Karina LeFevre did her chances of defending the overall Grand Prix series title the world of good thanks to another victory.
LeFevre beat an in-form Emma Vickers 3-1. Both women will be happy with the fact that they have closed the gap on current Grand Prix series leader Abbie Milwain, who disappointingly went out in the first knockout round.
The happier will of course be LeFevre. She took the first end 11-9 before Emma responded with a rapid 11-4 game of her own. Arguably the contest was decided in the next set, Karina taking a nervy and close deuce game. Although this didn’t give her the physical victory it gave her the upper hand mentally, and put her in pole position going into the fourth. LeFevre duly wrapped things up 11-6.
LeFevre’s path to the final saw victories over Megan Phillips 3-1, and home favourite Gillian Edwards 3-0. Vickers had to beat Cherith Graham who had previously beaten Milwain, before seeing off Hannah Hicks in a great battle of attack vs defence. On this occasion the attacker came out on top 3-2.
Men’s Under 21 Singles
Max Tupper claimed a default victory in the Men’s Under 21 event. The runner-up Joe Pilkington had a train to catch so sadly had to scratch from the final, handing Tupper the title.
Tupper only managed to finish runner-up in his group after he lost out to Pilkington 3-0. This begs the question that had Joe been here to compete the final would he have won? But take nothing away from Tupper who valiantly beat Ryan Fellows 3-2 having trailed 2-0, and then again came from behind to beat Calum Morrison 3-1.
As winner of the group Pilkington advanced straight to the semi-finals. Here he faced a determined Sepehr Bidari who raced into a 2-0 lead. Perhaps if Pilkington hadn’t had to fight back from 2-0 down he may have had time for the final, but now we’ll never know. Bidari can be left feeling frustrated as on this occasion he was the nearly man.
Women’s Under 21 Singles
The Women’s Under 21 event was played as a round-robin group of five. Beneficiary of this was Rebecca Plaistow, who recorded three wins from four. It went to a countback decision to clarify second place, which eventually went to Alisa Khalid.
Plaistow’s three victories were against runner-up Khalid 3-0, Rachel Crawford also 3-0 and Caitlin Cameron again 3-0. The only trouble she had was in her loss to Ireland’s Emma McSorley. Arguably the match of the group, it went all the way to five, McSorley eventually winning 7-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-9, 11-7. Sadly for McSorley this wasn’t enough to get that runners-up trophy, as she finished fourth on countback.
Mixed Veteran Singles
The Mixed Veterans’ event was also played as a round-robin group. But rather than going to countback to decide second place, it went to countback to decide the winner. Involved in the three-way tie were Peter Wilkinson, Tom Lawlor and William Kenndey.
Thanks to his better games ratio, Lawlor walked away the happiest of the trio as he was crowned West of Scotland Grand Prix Veterans champion. Number one seed Wilkinson had to settle for second. Despite defeating Lawlor, Wilkinson made a slow start, losing his first two matches to Kennedy and Aird respectively.
Craig Howieson and Stewart Crawford lived up to their billing of being the number one pair in the Open Doubles competition. They comprehensively beat all that was put in front of them.
In the final it was a match up with younger pairing Colin Dalgleish and Scott Barton. It was a great match to watch but it was the experience that told in the end. Trailing 2-0, Dalgleish and Barton showed character to bring one back, but Howieson and Crawford were aware of the possible comeback so put an end to the contest in game four winning 11-7.
Men’s Singles: Kenichi Matsubuchi (SWE) bt Ryan Jenkins (WAL) 3-1 (11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9)
Women’s Singles: Karina LeFevre (Cv) bt Emma Vickers (Dy) 3-1 )11-9, 4-11, 12-10, 11-6)
Men’s Under 21 Singles: Max Tupper (JEY) bt Joe Pilkington (Ch) w/o
Women’s Under 21 Singles: Round robin group: Winner – Rebecca Plaistow (SCO) Runner-Up – Alisa Khalid (SCO)
Mixed Veteran Singles: Round robin group: Winner – Tom Lawlor (SCO) Runner-Up – Peter Wilkinson (Cv)
Open Doubles: Craig Howieson/Stewart Crawford (SCO) bt Colin Dalgleish/Scott Barton 3-1 (11-4, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7)
Lastly, thanks to our hosts from Scotland and also to the team officials, Steve and Margaret Welch, Alison Woods, Catherine O’Neil, Senga Thomson, Ken Cadogan, Phil McCallum and Terry McLernon MBE.
The next stop on the Grand Prix series is the North Herts Satellite Grand Prix on14/15 March and then the Jersey Satellite Grand Prix on 3/4/5 April. The next major Grand Prix will be the Blackpool Grand Prix on 11/12 April. Entry forms can be found here.