Cambridge past and present win prizes at the North West Open

North West Open,
Manchester Y Club
Saturday/Sunday 13-14 January 2018

The Captain reports: In the first tournament of 2018 the Sparrows flew to Manchester for the North West Open at the Y club.

It was an early bird’s game, with first round matches at 9.15 am for Ed Kay and Matt Shaw who both won in straight sets and progressed to the quarter-finals. Andrew Boyd in his swan song for Fives (until after the Varsity Match anyway) travelled down from Scotland to take on Dan Grant. Andrew’s impressive shot-making with new velvet gloves meant he took the first game 11-2. However, Christmas (un)fitness prevented him from sustaining this form and he eventually lost in three games. Former sparrow Ben Beltrami then beat a weakened Dan Grant before losing in the semi-final to the eventual winner, Dan Tristao. Matt Shaw had also lost to Tristao in the quarter-final. In his early match Ed Kay prevailed over Julian Aquilina, showing his experience in a tight second game, but in the semi-final Will Ellison was on top form and beat Ed 11-4, 11-4. It was a good day for Boyd, though, who showed resilience to take the Plate by beating Ollie Arnold and Henry Jefferies, who are both ranked above him, on his journey to victory.

The Doubles tournament commenced on Sunday with a straightforward win for Kay & Shaw against a Sedbergh pair. Boyd and his Scottish teammate fought hard to beat Jefferies & Hanton in three games in which Boyd showed his doubles potential (he can hit it hard!). They were then beaten by Tristao & Butler, who went on to play Shaw & Kay in the semis. After going a game down Ed & Matt tightened their game and ground out the win to progress to the final. This lasted over an hour and a half with a humdinger of a first game where Shaw hit a purple patch at just the right moment to allow Ed and himself to take the first 12-10. Ellison and former Sparrow Charlie Brooks showed their class as National Doubles champions, taking the second game 11-0. The third game looked like it was heading the same way as Kay and Shaw went 7-0 down but they fought back hard to 8-7 and it looked like they might have it. A few good shots from Brooks, though, meant that Kay & Shaw fell short, losing 11-7 in the third.

Thanks go to John Beswick for organising the whole tournament and to the Y club for use of the facilities!