Number Nine For Hird & Cooley
12/07/21: Top seeds and defending champions Karen Hird & Charlotta Cooley cruised to a comfortable win in the final of the Ladies Championships in association with Advanta Wealth at Eton on Saturday.
K.Hird & C.Cooley beat E.Scoones & R.Wood 3-0 (12-2, 12-4, 12-2)
After the drama and tension of last weekend's semi-final, the final of this year's competition followed a rather more predictable path as Karen Hird & Charlotta Cooley showed their class in a convincing win over challengers Emily Scoones & Rachel Wood, in the process recording a ninth successive success in the competition.
Their closest rivals in recent years have been Emily Scoones & Ashley Lumbard, but with Ashley absent this year on maternity leave, Rachel Wood stepped up to partner Emily. Reaching the final less than four years after taking the game up is a hugely impressive achievement from Rachel and the last few weeks in particular have seen her on a steep learning curve and making huge strides. Their semi-final win over Dom Redmond & Elana Osen (ankle injury to Elana notwithstanding) was a terrific achievement; taking on Karen & Charlotta in the final was a real step up for Rachel and one that unsurprisingly proved to be too much at this stage of her career. Emily too, her preparation hampered by a long traffic delay getting to Eton, was unable to produce her best form and make any real impression on the champions.
The main reason for that was the continued excellence on display from Karen & Charlotta, who were head and shoulders above all of the other pair's in this year's tournament, their all round game simply on a different level to all of their opponents this year. Indeed, the four points conceded in the second game of the final were the most they gave away in a single game in the whole tournament and they controlled the final from start to finish.
The women's game is full of talented and promising young players at the moment. The big question over the next few years is whether any of them can follow Karen & Charlotta's example in testing themselves regularly against tough opposition in league fixtures and open tournaments in order to try and bring their game up to the necessary level to challenge for the title. In the meantime, we can also look forward next year to Ashley's potential return, Emily's continued improvement, Rachel looking to further establish herself at the top end of the game and Dom & Elana coming back with renewed determination to see if anyone can stop Karen & Charlotta from making it ten in a row in 2022.
Thanks go to Advanta Wealth for their continued sponsorship, to Eton for hosting the tournament, to Mandie Barnes for her organisational work, Chris Lumbard for his work on the recording/livestreaming and to all those who played in this year's tournament