TODAY at the National Cycling
Draws & Results
Sunday 6th, Day THREE
Nicola Cerfontyne bt  Sarah
22-20, 16-21, 21-17 (58m)
Cerfontyne - the biggest surprise
Richard Eaton reports
Nicola Cerfontyne, entirely self-funded and playing in her first
tournament after three months out with a groin injury, became a
surprise national champion when she won an hour-long tussle with
Neither had been seeded to reach the final, but they produced an
intriguing contest of twists and turns in which perhaps the
least known of the leading players won the title.
"I didn't know if I would even be here," admitted Cerfontyne
after her 22-20, 16-21, 21-17 triumph. "I am a bit shocked
really. I don't know what to say."
a while in the middle of the match it looked as though Walker's
nicely varied game was getting the better of Cerfontyne's speed
She seemed to be gaining control of the match in the middle game
and had she not allowed two game points to get away from her in
the first she might have been cantering to victory.
Cerfontyne was still the better athlete, Walker was the better
stroke-player, but the suspicion was that Cerfontyne had a
After reaching 3-0 in the third Walker began to falter, her
error ratio increasing, and her movement a little more laboured.
Cerfontyne won the best rally of the match with a typically
quick kill at the net to nose ahead 4-3, and it seemed to give
"My game plan was just to get everything back," said Cerfontyne,
whose best asset, even when she was tiring, was her speed. "Even
if the shuttle was two centimetres off the ground I was still
going to go for it."
She was 11-8 up at the interval, and then 18-14, but even though
Walker again produced some of the best constructed points of the
match to half the deficit, she did not quite have the energy to
It was nevertheless an encouraging effort by a player who lost
almost a year of her career to injury, even though she will
probably reflect on what might have been.
As for Cerfontyne, at least the future may offer her more than
the present. She survives with financial help from family and
from doing coaching at the Greve club in Denmark where she has
been based since September.
just didn't seem to be getting the opportunities back home," she
said. "But I always wanted to win the nationals. This is massive
– not only for what the title means, but for my confidence."
Future funding may depend on whether the 23-year-old Cerfontyne
is the eventual successor to Liz Cann, the current England
number one, or the 21-year-old Walker, or the 20-year-old Kate
Further down the line, the 15-year-old Chloe Birch, the
impressive conqueror of an ailing Cann, may also get into the
reckoning. English women's singles may be entering a period of
 Rajiv Ouseph bt  Carl Baxter
21-10, 21-16 (33m)
Ouseph's quartet raises world hopes
Richard Eaton reports
Rajiv Ouseph frustrated his regular sparring partner and good
buddy Carl Baxter yet again when he won the men's singles title
for a fourth successive time with a skilfully taken 21-10, 21-16
That sequence has only been done once before and if the
24-year-old with the smoothly flowing, steadily developing game
returns to achieve a quintet next year that will be a record.
trying to get into the habit of winning," said the Commonwealth
and European bronze medallist. "I've started to do that more so
hopefully I can carry it on.
"I was expected to win this but it's always nice to win a
tournament. You don't get that very often when you're week in
week out playing Super Series events, so winning a tournament is
a good thing and gives you a mentality and a momentum."
Ouseph's performance showed just how and why he has been pushing
to within sight of the world's top ten in the last year.
His trademark net game, deft and perceptive, was working well,
along with mid-court blocks and pushes which have denied so many
a hopeful aggressor, but there were newer, more aggressive
Baxter, who has seen these emerge at closer quarters than anyone
else, knew that anything short would be punished, and that
Ouseph was more attack-minded than he has ever been.
"The shuttles were quick so it was good to attack when I could,"
said Ouseph, though it is his longer term policy to look for
opportunities to do that more anyway.
became most apparent as he moved from a 14-10 first game lead to
take the next seven points in one commanding run.
Two of them, at 17-10 and 18-10 were taken with sudden, fierce
smashes from deepish positions, one straight and one
cross-court. These two shots, more than any other, stamped his
authority upon the game.
Baxter tried to undermine it by forcing the issue more himself,
but once missed a net shot from a good position, giving a loud
shriek as he did so, and then missed an attempted kill to go
By now Ouseph was in relentless control, like a well-oiled
machine with an increasing number of parts coming into
Once he swivelled full circle to vacate the mid-court and flow
into a "Danish" swipe-drive which got him out of a difficult
position at the back, and on another occasion he did two
delightfully delicate hairpin net shots in a row to set up a
was nevertheless Baxter who produced the shot of the match,
launching a brilliant backhand smash which hurtled for a
cross-court winner – a shot perhaps born of desperation but
which elicited a smile of congratulation from Ouseph.
"I had to be more focused as this was a tougher match than the
others," said the champion of his opponent, who has now been
runner-up three times in a row.
"But I was able to play the way I wanted to. And, yes, I think
it showed that this has been my best 12 months."
Robertson & Langridge bt  Adcock & Ellis v
21-12, 21-17 (31m)
XD:  Robertson & Wallwork bt  Adcock & White
21-18, 16-21, 21-17 (56m)
WD:  Wallwork & White bt  Agathangelou &
21-7, 21-17 (33m)
Robertson dedicates title
to unlucky Clark
Richard Eaton reports
Nathan Roberton dedicated his ninth national men's
doubles title to his friend and former partner Anthony Clark,
who suffered an agonising eye injury the day before the
tournament when he was hit in the eye with a shuttle.
Robertson's success with Chris Langridge followed his
successful defence of the mixed doubles title with Jenny
Wallwork, thus carrying him to within one of Mike Tredgett's
all-time record total of 16 of six national titles.
But unlucky Clark had missed the the chance to extend his
record-breaking sequence of men's doubles titles to ten, and
Robertson was prompt in deflecting the limelight from himself.
is for him because he deserves his tenth title in a row,"
Robertson said after he and his scratch partnership with
Langridge completed their fourth straight games match with a
21-12, 21-17 victory over Chris Adcock and Andy Ellis.
"It's a travesty Anthony's not here," Robertson continued. "It
wasn't that I particularly wanted to play men's doubles, but I
did enjoy it, and no-one got close to us which was fantastic
because we have only played together in practice.
Langridge showed again, as he had throughout the three days,
that he has speed and imagination, and, as the final smash was
struck, a great deal of desire became apparent too.
He leapt from the arena with a giant sideways hop which carried
him over the A-boards and with a noise which alarmed a couple of
front row spectators.
"Sorry about that – I was a bit excited and got a bit carried
away," he said. "I had had three finals which didn't work out,
but this time I was playing with Nathan which was a bit lucky.
"It's real bad luck for Anthony though to be hit in the eye by a
shuttle. So I am after Gary Fox for that – no you're all right
Gary," Langridge added, injecting some helpful humour.
became the second successive year that both Robertson and
Wallwork won two doubles titles, a triumph which was more
remarkable for Wallwork having to play through both finals with
a gluteal injury.
They won the mixed doubles together by beating Chris Adcock
and Gabby White 21-18, 16-21, 21-17, and later Wallwork
teamed up with White to beat Mariana Agathangelou and Heather
Olver 21-7, 21-17 in the women's doubles final.
That result only briefly looked in doubt near the end, but the
mixed was a tough contest. Robertson often conferred with
Wallwork between rallies, something which got him a reprimand
from the umpire.
not the only one who isn't ready," retorted Robertson defiantly.
He was determined to encourage and communicate with his ailing
They survived because Robertson was the most creative player,
especially in the vital moments at the finish, but Wallwork was
certainly the most courageous player of the day.
"The night before I didn't think I would be fit enough to play,
and I wasn't sure in the morning," she said. "I was a bit
worried but the physio said give it a go.
"If I had done a few big lunges I might not have managed it. The
injury hurt for a while, but then I guess the adrenalin took
also had a formation plan with White. "I did nothing forwards. I
said you run forwards and I'll run backwards," she quipped.
Wallwork and Robertson may nevertheless be better equipped to do
well at next month's All-England Open than they were last year,
and Robertson says he is prepared to step in to partner
Langridge again at the European team championships in Amsterdam
in just over a week's time if Clark is still not fit.
But whether Robertson will go on to equal or overtake Tredgett's
record of 16 titles next year is more in doubt. By then he will
have reverted to one event, and the 2012 nationals will come
just before the end of the London Games' qualifying period. For
a 33-year-old there are also other considerations.
"Most of the players here are half my age," Robertson said,
exaggerating a little to get the laugh. But he also made a
point. "I might play the nationals one more year but then I'll
be content to sit and watch," he said.
The end of an era is approaching.