2006 Ladies Championships

Howard Wiseman reports:

The preliminary rounds were well attended, and it was great to see players making the effort to travel from as far as Norwich, Shrewsbury, Ipswich and Brighton to support the event.

At the end of the preliminary day, four pairs remained to meet again for a day of finals.

A bright sunny day on 12th March, at Eton, was a fantastic back-drop to the strongest semi-final line up that there has been in this event. Six of the eight players had already won the championship in the past - five of them recently, with the addition this year of the eleven-times winning champion, Karen Hoskins (Karen Runnacles as it appears on the Trophy!).

Despite heavy snow almost preventing Fionas Barnes from escaping Shrewsbury, all players did arrive, and both matches, played as best of five games got under way. The Eton courts were full of activity from the Williams Cup and the Individual Challenge, so the Ladies played their matches with plenty of spectators to watch and applaud.

The standard was just terrific!! Marianne Rees and Fiona Barnes played excellently against the defending Champions, Dominique Redmond and Kerry White. Having lost the first two games 7-12, 5-12, Marianne and Fiona played brilliantly to bite back with a 12-2 win in the third game. Dom and Kerry then closed out 12-8 in the fourth and final game.

Karen Hoskins and Teresa Dunbar were in full control from the beginning of their match against recent champions Charlotta Cooley and Anita Ganguly. Their excellent set-piece never alllowed the younger pair to find any rhythm or confidence until it was too late. Karen's superb attack on the top step and Teresas complete reliability on the back step was too much. Karen and Teresa won 12-3,12-4,12-4.

The final was one of those matches which no one could predict how it would go. Karen's break from the game in recent years meant that she had not played against Dom and Kerry before in this context. The match was a very close and exciting contest. All four players appeared to be on top form and the rallies were often breathtakingly endless. Rallies always had to be won - there were very few unforced errors!

Dominique's superb ability to defend the buttress, Karen's speed and fantastic volleying, Teresa's over-head shots from back-court and Kerry's pin-point accuracy with placement shots to the hole and back left corner were all highlights that helped create a superb match. At the end of the day, the defending Champions pulled through to win in four games. Kerry recorded her Seventh win for this title, and Dominique, her second.

Semi-finals:

D Redmond & K White beat F Barnes & M Rees

12-7, 12-5, 2-12, 12-8

K Hoskins & T Dunbar beat C Cooley & A Ganguly

12-3, 12-4, 12-4

Final:

D Redmond & K White beat K Hoskins & T Dunbar

12-7, 6-12, 12-7, 12-9