Lumbard/Scoones And Ho/Houlden Into The Finals
01/04/19: The first two semi-finals in the Ladies Championships and Kinnaird Cup took place at Eton yesterday with wins in both for the second seeded pairs over the third seeds.
The Ladies Championships semi-final in the morning saw the runners-up for the last two years Ashley Lumbard & Emily Scoones put in a highly impressive and convincing performance, defeating the 2012 champions Dominique & Lia Redmond in straight games in just over an hour. The Redmond sisters had no answer to their opponents' fast, attacking game and struggled right from the start to cut them down, allowing Ashley & Emily the luxury of regular rallies on their serve and frequent points-scoring chances, a large number of which they took. The second semi-final next Saturday sees the champions for the last six years Charlotta Cooley & Karen Hird take on Elana Osen & Marjolaine Briscoe.
The afternoon Kinnaird Cup semi-final attracted a good crowd to watch a highly anticipated first encounter between former finalists George Campbell & Peter Dunbar and Jonny Ho & Riki Houlden. The match got off to a nervy start, with two Campbell cuts flying out of court and both pairs taking a while to settle down. Peter Dunbar was the first to hit his stride with a couple of trademark intercept volleys as the third seeds moved into a 6-2 lead. Jonny & Riki then began to find their rhythm, especially with their cutting, and with George Campbell a little out of sorts, they began to claw back the deficit and then edge ahead 10-9. George & Peter then levelled at 10-10 and the game was set to 15, and Jonny & Riki seized control to go 13-10 and then 14-11 ahead before closing the game out 15-11.
The confidence and momentum gained by Riki & Jonny was immediately apparent at the start of the second game, which saw them race out to an early 5-0 lead, Riki's speed and reflexes and Jonny's accuracy on the volley and from the back of the court beginning to tell. George & Peter got over their poor start, though and began to fight back, threatening to regain parity on a couple of occasions without ever quite managing it, a rare and loud guttural roar from Jonny Ho after a fine back court winner to end a long rally and regain serve at 11-9 up evidence of how crucial a passage of play this was. Riki & Jonny again managed to close the game out efficiently and when they made a move from 3-3 to 7-3 and then 9-4 up in the third, the match was nearly theirs. George & Peter continued to fight hard and make them work for every point, closing to 11-7, but eventually the younger pair clinched the game 12-7 to make their fifth major final and second Kinnaird final in a row. They now wait to see if they will be facing familiar opposition in the shape of defending champions Tom Dunbar & Seb Cooley or if Ed Taylor & Sunil Tailor can spring a surprise in the other semi-final.
Ladies Championships Semi-Final
A.Lumbard & E.Scoones (2) beat D.Redmond & L.Redmond (3) 3-0 (12-4, 12-2, 12-3)
Kinnaird Cup Semi-Final
J.Ho & R.Houlden (2) beat G.Campbell & P.Dunbar (3) 3-0 (15-11, 12-9, 12-7)