Israel Awolaja won Band 4 (picture by John Upham)

Capital gains for Bolton and Evans in London

Author:
Paul Stimpson

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Emily Bolton and Callum Evans were celebrating at the double as they won the Band 1 titles on day one of the final Grand Prix of the season in London – clinching the overall series championships in the process.

It was a busy day at the Jean Brown Arena in Redbridge, with some 200 players in action on 32 tables and the overall series winners crowned in 10 Banded events.

Click here to see the final standings in the Bands.

Sunday will see competitors vying for titles – again on the day and overall – in Men’s and Women’s Singles, Veterans, Under-21s and Doubles.

Men’s Band 1

Callum Evans (right) and Niall Cameron

Callum Evans defeated Niall Cameron in three straight (5, 8, 7) to seal the title on the day and confirm his status as overall Band 1 champion.

Going in at the top, but knowing second-placed Matt Leete was out injured, it was something of a coronation for Evans, though he was extended to five in the semi-finals by Shaquille Webb-Dixon before prevailing 3-2 (11-8, 10-12, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10).

Leete hung on to second place overall, while Webb-Dixon’s performance was enough to move him from outside the money positions into third. Calum Morrison and Adam Jepson rounded out the overall top five.

Women’s Band 1

Runner-up Zahna Hall (left) and winner Emily Bolton

Emily Bolton was the winner on the day and clinched the overall title in the process as she got the better of Zahna Hall in the final.

Having already won their group meeting, Bolton had to fight hard in the opening two sets of the final before pulling clear to win it 3-1 (14-12, 14-16, 11-6, 11-3).

Both semi-finals had been close, Hall beating Anna Hursey 3-1 (11-9, 11-13, 16-14, 12-10) and Bolton overcoming Gina Rieck 3-0 (11-8, 13-11, 14-12).

Bolton was top of the standings going into the final event, with her appearance ensuring she would qualify for overall prizemoney.

Her victory duly confirmed that, with Charlotte Bardsley as overall runner-up, ahead of Yolanda King, Kate Cheer and Anna Hursey.

Men’s Band 2

Joseph Hee and Jordan Wykes

Joseph Hee chopped his way to victory. Opponent Jordan Wykes rallied briefly at 2-0 down but ultimately was defeated 3-1 (11-5, 11-5, 4-11, 12-10).

Hee’s path to the final also went a long way to determining the overall standings.

He beat Adam Jepson, who led the standings at the start of the Grand Prix, in the quarter-finals (11-3, 7-11, 11-9, 11-4) and Shaquille Webb-Dixon, in the semis (11-4, 16-14, 11-4).

Webb-Dixon, who was third in the standings having played in three Grands Prix this season, would have taken the overall title had he won the final. As it was, he had to settle for second place behind Jepson.

Matt Leete, second at start of play, dropped to third having pulled out because of a shoulder injury. Joe Clark, absent here, was fourth, while Dylan Curry stayed fifth, having failed to advance from his group.

Women’s Band 2

Anna Hursey (right) with runner-up Margarita Tischenko

Anna Hursey was the day’s champion courtesy of a 3-1 (11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9) victory over Margarita Tischenko of Germany. The beaten finalist had been tested in the semis as opponent Patricia Ianau battled back from 2-0 down to level, with Tischenko taking the decider to complete a 3-2 (11-9, 11-6, 11-13, 7-11, 11-7) scoreline.

Overall, Hursey finished second behind Charlotte Bardsley, who was absent from London as she is competing at the Spanish Youth Open. Kate Cheer was third in the final standings.

Men’s Band 3

Finn Morgan-Bayliss (left) and Josh Weatherby

Finn Morgan-Bayliss withstood a great comeback by Josh Weatherby to shade the final 3-2 (11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8).

And it was a money-spinning result too as the Dorset player needed to win to take the overall prize, having started the day outside the top five places.

He also almost came a cropper in the semi-final, again needing five to see off Band 4 winner Israel Awolaja (7-11, 15-13, 11-7, 4-11, 11-6).

Second overall was Danny Bajwa, who reached the last 16 to rise from third overall. Sam Chesterman, no longer eligible for the band, dropped from leader to third, while Keir Morton was fourth and Billy Shilton and Louis Price joint fifth.

Women’s Band 3

Alva Themner (left) and Patricia Ianau

Alva Themner came from behind to sink Patricia Ianau 3-2 (4-11, 13-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8) to win the final.

Patricia had earlier defeated her sister Natalia by a symmetrical 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 scoreline in the semi-finals.

Only three players qualified for overall prizemoney and it was Anna Hursey who took the big prize, ahead of Charlotte Bardsley. Federica Bonato did not make it through the groups but simply playing meant she qualified for the third-place prize.

Men’s Band 4

Israel Awolaja and Martin Johnson

Israel Awolaja dominated Martin Johnson in the final on the day, registering a 3-0 (5, 6, 4) scoreline against his Scottish opponent.

Both semi-finals had gone to five – Awolaja defeating Andrew McPherson 3-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6 and Johnson seeing off Chris Cockburn 9-11, 16-14, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6).

Keir Morton, not present here, had built up enough of a buffer to ensure he was overall champion, but the minor places did see some change.

Louis Price jumped from fourth to second courtesy of a quarter-final appearance – he was beaten by Johnson in three close sets – and Joseph Goss went up from fifth to third and Jacob Goss joined his brother in the money by getting into fifth place

Reece Chamdal, who is at the Spanish Youth Open, dropped from second to fourth and Danny Bajwa fell out of the money places.

Women’s Band 4

Band 4 winner Raquel Sao Pedro (right) and runner-up Natalia Ianau

Raquel Sao Pedro was champion on the day thanks to a four-set victory over Natalia Ianau in the final. The all-Middlesex clash went in favour of Sao Pedro 11-4, 11-9, 4-11, 12-10).

Overall champion was Federica Bonato – the Middlesex player the only one to have played enough events to qualify for prizemoney.

Men’s Band 5

Alexander Ahl (left) and Filippo Sabatini

It was Alexander Ahl’s day as he took the title by beating Filippo Sabatini 3-0 (8, 5, 6) in the final.

Earlier, Sabatini had needed to come from 2-1 down to defeat Band 6 winner Daniel Howard 3-2 (3-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 11-3) in the semi-finals.

The overall picture saw Lewis Palmer jump from third to first. He took the title by just three points by virtue of his last-16 appearance as he went above Adam Ridley and Shaun Ellis, neither of whom could influence the situation as they had moved up the Bands and were therefore ineligible to play at that level.

The same was true of Yao Li in fourth, while fifth went to Joe Britnell, who reached the quarter-finals and thereby earned himself a payday.

Men’s Band 6

Band 6 winner Daniel Howard and runner-up Hiroyuki Asano

Daniel Howard overcame Hiroyuki Asano twice to win the title on the day.

The Essex player met his opponent, representing Ireland, in the groups and needed all five to record a 3-2 (12-10, 8-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-5) victory.

Both men battled through the knockout stage to reach the final, which was rather more clear-cut as Howard took it in three straight (9, 9, 7).

Howard was earlier stretched in the quarter-final, where he needed five to see of Louis Roper-Gibbs 3-2 (11-4, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9).

Neither player was in the reckoning for the series prizemoney, and it was Rafal Bajda, beaten by Asano in the quarter-finals, who moved up from fourth to top the list.

Yury Zhelabouskiy started and ended the day in second place as he was unable to advance beyond the last 32, while Jamie Fellows dropped from first to third and Sam Bailey from third to fourth, neither having been in action. Jiten Pitamber completed the money-winners, remaining in fifth having been eliminated in the group stage.

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