CLACTON CLOSED CHAMPIONSHIPS 2019 : PREVIEW
Paul Newbould, Planning and Building Design Services, has sponsored the League's Closed Championships for the last 26 years. However, Paul has indicated this will be his last year of sponsorship. His support for over a quarter of a century has been immense and the League would like to place on record its sincere gratitude. Thank you, Paul.
The Clacton and District League’s Closed Championships take place next weekend, Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th April, at the Clacton Coastal Academy Sports Hall. Fifty-nine players will be competing for twelve titles.
In the Mens Singles top seed Andy Warner will be aiming to retain the trophy he took for the first time in dramatic fashion in 2018 when he edged out James Denyer 15-13 in a final-set decider. Denyer, the 2014 champion, will again be his main challenger alongside four-times winner Colin Stallwood and Gary Young, who won his sole Mens Singles title fifteen years ago.
Should any of these falter, Greg Green, Paul Hume and Gary Cattermole are waiting in the wings - or could this be the break-through tournament for talented junior Daniel Young?
Andy Warner and Gary Young had a tight win in the Mens Doubles final over Greg Green and Colin Stallwood last year and these two pairings are seeded one and two this year. Paul Hume links with James Denyer to form a potentially potent challenge but don't rule out the chances of three other pairings - Walton's Gavin Price and Daniel Young, father and son Mel and Ollie Rampton, and the always-reliable Phil Smith and Gary Cattermole.
There's no Gracie Edwards this year in the Ladies Singles so expect the evergreen Sue Welham, champion eight years ago, and Annabelle Stallwood, champion of 2006 and 2007, to be the finalists.
The Ladies Doubles could be one of the more unpredictable events where any one of three pairs could genuinely claim to be title-contenders. So pick any one from Annabelle Stallwood and Kayley Rodriguez, Isabel Barton and Jenny Higgins, or Sue Welham and Sharon Gowlett.
Three-time winners Colin and Annabelle Stallwood have been seeded one in the Mixed Doubles, with Gary Cattermole and Sue Welham as number two. Andy Warner, winner last year with Gracie Edwards, teams up this time with fifteen-year old Harley Wood, whilst Kevin and Sharon Gowlett, and the Paul Hume/Caroline Page pairing could spring a surprise.
There will be a new name on the Junior Singles trophy which has attracted a low, but top-quality, entry that includes Daniel Young, Ollie Rampton, Ethan Lloyd and Liam Harris.
Sadly, just two pairs have entered the Junior Doubles but, once again, they're quality pairs, with Lloyd and Rampton due to face Young and Harris in a straight play-off for the title.
2017 and 2108 winner Gary Young will be aiming for a third consecutive title in the Veterans Singles title. Without Colin Stallwood in the field, Gary Cattermole, Kevin Gowlett, Peter Burrows and Gavin Price will provide the main challenge.
Winner Gavin Price and runner-up Phil Smith contested the Super-Veterans Singles final last year and they are seeded to do the same in 2019, with Colin Dearman and Martin Edwards their predicted semi-final opponents.
The Division Two Singles sees John Owen installed as the top seed although fourteen-year old Liam Harris, seeded two, will be aiming to prove the Tournament Committee wrong. John Harvey and Mark Ratcliffe are the best of the rest.
Tony Edmonds has been in fine form this season and he's the favourite in a Division Three Singles event which has produced a disappointing seven entries. Kayley Rodriguez is seeded two, ahead of Harley Wood and Sharon Gowlett.
There's plenty of talent in the Restricted Singles, an event in which there are no seedings. In the top half of the draw, one of Colin Dearman, Martin Edwards or Adam Cuthbert should make it to the final whilst, in the bottom half, John Hatley or Mel Rampton look the likeliest finalists.
Overall, 237 matches are scheduled to be played over the two days. Play starts at 9.00 am on both Saturday and Sunday. The finals of the seven minor events will take place from about 3.30 pm onwards on Saturday, with the finals of the five major events starting at the same time on Sunday.
Admission to the Championships is free and spectators are welcome. Light refreshments will be available. There will also be a raffle and any donations of prizes would be welcome.
Details of check-in times have been sent to all competitors. Any player who has not received this information should contact Peter White on 01255 425292.