South East Championships
Christ’s Hospital, 22nd/23rd August 2015
A strong entry of 19 contested the singles this year, including 5 of the top ten and 8 of the top twenty in the land, writes organiser Ed Hatton. The second-round matches went according to seedings, although James Tilston pushed his long-standing partner Julian Aquilina hard in their second game and Ed Hatton survived a determined onslaught from Chris Waller to progress in three games.
The quarter-finals were tougher for all except Will Ellison, who conceded only one point against Hatton. Tristao needed two very close games to defeat Aquilina, and Kay and Butler were similarly tested against Maconie and Beltrami respectively. Will continued his imperious progress by conceding only one point against Butler in his semi-final. The other semi was a strenuous encounter, with Kay taking the first game and at times looking on top against Tristao in the second. Dan dug deep and managed to hang on and withstand Ed’s energy to progress in three games.
This gruelling semi must have had an impact on the final, as once again Tristao bravely chased down Ellison’s aggressive volleying, audacious reverse angles and general relentless pressure, but could only delay the inevitable. In the end, Will was a worthy winner, in a game which will soon be available to view online.
In a very gruelling and hard-fought plate competition involving a round-robin and a final, Giles Munn battled through six games, conceding only 15 points in total to claim his first individual silverware.
The doubles followed the same handicap format as the President’s Cup and Scottish Open. Despite various poorly-justified and inevitable grumbles about the pairings, almost all of the games in the round-robin stage proved to be close. Aquilina and Hamilton made assured progress through their group, only troubled by Cook and Kay, who were a close second. Beltrami and Geere were the outstanding pair in the other group, and despite strong challenges from the other pairs held them off comfortably.
The semi-finals were somewhat more unpredictable. Beltrami and Geere had a tough challenge against Cook & Kay, but on the other side of the draw, Hatton and Pringle made surprisingly quick progress, conceding only one point against Aquilina and Hamilton.
The final was understandably a tougher affair. In a war of attrition, Geere defended valiantly and Beltrami produced some typically powerful shots off the back wall and clever reverse angles, but both were eventually unable to withstand the relentless pressure of Hatton & Pringle. As Andy remarked, this was ‘fifth time lucky’ – his fifth open final and first success. The full final will be available to view online, but you can watch the second game below.
In the plate, Ellison and Mathias held off a strong challenge from Spillane & Tilston to win in three games. This is only the second plate that Will has won, while her win means Louise becomes only the second woman to enter the national rankings.
To watch films of the finals, click on the following links:
1st round: M.Spillane beat C. Davey 11-3, 11-2; G. Munn beat B. Chua 11-1, 11-0; L. Cook beat L. Mathias 11-3, 11-4
2nd round: Ellison beat Spillane 11-3, 11-2; Hatton beat Waller 11-0, 8-11, 11-6; Beltrami beat F. Thomas 11-7, 11-9; Butler beat Geere 11-2, 11-4; Kay beat Munn 11-5, 11-6; Maconie beat A. Hamilton 11-3, 11-3; Aquilina beat Tilston 11-4, 11-9; Tristao beat Cook 11-5, 11-1
Quarter-finals: Ellison beat Hatton 11-0, 11-1; Butler beat Beltrami 11-8, 11-5; Kay beat Maconie 11-5, 11-9; Tristao beat Aquilina 12-10, 12-10
Semi-finals: Ellison beat Butler 11-1, 11-0; Tristao beat Kay 8-11, 11-8, 11-6
Final: Ellison beat Tristao 11-1, 11-3
Group 1: Aquilina & Hamilton beat Butler & Davey 15-3, beat Chua & Munn 15-6, beat Cook & Kay 15-14; Cook & Kay beat Chua & Munn 15-12, beat Butler & Davey 15-8; Chua & Munn beat Butler & Davey 15-14
Group 2: Beltrami & Geere beat Ellison & Mathias 15-10, beat Hatton & Pringle 15-9, beat Spillane & Tilston 15-11; Hatton & Pringle beat Ellison & Mathias 15-11, beat Spillane & Tilston 15-13; Spillane & Tilston beat Ellison & Mathias 15-13
Semi-finals: Hatton & Pringle beat Aquilina & Hamilton 11-0, 11-1; Beltrami & Geere beat Cook & Kay
Final: Hatton & Pringle beat Beltrami & Geere 11-8, 11-7
Plate: Ellison & Mathias