Men’s Grand Prix Review
With the 2010/11 season over and the Grand Prix season finished lets take a look at how the grand Prix season unfurled.
The season started at Liverpool last August. As has become tradition the field was strong with an international feel. With Grand prix regulars like Gavin Rumgay, Ryan Jenkins, Matt Ware and Damien Nicholls joined by German Ricardo Walther, Swede Tobias Bergman and Irish internationals Colum Slevin and John Murphy. In the end there were shocks all over the draw with early casualties including Ware, Doran and Nicholls. In the final The Welsh Wizard Jenkins out-played Gavin Rumgay to stop Gavin winning five Liverpool titles in a row.
The Bribar Medway Open was won by South East performance coach Craig Bryant who beat Richard Andrews in the final. The ‘Big man’ Chris Doran took home the title at the Bribar Peterborough Open with Andrews beaten in the final again, while the Tees Sport Newcastle Open was won by Liam Pitchford after his victory over Rumgay.
Jenkins won two more events with the Bribar Bristol UWE Open and the Cardiff Grand Prix adding to his earlier title while Pitchford picked up his second title with victory at Doncaster after beating Damien Nicholls in the final.
The North Herts followed a similar pattern with a Jenkins and Rumgay final. Again Jenkins coming out on top. However, to prove Jenkins didn’t have it all his own way in Blackpool, Doran was back on top form beating both Rumgay and Jenkins to take the title. Soon after though Jenkins re-asserted his dominance with a victory over Matt Ware in the final at Jersey.
The Bribar London open saw a very international field of players including Ricardo Walther from Germany, Victoria le Guen from France and Artur Daniels of Poland on top of the top British players. In the final it was the two former Junior World team finalists Walther and Le Guen with The Frenchman coming out on top.
Sussex was yet again contested by the top two players; Jenkins and Rumgay with Jenkins picking up the title in the 5th. Guildford saw a strong England team out in force with Drinkhall, Reed, Evans, Ware, Nicholls in the men and Parker in the women’s to add to the GP regulars. In the final Drinkhall beat Rumgay 3-0 to claim the title.
The Tees Sport Barnsley saw the battle of the top seeds Darius Knight and overall champion Ryan Jenkins, The result of the match didn’t affect overall standings but pride was at stake and the final was a fitting end to the season with Jenkins winning deuce in the 5th.
The overall title was taken home by the Welsh Wizard Ryan Jenkins. Ryan played in nine of the 14 events and took home the title on no less than seven occasions. Taking home the titles from: Liverpool, Bristol, his home Grand Prix of Cardiff, North Herts, Jersey, Sussex and Barnsley.
On the Grand Prix points standings he was pushed all year by Gavin Rumgay – the defending Overall Grand Prix Champion. Gavin also played in 9 Grand Prix but try as he remained title-free throughout the season.
Under-21s and Bands
The Under 21s titles were taken home by ‘Mr Under 21s’ Damien Nicholls who took the overall title for a record 5th time. Damien was the clear winner being just shy of 200 points clear of 2nd place Richard Main.
The Band 1 men’s overall winner was Emran Hussain with a 40 point lead over Neil Charles now of Norfolk while the Band 2 men’s was a tight-fought battle with two players carving out leads with Owe Karlsson of Kent just pipping Welsh player Dan O’Connell to the title.
In the Band 3 men’s, Tony Zeqiri took the winner’s cheque with Scotland’s Brian Wright coming in second while young Dan Lawrence from Kent took home the winners cheques for both Band 4 and Band 5. Will Ross capped off his season by taking home the Band 6 Overall title.