Maidenhead Closed Championships - 12 March 2022
The Maidenhead Closed Championships made a welcome return on Saturday after missing last season because of the pandemic when about twenty players, including most of the League's top performers, battled it out for honours in four events. Restricted to just one day this season, the event was scaled down to include only Singles, Doubles, Handicap Singles and Handicap Doubles. The handicapped events had a bizarre twist with matches being played over four games up to eleven points. Only after the end of each match was the handicap made known to the players and the result declared! To add further excitement, partners for the Handicap Doubles event were re-drawn after every round and so players progressed as individuals based on a doubles result. Great fun was had by all the participants1
The star of the show was Maciej ("Magic") Dlugozima who walked away with both major honours, retaining his Singles, formerly Men's Singles, title that he won in 2020 and also in 2018. However, it was very nearly not the case as Maciej's doubles partner, Hari Prasad Reddy Vennapusa, led him 10-8 in the fifth in their quarter-final. However, Maciej withstood that particular test and went on to defeat Gary Crick in the semi-final. Fifth-seed Gary had earlier eliminated fourth-seed Ricky Hardcastle 3-0 in their quarter-final.
Cippenham Saxons teammates Alan Moss and Graham Trimming also had a right ding-dong battle in their quarter-final. Eventually, it was third-seed Alan that prevailed after Graham had led 2-1 and then equalized at 9-9 in the fourth after being 8-2 down. The final game also went to the wire with Alan edging it 11-9. That left Alan with a semi-final place where he met Chris Collins who was the beneficiary of the absence of third-seed Ludo Montiel who, after wining his group, failed to return after being given leave of absence to attend to a family errand. Alan duly saw off this challenge but was no match for a relentless Maciej in the final which the holder won 3-0.
The 2015 Men's Doubles winners Maciej and Hari teamed up again to triumph in the Doubles. For Hari, this was the retention of the title he won in 2020 with Bruce Smeath. In their semi-final, Maciej and Hari beat Gary Crick and Phil Adkins while the beaten finalists, Alan Moss and Graham Trimming, got the better of Ricky Hardcastle and Chris Collins.
Ricky became quite the star of the handicapped events, despite being one of the most highly handicapped players. In the final of the Handicap Singles he beat Hari and then clinched the double of the handicapped events by partnering Elroy Hull to final success over Maciej and Peter Chipperton.
Cippenham Chairman Ken Phillips officiated as Referee on the day while overall management of the event was performed by Keith Machin.