The IRTPA Championships have come and gone for another year. Manchester again hosted the tournament which is a great club to go play a tournament, the members are very welcoming and its location to the centre of town is almost perfect.
My draw changed a few times. Originally being seeded 6th and due to face Bryn Sayers in the quarter finals, unfortunately Rob Fahey had to withdraw to travel home to Australia at short notice. Bryn moved into Rob's spot as the new number 2 seed. My seeding changed to #5 and Ricardo Smith now #4 moved into Bryn's spot.
I then arrived in Manchester to find out Ricardo (now working at Newport, Rhode Island) lost his passport somewhere between leaving the house and checking in at Boston airport so his opponent in the 1st round was given a bye into the quarter final.
I won my 1st round 6/1 6/1 6/1 over Leon Smart who was playing his 1st tournament as a newly turned professional and working as a trainee/assistant at Middlesex University.
My quarter final now against Craig Greenhalgh and ex-Manchester Pro could of been a tricky affair as he knows the court so well. Having said that I have now played 6 IRTPA Championships in Manchester so even I know the court pretty well now. I played well and raced through the 1st set 6/0 and lead 3/0 in the 2nd set (halfway to a triple bagel...) I managed to take the 2nd set 6/1 to lead 2-0. Craig played much better in the 3rd set but I was able to keep my nose in front and took the 3rd set 6/3 for a fairly comfortable straight sets victory and into the semi final of the IRTPA Champs for the 3rd year running.
My Semi final was a much much tougher assignment facing the World Number 1 Camden Riviere who is in hot form after going down in the World Championship earlier in the year losing only 1 set in the US Pro Singles and French Open combined...
Unfortunately I started a little slowly and couldn't hit a gallery to save my life until about the 4th game. Camden is so quick around the court that its very difficult to beat him on the floor. Winning openings and galleries became very important. I lost the set 0/6 in pretty quick time which was disappointing.
The 2nd set was much better from my point of view but was still unable to make major in roads against Camden's game. I went down 3/6 but felt a little hard done by at times with a few narrow misses of Grille's and galleries which could of made a difference. Now down 0-2 in sets.
The 3rd set didn't get any better in terms of the scoreline but I take some positives that even though i lost the set 0/6 which was hugely disappointing to lose to 'love' sets many of the 6 games in the 3rd set went to Deuce.
Onwards and upwards as they say. Next up is a home Premier Division National League match on the 1st November against Leamington, my opponent being Ben Matthews. Following this is the biggest tournament on the Real Tennis calendar, The British Open being held at the Queen's Club. The draw came out this week. I play Conor Medlow 12pm Sunday 16th November.
Tickets are still available for the Premier match from the Pros Office 020 8977 3015.
Draws for the British Open can be found at IRTPA website