Amateur Rackets Singles Championship 2016
- T Billings bt A Titchener-Barrett15/6 18/16 15/17 15/7
Both players had played exceptional well to reach the final, a finale which would test the resolve of both competitors. The opening exchanges were typically tentative, with the small advantage by Tom Billings being snuffed out by Alex Titchener-Barrett. However, Billings settled to open a 9-4 lead, six points in one hand. ATB couldn't add to his tally and slowly Billings closed in on the first game, reaching 14-4. ATB rallied but went down 15/6, to give Billings the early advantage.
The second game was equally tight, although Billings again just stayed ahead. At 5-6 ATB, Billing recovered to 9-6, then 10-6. Strong play by ATB yielded five points and an 11-10 lead. Again Billings rallied, and the game reached the inevitable 13-all and Billings called a set to five. Further tight exchanges but now Billings speed beat ATB’s power to win 5-3 (18-16), and an important two game lead.
The third game was just as tight as the second; close early exchanges before Billings established a 9-5 lead. However, ATB fought back strongly to take a narrow 11-10 lead. But Billings seized on a rare mistake as ATB failed to put away a winner, scrambling round turning defence onto attack, closing to 14-11 and match point. ATB refused to give up, playing brave shots to level and take the game into set to three. ATB held the momentum to lead 2-0. Billings saved the game but ATB secured the set 3-1 (17-15), to bring himself back into the game.
Billings was not unnerved and won the early exchanges in the fourth game, brilliantly straightening the ball, to lead 4-1. ATB had not won the previous eight finals by chance and forced his way back into the game to trail 4-5. Billing now pounced, winning five points in the next pair of hands to lead 10-4. ATB could only manage one point in his next serve, to four by Billings, leaving the game at 14-5, and another match point. ATB brilliantly saved this, and another adding a brace of point; but the end was nigh. A relieved Billing stepped up to serve, forced ATB back to win the vital point. Final game 15/7 to Billings.
Both players were magnanimous in their praise for each other after David Norman has presented to Amateur Championship Bowl to a deserving Billings. Once again, thanks were recorded to the Rackets Patrons for their support of the amateur game.
- A Titchener-Barrett bt J Coyne 15/3 15/3 15/5
- T Billings bt A Orchard 15/7 15/2 15/3
Both semi-finals saw routine wins for the two top seeds. Firstly, Alex Titchener-Barrett breezed past James Coyne. Each game started tightly, but not for long as ATB reached his ninth straight Amateur Singles final; he has won the last eight. Then Tom Billings defeated Alaister Orchard in straight games, to set up a rematch of the final in three of the last four years.
Top seed Billings is the man in form, but will find ATB a tough opponent as the latter defends his title on Tuesday evening.
- T Billings bt A Coldicott 15/8 15/0 15/2
- A Orchard bt W Morse 15/14 15/8 3/15 2/15 16/6
Tom Billings eased past Alex Coldicott in three games to reach the semi-final. The first game was perhaps the tightest as Billings established early leads of 3-0 then 9-1. Coldicott fought back until the first game hung at a tantalising 13-8, but it was the determination of Billing which doggedly won the remaining point to take the game, 15/8. A far different second game saw Billings scoring freely, taking a 7-0 lead in the first hand. Both players then served without any progress, before Billings reeled off eight straight point to take the game to love. The third game started quite closely, with Billings eventually opening a 4-2 lead. But a second eight point burst took the game away from Coldicott as he trailed 2-12. The gap was too great and Billings closed out the game in the next hand. 15/8 15/0 15/2
The second quarter-final saw an epic battle between two closely matches opponents. It was Will Morse who dominated the early stages of the first game, always staying ahead of the ageless Alaister Orchard. An initial 6-0 lead became 10-4 and then 13-4. A number of close exchanges followed but Morse was unable to close out the game and slowly, yet surely, Orchard worked his way back in to game, eventually levelling at 13-all. Morse called no set, won back the serve and reached game point, but again couldn't capitalise. Orchard then reached game point and this time was able to close out the game 15/14.
The second game saw Morse again make the early break, but Orchard kept his game tight and constantly scored points when he was in the box, slowly easing ahead at 10-8. Morse fought hard but couldn’t add to his score, which Orchard kept on remorselessly, eventually winning the second game 15/8. The third and fourth games saw a resurgent Morse take the early lead and then ruthlessly close out both games, 15/3 15/2. The scores were perhaps flattering but this was certainly Morse in the ascendency, levelling the match at two games all.
The final game left all to play for and a semi-final beckoned. Three hands apiece came and went and neither player could get off the mark. Orchard broke the ice to lead 2-0, but the points remained difficult to win. It took Morse nine hands to register his first point, although his gallant opponent was only three points ahead. Further superb Rackets from both players saw the score reach 7-6 to Orchard and the game was in the balance. However, now Orchard came into serve and found an almost perfect length; points followed and soon he was at match point, an opportunity he didn’t waste. Final result 15/14 15/8 3/15 2/15 15/6.
- A Titchener-Barrett bt J Giddins 17/14 15/9 15/2
- J Coyne bt A Gourlay 10/15 15/13 15/9 15/9
Thursday evening saw two very different matches. Firstly, Alex Titchener-Barrett took on Jamie Giddins. An exhilarating first game saw the two players very well matched, with Giddins returning too many balls for ATB's liking. It was Giddins who inched ahead at the vital moment to 14-11 and served for the game on three occasions. ATB focussed and kept in the game, eventually recovering to 14-all, and then taking the set to take the all-important first game, 17-14. Giddins rallied well in the second but it was now ATB in the ascendency, making fewer mistakes as he found his touch. Giddins fought hard but it was ATB's game 15/9. ATB's momentum swept him through the last game and into the semi-final, 17/14 15/9 15/2. A good tournament for Giddins who has dispatched brother, Rory, in the previous round.
The last quarter-final saw James Coyne take on fellow Mjölnir, Alastair Gourlay. A battling Gourlay hit some remarkable shots in the first game to stun the watching, and often vociferous, gallery. With Coyne slowing working his way into the match, it was Gourlay who closed in on the game. Coyne saved one game point, but Gourlay was inspired and took the first game 15/10. More of the same in the second game, although Coyne was always just ahead. Reaching 13-9, he seemed certain to level but failing to put away the game. Gourlay surged back to 13-all, and Coyne called no set. Two close points later, it was Coyne who reaped the benefit of his decision, taking the game 15/13 and levelling the match. More of the same in the next two games, but Coyne was now commanding more of the critical points, taking both games to 9 points. Final result saw Coyne triumph 10/15 15/13 15/9 15/9, but a closely fought battle.
- J Coyne bt T Buckley 15/11 15/3 12/15 15/5
- A Orchard bt A Rozier-Pamplin 15/9 15/10 15/3
- A Coldicott bt P Sutton 15/3 15/5 15/8
- W Morse bt S Higson 10/15 15/3 15/2 15/8
- A Titchener-Barrett bt D Wright 15/2 15/4 15/0
- J Giddins bt R Giddins (BC) 15/7 15/11 15/0
- T Billings vs T Stevens 15/3 15/0 15/5
- A Gourlay bt Hutton 15/7 15/11 5/15 15/7
- T Stevens bt N Robertson 15/0 15/3 15/5
- D Wright bt D Dundas 15/3 15/6 15/13
- R Giddins bt R Musgrave 15/7 15/3 15/7
- S Higson bt A Judd 15/5 12/15 6/15 15/1 15/9
- T Buckley bt H Haynes 15/0 15/3 15/4
- A Rozier-Pamplin bt N Stamp 15/15 15/11 13/15 15/4
- A Gourlay bt D Kay-Shuttleworth 15/12 15/4 15/10
- P Sutton bt H Faber 15/8 15/10 6/15 15/7
- J Giddins bt F Clark 15/4 15/10 15/13