NORTH OF ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIPS
Durham, Feb 28th/March 1st
Following a couple of mid-week changes to the draws, writes organiser Julian Aqulina, it was with great anticipation that 21 players descended on the courts at Durham to battle it out in the singles. To kick things off, Beswick, George, Russell and Tilston all came through the first round against their younger counterparts. Goodwin put in a strong performance, and Sinton took a walkover.
Affairs in the last 16 largely went according to seedings – Dean and Buchanan both prevailing in three against Tilston and George, respectively, with Hamish coming back from match ball down. However, it was Waller who spoiled the party by taking out the mercurial Price – just as well for Chris, as he only came up for the singles!
The top four seeds made it through to the semis with relative ease, though not without a typical 12-11 game going Tristao’s way. Ellison looked to be in formidable form, dropping just one point in an albeit lengthy encounter with Bate, backing it up with a strong win against Murby. In the second semi Butler stormed out of the blocks, surprising Tristao by taking the first to 1. Dan quickly turned it around though, closing out the match against his doubles partner.
So it was to be another Will vs Dan clash – the first in Durham since the 2012 final, where Will took his first singles title at the North to fend off Dan’s attempt at a third. Tristao kept his momentum from the semis as he ran away with the first game, but the second was a much closer affair. Still, the match wasn’t to go the distance – Dan wrapping it up 11-1, 12-10.
In the plate, it was Edinburgh Academy schoolboy Andrew Boyd who came through the top half, stunning top 20-ranked Price on the way. But, in the final he came up short against organiser Aquilina, who claimed a visor from the notorious Klute as his ‘silverware’ with a 15-6 win.
On to the doubles, two experienced pairs came through their first-round encounters, with Hale & Sinton doing well to fend off the impressive Boyd & Jourdan. In the quarters, Bate & Murby beat Aquilina & a one-gloved Tilston in three, while Buchanan, partnering Price, once again edged George (with Russell).
Just as in the singles, though, no one could stop the top two seeds from progressing to the final – Ellison & Dean going for their fourth in a row, up against the new combination of Tristao & Butler. With players hitting their form at different moments, the match quickly went to a decider.
In a magnificent game full of enduring rallies, powerful hitting and quick scrambling, both teams were pushed to saving match points.With a burst of energy, Tristao & Butler finally seized control, and the final score was 11-2, 0-11, 12-10: for Dave, his first open title; and, for Dan, a second double at the North, and his second of 2015.
Meanwhile, in the plate, the EA boys were getting better with each match, and using the strength of their left-right pairing they battled through two very tight games to win the trophy – a huge achievement, and at just 17 years of age!
Congratulations to all the players for putting on a fantastic display of Fives, and thank you to all the supporters who came along. Next open tournament – the National Doubles at Alleyn’s.
1st round: J.Beswick bt S.Woollard 11-1, 11-0; A.George bt B.Jourdan 11-6, 11-4; S.Russell bt A.Boyd 11-5, 12-10; A.Goodwin bt B.Hale 11-3, 11-0; J.Tilston bt T.McCahon 11-0, 11-0
2nd round: W.Ellison bt Beswick 11-3, 11-1; M.Bate bt J.Aquilina 11-8, 11-1; H.Buchanan bt George 8-11, 12-10, 11-2; R.Murby bt Russell 11-8 11-5, D.Butler bt Goodwin 11-6, 11-4; T.Dean bt Tilston 12-10, 7-11, 11-8; C.Waller bt G. Price 11-9, 11-7; D.Tristao bt J.Sinton 11-2, 11-1
Quarter-finals: Ellison bt Bate 11-0, 11-1; Murby bt Buchanan 11-8, 11-3; Butler bt Dean 11-0, 11-4; Tristao bt Waller 12-11, 11-5
Semi-finals: Ellison bt Murby 11-0, 11-4; Tristao bt Butler 1-11, 11-5, 11-1
Final: Tristao bt Ellison 11-1, 12-10
1st round: Beswick & Roberts bt McCahon & Woollard 11-3, 11-7; Hale & Sinton bt Boyd & Jourdan 12-10, 11-9
Quarter-finals: Ellison & Dean bt Beswick & Roberts 11-2, 11-4; Bate & Murby bt Aquilina & Tilston 11-6, 8-11, 11-4; Buchanan & Price bt George & Russell 10-12, 11-8, 11-7; Tristao & Butler bt Hale & Sinton 11-7, 11-2
Semi-finals: Ellison & Dean bt Bate & Murby 11-1, 12-10; Tristao & Butler bt Buchanan & Price 11-7, 11-8
Final: Tristao & Butler bt Ellison & Dean 11-2, 0-11, 12-10
Plate: Boyd & Jourdan