Free Wheeler to maiden Bribar Medway GP title

Russell Moore

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Men’s Band 1
Christopher Wheeler impressed en route to his maiden Men’s Band 1 title at the Bribar Medway Grand Prix with a fine straight games victory over Colin Dalgleish in an all-Scottish affair.

Wheeler initially had to battle through a tough group, only sealing his progression in the final match. After losing to Danny Lawrence in five ends in the opener, he beat Zoltan Hosszu in four, before holding his nerve in a top-class match against Gabriel Achampong 3-1 (11-9, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8) to secure his first round place.

The cadet then beat Kieron Smith and Adam Harrison en route to the final, where he met Dalgleish after the Scot had beaten Swede Owe Karlsson 3-2 (11-8, 11-2, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7).

The final itself was tight, but Wheeler held his nerve in each of the three games as he won his first Band 1 title.

Women’s Band 1
Yolanda King held onto the Women’s Band 1 title as Sue Collier was unable to overhaul her points tally.

Collier needed to make the final at the Medway Sports Park but fell one stage short with Natalie Slater beating her 3-2 (11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 4-11, 11-8) in the semi-final.

This left a battle for the prize pots with Angharad Phillips beating sister Megan in the semi-final to set up a battle for second place.

Angharad was playing Slater but technically battling Collier in a head-to-head for second place. With Slater leading 2-1, Collier was feeling confident, but the Welsh youngster fought back to win the final two games, thus sealing the title, and second place in the overall standings.

Men’s Band 2
Adam Harrison fell agonisingly short of the overall Men’s Band 2 title despite winning the event at the Bribar Medway Grand Prix.

Taking control, with current points leader Danny Lawrence not playing, Harrison fought his way to the title after fighting off Neil Cartwright, Chris Wheeler and Colin Dalgleish in the knock-out stages.

Despite his 3-0 (11-9, 11-6, 11-8) final win over Dalgleish, he fell one point short of Lawrence’s overall tally, meaning the Kent player walked away with the main cash prize.

Women’s Band 2
Jas Ould won the Women’s Band 2 crown at the Bribar Medway Grand Prix, while Sue Collier ensured herself of the overall title by reaching the semi-final.

At the start of the day Collier and Corinna Whitaker were set to go head-to-head for the overall title, however, it was Ould who came through to win the title, despite finishing runner-up in her group to the returning Ella Patel.

Ould beat Collier in the first semi-final 3-2 (11-5, 4-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8) while Lucy Elliott beat Patel 3-0 (11-9, 11-9, 11-8) to join her. Collier’s finish was enough to take the season’s top prize, as Whitaker fell at the group stage on countback.

In the final Ould had too much for her Scottish opponent and won through in four games.

Men’s Band 3
Jimmy Yeung recorded a fine win in the closest final of the day against Rory Scott as he held his composure to win a tight final game 12-10.

With the prize monies all sorted out beforehand, Stephen Joslin’s first round exit not decisive in the destination of the overall title, it was down to the remaining contenders to battle it out for the Bribar Medway GP crown.

It was Joslin’s victor, Scott, who made the final where he faced Jimmy Yeung, who had beaten Paul Beck, Ed Slot and Shaun Slater along the way.

Starting confidently, Yeung won the first two games, but he was hauled back by Scott 11-5 and 11-8 to force a deciding fifth game. It was tense throughout but finally Yeung closed out the win in deuce.

Women’s Band 3
Lucy Elliott won the Women’s Band 3 title and, in the process, secured third place on the overall standings after beating Letitia McMullan in the final.

The first and second places were already decided in Band 3 with Zoe Cheesman first and Rebecca Bayley second, but Elliott’s win pushed her up the rankings.

Elliott and McMullan had met earlier in the group stages where Elliott won 3-0 and the result was no different in the final with the in-form Scottish girl leading from the off to complete a comfortable win.

Men’s Band 4
Points leader Chris Morshead took no chances with the overall title for Men’s Band 4 by winning at the Bribar Medway Grand Prix to seal the prize.

The Jersey player’s main rival, Noor Owadally, had his chances snuffed out by an animated Leo Veinsreider in the last 16 3-2 (11-9, 5-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-9).

Veinsreider went on to experience two more consecutive five-game matches, firstly with a victory over Craig Brown, before then falling to a 3-2 defeat against Connor Neenan.

Neenan met Morshead in the final after the Jersey player had won all of his fixtures 3-0, a run which he continued into the last stage to complete an impressive season.

Women’s Band 4
Letitia McMullan won the Women’s Band 4 title after remaining unbeaten throughout a group of four players. Her main challenge came from Teresa Bennett, who was eventually beaten 3-1 (8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9).

The result, however, did not affect the overall title as the prize money still went to the Isle of Man’s Rebecca Bayley.

Men’s Band 5
Josh Bennett ensured himself of a super-Saturday by adding the Men’s Band 5 title to the earlier Band 6 title (below) to remain unbeaten throughout proceedings.

With both Gabriel Achampong and Adam Jepson qualifying for the points in first and second without playing in the band, the Medway competition turned into a straight knockout scenario.

As it worked out, both Bennett and final opponent Connor Neenan, played their second final of the day after reaching the last stage of band 5. Unfortunately for Neenan, it was a second defeat as Bennett recovered from 2-1 down to claim the title.

Men’s Band 6
The Men’s Band 6 final was an all-Sussex affair between Joshua Bennett and Steve Pound.

Pound made the final with comfortable victories over Jiten Pitamber, Mark Firth, and Semi Idowi – dropping just one game in the process, meanwhile, Bennett beat George Dicker and Edy Caliman in three and four games respectively.

The final began well for the experienced Pound who won both the first and third games, however, Bennett recovered to take the title by dominating games four and five 11-5, 11-6.

– Pictures courtesy of Alan Man

Bribar Medway Grand Prix Final Results
Men’s Band 1
Chris Wheeler bt Colin Dalgleish 3-0 (13-11, 11-9, 11-9)
Women’s Band 1
Angharad Phillips bt Natalie Slater 3-2 (11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4)
Men’s Band 2
Adam Harrison bt Colin Dalgleish 3-0 (11-9, 11-6, 11-8)
Women’s Band 2
Jas Ould bt Lucy Elliott 3-1 (11-8, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9)
Men’s Band 3
Jimmy Yeung bt Rory Scott 3-2 (11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 8-11, 12-10)
Women’s Band 3
Lucy Elliott bt Letitia McMullan 3-0 (11-5, 11-7, 11-5)
Men’s Band 4
Chris Morshead bt Connor Neenan 3-0 (11-6, 11-3, 11-5)
Women’s Band 4
Letitia McMullan won round-robin, Teresa Bennett runner-up
Men’s Band 5
Josh Bennett bt Connor Neenan 3-2 (11-6, 3-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4)
Men’s Band 6
Josh Bennett bt Steve Pound 3-2 (7-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6)

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