Dorning successfully defends his Closed Championships crown

Lee Dorning retained his men's singles title at the Leamington League's Closed Championships.
Lee Dorning retained his men's singles title at the Leamington League's Closed Championships.

Lee Dorning successfully defended his men’s singles crown at the Leamington League’s Closed Championships which were held last weekend at St Nicholas Park Leisure Centre, writes Phil John.

The staging of the event during school holidays affected entries with the junior events being particularly hard hit and several competitions not being contested. However, those competitions that were staged produced worthy champions.

There was a healthy entry in the men’s singles which saw eight group winners progress to the knockouts, namely Dorning, Harry Purewal, Sam Weaving, Jack Green and Ricardo Bolanos from Lillington Free Church, Mark Jackson of St George’s, County Council’s Simon Griew and Rugby’s Ryan Lines.

In the last four, Dorning met Jackson whom he beat 3-0 and Griew faced Green, still a junior, coming through 3-1. Dorning went on to claim the title in a five-set thriller.

The ladies’ singles was played as a round-robin and resulted in a first senior singles title for Church’s Livvy Fletcher who consigned club-mate Emily Beasley to the runner-up spot.

The men’s doubles was also to showcase new champions. In the semi-finals, Griew and Jackson beat St George’s duo Damon Fenton and Lines 12-10 in the fourth and Ramsey and Weaving defeated reigning champions Timmy Cooper and Dorning 3-1. Griew and Jackson went on to take the title in four games.

The ladies’ doubles saw Tracey Fletcher (St George’s ) partnering daughter Livvy to the trophy against Free Church duo Emily Beasley and Milly Green.

The mixed doubles got to the final stage but time constraints meant Beasley and Ricardo Bolanos will oppose Green and Dorning in the next few days. Likewise, the handicap singles has to be finished with Tom Hunt to play the winner of the Bolanos and Purewal semi-final.

The under-11 boys singles produced a surprise when Jun Chung defeated favourite and Free Church clubmate Dan Stone in a thrilling five-set final.

The under-13 boys were divided into two groups, with Rugby’s Matt Burgess winning one and Chris Ho the other from Free Church club-mates George Barnes and Owain Jones on countback. Burgess then took the trophy in an enthralling five-set final.

Two sets of brothers competed in the under-15 boys’ singles. Dan and Matt Burgess faced Nicholas and Chris Ho in a round-robin competition of four, with Dan (Rugby) the winner and Nicholas runner-up.

There was a shock in the under-15 girls’ singles where Eleanor Fletcher defeated her Free Church colleague Milly Green.

Green gained revenge in the junior girls’ singles, defeating Fletcher which was enough to secure her the runners-up position. Another Lillington girl, Emily Beasley, won all of her matches to become junior champion for the first time.

The junior boys’ singles round-robin event went to Free Church’s Jack Green who defeated clubmate Tom Fletcher in his most crucial game after the latter had enjoyed an excellent win over Dan Burgess to guarantee the runners-up position.

In the youth’s final, Church’s Timmy Cooper, now a student at Cambridge University, collared Green 3-1 after both had come through their groups.

The veterans’ singles was one of the most competitive events, with Mark Jackson, Damon Fenton, Earl Sweeney, (all of St George’s) and Mark Rose of Phoenix the four group winners.

Jackson then beat Rose in one semi-final and Fenton clinched a final place at the expense of Sweeney, with Jackson going on to win in four.

One of the closest matches came in the final of the over-50s’ singles where Paul Calloway of Phoenix took the trophy from the luckless Sweeney, 13-11 in the fifth. Calloway made it a double by clinching the over-60s’ singles against County Council’s Chris Maiden.

One of the best supported events was the parent/child doubles, where the semi-finals featured seven Lillington players.

Ian and Emily Beasley overcame Tracey and Eleanor Fletcher and Michael and Chris Ho proved too strong for Chris and Owain Jones before the Beasleys snapped up the trophy in straight sets.

The grade 1 event was split into five groups which were won by Jackson, Dorning, Ramsey, Weaving and Lines. In the semis, Jackson defeated Ramsey while Lines overcame Dorning, with Lines going on to take the trophy.

James Robertson (Free Church) faced Warwick University’s Arslan Awan in the grade 2 singles semi-final, emerging as victor. This set up a final with Ian Beasley, a group winner who had enjoyed a bye in the semis. Robertson triumphed 3-0.

Beasley was also a group winner in the grade 3 competition, along with daughter Emily and Tom Fletcher. Emily beat Tom in the semi and then squeezed past her dad 12-10 in the fifth to take the trophy.

In the grade 4 singles, Milly Green beat Chris Jones (Free Church) 3-0, while Owain Jones (FC) took the grade 5 event 3-1 against Church newcomer Jack Bradbury.