It was a superb weekend for the Shelley family in Sheffield as they won three singles titles between them. Jo Shelley continued her excellent 12 months with the Women’s B Singles and Women’s +45 Singles titles, while son Kieran won his first international singles title in the Men’s C Singles.
Will Gregson and Magnus Edby both won titles in their first tournament back since before COVID while the likes of Ross Wilson and Eric Durand also picked up gold medals.
Here’s the full report of all Junior, Seniors and Amateur categories not covered in Friday’s report.
Men’s B Singles – Gregson Beats Three Seeds on Comeback to Take Title
It’s been a while since we last saw Will Gregson on the Racketlon World Tour, with the 2019 World Championships his last tournament. The young Brit had one of the best runs of the weekend in Sheffield, taking out three seeded players on his way to the title.
Andy Stenson was the first to fall at his hand, with Gregson winning comfortably to set up a quarter-final against top seed David Bennett. A hugely competitive match was edged by Gregson, whose 13 point lead after badminton was too much for Bennett to claw back.
That set up a semi-final against Alan Plater. The No.4 seed had survived his opening match against Peter Barton, winning on a dramatic gummiarm. He was no match for Gregson in the semi-finals though. Gregson bossed the match, effectively sealing the victory after a crushing 21-7 squash set.
Volker Sach was his opponent in the final. Sach opened with a victory over Simon Lau – who himself had won a gummiarm against Giovanni Gentile in the opening round. In the semi-finals, he defeated No.2 seed, Sam Barker.
Sach actually made the better start to the final. The prolific German took the table tennis 21-17. Gregson dominated the match from then on. He won the badminton 21-12 and then produced a ruthless 21-4 squash victory. That masterclass left him 22 points ahead before tennis, sealing the victory in superb style.
It’s a landmark moment for Gregson as he wins the first international racketlon singles title of his career. Plater finished with the bronze medal after beating Barker in the 3rd/4th playoff.
The full Men’s B Singles results are available here.
Women’s B Singles – Shelley Defeats Britain’s Finest to Win Title
Jo Shelley entered the Nick Matthew Steel City Open in a great place, having just added three British National titles to her four current Racketlon World Championship titles. She continued that dominant form in the Women’s B Singles.
Her opener was against Susie Dilloway, who actually beat her a week before at the British National Championships. It was a different story at Hallamshire Tennis & Squash Club. A masterful 21-2 squash set from Shelley set the tone, as she ended up winning the match impressively to get revenge.
In the semi-finals, she played Girls U21 champion, Cherisse Lau. Lau had defeated debutant Kirsten Atkinson in the first round but, like Dilloway, found Shelley’s squash too hot to handle. A 21-4 squash victory once against paved the way for Shelley to comfortably win the match by +16.
No.2 seed Alexandra Ogram was her opponent in the final. Ogram is the current Girls Singles World No.1 and had shown her class, defeating both Dianne Baker and Joanna Bennett in eye-catching style.
Shelley’s experience paid off in the final. She took the first two sports by 8 and 15. Ogram repaired some of the damage on the squash court, winning 21-16. There would be no incredible comeback though. Shelley got the eight points she needed in tennis to get her hands on another international racketlon trophy.
Bennett took the bronze medal after beating Cherisse Lau.
The full Women’s B Singles results are available here.
Mixed B Doubles – Galsworthy and Lau Collect First Mixed Doubles Title
Jane Galsworthy and Simon Lau kicked off the 2022 Nick Matthew Steel City Open Challenger early on Friday with a routine victory over Kirsten Atkinson and Sam Barker.
From that moment, the pair never looked back. In the quarter-finals, they took out No.2 seeds Jo and Kieran Shelley and then defeated Susie Dilloway and Nick Rate in a fiercely contested semi-final.
Their opponents in the final were due to be Izzy Bramhall and Justin Crowther. Like Galsworthy and Lau, they had begun early on Friday with a crushing win over Joanna Bennett and Adam Turner. Top seeds Alexandra Ogram and David Bennett were their next victims before they took out Cherisse Lau and Ross Wilson in the semi-finals.
Unforunately, an injury to Crowther forced him to withdraw before Saturday evening’s final. That left Galsworthy and Lau as the worthy winners, having to battle through from the very first round to collect their title. For both players, it was the first international racketlon mixed doubles title.
Dilloway and Rate took the bronze medal after an awesome +4 victory over Lau and Wilson.
The full Mixed B Doubles results are available here.
Men’s C Singles – Shelley Battles to First Career Title
Kieran Shelley has played a large amount of international racketlon but, surprisingly, had never been in a final before this weekend. That changed on Friday as he won the Men’s C Doubles title with Matthew Page. Shelley clearly liked the feeling of winning as he went and did it again in the Men’s C Singles.
He opened with a tough +11 win over Hallamshire local Brandon Petty before taking out table tennis specialist Cameron Leighton in the quarter-finals. Shelley faced another table tennis player in Leigh Ware in the semi-finals, recovering from being 21-7 down to win by 10 points.
In the final, Shelley would face young British talent, Chase Burgess. Burgess had never lost a racketlon singles match before this tournament and looked like he would keep that run going. He opened with a remarkable +4 win over top seed Graham King, producing a sensational 21-2 tennis set win to secure a stunning comeback.
In the quarter-finals, he took out Alex Evans and in the semi-finals, it was Jon Schofield that suffered at his hands. In the final, Shelley’s experience proved too much for the youngster.
Shelley edged the table tennis 21-18 and then began to pull away. 21-12 was the eventual badminton score before Shelley avoided playing tennis thanks to a 21-9 squash victory. A big moment for Shelley who didn’t lose a C Grade match this weekend. Leigh Ware finished third after his opponent, Jon Schofield, was forced to withdraw.
The full Men’s C Singles results are available here.
Juniors U16 Singles – Burgess Demonstrates His Class
Despite his loss in the Men’s C Singles final, it was still a successful weekend for Chase Burgess. As he was making his racketlon debut, Burgess entered the draw unseeded. That didn’t stop him though.
Burgess opened with a comfortable win over William Freeston to set up a semi-final against top seed and closest rival Oliver Barton. Burgess lost the table tennis heavily but won the next three sports to secure a +9 victory and book his place in the final.
His opponent would be No.2 seed Daniel Austin. The youngster had come through two opening matches against Charlie Hill and Olly Samuel, both of who were making their international racketlon debuts.
In the final, Burgess edged the table tennis and badminton 21-16 and 21-17 to open up a small gap. That was then extended as he won the squash 21-11. His three points on the tennis court secured him a first international racketlon title.
Barton finished third after taking out Samuel before tennis. Congratulations to all the participants, especially the six players making their international racketlon debut.
The full Juniors U16 Singles results are available here.
Boys U21 Singles – Ross Wilson Rolls to Title
Ross Wilson burst onto the racketlon circuit three years ago as he stormed to the Boys U21 Singles title at the King of Rackets. Since then, the young Brit has been a little quiet – but he made a triumphant return with a dominant performance in Sheffield.
Wilson has begun to find his feet again in recent months and demonstrated his quality in a tough Boys U21 Singles draw. Unfortunately, Anant Gupta was forced to withdraw through injury, leaving Wilson to take on David Bennett and Men’s B Singles champion Will Gregson.
Gregson was Wilson’s first opponent and put up quite a fight through three sports. In fact, the eventual Men’s B Champion led by a single point heading to tennis. Wilson is a dominant tennis player though, winning 21-5 to pick up his first win.
His second and decisive match was a straightforward affair. Wilson crushed David Bennett by 32 points before tennis, with a 21-1 badminton set the standout result. Wilson’s title should stand him in good stead ahead of the World Singles Championship in August. Bennett finished in second after beating Gregson – getting revenge for the defeat in the Men’s B Singles.
The full Boys U21 Singles results are available here.
Seniors +40 Singles – Durand Wins as Top Seed
Similar to the Boys U21 Singles draw, the Men’s +40 Singles box league was reduced to three players as Justin Crowther was forced to withdraw.
The top seed in the draw was Australia’s Eric Durand. He lived up to his billing as one of the best senior players on the circuit. Durand began his tournament by taking out Leigh Ware, crushing the Brit 21-3 at badminton and 21-5 at squash.
Returning British legend Keith Lesser beat Ware by five points to set up a showdown between himself and Durand for the gold. It was the Australian who triumphed thanks to a commanding middle portion of the match. After losing the table tennis to 10, Durand won 21-9, 21-10 to leave himself needing just 10 points on the tennis court. Durand triumphed to pick up his second career title, leaving Lesser in second and Ware in third.
The full results from the Men’s +40 Singles are available here.
Women’s +45 Singles – Unstoppable Shelley Strikes Again
Jo Shelley really is making winning quite a habit. The Brit dominated the Women’s +45 Singles, dropping just one of her 10 sets played and only picking up her tennis racket for four points.
Doubles partner Dianne Baker was Shelley’s first opponent, with Shelley winning comfortably before tennis thanks to her dominant squash.
Her second match against debutant Katie Hill was a similar affair. Hill was also unable to take Shelley to tennis, as the current World Champion controlled the match from start to finish.
With Jane Galsworthy also beating Baker and Hill, that set up a final between Shelley and Galsworthy for the title. Shelley started the stronger, winning the table tennis 21-13 before Galsworthy snuck the badminton 21-19. Once again, squash proved decisive for Shelley, with her crushing 21-9 squash win effectively sealing the title. A second singles title of the weekend and fifth racketlon trophy in seven days.
Hill finished on the podium with Shelley and Galsworthy after beating Baker by two points in a thrilling match.
The full Women’s +45 Singles results are available here.
Men’s +50 Singles – Steeden Beats Lau in Thriller
Mark Steeden is a man bang in form. One week ago he was crowned the Men’s +45 Singles British National Champion. One week later, he seals a Men’s +50 Singles title on the Racketlon World Tour.
To get to the final, Steeden had to come through two group stage matches against Jon Foulds and Andy Stenson. While his match against Stenson was relatively straightforward, his contest with Foulds was the total opposite.
The two played out a high-quality match, with all four sports being extremely competitive. In the end, Steeden snuck the victory, winning by seven points to book his spot in the final.
His opponent was Simon Lau. The Welsh wizard played only one match to reach the final after Julian Clapp’s withdrawal. That match was a gummiarm though! Lau lost a tennis set against Giovanni Gentile 23-21 to force a gummiarm but won in spectacular style to book his place in the final.
Ultimately, Steeden was too strong in the final, especially on the squash court. His convincing 21-8 squash victory paved the way to the title as he needed just six points on the tennis court. Though Lau won the tennis 9-6, it was too little too late as Steeden got his hands on another trophy.
Foulds took the bronze medal after defeating Gentile in the bronze medal match.
The full Men’s +50 Singles results are available here.
Men’s +60 Singles – Edby Soars on Racketlon Comeback
It’s always a joy to see a racketlon player make a comeback after a few years away. We hadn’t seen Sweden’s Magnus Edby on the Racketlon World Tour since 2018. What a triumphant return he made.
Edby opened with a tough contest against Alan Plater. It was no sweat for the Swede, who cruised past Plater with a +13 victory. Graham King was his next victim. The top seed succumbed to a +25 loss before tennis put Edby into the final.
Joining him there was British star Martyn Langston. Langstone had to work hard to reach the final. First, he’d beaten No.2 seed Volker Sach after a high-quality battle. That was followed by a semi-final win over compatriot Rakesh Gupta.
In the final, Edby raced into the lead. He took the table tennis 21-16 and then massively extended that lead with a 21-8 badminton result. Langston began to close the gap after winning the squash 21-16 but it was Edby who would get his hands on gold.
Edby reached the nine points he needed in tennis to win by 11 points and complete the perfect racketlon comeback. We hope that we’ll get to see more of the Swede throughout the rest of the year.
Gupta completed the podium after beating King for bronze.
The full Men’s +60 Singles results are available here.
Interested in playing in a Racketlon World Tour event? Head to the Racketlon World Tour page to see which tournaments we have planned for the rest of the year.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Kate Ogram