2007 Ladies Championships

Howard Wiseman reports:

The event took place on a not so sunny morning at Eton with a healthy entry of fourteen pairs taking part. A few minutes after the start time of the tournament we were one pair and one player down, but fortunately one of the spectators stepped in and made up the thirteenth pair.

Pools

The thirteen pairs were divided into two pools of six and seven respectively with every pair playing each other one game up to twelve with no setting, the top four from each pool going through to the quarter-finals. At this very early stage of the tournament there were some great matches and rallies taking place across the courts, one of the most notable was current champions Dominique Redmond and Kerrie White taking on Lia Redmond and Fiona Barnes. The game reached a tense sudden death 11-11 score line with both sides going foot a number of times before an unlucky ledge cut allowed the champs to win through 12-11.

Quarter-finals

The quarter-finals saw the top seeded pairs all going through in the expected order; again the play was limited to one game but up to fifteen points. A special mention must go to the pair of Sian Evans and Sophie Muller, Sophie who was the spectator who had stepped in to fill the missing player, and having never played the game before took to it like a fish to water allowing them to get through to the quarter-final round. However due to injury Sophie had to pull out and so their opponents Fiona and Lia had a bye to the semis.

Semi-finals

The semi-finals were of an extremely high standard with games being played to a best of three format. Dominique Redmond and Kerry White had to take on the Old Olavian pairing of Kelly Johnson and Helen Toop. In the first game the Olave's pair had trouble getting into the match until the very end, but by then Kerry and Dom had a too commanding lead. The second game kicked off with both pairs looking equally as strong but despite some fantastic top step play by Kelly, Dominique and Kerry took the second game for a 2-0 win.

The other semi-final saw Charlotta Cooley and Marianne Rees playing against Fiona Barnes and Leia Redmond. Again the standard of the game was extremely high and the pairs equally matched, but Charlotta and Marianne pulled through to take the first game. With the second game about to start many of the spectators gathered around hoping to see another high class finish but unfortunately Leia, who had been suffering from illness over the weekend, was unable to continue at the high level of the first game and Charlotta and Marianne showed no mercy in taking the second and final game.

Plate Competition

Five pairs who had not gone through in the pool stages took part in the plate competition. Each pair played each other in a single game up to twelve with no setting. The Old Olavians pair of Emma Wells and Suzanne Danniells looked to be the strongest pair, but unfortunately after two games they had to pull out due to injury. The games were all very close in their scores and after the dust had settled it was the Olave's School pair of Izzi Boanas-Evans and Olivia Midha who took the Plate.

All in all it was a wonderful day of fives with everyone playing a great number of games. Each year it seems that the number of ladies playing fives increases and the competition itself is played to a higher standard. I am sure that next year this trend will continue so the men had better watch out!

Final

The Ladies Final was played at Westway on the morning of the Kinnaird Final - making superb dual use of the shelter, seating and hospitality that had been laid on by Westway.A flying start was just reward for Charlotta Cooley and Marianne Rees who sustained a relentless attack on the defending Champions. Dominique and Kerry were a little rattled and were not allowed to play with their full confidence. The first game was very close towards the end, but Marianne and Charlotta held on to close out in their favour. The quality of the set-piece was superb from all four players - the high percentage of cut returns rewarded the spectators with a flowing match full of long and exciting rallies. Charlotta and Marianne's evident eagerness to win was matched by their speed around court and accuracy of their volleys.

Ultimately, though, Dominique and Kerry appeared to have settled down by the start of the second game and early nerves had disappeared. They now both seemed able to consistantly absorb the attack from their opponents, forcing errors and awaiting the opportunity to seize the advantage and take control of the points. The fourth game started very much in Marianne and Charlotta's favour, but Kerry and Dominique were just too self-assured and consistant to let their opponents build on their early lead. The game was soon level on points and the defending champions closed out to record a 3-1 victory.

This is Kerry White's eighth Ladies title in nine years - her second hat-trick! Dominique also records a hat-trick with this, her third successive win. Charlotta is still the youngest player to have ever won the Ladies Nationals - she and others will no doubt be back soon to win it again!

Results

Quarter-finals (one game to 15):

Dominique Redmond & Kerry White beat Lucy Taylor & Sophie Hazell 15-3

Kelly Johnson & Helen Toop beat Ashley Lumbard & Rosie Scott 15-9

Fiona Barnes & Lia Redmond beat Sian Evans & Sophie Muller Bye*

Charlotta Cooley & Marianne Rees beat Emma Fletcher & Annabel Griffiths 15-2

*Sophie dropped out through injury

Semi-finals (best of 3):

Dominique Redmond & Kerry White beat Kelly Johnson & Helen Toop 12-3, 12-6

Charlotta Cooley & Marianne Rees beat Fiona Barnes & Lia Redmond 12-6, 12-1

Final:

Dom Redmond & Kerry White beat Charlotta Cooley & Marianne Rees 11-14, 12-4, 12-5, 12-6

Plate Competition

Won by Izzi Boanas-Evans & Olivia Midha (St. Olaves) who won most games in a pool