HUDDERSFIELD GAME4PADEL have come within an ace of being crowned iPadel Winter League champions after losing a tense final to holders Roehampton 10-4 on a super tiebreak decider.
70 teams spanning the length and breadth of England and Wales were whittled down to a fab four for the We Are Padel Derby showpiece finals weekend on March 18/19.
The Yorkshire side were captained by Paul Jepson who partnered Martin Calvert at second pair, with the first pair comprising of Ben Gudzelak and Nick Holloway as Huddersfield became the first ever Game4Padel club to make a major national padel final.
Sadly, with a calf injury forcing skipper Paul to retire during the second set, Huddersfield found themselves a rubber down in the most unfortunate of circumstances but Ben and Nick roared back to take the top of the order tussle after an epic Champions tiebreak 10-8.
That left the final to be decided on a super tiebreak with one player selected from the No.1 pair and a second player from the No.2 partnership, with Ben and Martin given the nod and despite a mighty effort it was not to be as the South West London side prevailed 10-4.
Yet as Huddersfield’s ‘padel warhorse’ Nick Holloway confirmed his side may have been beaten but were far from bowed and he said: “We are really proud to have made the iPadel Winter League Finals particularly as we were giving away a few years to most of the opposition to make it to Derby.
“In the final, Roehampton had registered six players to play in the finals and felt it necessary to bolster their team overnight for the final against us with a new first pair brought up from London to strengthen the team.
“We took that as a nice compliment that they felt they needed to do that but thankfully myself and Ben sneaked past them in a tiebreak and that was a good win for us.
“Unfortunately, in the final Paul had already sustained a calf injury in the first rubber and although we levelled Roehampton edged us in the deciding tiebreak.
“But Huddersfield will be back that is for sure.”
The qualification process for Derby began at Surge Harrogate in January and as Nick revealed it was no mean feat to emerge from that challenge unscathed: “At Harrogate we beat Middlesbrough, Chapel Allerton and Surge who are all strong teams in their own right.
“Then on the finals weekend we had to get past Magdalen Park, Bourne Club and Oxshott before meeting Roehampton in the final. So it was a great effort from our team and it was just a fantastic experience to make that journey.
“Really it was also a good show of strength from us, we have good box leagues at Huddersfield which are very strong and if we had needed we could have called upon a few others as well as John Dunsheath, who was also in our squad.
“But this success will hopefully serve to encourage other players at our club to get involved competitively as it really was a great experience.”
Nick was also keen to pay tribute to iPadel founder Ian Colligon and finals host venue We Are Padel Derby for making it a memorable weekend and he said: “Ian Colligon did a great job of the organisation and no stone was left unturned.
“We Are Padel Derby was an excellent facility with great efficiency and superb refereeing and the staff at the venue were also very encouraging to all the competitors.
“So we will definitely be back in the summer league and we will try and strengthen for that. As I mentioned our team was the oldest present by a long way with a lot of 30-somethings up against us whereas I am 61 and our guys are mainly in their 40s.
“So for us to rock up and do what we did against some pretty handy youngsters was doubly satisfying!”