Kawai & King rise to the top on day 1 in Bath

Author:
Marlie McLaughlin

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Men’s Band 1

Ryota Kawai, the talented Japanese athlete, claimed top spot in the Bath Grand Prix Men’s Band 1 competition.

Kawai met Shayan Siraj in the first match taking the win 3-1 (11-13, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7) setting himself up for two strong 3-0 victories over Will Bayley (11-9, 11-6, 11-9) and Shaquille Webb-Dixon (11-4, 11-3, 11-5) to finish the group off. Stepping into the knockouts off a dominating last match, Kawai continued playing his top game, eliminating Daniel Moses in yet another 3-0 victory (11-4, 11-8, 11-3) in the quarter final match.

Taking the momentum into the semifinals, Kawai finally met a player who put up a fight. Calum Evans took Kawai into a five game semi-final with the games going back and forth until the fifth where Kawai finally took it home (11-2, 8-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-7). After such a strong semifinal win, Kawai put everything he had left into the final where he faced Yorkshire’s, Mike O’Driscoll. After game number one, O’Driscoll took the early lead (11-9) yet Kawai did not let it last for long. Taking the next consecutive three games (11-9, 13-11, 11-6) Kawai fought back to ensure his victory and the Men’s Band 1 championship title.

Ryota Kawai (left) and Michael O’Driscoll (right)

Women’s Band 1

Yolanda King claimed the Bath Grand Prix Women’s Band 1 first place title after a hard-fought round robin group. Going into the competition seeded number one, King had the confidence to carry her through the tough competition. Only four athletes competing in the group made each game and each point more important.

King overcame the other three athletes in the group to claim the title, however it wasn’t all that easy. Finding herself down the first game in every match, the Sussex athlete always pushed through to earn her victories possibly using this trend as a source of motivation. On her path to number one, King defeated fourth ranked Kate Cheer 3-1 (8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-1), second ranked Ashley Givan 3-1 (8-11, 11-2, 13-11, 11-2) and third ranked Hai Qing Chau 3-1 (3-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8).

The entry rankings held nothing over Hai Qing Chau whose 3-2 and 3-1 victories, against Ashley Givan and Kate Cheer respectively, led her to a second place finish at the Bath tournament. Chau’s hard five game battle against Givan showed her true skill as she claimed the win in a 12-10 final score.

Yolanda King (left) and Hai Qing Chau (right)

Men’s Band 2

With a strong dominating finish, Pedro Lopez Laguna claimed the championship title at the Bath Grand Prix for the Men’s Band 2 competition.

Entering the tournament ranked first in group 3, the Avon athlete proved his talent by starting with three consecutive victories versus Rory Scott (3-0), Carl Baldry (3-0) and Jake Shaw (3-1). Entering the knockouts, Laguna did not back down and pushed through Shayan Siraj 3-1 (11-9, 13-15, 11-8, 11-9), Calum Morrison 3-0 (11-7, 14-12, 11-8) and finally Daniel Moses 3-0 (11-9, 11-4, 11-6) in the final competition.

Seeded first is group 5, second place Moses had the championship target in mind early on. The Berkshire native defeated Joe Jilloran 3-2 (after recovering from an early 2-1 deficit), however fell short against Shayan Siraj 1-3. Determined to succeed, Moses stepped up and showed his skill in the knockout rounds. Victories over Shaquille Webb-Dixon in the quarter-final (3-1) and Adam Jepson in the semi-final (3-0) showed why he deserved to be titleholder. Unfortunately, Laguna was too tough an opposition and Moses was forced to accept the final defeat and second place.

Daniel Moses (left) and Pedro Lopez Laguna (right)

Women’s Band 2

Going into the Women’s Band 2 ranked 5th, Anna Hursey of Wales climbed to top the podium.

Coming off a Cleveland Grand Prix victory the Welsh native secured her top placement with four victories in the round robin play. The talented youngster beat Sarah Menghistab (3-2), Sally Henke (3-2), Kelsey Le Maistre (3-1) and Katie Holt (3-1).

Also with a successful four victories, Sally Henke was not far behind coming in a close second place. The strong Sussex player took her winning matches 3-1, 3-1, 3-0 and 3-1 with a narrow loss to first place Hursey 3-2. The tight competition between all the competitors sets the stage for great rivalry and exciting matches in the future.

Sally Henke (left) and Anna Hursey (right)

Men’s Band 3

Reece Chamdal claimed a smooth victory on Saturday night, defeating Carl Baldry 3-0 in the Bath Grand Prix Men’s Band 3 final.

Overcoming the top ranked Ben Wilson in a drawn out 3-2 victory, followed by third ranked Danny Ricks (3-0), Chamdal earned his spot in the knockout rounds with some momentum behind him. Keeping the steady pace, Chamdal defeated Fabien Mauroy 3-1 (5-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-5) advancing him to the quarter-final round versus Edward Haskell. The tough competition was no problem for Chamdal as he breezed through the 3 games necessary to claim the win ( 11-7, 11-8, 11-9).

Luke Greenfield of Jersey posed more of a threat to Chamdal in the semi-finals and forced the match into four games. Setting himself up for success in all games to follow, Chamdal took the last semi-final game and clinched his spot in the championship decider.

Second place Carl Baldry entered the competition ranked first in group 1 and found himself in the championship match following 6 wins. Baldry defeated Sam Do (3-1), Edward Haskell (3-1) and Dale Campbell (3-0) in the preliminary followed by Billy Shilton (3-1), Matthew Daish in the quarter-finals (3-2) and Samuel Chesterman in the semi-finals (3-2). Chamdal was too strong of a competitor for Baldry and took three straight games 11-5, 11-4 and 11-7 in a well-deserved victory.

Reece Chamdal (left) and Carl Baldry (right)

Women’s Band 3

After a hard fought five game championship match, Amy Blagbrough claimed the Bath Grand Prix Women’s Band 3 title.

Entering the Grand Prix ranked first in group 4, Blagbrough defeated both preliminary competitors Sophie Barcsai (3-0) and Lucy Page (3-2) to advance to the knockouts. Blagbrough battled through the quarterfinals winning 3-1, with a semi-final victory not being so easy. Facing the tough Kelsey Le Maistre, Blagbrough found herself down 2-0 and on the verge of defeat. The hard-work and determination showed itself in the final three games of the semi’s as the Hampshire player won 11-8, 11-7 and 11-4. Yet another five-game match saw Blagbrough beat Sally Henke for the single champion position.

Sally Henke entered the band 3 competition following her success in the Women’s Band 2 battle. With a second-place finish, Henke already had the momentum she needed to reach the finals. Ranked first in group 1, Henke defeated Nina Kadir (3-0), Tulay Dundar (3-1), Julie Byrne (3-2) in the preliminaries Katie Holt (3-0) in the quarterfinals and Sarah Menghistab (3-0) in the semifinals.

The final match of Henke vs. Blagbrough was a tight competition. Blagbrough took an early lead (12-11, 11-7) and simply needed one more win to secure her victory. Henke would not back down so easily and took the next two games right out from under her opponent (5-11, 9-11). The final game saw Blagbrough take the well-deserved victory 11-5.

Sally Henke (left) and Amy Blagbrough (right)

Men’s Band 4

With a continuous eight match winning streak, Reece Chamdal comes out victorious as the Bath Grand Prix Men’s Band 4 Champion.

The Oxfordshire standout defeated the most recent Cleveland Grand Prix champion from Berkshire, Jamie Liu, 3-1. Liu clinched the first victory of the match 11-9 yet this only motivated Chamdal who completed his triumph in the next three contests (11-8,  11-5, 11-5). Chamdal’s championship journey was not all easy as the champion had a close battle with Israel Awolaja in their semi-final contest. The dramatic faceoff went into five games with the fifth being decided over extra points (13-11).

Chamdal secured his title with further victories over Cameron Brealey (3-0), Joseph Goss (3-0) and Fabien Mauroy in the quarter-final (3-1). Jamie Liu also overcame David Ramsey (3-1), Cade Short (3-2), Tony Reynolds in the quarter-final (3-0) and Louis Price in the semi-final (3-1) to claim his second place standing.

Jamie Liu (left) and Reece Chamdal (right)

Women’s Band 4

With a clean 3-0 victory in the final match, Nina Kadir of Avon took first place in the Women’s Band 4 competition.

Ranked first in her group, Kadir created her own success with two victories to start off, setting the tempo going into the knockout rounds. The champion beat Mya Sultan in the final having overcome Ikue Humphrey of Middlesex in the semi-final (3-2) and Julie Byrne of Somerset in the quarter-finals (3-0).

Finishing the tournament in a hard-fought second place was Mya Sultan. Sultan showed why she deserved her success defeating the top group rank Tulay Dundar in the semi-final (3-1) to advance. The Middlesex player took an easy 3-0 victory in the quarter-final as she overcame April Heasman of Dorset and Sophie Barcsai also of Dorset in group play.

Tulay Dundar had her strong endurance tested as she played and won 3 matches (3-0, 3-0, 3-0) in group play before moving into the knockout rounds. Dundar received a bye into the semi-final round where she faced the strong Sultan and unfortunately saw the end of her journey losing (3-1).

Nina Kadir (left) and Mya Sultan (right)

Men’s Band 5

Israel Awolaja came out on top as the Men’s Band 5 Bath Grand Prix Champion.

Taking the title 3-1 against recently appointed Men’s Band 6 champion Chun Yat Tam, Awolaja capitalized with scores of 11-4, 7-11, 11-9 and 11-9. The athlete from Middlesex entered the competition ranked first in group two. With such a large pool of contestants (21 groups) it was important for each athlete to keep their head in the game and focus on their current opponent. Awolaja finished his group in first position entering the knockouts (3-0, 3-0, 3-0). Competing in a further 4 matches to reach the final saw Awolaja eliminate Wim Faassen (3-0), Tim Vaugham (3-1), Fraser Kent (3-0) and Emmanuel Le Boulbar (3-0).

Chun Yat Tam fought a hard battle after already taking victory in Band 6. The Avon athlete had to remain mentally tough and consistent as he entered a brand new competition. Tam upset his opponents in the preliminary rounds as he began ranked last in his group. Defeating the first, second and third rank in group 3 (3-0, 3-1, 3-0) gave Tam the confidence to succeed in the knockouts. Taking on 4 more competitors brought Tam to yet another final, this time against a better matched opponent. Reaching two final competitions in one day is a job well done by Chun Yat Tam and although the last result wasn’t what he was looking for, a great Grand Prix to be proud of.

Israel Awolaja (left) and Chun Yat Tam (right)

Men’s Band 6

In a five game rollercoaster match, Chun Yat Tam from Oxfordshire was been named the Bath Grand Prix Men’s Band 6 champion with Richard Sanderson claiming second place.

Having defeated seven competitors to reach the final, Tam found himself facing the talented Richard Sanderson. Battling through a back and forth match, Tam had to fight back from a 2-1 deficit as Sanderson took an early lead. Winning the fourth game by a strong 11-2 score allowed Tam to set the pace and complete his comeback. Winning the fifth game 12-10, Tam overcame Sanderson and took the championship title.

Entering the competition ranked fourth in group 15, Tam set himself up for victory from the very beginning, upsetting the first ranked Harry Skidmore from Somerset 3-1. Tam finished second in group 15 with another upset of second ranked Dave Ridout from Kent.

Second place Sanderson fought to the final stage with victories over Emmanuel Le Boulbar (3-2), Dakshinamoorthy (3-0), Joseph Walmsley (3-2), Ollie Buddell (3-2), Mark Burridge in the quarter-final (3-1) and Jamie Blair in the semi-final (3-0).

Richard Sanderson (left) and Chun Yat Tam (right)

Bath Grand Prix Results
Men’s Band 1
Ryota Kawai bt Mike O’Driscoll 3-1 (9-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-6)
Women’s Band 1
Yolanda King wins round robin, Hai Qing Chau runner-up
Men’s Band 2
Daniel Moses bt Pedro Lopez Laguna 3-0 (11-9, 11-4, 11-6)
Women’s Band 2
Anna Hursey wins round robin, Sally Henke runner-up
Men’s Band 3
Reece Chamdal bt Carl Baldry 3-0 (11-5, 11-4, 11-7)
Women’s Band 3
Amy Blagbrough bt Sally Henke 3-2 (12-10, 11-7, 5-11, 9-11, 11-5)
Men’s Band 4
Reece Chamdal bt Jamie Liu 3-1 (9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5)
Women’s Band 4
Nina Kadir bt Mya Sultan 3-0 (11-8, 11-6, 13-11)
Men’s Band 5
Israel Awolaja bt Chun Yat Tam 3-1 (11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9)
Men’s Band 6
Chun Yat Tam bt Richard Sanderson 3-2 (12-10, 9-11, 9-11, 11-2, 12-10)

The next stop on the Grand Prix series will be on the 25th & 26th March in Nottingham – enter here. Followed by a Satellite event in Jersey over the Easter weekend – enter here.

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