Continental feel to first Free Church tournament

Lillington Free Church's first graded tournament of the season George Barnes. MHLC-15-09-18 Graded tournament
Lillington Free Church's first graded tournament of the season George Barnes. MHLC-15-09-18 Graded tournament

Lillington Free Church’s first graded tournament of the season at St Nicholas Park Leisure Centre attracted a wide entry, including three Frenchmen, writes Phil John.

In the morning, Steve Bertie of the Continental club in Birmingham cruised through his group and the quarter-final before overcoming Craig Allen of Redditch in the last four.

Emily Beasley

Emily Beasley

He met the host club’s top junior Ricardo Bolanos, who had dispatched clubmate Tom Hunt in three sets, in the final.

Bolanos battled hard and took the second game but Bertie went on to prevail 3-1.

In the juniors’ event, Free Church’s Emily Beasley reached the semi-final after accounting for another Church player, Eduardo Bolanos, 3-1 but found Ben Allen of Blaenavon too strong, going down 3-0.

Free Church players filled three of the four semi-final slots in the cadets’ event.

Tom Yarrow beat Joe Shrimpton 3-0 and Toby Dow of Bodicote, an Oxfordshire player, pipped Owain Jones 3-1. Yarrow then ensured the trophy stayed at home with a thrilling 11-5 in the fifth success over Dow.

There were three Church players and a Bodicote player in the semi-finals of the under-13s’ competition, too.

George Barnes beat the visiting Joseph Fisher in one semi and then went on to defeat Chris Ho, who had accounted for Dan Stone, 3-1.

In the afternoon events, the semi-finals of the Grade A singles were contested by Hawley Ellicott of Colebridge who defeated Church’s Sam Weaving 11-5 in the fifth and Simon Griew of County Council who downed another Church player, Dave Ramsey, in straight games. Ellicott snatched the winner’s trophy 3-1.

Church junior Josh Yarrow won his semi in the Grade B event, overcoming Christelle Rajapaska of Kidlington 3-1. Chris Jones ensured an all-Lillington final with an impressive win over Blaenavon’s Bethany Brewer in his semi but Yarrow took the final 3-1.

In Grade C, Xavier Ratzel of France defeated Chris Ho in his semi-final, while Rugby’s Alex Bowe overcame Iestyn Howells of Blaenavon. Bowe kept the trophy in the country with a straight-games success.

The improvers’ saw Church’s Alfie Ransom romp to semi-final glory by defeating Andre Berthineau of Continental Stars 3-0, while Rugby’s Oliver Ferguson got home 11-9 in the fifth against another Continental player in the guise of Josephine Bennett.

Ferguson then came from 9-4 down in the fifth to claim the title 12-10.

In the beginners’ final, Church’s Jack Bradbury beat Cai Bristow of Blaenavon 11-9, 11-7, 11-8.

Consolation finals: Senior: Sam Weaving (Free Church) bt Russell Duncan (Barnt Green). Junior: Iestyn Howells (Blaenavon) bt Victoria Coll (Kidlington). Cadet: Nicholas Ho (Free Church) bt Jack Bradbury (Free Church). Under-13: Oliver Ferguson (Rugby) bt Morris Wong (Kidlington). Grade A: Ben Allen (Blaenavon) bt Lisa Rinnhofer (Colebridge). Grade B: Eduardo Bolanos (Free Church) bt Nicholas Ho (Free Church). Grade C: Victoria Coll (Kidlington) bt Joe Shrimpton (Free Church). Improvers: Nathan Jackson (Free Church) bt Jack Knowles (Free Church). Beginner: Morgan Page (Free Church) bt Jenny Ferguson (Rugby).