We’ve heard your requests for more coverage of non-elite categories including juniors and seniors. From now on, we’ll be bringing you a detailed tournament report of every category from tournaments, starting with the CH London Open.
It was a memorable debut at the Roehampton Club for the FIR World Tour with the CH London Open.
World No.1 Morten Jaksland was beaten in singles for the first time this year and PSA Squash pro Alison Waters made a fairytale run through to the ladies singles final. However, you can read all about that here – this report is about every single other category.
Men’s B: Matthew Davidson defeats David Bennett
This 16-player singles draw was dominated by British juniors. This began as early as round one where British teenager Ross Wilson knocked out No.2 seed Johnny Bispham to open up the bottom half of the draw.
At the quarter-final stage, the juniors were at it again. David Bennett eliminated No.4 seed Steven Wai Kit Cheng with a slender +3 victory. It was equally tight between Matthew Davidson and No.3 seed Jon Spinks. Once again though, it was the teenager Davidson who prevailed, defeating Spinks by +4.
That left France’s Anthony Duthuille as the sole seed left in the semi-finals. Duthuille would face Bennett in a match that was tight heading to tennis. However, Bennett was dominant in tennis, winning 18-3 to eventually cruise into a first Men’s final.
The second semi-final saw former doubles partners Ross Wilson and Matthew Davidson face-off. In the end, it came down to a full set of tennis, with Davidson defeating Wilson 21-10 to reach the final.
In the final, Davidson dominated from the start, winning the first three sports to lead by +20 in the tennis. He reached the two points he needed to pick up his second Men’s FIR World Tour title, following on from his Men’s C trophy at last year’s IWT Malta Open.
This category was a real glimpse into the future. Certainly, if you’re a fan of UK Racketlon, the future looks very bright.
Women’s B: Jane Galsworthy defeats Victoria O’Donnell
The Women’s B category was an all-British affair, with four women battling it out in a box league format. In the end, the schedule accidentally worked out perfectly. After Jane Galsworthy and Victoria O’Donnell both defeated Eleanor Sinker and Dianne Baker on Saturday, they played a shoot-out for the title on Sunday.
Both players were playing their first FIR World Tour tournament, although for O’Donnell it was a complete racketlon debut. Galsworthy is a regular on the UK Racketlon Tour.
Galsworthy, who had only lost one set in her first two matches, raced away to a +28 lead after badminton to put herself in a hugely promising position. The title was then secured after a close 21-19 squash win. Galsworthy will be delighted to have earned a trophy on her first foray into international racketlon.
Men’s C: Peter Crocombe defeats Justin Colver
The Men’s C category – both singles and doubles – was all about Roehampton Club’s very own Peter Crocombe and Justin Colver. After the duo won the Men’s C doubles title on Friday, they found themselves facing off in the singles final two days later.
In the top half of the draw, Colver had to slog to reach the final. After a relatively comfortable +14 win in his opening round match, things started to get tough. Colver narrowly defeated No.6 seed Jan Wyler in the second round before defeating Chris Snelling by a single point in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals he faced experienced UK Racketlon player Lee Gregson, beating him by nine to reach his first final.
Peter Crocombe’s journey to the final was not much easier. +8 and +13 were his first two winning scorelines against Michael Stewart and Victor Tak Lung Wong. He then battled through a tough quarter-final against Kieran Shelley to win by six. The scoreline was the exact same in the semi-final, where Crocombe defeated the Swiss No.5 seed, Leonard Ladner.
There was little to separate the two friends in the final. Colver won the table tennis 24-22 before they split the badminton and squash 13 each. That let a full set of tennis ahead.
Crocombe wrestled control of the tennis and went on to win 21-10, winning the final by nine points. A superb debut from both across the weekend but especially Crocombe, who left his first racketlon tournament with two trophies.
Juniors U16 – Matthew Davidson defeats Will Gregson
Men’s B champions Matthew Davidson was also on display in the U16 category. He strolled through his group, defeating Will Taylor and Cameron Leighton to advance to the final.
In the second group, Will Gregson also rolled into the final with relative ease. He beat Oliver Barton and Freddie Whitfield, although to tighter margins that Davidson.
In the final it was Gregson who made the better start, leading by five heading into the badminton. Davidson’s class began to shine through though. He won the badminton 21-12 and followed that up with a 21-15 squash victory. Needing just 12 in tennis he cruised to the title, winning 21-3.
Girls U16 – Eleanor Sinker defeats Claudia Vincent
Coupled with an impressive third place in the Women’s B, Eleanor Sinker also took home the Girls U16 title.
In a three-player box, league Sinker won six of her eight sets. She didn’t lose a badminton or tennis set in the juniors and only lost her table tennis and squash to Sophie Evans 21-19 and 21-16.
Claudia Vincent came second after defeating Evans in a close contest. Vincent won by nine points, a 21-6 badminton win the crucial scoreline.
Juniors U21 – Luke Griffiths defeats David Bennett
One of the breakout stars of the 2019 season, Luke Griffiths picked up his sole title at the CH London Open in the U21 category.
Griffiths found himself in a group with fellow Brits Ross Wilson and Kieran Shelley. Griffiths and Wilson teamed up to win the U16 World Teams title last year but were not teammates this time out. The Juniors World No.3 beat both Wilson and Shelley handily to ensure he reached the final.
David Bennett, who also reached the Men’s B final, found more success in the U21s. He battled past FIR World Tour debutants Ryan Bezer and Freddie Whitfield to march into his second final of the weekend against a fellow British teenager.
As with the Men’s B final, Bennett was outclassed in the final. Griffiths, who is now a regular Men’s A player, won the first two sports 21-7 to give himself enough of a lead to win the final before tennis.
Seniors +40 – Jeremy Krzystyniak defeats Mark Steeden
It was a battle of the squash stars in final of the Seniors +40 as Jeremy Krzystyniak and Mark Steeden met at the Roehampton Club. Krzystyniak was making his return to the FIR World Tour for the first time since 2016. He strolled through his opening two matches, defeating Jo Cochrane and Chris Snelling to reach the final.
It was just as routine for top seed Steeden. The Brit taught newcomer Craig de Silva a lesson with a +32 win before tennis before taking out Toby Cooper in the semi-finals.
In the final, the two experienced racketlon players put on quite a show. Krzystyniak took the early table tennis lead before Steeden battled back in badminton. The squash display was exquisite, although it was Krzystyniak who emerged victorious, winning 21-16. The left him leading by seven into tennis, an advantage he utilised to win the tennis 15-10 and take him the title.
Seniors +50 – Martyn Langston defeats Richard Middleton
With the +50 and +55 World Champions both competing, this was a fierce field. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was those two that ended up meeting in the final.
Stepping in as an alternate at the last minute, Richard Middleton made an eye-catching run through the draw. The +50 World Champions knocked out top seed Frank Kleiber and No.4 seed Radu Ionescu to reach the final.
Meanwhile, in the bottom half of the draw, Martyn Langston was demonstrating his capabilities. He cruised past Dan Pearson before knocking out Simon Lau to also progress to the final.
Going on as the very last match of the tournament, the organisers might have wanted it to be a quick affair. It was far from it. The two slogged it out across the four sports, heading into tennis with Middleton leading by six.
However, it was Langston who battled back on the clay courts. He emphasised his supreme tennis skills to win 21-13, winning the title by just two points. The +55 World Champion defeats the +50 World Champion.
Seniors +60 – Bruce Shepherd defeats Duncan Marlow
The four-man box league was headlined by +60 World Champion Bruce Shepherd. Both Shepherd and Duncan Marlow defeated the two other competitors – Ray Ryan and Geoff Jordan – to set up a showdown for the title.
Racing to a +21 lead through badminton, Shepherd held the advantage at the halfway mark. Although Marlow won the final two sports he could not do it by enough points, leaving Shepherd to lift the title with a +9.
The full results from the CH London Open are available here.
The elite grade player report is available here.
The FIR World Tour is available here with all tournaments open to players of all ages and abilities.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / James Pope