Results from the Ladies’ National Championships

News  Tournaments  Womens

The Y Club, Manchester
Saturday/Sunday, 21-22 January 2023

STOP PRESS Louise Mathias won her fourth consecutive Singles title and, with Shinan Zhang, their fourth consecutive Doubles title at this year’s Ladies’ National Championships at the Y Club in Manchester. For the first time Camille Beattie, the National U18 and U23 champion, reached the final to play Louise after a very close semi-final indeed against Shinan Zhang. Shinan had the satisfaction, though, of partnering Louise to victory over Camille and her partner Imogen Wright, the U18 champions, in the semi-final of the Doubles, going on to beat first-time finalists Savanna Leboff & Helena Tunks to retain their title.

As ever the Plates were hard fought, with Olivia Smart from the Edinburgh Academy winning the Singles plate in a second game against Eton Fives exponent Rachel Wood, while Durham’s pair of Kirsten Bell & Lizzie Ware beat scratch pair Leah Hogarth and Rachel Wood to win the Doubles Plate. Stamford School had both pairs in the Bowl, with Bea Grindal & Tilly Stevens taking the honours.

Organiser Louise Mathias reports: It was fantastic to see so many players come together to compete in the Ladies’ National Championships, held at the Y Club in Manchester for the fourth year.

In the singles, a first-round match between Olivia Smart and Savanna Leboff had everyone gripped as they battled out three long games, with Olivia taking the first, before Savanna came back to win the next two, both by 11-9, to take her to the quarter-finals. Rosa Ogilvie, U23s finalist, showed some fantastic competitive play and strength of shot, winning against Imogen Wright, taking her to the semi-finals on her first time at the Nationals. Rosa then faced Louise in the semi-final, but despite some fantastic retrieval was unable to budge the reigning champion. In the other quarter-finals Camille Beattie, the U23 champion, and Shinan Zhang gained comfortable victories over their opponents to meet each other in the second semi-final. This proved another tense and exciting game to watch as, despite Shinan cruising ahead to 10-1 in the first game, Camille dug deep and played some excellent winners to turn the score around to 16-15. The crowds were gathering for what might be another epic three-gamer; however Camille managed to pull away for the last few points, winning the second game 15-11. This took her to her first national singles final, in which she would play Louise on the Sunday morning.

The Plate singles competition was also full of some well contested games within two round-robin groups. In the first group, Lizzie Ware cruised through her games to play a semi-final against Olivia Smart, who came a very close runner-up in the second group, losing to Rachel Wood 11-9. Meanwhile Rachel, winner of group two, faced Chrissie Clark in the other semi and maintained a dominant position to take her to the final. The plate final proved an important rematch between Olivia and Rachel, this time with Olivia coming out on top to win her first ever plate singles title 15-13 in another very close and hard-fought game. A big shout-out must go to RFA President Julie McIntyre for her part in the day’s play. On top of her helping the organiser, she must be the only sitting President to play in a National Singles in recent memory!

Sunday morning started with the singles final between Louise and Camille, in front of a full gallery. Camille showed no signs of nerves, and quickly dispelled the memory of her one-sided loss to Louise the previous year with some error-free hitting, putting pressure on the defending champion. With relentless retrieval, Louise managed to creep out to 14-8 ahead, only for Camille to switch the pressure straight back with three quick points. Unfortunately, that’s where the comeback ended: first set to Louise 15-11. Camille maintained this momentum into the second game, racing to a 4-0 lead in no time; however Louise was able to draw on her previous experience in halting the younger player’s charge. This time the lead was decisive, and Louise sealed her fourth consecutive title with another wrong-footing winner at the front of the court. Huge credit must go to Camille in making this a final to remember; surely she now has the game to win her own national title in the coming years.

After the final, the doubles draw got under way; special mention must go to the group of Stamford girls who travelled up for the play on Sunday. In the main draw, Roseanna & Eleonora, a new Edinburgh/Durham pair, showed great partnership to win against Wendy & Pippa in a great three-gamer. The quarter- and semi-finals all went to seedings, with Rosa & Olivia playing Helena & Savanna in a very closely matched semi-final. Despite serving at ‘game-ball’ down in the first game, Helena & Savanna held their nerve to inch to victory 16-14. They then went on to take the second game 15-12 after some intense rallies with strong hitting from both sides. In the other semi-final, Camille & Imogen produced some great play, with Imogen finding some lovely left-hand nicks; however Louise & Shinan remained in control to take them to their fourth final together. The final versus Helena & Savanna was a one-way show, with Louise & Shinan dominating the winner-count to successfully defend their title once again.

In the doubles plate, it was Leah & Rachel and Lizzie & Kirsten who came top of their respective group to go straight into a final. Here Lizzie and Kirsten showed great attacking play and good movement to win 15-5.

Many thanks go to The Y Club for hosting the tournament yet again, and to all the players for an excellent weekend of fives!



Preliminary round: C Clark bt P Dobney 11-8, 11-5
1st round: L Mathias bt E Vallascas 11-0, 11-0; S Leboff bt O Smart 10-12, 11-9, 11-9; I Wright bt R McNaught-Davis 11-6, 11-0; R Ogilvie bt Clark 11-2, 11-0; S Zhang bt C Davidson 11-0, 11-0; K Bell bt J McIntyre 11-2, 11-0; H Tunks bt L Ware 11-5, 11-3; C Beattie bt R Wood 11-0, 11-1
Quarter-finals: Mathias bt Leboff 15-2, 15-1; Ogilvie bt Wright 15-1, 15-6; Zhang bt Bell 15-2, 15-1; Beattie bt Tunks 15-3, 15-0
Semi-finals: Mathias bt Ogilvie 15-1, 15-0; Beattie bt Zhang 16-15, 15-11
Final: L Mathias bt C Beattie 15-11, 15-8
Plate: O Smart bt R Wood 15-13


1st round: C Clark & C Davidson bt  B Grindal & T Stevens 11-2, 11-4; R McNaught-Davis & E Vallascas bt P Dobney & W Nicholls 9-11, 11-4, 11-7; L Hogarth & R Wood bt E Tyler & R Wright 11-2, 11-4
Quarter-finals: L Mathias & S Zhang bt Clark & Davidson 15-0, 15-0; C Beattie & I Wright bt K Bell & L Ware 15-6, 15-12; R Ogilvie & O Smart bt McNaught-Davis & Vallascas 15-0, 15-2; S Leboff & H Tunks bt Hogarth & Wood 15-2, 15-3
Semi-finals: Mathias & Zhang bt Beattie & I Wright 15-7, 15-1; Leboff & Tunks bt Ogilvie & Smart 16-14, 15-12
Final: L Mathias & S Zhang bt S Leboff & H Tunks 15-5, 15-2
Plate: K Bell & L Ware bt L Hogarth & R Wood 15-5
Bowl: B Grindal & T Stevens bt E Tyler & R Wright 15-9

23 competitors over the course of the weekend

Manchester now the home of these championships

Before the final

Action from the final

The first time Camille and Louise have met in a final

Singles Champion again!

Smiles before the Doubles final

A fourth Doubles title for Louise & Shinan

First time in the final for Helena and Savanna

The day ends with making memories

Back next year to go a step further?

Durham University Past and Present take the Doubles Plate

The Singles Plate goes back to the Edinburgh Academy

The Singles Plate final was a close one

Action from the Doubles final

Not everyone rolls the ball!

A tough semi-final comes to an end

The Doubles final comes to its end

A fourth title merits a hug

The Plate Doubles final ends with handshakes

The champion congratulates the youngest competitor

Congratulations and thanks from the organiser