England team-mate denies Sibley a perfect six at National Championships

Leamington's Kelly Sibley in action at the National Championships in Hatfield. Picture: Alan Man
Leamington's Kelly Sibley in action at the National Championships in Hatfield. Picture: Alan Man

Kelly Sibley’s quest for a sixth national women’s singles title ended in disappointment as she was beaten in the final by England team-mate Tin-Tin Ho in front of the live TV cameras.

The Leamington player was No 1 seed and defending champion at the PG Mutual National Championships in Hatfield.

And she was left with only that title to contest when mixed doubles partner Danny Reed, with whom she won Commonwealth Games bronze in 2014, had to withdraw through injury.

She was also handed a bye in the first round, meaning she went straight into a quarter-final against another England player, seeing off Karina Le Fevre 4-2 (11-6, 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7).

Sibley then emphatically dispatched Hannah Hicks 4-0 (11-3, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6) in the semis.

But 17-year-old Ho, who had already won two doubles titles, was a tougher opponent in front of the ITV4 cameras, twice coming from a game down to win it 4-2 (5-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6).

Sibley, 27, said: “Fair play to her, she played really, really well, but I had my chance at 1-0 and 7-1 up and maybe if I’d gone 2-0 up my confidence would have grown and there would have been a bit of doubt in her mind.

“I felt I was timing the ball really well but she stuck at it, took a few more risks and was very positive and in the end she dominated.

“It’s not an excuse, but I would have like a few more matches. I felt I went in a bit cold against Karina and found myself in a sticky situation. But you have to go with it.

“I’m happy to make a national final, but I couldn’t get over the line.”