2009 Ladies Championships

Dominique Redmond reports:

The Ladies Championship, like last year, took place on the Sunday of the Kinnaird weekend, so that the ladies could enjoy the benefits of a marquee and the snacks and refreshments.

This year saw the highest entry in the tournament's history with 23 pairs, including many entries from the Cambridge University Ladies Fives club along with schools such as Highgate, Emanuel, St Bartholomews, Lancing and St Olave's, as well as the usual crowd. The high entry allowed the tournament to have a straight knock-out format with plates, and then more plates.

The main stages were played at Eton College and run smoothly by Mark Williams, who did an excellent job juggling various tournaments all at the same time. All matches were played best of three games and all pairs that were knocked out in the first round went into the plate. There was very impressive play from several pairs, especially Cambridge, whose top pair Annabel Griffiths and Karen Hird reached the quarter finals with their impressive volleying and back step play. Highgate's top pair of Constance Mantle and Jessie Varma and Lancing's Lucy Bell and Scarlett Maguire both reached the quarter-finals with impressive overall play but could not beat the experienced seeded pairs of Charlotta Cooley and Marianne Rees, who beat the Highgate pair in straight sets, and Ashley Lumbard and Hannah Cutmore-Scott, who beat the Lancing girls in three close games.

The semi-finals were played on the same day with all seeded pairs making it through. Lia Redmond and Fiona Barnes were up against Charlotta Cooley and Marianne Rees. This was not a straightforward win for Charlotta and Marianne; the rallies were all closely contested and Lia and Fiona actually took the third game 12-7. In the fourth game it was all level but the experience of Charlotta and Marianne allowed them to win the right rallies exactly when they needed to and won them the match 3-1. The other semi-final was a different story as defending champions Dominique Redmond and Kerry White took on a first time pairing of Ashley Lumbard and last year's Schools' National winner Hannah Cuttmore-Scott. Dominique and Kerry got off to a flying start by only dropping one point in the first game and were never really under threat after that, although there were some great rallies and points played.

The final was played at Eton on the morning of the Mixed Championship. The first game was extremely close with Charlotta and Marianne always one ahead. Dom and Kerry caught up at seven apiece, managed to break away to 9-7 and from then on the points kept coming and they took the game 12-7. The following games were a different tale in terms of the score, as the defending champions stepped up a gear and Charlotta and Marianne were unable to keep up. In the second game Dom and Kerry went 8-0 up and took it 12-2. The third game was pretty much the same, with some very good rally play from both pairs and some great top step play from Charlotta and attacking play from Marianne. However, Dom and Kerry were again too strong and the third and final game also went their way, again 12-2.

This was a great final with impressive play from all four players. It was Dom and Kerry's fifth consecutive win and Kerry's tenth win in total. This is an amazing achievement and is closing in on the record established by Karen Hoskins, who won this title eleven years in a row.

Well done to all ladies that took part in this year's event and many thanks to Mark Williams and Howard Wiseman for their organisational contributions. I hope to see all of you next year.

Semi-Finals:

D Redmond & K White (1) beat A Lumbard & H Cutmore-Scott (4)

12-1, 12-0, 12-3

C Cooley & M Rees (3) beat L Redmond & F Barnes (2)

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

Final:

D Redmond & K White beat C Cooley & M Rees

12-7, 12-2, 12-2