Edgbaston Priory success at National Racketball

Congratulations to age group winners Rob Shay, John Houghton, and Tony Thomas and also Sarah Roberton as runner-up and plate winner.

Sussex’s Tim Vail retained the Ian Wright Memorial Trophy at the National Racketball Championships at Edgbaston Priory at the weekend to set a new record of eight national titles.

Vail, who had shared the record with Essex’s Daryl Selby, moved into pole position by beating Kent’s Ted Jeal 3/2 in a thrilling 50-minute final, in which Jeal twice came behind to level and force a fifth that Vail won 11-2.

In contrast, a new name will be etched on the women’s trophy, after Essex’s Zoe Mellis defeated defending champion Natalie Lawrence (Somerset) in another fantastic final which went the full distance and lasted 59 minutes.

Mellis opened up a 2/0 lead, but Lawrence fought back well to take the contest to a decider, in which they matched each other point for point until Mellis claimed the final two rallies and to win the game 11-9 and the title.

The Championships attracted 150 entrants across 16 categories.


Men’s final: Tim Vail (Sussex) bt Ted Jeal (Kent) 11-4, 5-11, 11-2, 8-11, 11-2 (50m)
Men’s O35 round-robin winner: Paul Johnson (Wales)
Men’s O40 final: Matt Baker (Devon) bt Ian Cox (Norfolk) 11-4, 11-7, 11-3 (28m)
Men’s O45 final: Mark Francis (Yorkshire) bt Robert Hambrook (Norfolk) 11-1, 11-7, 11-3 (21m)
Men’s O50 final: Neil Baldwin (Yorkshire) bt Steve Wall (Sussex) 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 (33m)
Men’s O55 final: Mike Phillips (Sussex) bt Chris Davey (Cornwall) 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (22m)
Men’s O60 final: Rob Shay (Warwickshire) bt Ian Graham (Sussex) 8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 12-10 (36m)
Men’s O65 final: Ian Graham (Sussex) bt Robert Astbury (Warwickshire) 11-0, 11-7, 11-4 (23m)
Men’s O70 round-robin winner: John Houghton (Warwickshire)
Men’s O75 round-robin winner: Anthony Thomas (Warwickshire)

Women’s final: Zoe Mellis (Essex) bt Natalie Lawrence (Somerset) 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 11-9 (59m)
Women’s O35 round-robin winner: Natalie Lawrence (Somerset)
Women’s O45 round-robin winner: Bev Vatcher (Dorset)
Women’s O50 round-robin winner: Rachel Woolford (Warwickshire)
Women’s O55 round-robin winner: Paula Arrowsmith (Yorkshire)
Women’s O60 round-robin winner: Bett Dryhurst (Worcestershire)