South East Open Championships
Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, 18/19th August 2018
Normal Service was resumed at the South East Open this year, with a singles final between Dan Tristao and Will Ellison. Although the much anticipated semi between Will and Ed Kay went to three games, there was no repeat of Ed’s surprise win last year, and Will won through to face Dan in the final. And, although Will started where he left off – taking the first game to 1 – it was Dan who took the next two games to secure his first title of the season. It was also his third consecutive singles title on the courts at Christs Hospital.
The doubles, as usual, was run using a President’s Cup-style format and produced some intriguing pairs – but such was the strength of the field, it was impossible to predict who would win through to the final.
In the end, Ed Hatton and Rob Whitehorn faced James Tilston and Ben Chua – with the latter pair (pictured above) coming through in two games to take the title. For James, it was his first regional title – although his two President’s Cup wins suggest this format suits him! – but it was Ben’s second win in the event, having also been doubles champion (with this year’s Plate winner Ben Beltrami) at the inaugural event in 2014.
Organiser Ed Hatton reports: The pleasingly efficient number of 16 players gathered at Christ’s Hospital for the 5th annual South East Open Championships. Many regulars attended, but some particularly impressive performances came from newcomers James Smith and Joe Sumner. All of the seeds progressed to the quarter-finals – Smith achieving a good victory in two close games against Woolfenden and Parker pushed hard by Hatton. The top 4 of Tristao, Kay, Ellison and Beltrami made similarly comfortable progress to the semi-finals. It was here that the physical pyrotechnics began, as the sheer power and enthusiasm of Kay overwhelmed Ellison in the first 11-1. Come the next game, Will’s more patient defence and ruthless exploitation of errors then swung the score 11-2 in his favour. Anything could have happened – and rather than either player folding, a hard fought third game went 11-7 to Will.
It would have been reasonable to suggest that Dan’s much more comfortable win in the other match gave him an advantage in the final, but this did not show, at least until the third game. A revitalised Will dominated the first game, before narrowly losing the second 8-11. Dan stepped up the pressure in the final game and took his 3rd consecutive singles title at this tournament. Hatton took the Plate despite strong challenges from Sumner, Spillane, Hamilton and Woolfenden.
1st round: D.Tristao bt L.Cook 11-1, 11-1; J.Smith bt N.Woolfenden 12-10,11-5; T.Parker bt E.Hatton 11-9, 11-7; B.Beltrami bt M.Spillane 11-1, 11-2; W.Ellison bt L.Mathias 11-0, 11-1; J.Tilston bt N.Geere 11-1, 11-2; R.Whitehorn bt A.Hamilton 11-4, 11-3; E.Kay bt J.Sumner 11-2, 110
Quarter-finals: Tristao bt Smith 11-2, 11-1; Beltrami bt Parker 11-2, 11-2; Ellison bt Tilston 11-4, 11-4; Kay bt Whitehorn 11-5, 11-0
Semi-finals: Tristao bt Beltrami 11-5, 11-3; Ellison bt Kay 1-11, 11-2, 11-7
Final: Tristao bt Ellison 1-11, 11-8, 11-3
Group A: 1st Hatton & Whitehorn (45 pts); 2nd Kay & Sumner (41); 3rd Beltrami & Mathias (29); 4th Hebblethwaite & Pringle (21)
Group B: 1st Chua & Tilston (45); 2nd Smith & Woolfenden (38); 3rd Cook & Parker (35); 4th Geere & Spillane (24)
Semi-finals: Hatton & Whitehorn bt Smith & Woolfenden 11-9, 11-6; Chua & Tilston bt Kay & Sumner 11-9, 11-4
Final: Chua & Tilston bt Hatton & Whitehorn 11-7, 11-6
Plate: Beltrami & Mathias