CARISBROOKE players did their club proud again at this year’s annual Senior County Closed Championship.
Tom Kisiel, playing under the Carisbrooke banner this year, was the standout performer after he clinched a remarkable ninth men’s level singles title in a row as well as the men’s level doubles crown with another Brooke player, teenager Alex Solonenko.
After bagging the singles trophy – 7-6, 6-1 against No 1 seed Barny Thorold in what was an all-Brooke affair – it appears the biggest challenge now facing Tom is the history books. County champs legend David Ireland’s once-insurmountable modern-era record of 12 title victories now looks in reach. Ireland won ten of those titles in a row, between 1991 and 2000, so a victory for Tom in 2017 would equal that impressive milestone. Tom’s triumph this year meant he moved into second place in the modern-era rankings, overtaking Richard Tutt, who won eight titles between 1967 and 1980.
However, there is still some way to go to reach the all-time leader Bob Meredith who achieved a staggering 16 titles between 1929 and 1951, including 11 in a row from 1929-1939.
Prior to wrapping up the singles on Sunday, July 31, the day before Tom and protégé Alex won the level doubles in an well-contested final against Sam Preston (Carisbrooke coach) and Jonny Cloke. Tom and Alex had to overcome a dispiriting 1-6 scoreline in the first set, to go on to win 6-4, 7-6 with the deciding set tie-break a topsy-turvey nerve-jangler with championship points for both pairs.
There were several other Carisbrooke successes to report.
The aforementioned Sam Preston, who was appointed to our coaching team in June, won his third mixed doubles title in a row with Becky Scrivins, as they put in an authoritative performance in the final against Jonny Cloke and Christina Pozerskis, winning 6,0, 6-4. Combined with his level men’s doubles victories (2010, 2012, 2015), it means Sam is now a six-time doubles champ at the County Closed.
Former club coach Bobby Brooke, playing in The Brooke’s colours, had a good run in the men’s singles until cruelly hampered with a finger dilemma in the men’s singles quarter-finals. He fought back gamely against Barny, winning the second set 6-2 after dropping the first 3-6, and seemed to have the momentum at the start of the decider until the catching an errant ball with his non-dominant hand led to what was thought to be a dislocated finger. A closer diagnosis after the tournament revealed a break in three places. Barny’s impressive big-hitting and strong serving saw him through 7-6 in the end, in what was a very enjoyable watch.
Adam Sattar and Scott Wagstaff ensured the men’s handicap Plate would remain in Carisbrooke hands for another year when they won the final in three sets. They won 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 against Oadby pair Mike Minski and Martin Shenton, the conquerors of another Carisbrooke duo – Steve Willis and Andy Bayford – in the previous round.
The Plate was won last year by The Brooke’s Mr Bayford and Gareth W.
Helen Shaw made the final of the ladies’ 40 doubles with Roundhill’s Elizabeth Poulton where they just came up short 4-6, 2-6 against Shirley Fox and Alison Ison.
Silverware was assured in the all-Brooke final of the handicap B men’s singles where new club member Hassan Patel beat Scott Wagstaff 6-3, 6-1.
Mentions in dispatches
Chris Poli played Charlie Marsh 17 times in various different draws at this year’s championships, with each match going to 14-12 in the final set…Chris and doubles partner Alex Oldfield snagged an eye-catching upset in the first-round on the men’s doubles, beating big-serving Steve Sharp and lefty spin-meister Hussein Khan 6-4, 2-6, 7-6…club chairman Jenny Gilbert put in a creditable showing in the handicap women’s singles, reaching the semi-finals…up-and-coming Carisbrooke singles player Joe Cook made it to the men’s singles quarter-finals, as did teenager Alex Solonenko, while Josh Nunn and Dan Moore reached the last-16…The Bobster, and his falling-off finger, and partner David Ireland reached the semi-finals of the men’s doubles as did Joe Cook and Barny Thorold…Franky Gutteridge was able to get through a first-round match in the ladies’ level singles despite arriving for the match sans racket, and matching camo with ‘The Javelin’ Mark Jeffreys was on-point in their level mixed doubles match…Andy Bayford netted a next-goal-wins screamer from 35 yards in the Saturday post-finals football match…and Steve Willis achieved a perfect 10 from the judges with his scooter luge routine in the downhill bobsled contest.
For the full list of results from this year’s County Champs, click here.
For the 2016 County Champs preview featuring Carisbrooke, click here.