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Mandie Barnes reports:
EFA Ladies National Championships
The 2014 Ladies National Championships saw a pleasing increase in size of entry with 29 pairs taking part this year; for the first time there was a main tournament and a festival.
The introduction of the festival encouraged some of our younger and newer players to enter with pairs from Shrewsbury, Ipswich, Berkhamsted, Highgate and Wolverhampton schools. These players made up the majority of those in the festival. The main tournament saw an entry of 13 pairs with the reigning champions, Karen Hird and Charlotta Cooley returning to defend their title, and the 2012 champions Dom and Lia Redmond back together after Lia had missed last year's tournament.
There were many hard fought games with Highgate youngsters Eve Smith-Bingham and Amira Reimer reaching the final without losing a game, a terrific achievement for such a young pair. Their opponents will be the defending champions Hird and Cooley who recovered from the loss of their group match against the Highgate girls to strike form in the afternoon and defeat the Redmond sisters in straight games in the semi-final. The final will be played at a later date.
The main tournament plate saw five pairs challenge for the title and the winners were Vicky Westwood and Wendy Carling.
The festival was enjoyed by all those who took part with Emma Double and Natalie Loh winning Group 1 undefeated and Shrewsbury pair Eliza Wood and Charlie Perkins doing the same in Group 2. The first winners of the Ladies Championship Festival, however, were fellow Salopians Alice Sykes-Waller & Gaby Byrne, who beat both of those pairs in the knockout stages to take the title. Mention must be made of one of the youngest pairs taking part Eloise Carter and Ellie Morgan of Ipswich School who made the semi-finals, losing only one game in the process but going out to Double and Loh.
E Smith-Bingham & A Reimer beat H Pritchard & L Rands 12 – 1, 12 – 1
I Watts & A Walker beat F Barnes & S Greasley 12 – 13, 14 – 11, 12 – 7
K Hird & C Cooley beat P Bracken & O Hirschfield 12 – 4, 12 – 3
L Redmond & D Redmond beat E Osen & A Lumbard 12 – 6, 12 – 1.
E Smith-Bingham & A Reimer beat I Watts & A Walker 12 – 1, 12 – 3
K Hird & C Cooley beat L Redmond & D Redmond 12 -7, 12 – 5.
E Double & N Loh beat E O’Keeffe & C Murphy
E Carter & E Morgan beat A Walker & K Millar
A Sykes-Waller & G Byrne beat A Bhat & R Palmer
E Wood & C Perkins beat E Dolphin & R Major
E Double & N Loh beat E Carter and E Morgan
A Sykes-Waller & G Byrne beat E Wood & C Perkins
A Sykes-Waller & G Byrne beat E Double & N Loh