NEW FIXTURES FOR 2008-09
Fixtures have now been confirmed the 2008-09 Inter-county Championships.
The first round of matches will be held over the weekend of 27-28th
There will be 3 divisions Premier North, Premier South and Division One
Sussex will host a Premier South Division which includes defending
champions Bucks, Kent and Hampshire, while Derbyshire will host Yorkshire,
Warwickshire and Worcestershire.
There are 5 Counties in Division One, comprising Dorset, Devon,
Cambridgeshire, Merseyside and Leicestershire. Dorset will host the first
stage, while Cambridgeshire will host the second weekend, to be held on 4-5th
BUCKS ARE INTER COUNTY CHAMPS!
Bucks won the inaugural Harris Intercounty Racketball Championships at Thame
3-2 win over Kent that went to the wire, Bucks captain Simon Martin beating
Kents No. 2 Sam Stabler in the nail-biting finale to an exciting weekend.
The victorious Bucks
team of (l to r)
Tom Power and
Six teams contested the finals weekend, held at Racquets Health and
Fitness Club, Thame on April 5-6th. Matches on Saturday were
split into two round robins, with Sussex losing to Bucks 3-2 in the first
Sussex proved too strong at the top of the order, with current National
number 2, Tim Vail beating Tom Phipps 3-2 and Brandon Hanley beating Simon
Martin 3-0, but Bucks strength in depth proved to the key, with Andy
Macdonald, Tom Power and Tom White all winning in straight sets.
Bucks then beat Merseyside 3-2 in the afternoon, with Tom Phipps at 1 taking
the notable scalp of former national champion Paul Spencer 3-2.
Sussex needed to beat Merseyside convincingly to have a chance of reaching
the final, but although veteran Ian Graham gave them a good start at 5,
beating Steve Lamb 3-0, Merseyside won at 3 and 4 and Sussex could only win
3-2, to put Bucks in the final.
In the other pool, Warwickshire started with a close 3-2 win over Derbyshire
Nick Hynes beat Kevin White 3-0 in the top match with a stunning display
of controlled accuracy and power, while Andy Warmington (3) and Rob Alger
(5) both won 3-0 to give Warks the match.
Kent then beat Derbyshire 5-0 to secure their place in the final, and then
emphasised their strength with another 5-0 win over Warks. Hynes looked to
have secured first string match against 17 year-old Ted Jeal, but pulled up
with a hamstring injury at game ball in the second game, and was out for the
rest of the weekend.
Sunday started with the play-off for 5th place between Merseyside
and Derbyshire. Derbyshire captain Kevin White was unavailable and in his
absence, Merseyside cruised to a whitewash.
Warks started well in the third place playoff despite missing the hamstrung
Hynes, with 3-0 wins for Rob Shay and Rob Alger at 4 and 5, but the tie hung
on a thrilling clash at 3 between John Blenkinsop (Warks) and Hutton (Sussex). Blenkinsop led 12-10 in the final game, before going
down 13-15, and Vail and Hanley were too strong at the top of the order ,
and Sussex took third place 3-2.
The final was a thriller that went right to the wire. Tom White got Bucks
off the mark first with some amazing racket work against Kent captain Mark
Steeden, winning 3-1. Kent countered by winning at 3, with Alex Martin
trouncing a very tired Andy Macdonald, but Bucks countered with youngster
Tom Power beating Matt Badger 3-1. Ted Jeal
at 1 put Kent back in the match with a marathon hard-hitting 3-2 win over
The decider at 2 was a clash of styles between Sam Stabler, young fit, and a
strapping 65 and the older, heavier but vastly experienced Bucks Captain
Simon Martin. Martin, with his usual leg strappings, usually appears
exhausted at the end of the knock-up, but he has an unmatched variety of
power, touch and delayed deception. The match went to five, and it was the
youngster who started to suffer from being stretched from corner to corner,
Martin winning 3-2.
The weekend was a huge success, on and off the court, and was professionally
refereed throughout. Racquets put on a tournament that has set a benchmark
for future years, and as more counties start to field teams, it is destined
(l to r)