The 8th NatWest Jersey Grand Prix began on Good Friday (April 18th) with the traditional team events kicking off the three-day event at the Geoff Reed Centre, Jersey.
Two-man teams contested Men’s, Women’s, Veterans’ and Junior competitions over the best of five encounters with the format of two singles followed by a doubles match and the reverse singles fixtures.
The host country didn’t have to wait long for local success as Jersey’s Jack Mills belatedly celebrated his 18th birthday by partnering Kent’s Danny Lawrence to win the Junior title with Jersey’s Tyler Gosselin and Jordan Wykes finishing as runners-up. Mills and Lawrence recorded a decisive 3-1 head-to-head win when the pair met en route to securing success in the round-robin contest.
The Veterans’ team event also had local interest but Eugene Ellis and Bobby Vincent fell in the semi-finals to Dorset’s Sanja Clements and Derbyshire’s Jane Vickers 3-1. In the bottom half of the draw England’s dynamic duo of Sue Collier and Sandra Rider had a battle royale against John Magnall from the Isle of Man and Geoff Ware from Dorset.
In the end it was the ladies who defended their 2013 Jersey title with a tight 3-2 victory. Geoff Ware, ranked 426th, consoled himself with the fact that he had defeated the England Ladies Veterans No 1 and 2 (Collier and Clements) en route to the second placed finish.
In the Men’s team event Junior Champion Danny Lawrence secured his second title from Jersey after partnering Matt Ware to victory in a comprehensive final victory over Damien Nicholls and Craig Gascoyne.
The competition again began with local success after Jersey’s Eugene Ellis and Jordan Wykes made the semi-finals following victories over Mick Strode and Harvey Webb and then a shock win over David Arrowsmith and Owe Karlsson with Wykes picking up two maximum wins to secure a crack at the top seeds in the last four.
However, Lawrence and Ware’s combined fire power was too much for the local duo as they cruised to the final with a 3-0 win consisting of two straight games singles victories and a hard-fought doubles triumph having recovered from 2-1 down.
In the other half of the draw Welsh powerhouse Ryan Owen and 2012 Paralympian David Wetherill faced Jersey’s Craig Gascoyne and former NatWest Open Champion Damien Nicholls from Shropshire in the other semi-final.
Owen started brilliantly for his team by seeing off Nicholls 11-8 in the fifth with some sublime blocked winners. However, Gascoyne steadied the ship, beating Wetherill in the singles and then combining well in the doubles for an important 3-0 win.
Gascoyne’s second victory, this time 3-0 against Owen, sealed his team’s berth in the final where they met the top seeds Lawrence and Ware.
The favourites justified their tag as they raced into a 2-0 lead. Lawrence first defeating Nicholls before Ware, recently returned from surgery, put them further ahead with victory over Gascoyne.
In the doubles Gascoyne and Nicholls used their greater experience as a duo to establish a 2-0 lead. But Lawrence and Ware were not to be denied the title and stormed back to reach parity and then put the after burners on to convert the decider to rapturous applause from the enthralled audience inside the Geoff Reed Centre.
Read the report from Sunday here
Read the report from Saturday’s bands here