Home advantage boosts Bradford U3A medal haul
29 players attended the biggest inter U3A racketball tournament held at Heaton Tennis & Squash club. Hosted by the Bradford U3A group there were players from Craven, Ilkley & Leeds U3A racketball groups. The courts were provided free by the club, so players only had to pay for lunch and drinks.
This was a graded event with 3 categories: accomplished, improver and beginner. Within each category there were 2 Mini leagues and each player had 3 qualifying matches of 5 minutes, with 2 alternate serves. Then the points scored were totalled to give a ranking position. Then players competed against an opponent with the same ranking within their category, to get an overall ranking.
With play starting at 10.35am, and a 2 minute gap between matches, everything went like clockwork, even though the matches were marked by players. By 11.45 all the qualifying matches were played, so there was time for drinks and chocolate. Then it was time to add up the scores and work out who should play whom within the categories.
The 15 play off matches produced some very close games with 3 decided by sudden death (next point wins the match). According to a Bradford member ‘it was very exciting and it brought back feelings that I haven’t had since the Olympics’. Others said that they thought the whole event was very well organized and felt that matches of 5 minutes was just about right.
Home advantage seemed to enhance the performance of the Bradford players as they scooped 4 medals, closely followed by Ilkley with 3 and Craven & Leeds both with just 1 medal each. Julie (Bradford U3A) said that ‘I played much better at our home venue, I was more comfortable and really went for it. I’m so pleased to get a medal even though it was for the beginner category’. The bronze medal winner Louise (Leeds U3A) was ecstatic as she said ‘this is the 1st thing I have ever won in my life. I started as a complete beginner last January and it just shows that if you stick at racketball one can achieve, even if you aren’t sporty’. New recruits from Ilkley Mike & Les had a real tussle in the final of the Improver event with Mike edging it to get gold (13-9). In the Accomplished category the final between Geoff and Martin could not have been closer, 10 all at the end of 5 minutes. The medals were awarded thus
A 1st Geoff Douglas (Bradford); 2nd Martin Lineaus (Bradford); 3rd Dave Smith (Craven)
B 1st Mike Fourie (Ilkley); 2nd Les Wood (Ilkley); 3rd Doug Bean (Bradford)
C 1st Julie Dixon (Bradford); 2nd Penny Clark (Ilkley); 3rd Louise Cottingham (Leeds)
There were many comments made praising the tournament and all enjoyed the extensive lunch provided. Even the receptionist remarked on everyone’s happy smiling faces as they left the club.
Ilkley LTSC has offered to host the next tournament in 2013. Meanwhile it is hoped that small groups of players will join other U3A racketball groups occasionally so they can benefit from coaching and playing with other U3A players.