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Ladies Championships: Unstoppable Hird & Cooley Rack Up Title Number 12

08/04/24: Karen Hird & Charlotta Cooley won their twelfth successive Ladies Championship in association with Advanta Wealth title at Berkhamsted yesterday with a dominant 3-0 win over Ashley Lumbard & Emily Scoones.

K.Hird & C.Cooley (1) beat A.Lumbard & E.Scoones (2) 3-0 (12-1, 12-2, 12-4)


Last year's Ladies final was the first to be held at Stowe and was a great success; sadly this year's attempt to repeat the experience floundered on Saturday afternoon due to some recently replaced light switches and a lack of a key, despite heroic efforts from the Stowe security team to get hold of someone who might have the first idea where to find one.

Thankfully, the players were all available to reconvene at Berkhamsted the following day, presenting the large assembled crowd with an extra bonus on top of the Kinnaird final they had come to watch.

Only a maternity leave break has prevented every final since 2017 being between the two pairs who once again made it through to Sunday's showpiece. Ashley & Emily have come close to threatening Karen & Charlotta's hold on the title on several occasions during their run of victories, winning games in several of their matches, including last year's tight four game battle. Despite Emily's early season being disrupted by illness, their recent form suggested that they might again be capable of at least running the champions close, but right from the off yesterday it was clear that this was not going to be the case. Karen & Charlotta got off to a great start, returning a high percentage of cuts, controlling the majority of rallies and finding winners to both back and front court almost at will. The first game went to the champions in no time at all, the second wasn't far behind and although Ashley & Emily started getting a little bit more of a toehold in the rallies in the third game, the outcome was never in doubt as Karen & Charlotta continued to dominate, their ability to return cuts preventing Ashley & Emily from ever really looking like being able to mount a comeback.

This was a twelfth successive win for Karen & Charlotta as a pair, and Charlotta's thirteenth win in total, taking her past Kerry White as the most successful player in the history of the tournament; indeed she has now played in over half of the finals in the 41 year history of the competition. Ashley & Emily will certainly be back to challenge again next year, knowing that at their best they are serious contenders to break the champions' winning sequence. The prospect of any other pairs coming through to put themselves in the mix seems fairly remote at the moment, but hopefully we will see some other pairs stepping up over the next few seasons and trying to emulate or even better the current top players. In the meantime, these four - and Karen & Charlotta in particular - continue to set incredibly high standards and it is a pleasure to watch them play.

Our thanks go to Mandie Barnes for organising the competition, to Advanta Wealth for their continued sponsorship and to Berkhamsted for hosting the final.


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