Day one of the Tipton Grand Prix was particularly advantageous to players competing for victory in multiple competitions, none more so than Carl Baldry and Keith Weatherby, who both won two events on the day. Mollie Patterson and Raquel São Pedro also came close to achieving the same feat, as they both won and lost a final each.

There were also many players making their first appearances in the 2017-18 series, one being Craig Bryant, who was playing in his first Grand Prix since June 2016.

Men’s Band 1

Bryant announced his return to the circuit with a win, although he was made to work for it as he overcame a couple of stern challenges on his way to the title. Having not been able to make any of the events last season, it was a successful comeback for the former England Man, as he triumphed over Adam Jepson in the final, who will feel unlucky having also finished second best in the band 2 event earlier in the day (below).

It was a difficult start to the afternoon for the top seed, as Yorkshire’s James Hobson got the better of him in group 1, resulting in Bryant just about qualifying in second place above Hampshire player Adam Fuzes. This made Bryant’s route to last round all the more difficult, as he faced second-seed Adam Nutland in the quarter-finals. However, in what could have been a particularly tricky encounter, Bryant came back from losing the first set to comfortably take the next three (8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8) to progress. Scotland’s Niall Cameron was next, and it looked like it wasn’t going to be the Sussex man’s day when he fell 2-1 behind, but Bryant showed composure and determination as he edged the last two games, therefore winning 3-2 (11-8, 8-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9) and leaving just one more hurdle in front of him in the shape of Jepson.

Although the Cambridgeshire player had reached the knockout stage with relative ease by winning his group containing Niall Cameron and Zoltan Hosszu, Jepson’s path to the final was often in more jeopardy than Byrant’s. It took five ends in the quarters to defeat Joel Webb 3-2 (8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5), before coming back from 2-0 down against Olly Tyndall in the semis to triumph 3-2 (7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9) and book his meeting with Bryant.

With both players having fought intensely to reach the final, there was all to play for, and it initially seemed like Jepson had recovered from his gruelling previous two matches to take the first game. But Bryant wasn’t going to give up that easily, as he called upon all of his experience to take control of the next three games, sealing the match 3-1 (8-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-2) and collecting some very hard-earned prize money.

Adam Jepson (L) and Craig Byrant (R)
Men’s Band 1 Results

Women’s Band 1

Emily Bolton stormed to a comprehensive win in the women’s band 1 event, as she dropped just one set throughout the whole of the round-robin competition to finish top of the pack.

The Lancastrian blazed through the field, by winning in straight ends against Yolanda King (11-8, 11-6, 11-7), Jurate Brazaityte (11-8, 11-5, 11-8) and Mollie Patterson (11-3, 11-4, 11-3). Her only dropped game came in a 3-1 (11-2, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5) win against Brazaityte’s fellow Kent player Emma Tovey, in what could still be considered a comprehensive victory.

Patterson’s match against Bolton had effectively been a final, as she had also put in stellar performances against King (12-10, 11-5, 11-8), Brazaityte (11-5, 11-2, 11-7) and Tovey (11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 11-7) before facing the top seed in the last fixture of the band.

Emily Bolton (L) and Mollie Patterson (R)
Women’s Band 1 Results

Men’s Band 2

Cornwall’s Carl Baldry was a deserved winner of the men’s band 2 singles, as he finished first in his group above top-seed Adam Jepson, before getting the better of the Cambridgeshire representative again in the final.

The two finalists qualified from a competitive round-robin, finishing above England youngster Josh Weatherby and Scotland’s Kier Morton. It took both players just seven games each to reach the last stage, as Baldry stormed past Georgios Briskolas (13-11, 11-6, 11-8) and Joshua Dye (11-9, 10-12, 11-4, 11-6), as Jepson left Zoltan Hosszu (11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7) and Finn Morgan-Bayliss (13-11, 11-6, 11-5) in his wake.

Baldry was in control for the majority of the final, and even though Jepson worked hard to claim the third end in deuce, it was not enough as his Cornish opponent shut the door in the third set to win 3-1 (11-4, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9).

Adam Jepson (L) and Carl Baldry (R)
Men’s Band 2 Results

Women’s Band 2

It was a battle of the top seeds as Mollie Patterson overcame Emma Tovey to claim victory in the women’s band 2 event. With the winners at the previous tournaments absent, Bethany Farnworth at Liverpool and Sandra Go at Tipton, there was everything to play for.

Both players qualified comfortably for round one, as Patterson finished above Edyta Schmid, Sophie Barlow and Lauren Evans, with number-two seed Tovey getting ahead of Natalia Ianau as well Lisa Rinnhofer and Paulina Orzechowska, sealing their respective places in the quarter-finals.

Norfolk’s Patterson breezed through to the final, as she comfortably got past Natalia Ianau (14-12, 11-3, 11-9) and Katie Holt (11-6, 11-9, 11-7) in straight ends. Tovey beat Edyta Schmid 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 12-10) and Natalia’s sister Patricia 3-1 (9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-4) to progress into the last round.

Fittingly, the final between the two best players in the event went the full distance. Tovey came out of the blocks to take the first end 11-9, before Patterson regrouped to take the next couple of games 11-3 and 11-5. In another twist, Tovey claimed the fourth set 11-7 to take it to a decider. But the top seed remained calm as she clinched the fifth 11-7 to take the winner’s trophy back to Norfolk.

Emma Tovey (L) and Mollie Patterson (R)
Women’s Band 2 Results

Men’s Band 3

It was another solid performance from Carl Baldry, as he claimed his second event win out of two, completing an impressive double, having defeated band 1 runner-up Adam Jepson earlier in the day.

The fifth seed finished in first position in his round-robin, qualifying alongside Wales’ Cade Short for round one. It was here that the Cornwall player faced his biggest challenge of the competition, as he found himself twice behind to Lancashire’s Pawel Orzechowski. But it was clearly going to be Baldry’s day, as he took the two remaining ends to record a 3-2 (6-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5) victory. From there it was a composed run to the final as he beat Danny Bajwa (11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6), Georgios Briskolas (12-14, 11-3, 11-3, 11-2) and Wojciech Placek (14-12, 11-5, 11-7) on his way.

The man awaiting Baldry in the final was Durham’s Peter Smallcombe, who had come runner-up in group ten, before fighting his way through to the final by overcoming Valerio Bucci (17-15, 11-9, 11-2), Shaun Slater (8-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9), Joseph Goss (3-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-6) and Kyan Chin (11-6, 12-10, 11-9). But he unfortunately came up against a man in superb form, as Baldry duly dispatched his opponent in three games (11-6, 11-8, 17-15) to clinch victory.

Peter Smallcombe (L) and Carl Baldry (R)
Men’s Band 3 Results

Women’s Band 3

Top-seed Patricia Ianau lived up to her billing as she took home the women’s band 3 crown in convincing fashion.

Having won her group containing Edyta Schmid, Charlotte Boston and Lucy Page, there was no stopping the Middlesex player as she ruthlessly won her next two knockout matches, firstly against second seed Katie Holt (11-5, 11-7, 11-7), followed by Lauren Evans (11-6, 11-8, 11-3). In the final was fellow Middlesex player Raquel São Pedro, who had beaten the other Ianau, Natalia, in straight games to reach the final. However, it was not going to be another triumph for the band 4 winner (below), as Patricia recovered from a first end defeat to win 3-1 (9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-3), securing a title in her first Grand Prix of the season.

Raquel São Pedro (L) and Patricia Ianau (R)
Women’s Band 3 Results

Men’s Band 4

Zak Cantor was rewarded for his full attendance in all the Grand Prix’s staged so far this season, as he won the Tipton men’s band 4 event to go top of the overall standings. He faced the favourite Danny Bajwa in the final, but this didn’t faze the Lancastrian, as he stormed to a three-game win (11-7, 11-5, 11-3) to put himself in the driving seat ahead of the next leg of the circuit in Bath.

It had been a relatively uneventful route through the tournament for Cantor, as he finished top of his group above second-placed Pouyan Javanmard, as well as Daniel Kerr and Boguslaw Okonek. The Lancashire man then won each of his knockout-round matches in four games, overcoming Worcestershire players Tom Savary (11-7, 9-11, 11-3, 11-3) and Craig Preece (8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9), before triumphing over Wales’ Cade Short (7-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-5) in the semis.

Scotland junior Bajwa will feel disappointed not to have been victorious in the event, having won his group, and then only having one tricky encounter, coming through a topsy-turvy match against Northamptonshire’s Sam Wilson 3-2 (7-11, 19-17, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8).

Zak Cantor (L) and Danny Bajwa (R)
Men’s Band 4 Results

Women’s Band 4

Middlesex representative Raquel São Pedro won her first Grand Prix entry of the season, after defeating Hannah Burrows in the first final of the day.

Having come second to the same opponent in the group stages of the event, it was a case of déjà vu for Burrows. São Pedro was in commanding form as she qualified above the Lancastrian after winning a close 3-2 (9-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 13-11) battle, as well as defeating Erin Greensmith (11-2, 11-8, 11-5) and Lucy Page (11-6, 11-9, 11-9) in three.

Both group 2 qualifiers had straightforward routes to the last stage, as they came through their respective semi-finals, with São Pedro beating Charlotte Weatherby 3-0 (13-11, 11-5, 11-9), and Burrows also winning in straight ends (11-8, 11-7, 11-4),  preparing a second meeting between the pair.

The outcome once again went in favour of Middlesex’s São Pedro. The second seed controlled the first two games, and despite Burrows raising her level to strike back in the third, she was always trying to play on the limit. A foul serve in the fourth set at 9-9 by Burrows was all São Pedro needed, as she clinched the match point to win 3-1 (11-7, 311-, 7-11, 11-9).

Raquel São Pedro (L) and Hannah Burrows (R)
Women’s Band 4 Results

Men’s Band 5

There was another title for Keith Weatherby, as he added to his men’s band 6 success from earlier in the day (below) by taking home the spoils from band 5.

The final however was not as straightforward as the previous one, as he was taken all the way by Anthony Bates. His opponent from Cheshire took a 2-1 lead by winning 14-12 in the third set, and Weatherby had it all to do in the last couple of games, but was up to the challenge as he coolly handled the business end of each set to win 13-11 and 12-10 and sneak home with two trophies in one day.

Keith Weatherby (L) and Anthony Bates (R)
Men’s Band 5 Results

Men’s Band 6

Keith Weatherby was the victor in the men’s band 6 competition, as he came back from going briefly behind to beat Worcestershire’s Luke Moffat.

The Durham player had to work to get to the final stage, after first qualifying above third seed Suhaib Abdullah to finish first place in his group. From round one, Weatherby played strongly to come through the knockout stage, as he beat Welshman Ben Pearce 3-1 (8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-6) before dispatching Simon Price 3-0 (14-12, 11-4, 11-6). Another 3-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9) win, this time against Mikli Sinanan, was enough to take him to the final.

It was another strong match-play performance by Weatherby against last round opponent Moffat. In response to going behind after the first game, the Durham man stepped up a gear in the next three sets. It paid dividends, particularly in the fourth end when he went up 6-0, and despite Moffat’s timeout paying off for a while, it was still too much of an advantage to recover as Weatherby saw the set out 11-7 to complete a 3-1 (8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7) victory.

Runner-up Moffat had performed well on his journey to the final, having finished runner-up in his group behind Oxfordshire’s Price, before brushing past Anthony Bates (11-7, 11-5, 12-10), Andrew Tarpey (14-12, 11-6, 11-4) and second-seed Ben Savage (11-9, 11-5, 13-11) in straight ends.

Luke Moffat (L) and Keith Weatherby (R)
Men’s Band 6 Results

2017 Tipton Grand Prix Results
Men’s Band 1
Craig Bryant bt Adam Jepson 3-1 (8-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-2)
Women’s Band 1
Emily Bolton bt Mollie Patterson 3-0 (11-3, 11-4, 11-3)
Men’s Band 2
Carl Baldry bt Adam Jepson 3-1 (11-4, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9)
Women’s Band 2
Mollie Patterson bt Emma Tovey 3-2 (9-11, 11-3, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7)
Men’s Band 3
Carl Baldry bt Peter Smallcombe 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 17-15)
Women’s Band 3
Patricia Ianau bt Raquel São Pedro 3-1 (9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-3)
Men’s Band 4
Zak Cantor bt Danny Bajwa 3-0 (11-7, 11-5, 11-3)
Women’s Band 4
Raquel São Pedro bt Hannah Burrows 3-1 (11-7, 311-, 7-11, 11-9)
Men’s Band 5
Keith Weatherby bt Anthony Bates 3-1 (3-11, 11-6, 12-14, 13-11, 12-10)
Men’s Band 6
Keith Weatherby bt Luke Moffat 3-1 (8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7)

Entries are now being taken for the next Grand Prix in Bath. You can enter here.