There were open singles triumphs for the second seed man, Ryan Jenkins of Wales, and the top seed woman, Egle Adomylete (Middlesex), at the Tees Sport Barnsley Grand Prix held at the Metrodome Leisure Complex, Barnsley over the weekend.
Demonstrating smooth two wing controlled attack and the ability to turn on the power when necessary, the 7 times Welsh champion and second seed Ryan Jenkins had a relatively comfortable journey to the final, putting out his brother Stephen in the last 16, Chris Main (Scotland) in the quarters, and the 3rd seed Chris Doran (Northamptonshire) in the semis.
By contrast, his finals opponent, the speedy and dynamic no.1 seed and England no 3, left-handed Darius Knight (Surrey), had it tough almost all the way. After a fairly easy win over John Magnall (Isle of Man), who had achieved a shock group result against Stephen Jenkins the first round, he dropped a game to Sheffield based paralympian Kim Daybell in the last 16. Then, in front of TV cameras recording his hoped for journey to Olympic participation, he was very severely challenged by the vicious spin services, topspins and touches of 7th seed Michael Marsden (Durham/Wales). Fortunately Knight was possibly reprieved by Marsden serving off 3 times in the deciding game, and scrapped through 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8.
Knight’s semi-final with Scottish no.1 and 4th seed Gavin Rumgay was another battle royal, and Darius displayed tremendous courage to keep on attacking Rumgay’s blend of tricky serves, sidespin blocks and long range counter-looping, saving match points to secure his 16-14, 8-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-8 success.
The final was an even more titanic struggle! Although Knight kept on firing big swinging loops, Jenkins seemed in control, parrying back Knight’s big shots and sometimes adding his own to lead by 2 games and 7-5 up. However Knight continued to apply the attacking pressure to win 6 consecutive points and the game. The reverse situation occurred in the 5th game with Knight in the ascendancy at 7-3 up. Darius then missed 3 forehand loops in a row, and at 7-6 launched out a volley of huge shots only for Ryan to return each one from the barriers to take the point. But when all seemed lost for Darius at 7-10, he saved 3 match points before succumbing to Ryan 9-11, 4-11, 11-7, 8-11, 10-12.
Other items of interest from the men’s singles were Max Tupper (Jersey, and player of the tournament) winning his group, including beating Chris Main (Scotland), Matt Dodds (Worksop, South Yorkshire) winning his group and reaching the last 16 before losing to Chris Main, and 5th seed Damien Nicholls (Shopshire) losing to veteran Tony West (Suffolk) in his group 7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 8-11. Nicholls was to later hold two match points on Gavin Rumgay before losing 6-11, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 10-12 in the first round, while West was to reach the quarter-finals before losing to Chris Doran.
Despite coming runner-up in her group – she lost 7-11, 11-7, 9-11, 10-12 to young Welsh international Megan Phillips – top seed Egle Adomyelyte put that behind her to duly win the open women’s singles event. En route to the final, where she faced Kent junior Jasmin Ould, she beat the 15 year old Welsh no.1 junior and no.2 senior in straight games in the first round and then top seed and English no.4, Lauren Spink (Norfolk) 11-7, 4-11, 11-9, 11-4. Ould had also come second in her group (to Charlotte) Carey, but she was fired up and fighting to put out Megan Phillips 11-8, 5-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-8 in the quarter-finals and left-hander Cleveland junior attacker Jessica Dawson (conqueror of two further Welsh internationals Angharad Phillips and Nicole Hall) in the semis.
Fired up with two-wing power loops, Ould looked well capable of defeating Egle, particularly when at 1 game all she led the 3rd 10-7, but the Middlesex player kept her cool with good placements and sharp flat hits to take that game and run out victorious, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8.
There were plenty of surprises in the under 21 men’s singles. Top seed Darius Knight withdrew which opened up the top half of the draw, and near local boy Matt Dodds from Worksop, South Yorkshire, runner-up in his group (to Natham Bingham, Dorset) took advantage with knockout wins over Aaron McKibbin (Surrey, but trains in Sheffield), Calum Main (Scotland) in the quarter-finals and Conor Edwards (Wales) in the semis.
Meanwhile, in the other half, Kim Daybell from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, had a much tougher time getting to the final, overcoming Richard Main (Scotland) 9 in the 5th game in the quarter-finals, and then in possibly the longest, closest but never-the-less absolutely pulsating match, he deposed of the no.2 seed Damien Nicholl (Shropshire), 12-10, 9-11, 10-12, 11-5, 18-16! Although still of good quality, Daybell’s final victory over Dodds, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 lacked the same drama!
Charlotte Carey added the under 21 women’s singles to her band 1 women’s singles title, beating her Welsh colleague Megan Phillips 12-10, 13-11, 6-11, 11-7 in the final. In the semi-finals she had put out the on form Jas Ould (Kent) 7-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-6, Ould having beaten other Welsh players, first Angharad Phillips, the second seed, in her group, and then very closely, 16-14, 7-11, 11-7, 11-13, 12-10, Chloe Thomas in the quarter-finals. In her semi-final, Megan overcame Nicole Hall (also of Wales), 6-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-4, 11-4.
Tomasz Rzeszotko (Cheshire) fulfilled his no.1 seeding by duly lifting the veteran singles, although he was taken all the way by Alan Cherry (Buckinghamshire) in his group. His most difficult opponent in the knockout was Ian Denton, who had put out fellow Barnsley man Raymond Hurst in the quarters, but Tomasz got the verdict from their semi-final clash 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7. Tony West (Suffolk), who had a good tournament, won the other semi-final tie with John Magnall (Isle of Man) 11-5, 11-9, 11-7, but fell to the all triumphant Rzeszotko 2-11, 7-11, 11-13 in the final.
Billy Pegg (Shropshire) won the restricted singles, beating second seed Zoltan Hosszu (Surrey) in the semi-finals, and the top seed Chris Main (Scotland) 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 in the final.
Men’s open singles:
Darius Knight (Mi) bt Gavin Rumgay (SCO) 14, -8, 11, -8, 8
Ryan Jenkins (WAL) bt Chris Doran (Np) 4, 4, 7
Final: Jenkins bt Knight 9, 4, -7, -8, 10
Women’s open singles:
Jas Ould (K) bt Jess Dawson (Cv) 3, -6, -10, 9, 9
Egle Adomyelyte (Mi) bt Lauren Spink (Nk) 7, -4, 9, 4
Final: Adomyelyte bt Ould -9, 6, 10, 8
Men’s under 21 singles:
Matt Dodds (Ys) bt Conor Edwards (WAL) 5, 9, 6
Kim Daybell (Ys) bt Damien Nicholls (Sp) 10, -9, -10, 5, 16
Final: Daybell bt Dodds 9, 7, 7
Women’s under 21 singles:
Charlotte Carey (WAL) bt Jas Ould -7, 4, 5, 6
Megan Phillips (WAL) bt Nicole Hall (WAL) -6, 12, -9, 4, 4
Final: Carey bt Phillips 10, 11, -6, 7
Tomasz Rzeszotko (Ch) bt Ian Denton (Ys) -9, 5, 9, 7
Tony West (Sk) bt John Magnell (IMN) 5, 9, 7.
Final: Rzeszotko bt West 2, 7, 11
Chris Main (SCO) bt Paul Worrallo (St) 7, 5, 9
Billy Pegg (Sp) bt Zoltan Hosszu (Sy) 10, 5, 6
Final: Pegg bt Main -11, 6, 9, 8