2004 Ladies Championships

Dominique Redmond reports:

The day started bright and early with a total entry of thirteen pairs. The event was split into two pools with roughly 6-7 pairs in each with the top four pairs going through.

Throughout the morning there were excellent performances from all the players, resulting in plenty of very close and competitive matches. The group stages of the competition demonstrated the rising level of women's game with a very close game in Pool B between the new Westway pair of Dominique Redmond and Jemma Turner beating Charlotta Cooley and Anita Ganguly who had reached the previous two finals. There was also excellent play with a very close game in Pool A between last seasons winners playing against each other in an epic battle with the stronger pairing of Kerry White and Erica Tadman beating Fiona Barnes and Helen Toop.With time quickly passing by, matches still needed to be played with the eight quarter-final places up for grabs, with the top four pairs qualifying from each pool. With such a high standard it was not obvious as to which pairs would go through. Pool A resulted in Kerry and Erica being in first place, followed by Fiona Barnes and Helen Toop with Teresa Dunbar and Krystina Vargas in third and Nancy Rossi and Juliet Browning in fourth. Pool B resulted in a first place for Charlotta Cooley and Anita Ganguly, closely followed by the experienced pairing of Marianne Rees and Anneke Wells with the Westway and Lancing pairs in third and fourth place.

Quarter-Finals

With all eight pairs ready and waiting the quarter-finals begun. Each and every match was very close despite some of the scores. There was some brilliant play from everyone on top step and many superb backcourt rallies. Erica Tadman & Kerry White beat Ashley Lumbard and Rosie Scott 15-3; Fiona Barnes & Helen Toop beat Dominique Redmond and Jemma Turner 15-14; Teresa Dunbar & Krystyna Vargas beat Anneke Wells and Marianne Rees 15-5; and Charlotta Cooley & Anita Ganguly beat Nancy Rossi and Juliet Browning 15-5;

Semi-finals

The semi-final and final were held at the Westway Sports Centre on the 4th April. Both of these matches proved to be highly competitive. Kerry and Erica defeated Helen Toop and Fiona Barnes - Fiona showing great back court play with Erica playing especially well on top step. The other semi-final between Charlotta Cooley and Anita Ganguly against Krystina Vargas and Teresa Dunbar pushed all players to the limit with a gruelling match to three games. Krystina and Teresa took the first game 12-6. Charlotta and Anita looked rather rattled at this stage, but played with more patience to take the second game 12-7 and to then establish some control on the match to take the third 12-3, with an overall 2-1 win. Anita displayed brilliant backcourt shots which were well balanced by some powerful and accurate volleys from Teresa on top step.

Final

With the final eagerly awaited, the supporters sat in the shade of the specially set up marquee. The battle for the crown to be ladies champions was scheduled to take place after a lunch break. Time for the final soon came round. Kerry and Erica started off really well, but Charlotta and Anita managed to close the gap and sneaked the first game 12-11. The match remained close throughout. Both games going to sudden death and Charlotta and Anita taking both 12-11, with a 2-0 victory. It was a superb match, and the younger pair played brilliantly to prevent Kerry and Erica from winning their third title together (indeed this would have been Kerry's fifth Ladies title in a row!). The day went well with about twenty or so supporters coming to watch. It was a bonus to have the final stages of this event running just before the Kinnaird Semi-Final - there was a good feeling that the women's game has earnt a higher standing in the world of Fives. There are good numbers of ladies playing both at school and as adults, and the standard is now very high indeed at the top end.

Results

Semi-finals:

Charlotta Cooley & Anita Ganguly beat Teresa Dunbar & Krystyna Vargas 6-12, 12-7, 12-3

Erica Tadman & Kerry White beat Fiona Barnes & Helen Toop 12-2, 12-1

Final:

Charlotta Cooley & Anita Ganguly beat Erica Tadman & Kerry White 12-11, 12-11