Vail returns to grab seventh title

Tim Vail. Picture: Paul Jacobs
Tim Vail. Picture: Paul Jacobs

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TIM VAIL claimed a record seventh title at the National Racketball Championships in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Vail retained the Ian Wright Memorial Trophy after beating Ted Jeal in a final which went to five games.

The seven-time champion had previously been tied with Daryl Selby on six titles and was very happy to surpass him.

Vail said: ‘My aim going into the Championships was to get the win and take the lead – and I did.’

The title was Vail’s second in a row after winning in 2014 and the champion did not drop a game in the first three rounds of the tournament.

He said: ‘The last few years have been very tough, but this year I found it was a bit easier.’

‘Ted Jeal, who I beat in the final this year, I actually beat in the quarters in 2014.’

Going into the tournament as favourite, Vail won a final match which lasted 50 minutes, after finishing all his previous rounds in under 30.

He said: ‘I’m not worried about the pressure if I’m honest.

‘As long as I’m fit and healthy and playing at my best, I know I’m good enough to win.’

Vail will be returning to defend his crown next year.

He added: ‘I wasn’t sure before the tournament had started, but now I definitely will.’

Vail admitted his main focus remains squash and said that he didn’t actually turn his attention to the racketball until the squash season had ended.

He said: ‘Every year after the squash season I get on the bike and do what I can to get ready for the championships.’

Vail is currently the head squash and racketball coach at Lee-on-the-Solent Tennis and Squash Club and was ranked just outside the world’s top 100 for men’s squash in 2000.

The women’s title at the 2015 championships was won by Zoe Mellis, who defeated defending champion Natalie Lawrence in the final.

The British Racketball Association was formed in 1984, and the first championships were held in the same year.

The Racketball Association combined with the English Squash Racket Association in 1998.

– Lucas Arnold