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Westway Hosts Kinnaird And Ladies Semis

25/03/24: It was Kinnaird and Ladies Championships in association with Advanta Wealth semi-final day at Westway yesterday.

Karen Hird & Charlotta Cooley had already booked their place in the Ladies final and they will be joined there by perennial rivals Ashley Lumbard & Emily Scoones, who had a routine win against Rachel Wood & Freya Butler. With Rachel only just back from maternity leave, she & Freya had done well to make the last four, but they were no match on the day for Ashley & Emily, who won 12-4, 12-0, 12-0. There were some excellent rallies, but the second seeds were more consistent and generally found the winner and they also dominated the set piece, allowing them to play the match almost entirely on their terms.

K.Hird & C.Cooley beat K.Oswald & E.Graham 3-0 (12-0, 12-7, 12-2)

A.Lumbard & E.Scoones beat R.Wood & F.Butler 3-0 (12-4, 12-0, 12-0)

The Ladies Final will take place at Stowe on Saturday April 6th at 2:30pm.


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The second Kinnaird semi is scheduled for Thursday 4th April at Westway and Seb Cooley & Tom Dunbar will be taking on Ed Taylor & Noah Caplin for a place in the final against Riki Houlden & Hugo Young, who came through an extremely tough three and a half hour four game marathon against James Toop & Matt Wiseman.

It may be four years since their last appearance in the final and fourteen years since the last of their three Kinnaird wins together, but Matt & James are still a formidable pair and tough opponents to get past. Riki & Hugo have had a brilliant season, winning the London and Northern tournaments and leading the Old Westminsters to the Alan Barber Cup and the brink of winning the league, but they were under pressure right from the start as the Olavian pair made the running on the scoreboard for most of the first game (a pattern that would be repeated as the match went on), getting to 10-8 before the Westminster pair found a well-timed burst of scoring to win 13-10 and go 1-0 up.

Matt & James returned for the start of the second game in determined fashion and took control right from the start, establishing an 8-1 lead and then moving away a second time from 8-4 ahead to win the game 12-4 and level the match. The third game was close again, with no pair or individual player able to impose themselves and dominate proceedings. Again, it was Matt & James making the running on the scoreboard for most of the game, getting themselves 7-4 and 10-8 ahead before the match was again set at 10-10, this time going all the way to 15. This time, it was Riki & Hugo who got their noses in front and never went behind, despite being pegged back to 13-13 at one point, eventually taking the game 15-13 to retake the lead.

The Olavians weren't going anywhere, though, and once again Matt & James got in front in the middle part of the fourth game, continuing to cut and return well and pick their volleys to the buttress and to their bricks with precision, Again they got themselves ahead, 7-4 and then 9-7, but Riki & Hugo kept plugging away, retrieving superbly and doing enough on cut returns to manufacture scoring chances of their own. Eventually, in similar fashion to games one and three, the Westminster pair were the ones able to find the killer touch when the finishing line was in sight, moving from 7-9 down to 11-9 up and then converting at the second opportunity to close the game out 12-10 and the match 3-1.

This was an incredibly close match; one of those with the statistical oddity of the losing pair winning one more point overall and reaching double figures in all four games. Ultimately, though, it was Riki & Hugo who were able to stay in the game and then take their chances when it really mattered, closing out all three games that they won in impressive style with their opponents breathing down their necks.

They move on to the final on April 7th and we wait to see who their opponents will be. Our thanks go to Westway for hosting the semi-finals.


R.Houlden & H.Young beat J.Toop & M.Wiseman 3-1 (13-10, 4-12, 15-13, 12-10)

S.Cooley & T.Dunbar v E.Taylor & N.Caplin at Westway 04/04/24 at 6:30pm.


The Kinnaird Final will take place at Berkhamsted on Sunday April 7th at 2:30pm.


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