Island Games

Jersey 2015                                Jersey 2015 a time to shine

A squad of ten players (Jessica Li, Kimberly Clague, Cristen Marritt, Laura Beggs, Abigail Li, Adam Colley, Jonny Callow, Neil Harding, Baillie Watterson and Matthew Nicholson) represented the Isle of Man at the 2015 Island Games, supported by team manager Phil Ardern and coach Benjamin Li. Caroline Whitehead also attended the games as an umpire for the first time.

Team Event – The Manx team lived up to their third seeding in the team event securing a bronze medal on the second day of competition. Successive 4-1 wins over the Shetland Islands and 2013 semi finalists Bermuda ensured a spot in the semi finals against second seeded Faroe Islands. The Isle of Man’s two young singles players Colley and J.Li were unphased by their experienced opposition and played exceptionally to take an end each and force a third end. Unfortunately the Faroes took both deciding ends and took a 2-0 lead. The Faroe victory was completed when they clinched a tight men’s doubles against Callow/Harding. Despite the loss, pleasing performances all round lead to optimism for the bronze medal play-off against Guernsey, who had beaten the Manx side in the final at the previous two games.

Colley and J. Li both lost the first end against their respective Guernsey opponents, but fought back and each clinched the second. In two nail biting third ends which could easily have gone either way, the two Manx players held their nerve and came out victorious. In the men’s doubles, Callow/Harding dominated throughout, not giving the Guernsey pair a chance of a comeback, and won in two ends securing the bronze medal (and large stuffed “Indigo” gorillas). All members of the squad played and won games, demonstrating the depth of the Isle of Man team which many other teams were missing.

Tuesday (Women’s Singles and Men’s Doubles) – Playing at her first Island Games, A. Li was the first player to step on court in the individual events. Understandably nervous she lost the first end of singles heavily, but showed great determination to battle back and claim the second end in setting, losing the third in a very respectable performance. Marritt, J. Li and Clague (seeded 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively) made it safely through to the quarter finals, battling both their opposition and the ever increasing temperatures as the day went on. Clague fought hard but fell to Coombes-Goodfellow of Jersey in three tough ends, and J. Li, visibly fatigued from her strenuous games over the previous three days was forced to retire following a fall which aggravated a recurring injury. Marritt, the only remaining representative in the women’s singles, won both her quarter and semi final, to ensure that she would battle rival R. Carlsson for the gold medal later in the week.

Meanwhile in the men’s doubles, an unfortunate draw for Callow/Harding saw them face the second seeds in the round of 16, the Faroese pair who had beaten them in the team event. Yet another strong performance by Callow/Harding resulted in them coming back from a first end loss to claim the second. In a competitive final end, it was the second seeds who came out on top. Nicholson/Watterson came through their matches against Orkney and Falkland Islands to confirm a spot in the quarter finals against the number 1 seeds from Greenland. Scrapping for every point, Nicholson/Watterson also lost in three ends (this turned out to be the only end the number one seeds dropped on the way to the gold medal) after a slow start in the third.

Wednesday (Men’s Singles and Women’s Doubles) – Nicholson and Watterson both faced opposition from  the Shetland Islands in the first round of the men’s singles, but had mixed fortunes as Nicholson fell to their top singles player. Watterson faced Bror Madsen (a previous winner of the men’s singles event) in the next round. A stubborn performance in the first end finally ended with the Greenland player winning 30-28, followed by a more routine second end. In the same round, Colley paid the price for not closing out the first end against his opponent from Guernsey and although he took the second end, the third was just out of his reach after several days of competition.

Top seeds and heavy favourites Marritt/Clague had little trouble against pairs from Ynys Mons, Bermuda and Guernsey and secured their place in the final. Beggs/J. Li faced the third seeds from Gotland in the round of 16. After losing the first end, the Manx pair turned the tables to take the second. Neither pair deserved to go out at this stage of the competition, however and hopes of more Manx women’s doubles medals ended as Gotland clinched a close decider 21-18.

Thursday (Mixed Doubles) – Beggs/Watterson were first on court facing against an experienced Shetland pair, and after taking the first end in setting were disappointed lose in three. A. Li/Nicholson were next up and confident performances saw them past pairs from Orkney and Gibraltar. Their winning run came to an end against the fifth seeds from Faroes in the last sixteen. Clague/Callow (6th seeds) twice came through three end battles in the round of 32 and 16, both times holding keeping their composure at crucial points in close deciding ends. Marritt/Harding became another of the top seeds to drop out of the competition by the quarter finals against an unseeded, but relatively fresh, Greenland pair. Clague/Callow were desperately close to a place in the semi finals, losing 19 and 18 to the third seeded Gotland pair. Very few would have predicted the resulting semi final line up of Shetland vs. Greenland and Gotland vs Guernsey, making it all the more frustrating how close all of the Manx pairs could have been to a medal.

Friday (Finals and Bronze Medal Play Offs) – In the first final of the day Marritt/Clague faced off against third seeds Caroline Gate/Viktoria Olsson Meimermondt from Gotland, who had narrowly edged Beggs/J. Li earlier in the competition and seen off the second seeded Carlsson sisters. Marrit/Clague were always in control and comfortably defenced the women’s doubles title they first won in Bermuda. Marritt was back in action for the women’s singles final, but was forced to settle for silver as old enemy Rannvá battled her way to gold.

The team would in particular like to thank Phil Ardern and Ben Li for their time and support in Jersey and in the build up to the games, the IOMBA without which sending a team would not be possible, and to our sponsors and fundraisers.

Full results can be found at http://www.iiga.org/results.html

Men’s Singles

Gold – Mark Constable (Jersey), Silver – Niclas H. Eysturoy (Faroes), Bronze – Benjamin Gunnarstein (Faroes)

Women’s Singles

Gold – Rannvá Carlsson (Faroes), Silver – Cristen Marritt (Isle of Man), Bronze – Chloe LeTissier (Guernsey)

Men’s Doubles

Gold – Madsen/Nielsen (Greenland), Silver – Navarro Comes/Navarro Comes (Menorca), Bronze – Constable/Hutchings (Jersey)

Women’s Doubles

Gold – Marritt/Clague (Isle of Man), Silver – Gate/Olsson Meimermondt (Gotland), Bronze – Carlsson/Carlsson (Faroes)

Mixed Doubles

Gold – Gate/Eriksson (Gotland), Silver – Mackay/Keith (Shetlands), Bronze – Barnes/Haynes (Guernsey)

Team Event

Gold – Jersey, Silver – Faroes, Bronze – Isle of Man

 

Two years and counting until Gotland 2017…

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