October 2006 All News
Rice and Howard take singles titles at ASICS Sussex Elite
The Sussex event is the second of the three qualifiers on this season's circuit with just next month's ASICS Wimbledon Open left for players to secure a place in the Grand Finals in Bath on December 12 by finishing in the top two in the points standings.
Rice (Bucks) put himself in top spot in the men's singles rankings by following up his semi-final place in the opening ASICS Yorkshire Elite by winning his first title.
Rice, who beat former National champion Mark Constable in the semi-finals, took the title with victory over Surrey's Toby Honey in the final in straight games. Honey had clinched his place in the final with a three-set battle against Rajiv Ouseph (Middx).
"I've been in two grand finals," said Rice, "but this was my first event victory."
It takes him clear of Ouseph and Yorkshire Elite winner Nick Kidd in the points standings.
Hertfordshire's Rachel Howard avenged her defeat by Michelle Cheung (Bucks) in the Yorkshire final by winning at Haywards Heath in a tough three-set final. Cheung took the first game 17-21 but Howard hit back to take the next two 21-16 21-17.
As they are now level on points, the two finalists look set to fight it out again in the Grand Final.
Chris Tonks (Warks) had two good reasons to celebrate in Sussex as he retained both his men's and mixed titles - with new partners.
He and Liza Parker (Herts) won a close mixed doubles by beating Kris Roebuck and Natalie Munt 15-21 25-23 21-15 and then he and Hertfordshire's Dean George, a former Sussex junior, took the men's doubles when Ian Palethorpe (Lancs) and Roebuck were forced to give them a walkover because of the Derbyshire player's knee injury.
George and Tonks had reached the final by knocking out second seeds Robert Adcock (Notts) and Robin Middleton (Yorks) 21-17 21-16.