Chichester aces help Sussex to racketball title

Racketball success has come Sussex's way
Racketball success has come Sussex's way
  • Sussex beat allcomers to retain county title
  • Chichester-based players do their bit towards success
  • Bright long-term future for county set-up

Sussex, the two-time defending champions, started their defence of the title at Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club.

The weekend involved the best players from Devon, Surrey and Kent vying for a place in the play-offs.

The Sussex squad was made up of Tim Vail (captain), Brandon Hanley, Ben Hutton and Chichester trio Steve Wall, Mike Phillips and Jon Potts.

Against Devon, Sussex had a great start although some long, tight matches ensued.

Vail defeated Mike Harris 11-9 in the fifth, Hutton lost 15-13 in the fifth to Christian Turner and Wall won 14-12 in the fifth.

Mike Phillips and Brandon Hanley claimed 3-0 victories over Matt Baker and Mike Gregory to give Sussex a 4-1 win.

Kent, having only four players, were one down before they started. All four players recorded 3-0 victories to give Sussex a 5-0 victory to put them into the championship finals.

Against Surrey, Potts made his debut for Sussex and after a very tight match he lost 3-0. A 3-0 defeat for Steve Wall and 3-1 loss for Mike Phillips coupled with 3-0 victories from Vail and Hanley meant a respectable 3-2 defeat.

Most importantly, Sussex finished in the top two.

Along with other weekend winners Surrey, Yorkshire and Dorset, Sussex took part in the finals at Thame SC in Oxfordshire.

The Sussex side comprised Vail, Hanley, Hutton, Wall plus another Chichester player Steve Wykes. Phillips travelled as reserve.

They had a fantastic start against Dorset as all five players emerged victorious. There were comfortable wins for Vail, Wykes and Hutton. Wall and Hanley were both extended to four games but Sussex were straight through to the final.

They faced Surrey and were looking for revenge for the defeat inflicted on them before Christmas. Surrey had beaten Yorkshire in the other semi-final.

There were great performances from Wykes over Mike Robinson and Vail over Neil Frankland, the latter dropping only five points.

Wall battled courageously pulling back a 2-0 deficit to level the match before narrowly losing 11-9 in the fifth. Hanley defeated Phil Rushworth 3-0 to give Sussex their third senior men’s inter-county championship title in succession, a fantastic achievement.

Hutton lost the dead rubber match 3-1 to make the overall score 3-2.

With Olly Pett and Miles Jenkins, yet another Chichester club member, waiting in the wings, the Sussex team looks strong for several years to come.