bt Parker 11-8, 2-11, 11-0
Semi-finals: Kay beat Kiggell 11-4, 11-1; Butler beat Murby 11-8, 2-11, 11-3
Final: Kay beat Butler 11-2, 11-3
Plate: Hamilton

Doubles

Round-robin stage:

Beltrami & Chua bt Kay & Spillane 15-7, bt Bate & Tickle 15-10, bt Hatton & Bridge 15-8, bt Murby & Kent 15-7, bt Pringle & Hamilton 15-3, bt Kiggell & Woolfenden 15-6
Kay & Spillane bt Bate & Tickle 15-5, bt Hatton & Bridge 15-2, bt Murby & Kent 16-14, bt Pringle & Hamilton 15-5, bt Kiggell & Woolfenden 15-6
Kiggell & Woolfenden bt Bate & Tickle 15-5, bt Hatton & Bridge 15-12, bt Murby & Kent 16-15, bt Pringle & Hamilton 15-7
Murby & Kent bt Hatton & Bridge 15-10, bt Pringle & Hamilton 15-4
Bate & Tickle bt Hatton & Bridge 15-13, bt Murby & Kent 15-7
Pringle & Hamilton bt Hatton & Bridge 15-9, bt Bate & Tickle 15-13

Final: Beltrami & Chua bt Kay & Spillane 15-5
Plate: Kiggell & Woolfenden bt Murby & Kent 15-11