Victorien le Guen FRA (winner of men’s open)

‘Victorien Le Guen’ S3 who plays for the Saint Maur club in Paris in the Pro “B” league proved a worthy Men’s Open Champion at the Bribar London Open on Sunday 15th of May and had too much power against the skilful artistry of the German ‘Ricardo Walther’ coming through to take the title by 3 games to 2 in a final match full of superb top notch play that had it all. Victorien ranked only 58 in France in Senior Men had that extra speed agility and thrust when he needed it most at the vital points to take the edge over the 14th ranked German Senior who is the number 1 player for Julich in Bundesliga 2 which just goes to prove the very high standard that exists in France.

In the first end, the German ruled like a dictator with his ability to change the return of service with immense spin.  As he started to understand how to deal with his opponents presence, the Frenchman resisted, by creating the opportunity to powerfully attack Walther’s backhand and middle part of his body due to his lightning speed around the table, this giving the French player a 2 to 1 game lead. Ricardo had to give everything he possessed in his arsenal of shots in the fourth set to live with the sheer pressure he was under, with some amazing loop to loop rallies and some explosive forehand counters as he managed to pull back to level it up at 2 games apiece.  At this stage it could be anyone’s title however the Frenchman just had too much “je ne sais quoi” in the fifth end to halt the German invasion on the London Open title and La France victory was secured in front of a packed and spellbound neutral audience. C’est magnifique!

The last four players standing were Polish S1, German S5, French S3 and Welsh S2 after some amazing k/o rounds that as usual held several surprises. Igor Morais the diminutive destroyer was causing a huge upset in the top half of the draw by ousting 7th seed Matt Ware with a 3-2 score and this sent shockwaves through the hall. Igor played so supremely well with his outstanding blocking skills that Ware could not continually penetrate. In the next round Igor almost took another huge scalp by taking Alim Hirji to deuce in the fifth and had his chances holding match points but could just not convert them. Alim was then disposed of in straight games by top seed Artur Daniel from Poland (who had just beaten Richard Andrews 3-1) to make his last four place secure. Other action in the top half of the draw involved Gavin Rumgay who had eased past Neil Charles to set up a quarter final confrontation with Ricardo Walther with the German having to pull out all his master strokes to take a fifth end result over the Scot, Rumgay.

Results were coming in thick and fast in the lower half with Le Guen making his way to the last four with a workmanlike 5 game win against Paul McCreery followed up with the Frenchman’s next result against a spirited David McBeath, (David had earlier enjoyed a great 3-1 win against Damien Nicholls). Another match was in progress of the highest quality on an adjacent table with Ryan Jenkins S2 pulling out all his Welsh wizardry to come back from 0-2 down in games to terminate the strong challenge from Jekwon Choi, a guest from Korea and staying at the Filton Academy. Ryan raised the bar yet again with his ultra consistent play to just nick a 5 game top quality match 11-9 over a highly vocal Chris Doran S5.

So down to the semi-finals. Ryan Jenkins the last remaining Brit could not find that extra sparkle he has shown so many times in Grand Prix’s this year to halt the Frenchman Le Guen losing 3-1, whilst in the other semi Ricardo Walther proved just too strong for the top seed Artur Daniel from Poland with a similar score to make the final with Le Guen.

Egle Adomelyte enjoyed yet another Women’s Open title with a 3-1 games final win against Charlotte Carey. The eighteen player event was soon whittled down to the last four with Egle facing Lauren Spink in the top half and Karina Le Fevre to face Charlotte Carey in the lower half of the draw.

A match worthy of any final proceeded with Egle coming back from a 1-2 deficit in games to prove just the stronger against Lauren whilst another super quality match ensued on the next table with Charlotte Carey reaching the final with a sparkling display against Karina winning 3-1.

Charlotte was quickly showing the form she displayed in the earlier match with Karina by taking a 1-0 game start in the final. However her bubble was soon burst when the highly experienced Egle Adomelyte took the next three games fairly comfortably to win another Grand Prix title and it looks as though it will be a very close call to decide the Women’s overall Grand Prix points champion at the end of the season between Egle and Lauren Spink with the bonus of £600 to the winner!

Next to finish saw the eleven competitor Women’s under 21 event reach the latter stages going as per seeding with Karina Le Fevre S1 making the final courtesy of a last four result over Jas Ould and Charlotte Carey S2 by also taking a comfortable semi final win over Chloe Thomas.

Karina made no mistake in the final gaining her revenge on an earlier defeat by Charlotte in the Women’s Open to run out a 3-1 Under 21 Women’s title winner over her younger Welsh opponent.

The four players to reach the semi final stage of the Under 21 Men’s event were Igor Morais (who had a great win against Emran Hussein) Alim Hirji (who had a titanic battle with Lewis Gray) Damien Nicholls (displacing top Irish player Paul McCreery) and number 1 seed Ricardo Walther who had dropped just the one game to both Danny Lawrence and quarter finalist Tom Maynard.

Alim this time made short work of Igor Morais to make the final whilst Ricardo played an exhibition style match with Damien coming through also in three close crowd pleasing games. The German soon asserted in the final exhibiting his sheer class with another masterful performance to take the title over a hard working and always competitive Alim Hirji by a 3-0 games result.

Zoltan Hosszu won the restricted singles competition 3-0 in the final match with Chris Main, whilst Brian Wright had a 5 game marathon final win against Tomasz Rzeszotko to capture the Veteran’s singles title.

Alan Cherry from Buckinghamshire was voted the Bribar Player of the tournament and was presented with a framed certificate together with Bribar vouchers to the value of £50.

The next in the series of main Grand Prix events is to be held at the Guildford Spectrum Parkway over the weekend of the 11th/12th of June with a Grand Prix satellite event scheduled for the weekend before at Burgess Hill in Sussex on the 4th/5th of June. We look forward to welcoming you there.

Many thanks are extended to referee Mick Strode and his team of officials and blue coats who worked tirelessly keeping the matches to time on the 26 playing tables.

Photos available to view from Alan Man at the link below.

Results from Day 2 at London as follows;

Men’s Open.

Victorien Le Guen (FRA) beat Ricardo Walther (GER) 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 11-6.

Women’s Open.

Egle Adomelyte (Mi) beat Charlotte Carey (WAL) 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4.

Under 21 Men.

Ricardo Walther (GER) beat Alim Hirji (Mi) 12-10, 11-6, 12-10.

Under 21 Women.

Karina Le Fevre (Cv) beat Charlotte Carey (WAL) 12-10, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9.

Restricted Singles.

Zoltan Hosszu (Sy) beat Chris Main (SCO) 11-8, 11-6., 11-5

Veteran Singles.

Brian Wright (Sy) beat Tomasz Rzesztokto (Mi) 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7.

By Geoff Ware.