Rachael Iles, Mia Lakhani and Holly Holder won the major prizes at the Sussex Women’s 1*.

The morning roared to a start with seven groups of under-21s, leaving the over-21s to get the coffee in.
Top seed Rachael Iles got straight to business and saw off her group, followed by Isabella Turner-Samuels of Greenhouse in the quarter-finals and a very spirited challenge from Luna Archard in the semi-finals, winning 14-12, 6-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-6).

Archard had beaten the strong Parmis Ahsani to make the semi-final, also in five (11-6, 3-11, 3-11, 13-11, 11-7).

On the other side of the draw, Jonabel Taguibao had seen off Eunice Lam, while second seed Mia Lakhani made it past Akshita Subramaniun to reach the semi-finals, where Lakhani won 3-1 (3-11, 11-7, 14-12, 11-7).

An all-Cippenham final lay ahead of us as the two top seeds made it through to the final. Lakhani raced to a 2-0 lead, looking to overturn the seedings before Iles came right back to level and to set up a decider. However, Mia was not to be deterred and took the fifth set and title, the final score 3-2  (12-10, 11-7, 6-11, 3-11, 11-7).

The consolation was determined not to let the main event outshine it and saw more five-setters than anyone would have expected.

Izzy Langridge of Brighton saw off Kent’s Lydia White to take a semi-final space (-9, -9, 7, 10, 10) before a four-set fight with Nour Alamine which went Alamine’s way for a final spot.

Kate Smith, also of Brighton, saw off Jersey’s Esther Lewis (6, -10, 9, -10), which set up a long and winding final which back and forth could have gone the way of either girl. Alamine came out on top 3-2 (15-13, 4-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9).

The over-21s had Sussex written all over it with all three top seeds coming from the area. Teresa Bennett showed her dominance to win her group and see off Jersey’s Carol Allaway and Debbie O’Neill of Essex to reach her final place.

It was much the same for second seed Holly Holder, through to seeing off North Mundham’s Donna Hammond in the semi.

The final tussle went both ways as Bennett went 2-1 up but Holder showed no sign of letting it run away with her and took the next two sets and the match for the title, 11-7 in the fifth.

Winner Holly Holder and runner-up Teresa Bennett receive their medals from Sally Hughes

The O21 consolation saw Essex girl Sarah Ball of Invicta overcome Brighton’s Emma Ritchie in four games (5, -5, 7, 7) to take her win.

Sarah Ball and Emma Ritchie receive their medals from Sally Hughes

In the main event, the Open, the competition was fierce from the outset with 38 women taking up the challenge.

Rachael Iles saw off the up and coming Eunice Lam in four sets in the first quarter-final, Mia Lakhani squeezed past the O21 winner from the morning, Holly Holder, in four, while Parmis Ahsani battled past Jonabel Taguibao in four and Teresa Bennett worked past Anna Piercey in four.

Iles then matched up against Bennett, no stranger to each other’s games having played here before, but there was only one result the girl from Cippenham was interested in and in three fast, straight games, Bennett was out.

The other semi-final was much tighter with Lakhani overcoming Ahsani in four thrilling sets (-7, 8, 7, 6) and we had a second all-Cippenham final of the day.

No one could have confidently predicted the outcome as sets swung back and forth. Cippenham coach Ken Phillips watched on – he couldn’t lose.

After a hard-fought match, this time we saw the opposite of this morning U21 final as Rachael took the crown 3-1 (8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-1).

Winner Rachael Iles and Runner Up Mia Lakhani receive their medals from Sally Hughes

The Open Consolation was no less dramatic. Greenhouse’s Nour Alamine needed all five sets to overcome Sussex’s Hasali Kurappa in the semi-finals, the last being 17-15, to take her place in the final. Kate Smith saw off Grace Liu in a slightly smoother fashion (7,9,3) for her final place.

The final went the distance and it was Alamine who won it 3-2 (9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 12-10).

Nour Alamine and Kate Smith in the Open Consolation Final as teammates from Greenhouse and Brighton watch

All results from the tournament are available to view here.

The tournament team awarded the Sussex Sportswoman Award to Carol Allaway of Jersey who played brilliantly, enjoyed her first tournament and was a strong role model to all the girls at the event.

Carol Allaway receives her award from Sally Hughes

If you weren’t able to play this time and would like to enter the next Women and Girls’ circuit events, click below:

Further events in Nottingham and Sussex are also scheduled – see our tournament listings for details.

If your club would like to know more about hosting an all-female competition, training session or taster event don’t hesitate to email Sally Hughes.