This week saw the third regional event of the BUCS Individual Championships. Players studying at universities across the UK compete in five regional tournaments to qualify for the finals in March. This week, the championships headed to Exeter, where a host of universities in the south-west had representatives.
With universities such as Exeter, Bath, Plymouth, Cardiff, King’s College London, Cardiff Met, Southampton, Bournemouth and Bath Spa all being represented, there were four qualifying slots available to the finals for both the men and the women.
There were a couple of shocks to be had in the Men’s draw. In the top quarter, top seed John Thompson of Bath was unable to complete a match, withdrawing from the second round after gaining a bye through the first. The other seed in the quarter, James Chester, was defeated in the third round by Jack Large from the University of Exeter, who eventually secured his qualifying slot with a 6-2 6-2 victory over Hassan Morad in the final round.
The second and third quarters were a lot more straightforward. Second seed Samuel Edwards from the University of Bath defeated fellow Bath student M Bartholomew 6-0 6-3 in the final round of the second quarter, while fifth seed Patrick Daykin became the second Exeter man into the finals after defeating Bath’s third seed Oliver Bickley 4-6 7-5 6-3 in the decider.
In the final quarter, both seeded players were defeated in the second round, which left Rishi Shah free to defeat fellow Brit Miren Shah in the final round 6-4 5-7 6-3.
In the women’s draw, there were fewer surprises: seeds one, two and three all successfully navigated their sections to qualify for the finals. Top seed Emily Watson from Cardiff Metropolitan University defeated Lydia Green 6-7(3) 6-4 7-5 in a tough final round encounter, while Indonesian Athena Nathalia won through in the second section. Third seed Alisa Cole from the University of Bath dropped just five games en route to her qualification.
There was another success story for Cardiff Metropolitan in the bottom quarter, with unseeded Abbie Reynolds defeating the sixth and fourth seeds en route to qualification for the finals.
Next week sees the regional event in Leeds, before the final regional event in Buckinghamshire precedes the finals at Loughborough University on the first weekend in March.