Cooper Comes Close in Racketball Handicap Final

8 January 2024

The Racketball Handicap final took place before Christmas with Jools Cooper taking on the “trophy winning machine” that is Ian Thomas. A record 29 competitors entered this knockout event in October, with handicaps ranging from -11 to +10. Defending champion Sam Morris was knocked out in an early round, despite his growing prowess and speed on court. Special mention also goes to John Newell (+8) who squared up against Ian in one of the semi-finals. A sterling effort, John. Better luck next year! Ironically the eventual two finalists (Jools and Ian) had identical handicaps of -8, so on paper the final would be a very even affair.

It didn’t quite turn out that way, although the rallies were long and hard fought throughout. Jools warmed up nicely before the final against Sophie Cable and was raring to go …. and on the back of this he took the first game against Ian 11-8. Jools has only recently taken up racketball, and despite his reputation as a great squash player had not tested himself before against the more experienced Racketball specialists in a competitive match. The watching crowd speculated if Ian could hit back as Jools looked set to tighten his hold on the match, but steadily Ian began to assert himself and from 4-4 in the second game he crucially took 5 points in a row. His game notched up a gear as he forced Jools to dig deeper.

At one game all, Ian continued his march through the points to establish a 10-3 lead in the 3rd game, every point being fiercely fought with long, attritional rallies and excellent retrieval by both players. Jools responded by taking the next three points but Ian closed it out 11- 6. Two games to one in Ian’s favour.

The last game was a similar affair with Ian racing to a 9-4 lead. Again Jools countered in the next two rallies, but then a crucial (solitary) stroke awarded to Ian brought up match point. With too much for Jools to pull back at this point, Ian took the match and became our 2023 champion. The final score was 8-11 / 11-6 / 11-6 / 11-6.

Well done Ian! Yet another trophy for the cabinet.

Racketball is a great sport and easy to learn. We have a thriving base of very welcoming players who come to Racketball Club Nights at 5.45 to 7.15pm every Thursday and competitive box leagues for a range of abilities. Why not give it a try or come along to meet Coach Sam Morris on Thursday 18th January at Club Night? Alternatively email our Racquets Operations Manager at [email protected] …. He is a very keen player too!