Yorkshire Open Championships
Giggleswick School, North Yorkshire, Saturday/Sunday October 15/16th
John Hawke reports
As is traditional for this tournament, the doubles were played on Saturday and the singles on Sunday. This arrangement tends to result in highly competitive later rounds in the doubles, at the expense of some performances in the singles. Beer and a late night on Saturday may also be a factor in the singles results.
The singles competition was only added to the tournament in 2014, so the previous couple of years have been devoted to building up the number of entrants. This year, we appear to have become of age, with participants of a stature that would please any organiser.
The doubles competition followed the form book up to the first semi-final, when Ben Beltrami and Ed Kay defeated the previous year’s runner-up pair of Hamish Buchanan and Will Ellison in two close games. Further upset was to follow in the second semi-final, when Ollie Arnold and Theo Parker beat last year’s winners, Dave Butler and Dan Tristao. This was a thrilling match, the first three-gamer of the tournament, and finally won 15-9, 8-15, 15-11.
Arnold and Parker rightly took a while to recover from this marathon before they were ready to take to the court for the final. A recovery period which was, in hindsight, well used, as the final was another long haul, with periods where the score did not advance, much to the consternation of the spectators, who could feel their time in the pub being eaten away. Most managed to push the worry about food and drink to the back of their mind as the tension mounted.
Ollie and Theo won the first game with ease, 15-6, then took command in the early stage of the second before becoming becalmed around the ten-point mark and finally losing this one 12-15. In the last game, it appeared that the rigours of the long semi-final had handed the advantage to Ben and Ed, but sheer determination and grit pulled Ollie and Theo up to and past their opponents, with them winning a great match 15-11.
The awe of the spectators quickly changed to panic when it was realised that the kitchen at the White Hart closed at 9pm, less than 15 minutes in the future (Organiser’s note: we must get players to turn up on time at the start of the day, and not an hour late!).
Co-operation from the pub staff, and judicious ordering for the vanquished and the victors while they showered, saved the day and a fine evening was had by all who went to the dinner. This was not, however, the final crisis of the day for some players, who almost had to spend the night in their cars, but that is another story.
Singles on Sunday got off to another slow, late start. The winners of the night before suffered for their efforts and did not do themselves justice, but that might have been expected. Otherwise, matches went broadly to form, with all but the clash between Beltrami and Butler being completed in two games. To the spectator, none of the games, apart from the aforementioned, were of particularly high quality, until, that is, we got to the final: a duel between the familiar figures of Dan Tristao and Will Ellison.
The first game went to Dan, and the second to Will, leaving all to play for in the final game of a wonderful tournament. Dan appeared to have the edge in the early points, but in all honesty very little separated the players until the score reached seven-all. This was a seminal point, the rally that brought an 8-7 lead to Will being the longest singles rally that I and many others have witnessed. By the end, it seemed likely that defibrillators would be need for the onlookers, let alone the players. From then on, Will was in command. Points still did not come easily, but they came to him and not Dan.
All in all, the tournament was an organiser’s delight. Super Fives, close finals and a bit of an upset in the doubles. We will do it all again next year, but I will change the supplier of the rolls which had become a bit stale by Sunday!
Preliminary Round: Butler & Tristao bt Atkinson & Sandie 15-4, 15-6
First Round: Butler & Tristao bt Davey & Sorensen 15-4, 15-0; Arnold & Parker bt Minta & Widdop 15-1, 15-4; Beltrami & Kay bt Bristow & E Hawke 15-13, 15-12; Buchanan & Ellison bt Kirby & Wheatley 15-2, 15-7
Semi-finals: Arnold & Parker bt Butler & Tristao 15-9, 8-15, 15-11; Beltrami & Kay bt Buchanan & Ellison 15-12, 15-11
Final: Arnold & Parker bt Beltrami & Kay 15-6, 12-15, 15-11
Plate: (Round Robin)
Bristow & E Hawke bt Atkinson & Sandie 15-5; bt Davey & Sorensen 15-5; bt Kirby & Wheatley 15-6. Kirby & Wheatley bt Atkinson & Sandie 15-1; bt Davey & Sorensen 15-2; Atkinson & Sandie bt Davey & Sorensen 15-9
Plate Winners: Bristow & Hawke
Second Plate: Kirby & Wheatley
Preliminary Round: Beltrami bt E Hawke 11-4, 11-2; Kay bt Bristow 11-7, 11-1; Tristao bt Davey 11-0, 11-6
First Round: Ellison beat Sorensen 11-0, 11-1; Butler bt Beltrami 9-11, 11-4, 11-1; Kay bt Arnold 11-5, 11-7; Tristao bt Parker 11-3, 11-0
Semi-Finals: Ellison bt Butler 11-8, 11-1; Tristao bt Kay 11-9, 11-1
Final: Ellison beat Tristao 8-11, 11-5, 11-7
Plate: (Round Robin)
Beltrami bt Arnold 15-8; bt Parker 15-4; bt E Hawke 15-12. Parker bt Arnold 15-10; bt E Hawke 15-8; E Hawke bt Arnold 15-8
Plate Winner: Beltrami