2008 Ladies Championships
Dominique Redmond reports:
This years Ladies event was run on the second day of the Kinnaird, in the afternoon and early evening.
The timing worked really well, combining and overlapping the two events ensured that there was a good, busy atmosphere throughout the day, both events benefiting from the marquee and catering that had been laid on. There was an unusually low turnout to this year's event due to the date being mothers' day (how can we blame them) and many students at various universities could not make the trip during term-time. However, the usual strong established players were present, and there was also a large first time entry for Oakham School as well as the top St Olave's School players.
The pairs were split into two groups of five, each pair playing every other in their pool in a one-game battle. As the pools came to a close the top two pairs would go through to the semi-finals.
Pool A Qualifiers
1st Dominique Redmond & Kerry White
2nd Ashley Lumbard & Jess Lumbard
Pool B Qualifiers
1st Lia Redmond & Fiona Barnes
2nd Charlotta Cooley & Marianne Rees
The defending champions took on last years runners-up in an unexpectedly early encounter. Just like last year's final, Charlotta and Marianne took the first game off the defending champions with their desire to win shining through, pushing them to get every ball and cut back. Both teams played the best fives that they could and Marianne and Charlotta narrowly took the first game 12-10. The second game went the Champions way, with Dominique's superb cutting and Kerry's amazing pin pointing to the back bricks helping to level the match, taking the second game 12-7. Having won the second game, Kerry and Dominique gained in confidence and were never really in too much danger. It is amazing how well Marrianne Rees plays each year, with so little practice in-between!! Charlotta seemed back to her best form (not seen perhaps for a couple of years!) and it was no surprise to see her win the Mixed at the end of the season.
The other semi-final saw the third and fourth seeds battle it out for a place in the final. Lia and Fiona, the more experienced pair, won the match with ease over the less experienced Lumbard sisters.
The final took place at Eton on the morning of the Mixed Championships. All players were ready for battle - especially the Redmond sisters: one defending the title and the other searching for it! This was Lia Redmond's first final and she had become one of the youngest players ever to be in the final of the ladies competition at the age of 16. The champions leapt to a flying start, going 6-0 up then moving further ahead to take the first game 12-3.
Lia and Fiona responded well to Howard Wiseman�s end-of set pep-talk and stormed to a 5-0 lead which took the champions a while to recover from. The champions eventually drew level then broke away with a sudden burst of returning every cut and closing out all rallies - Fiona and Lia had lost grip of a very promising situation. The third game was pretty even. There was brilliant play by everyone and the match was getting gaining real momentum and a more consistent quality of play. There was a 9-9 deadlock which ended suddenly Dom & Kerry clinching the game and the title again.
This is Kerry's ninth win out of 10 finals which is an unbelievable achievement. Kerry is also the youngest lady to have won this event at the age of 16. Charlotta Cooley and Anita Ganguly were close to levelling this record when they won the event aged 17 whilst still at school.
I would like to thank all players that took part in this event - especially the finalists who played exceptional Fives. I would also like to thank Mark Williams for running the pool stages of the event and Howard Wiseman for caretaking the final. I hope to see all ladies of all standards at next year's event.
D Redmond & K White beat C Cooley & M Rees 6-12, 12-10, 12-6, 12-5
L Redmond & F Barnes beat A Lumbard & J Lumbard 12-4, 12-3, 12-4
D Redmond & K White beat L Redmond & F Barnes 12-3, 12-6, 12-9
S Maguire & C Allingham beat I Evans & O Midha 12-4, 12-8