National Singles Championship 2019
Qualifying – various locations, November 9/10th. Finals: St Paul’s School, Barnes, December 7th/8th
Organiser Charlie Brooks has published the draw for the last 16 of this year’s National Singles championship. This is the stage at which the qualifiers from the regional events join the top four seeds who qualify by right – and it looks as if an excellent weekend of Fives is in prospect.
If the seedings hold true, the 2019 final will be a repeat of last year’s match, when eventual champion Dan Tristao (above) faced Ed Kay. The two are the top seeds again this year, but the competition looks very open, with all four of the top seeds having already won singles titles this season. Ed won the South West Open, while Dan picked up the West of England title, but former national champion Will Ellison comes into this event after winning the London Open in September, and fourth seed Ben Beltrami won the Students’ singles championship for the first time just last month.
Mind you, given the strength of the field this year, there’s no guarantee that these will even be the four that make it through to the semis. Fifth seed Dan Grant should never be underestimated, with his individual style and audacious Wallball-influenced shot-making, while sixth seed Richie Murby is certain to be a threat.
Indeed, as you look through the draw, there are big games everywhere, with the clash between seventh seed Julian Aquilina and his fellow Old Pauline Matt Shaw looking like the pick of the first-round matches.
Perhaps the only people who might have an issue with what is a cracking draw should be the Hanton family. Messrs Hanton J and Hanton P have done well to reach the last 16, but their reward is to face top seed Ed and second seed Dan, respectively, in their first games.
You can see the full draw by clicking on the link at the bottom of the story, and keep an eye on the RFA’s Twitter and Facebook feeds on the day to keep up with the latest action during the event.