Gavin Rumgay and Ryan Jenkins

Ryan Jenkins the Welsh supremo and 2nd seed for the event was just unstoppable to thwart the history equalling challenge that Gavin Rumgay was aiming to achieve by winning five consecutive Men’s Open titles at the Tees Sport Liverpool Grand Prix, that he has won since 2006 and only Victor Barna had achieved way back in the thirties. Jenkins took the title in relative ease in a one sided final over the flying Scotsman Rumgay 3-0 however it was the drama that unfolded from the last sixteen round.

First surprise result was the exit of Chris Doran (S3) to an in form David McBeath 3-1 and then Matt Ware (S5) took an early bath at the hands of Paul McCreery 3-0. Then when you thought David would mount a serious challenge he came unstuck against Kevin Dolder in the quarter final, which put Kevin into the bottom half semi final draw with the eventual champion Jenkins. Ryan had been in cruise control to cause the departures of Adam Nutland, Craig Hardie and quarter finalist Damien Nicholls all in straight sets. The Welsh wizard then took no time at all to dispose of Kevin Dolder to await his final opponent from the top half of the draw.
That half contained Paul McCreery who faced the 4th seed Ricardo Walther in the qtr final and he went out of the event 0-3 to the German Bundesliga player which left Mr Grand Prix Gavin Rumgay to face the German after getting past Neil Powell, Tobias Bergman and quarter finalist Mike Marsden. The semi final match between Gavin and Ricardo was an intriguing yet contrasting style of two completely different players with a scoreline that said it all,  -3, 2, 4, -7 6 result favouring the Scotsman.

So with Gavin Rumgay through to meet Ryan Jenkins in the final we all thought it would be a fantastic match. Ryan, a three times losing finalist at Liverpool over the years contrasting with Gavin who almost made Liverpool his home after 4 straight Grand Prix wins here, surely the pendulum of power was in Gavin’s grasp. The whole playing hall came to a halt with in excess of 100 spectators glued to their seats, but alas the final did not live up entirely to expectations. The Welshman took the first two sets both in deuce and we all could sense the writing was on the wall for Rumgay as Ryan was simply sensational taking the title in straight sets and to demonstrate how good this result was, Ryan did not drop a set in the entire event.
A splendid Welsh double was soon ringing in all our ears with Naomi Owen S1 taking the Women’s Open title against the Norfolk star Lauren Spink S4 by 3 games to 1. This last match was a joy to witness with some incredible fast and frenetic rallies between both these young Women. The International experience told in the end with Naomi always looking the stronger when it mattered most, although Lauren put up a magnificent effort.

Naomi Owen and Lauren Spink

Very notable performances in this competitive event came from Angharad Phillips who reached her first ever Women’s Open semi final displaying sheer brilliance to get past Emily Ross and Chloe Whyte (who was responsible for the exit of Emma Vickers S3) and to her credit Angharad took a game off the Champion in the top half semi final. Also in that half of the draw yet another rising Welsh star Charlotte Carey gained a great victory over Yolanda King but she, too, came to grief against the Champion Owen.

Losing finalist and yesterday’s heroine Lauren Spink outpointed Corrina Whittaker and Abbie Milwain and then in her last four duel with 2nd seed Karina Le Fevre must have worked a miracle to come back from a 2—11, 7-11, score to win the next three sets to meet Naomi in the final. Losing last four competitor Karina Le Fevre made short work of Janay Gibson and Tressa Armitage but came a cropper against Lauren.

Karina soon gained compensation for her earlier defeat in the Women’s Open to bounce back and win the Women’s under 21 event beating her Ormesby club mate Chloe Whyte by 3 games to 1 in the final. Karina was in top form to withstand the determined quarter final challenge from Yolanda King in five close games, followed by another sparking performance to get the better of semi finalist Megan Phillips. Chloe also played brilliantly to reach the final enjoying victories against Emily Standing, then 2nd seed Emma Vickers, then rounded off the day with a last four victory over Sophie Neil.

Fifty players contested the Under 21 Men’s Open which was soon whittled down to the last four which included top seeds Ricardo Walther S1, David McBeath S4, Damien Nicholls S3 and Matt Ware S2. The top half semi final between Ricardo and David was a cracker with David taking the German player the full distance but going down with a great fight just losing narrowly after being 2-1 up in games. The other semi final between Damien Nicholls and Matt Ware was their usual epic encounter with many brilliant rallies, but this time it was Damien’s turn to win with a 3-1 games score. The final turned out to be a damp squid with the Bundesliga player Walther being totally dominant and ran out a comfortable 3-0 winner over Damien to take his second under 21 title after his Hereford win at the back end of last season.
The Veterans crown went to Gerry Campbell from Scotland who defeated Mark Land in the last match. Losing semi finalists Tomasz Rzeszotko and Brian Wright all entertained to make it a vibrant tournament.

Adam Laws won the Restricted event with a straight games win against Hamish Yeung in the final. Losing semi finalists Joe Hurdley and Robert Gavin enjoyed a competitive tournament.
Once again the Tees Sport Liverpool Grand Prix was another resounding success running smoothly and on time. Referee Eileen Allison, Deputy Russell Thornton and Tournament organisers Stan Clarke and Arthur Garnett together with Mr Liverpool himself Don Davies did a magnificent job as did the ever willing band of ETTA umpires together with so many local volunteers. Thank you- we will be back next year!

The next event is the Bribar Medway Grand Prix to be held over the weekend of the 4/5th of September – look forward to seeing you there!
Results from Day 2 at Liverpool.

Men’s Open.
Ryan Jenkins (WAL) beat Gavin Rumgay (SCO) 12-10, 14-12, 11-7.
Women’s Open
Naomi Owen (WAL) beat Lauren Spink (Nk) 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5.
Under 21 Men.
Ricardo Walther (GER) beat Damien Nicholls (Sp) 11-3, 11-6, 11-7.
Under 21 Women.
Karina Le Fevre (Cv) beat Chloe Whyte (Cv) 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7.
Veteran Singles.
Gerry Campbell (SCO) beat Mark Land (Y) 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5.
Restricted Singles.
Adam Laws (Sy) beat Hamish Yeung(Bd) 11-8, 11-6, 11-3.

By Geoff Ware.