Bermuda's James Stout defends World Rackets title

James Stout successfully defended his World Rackets title with a determined performance in front of a packed crowd at the Queen's Club in London on Saturday.

Having established an almost insurmountable 4-0 lead in the first leg in New York, the only way Stout could lose in London was if challenger Alex Titchener-Barrett could beat him by the same score while also winning the most points over the two matches.

Stout started the second match in confident style and was leading 14-7, just one point away from the championship, but let the lead slip through his hands as Titchener-Barrett tenaciously fought for every point and managed to level the game at 14-14. Titchener-Barrett eventually took the first game 17-14 and briefly had some hope of pulling of a famous victory.


James Stout successfully defended his World Rackets title with a determined performance in front of a packed crowd at the Queen's Club in London on Saturday.

Having established an almost insurmountable 4-0 lead in the first leg in New York, the only way Stout could lose in London was if challenger Alex Titchener-Barrett could beat him by the same score while also winning the most points over the two matches.

Stout started the second match in confident style and was leading 14-7, just one point away from the championship, but let the lead slip through his hands as Titchener-Barrett tenaciously fought for every point and managed to level the game at 14-14. Titchener-Barrett eventually took the first game 17-14 and briefly had some hope of pulling of a famous victory.

With the crowd behind him, Titchener-Barrett took an early lead in the second game, racing to 8-3, with Stout appearing to be in trouble. But after the Bermudian won back his service, the two players treated spectators to what was described as the best rackets play of the entire challenge.

From 8-3 down, Stout won the next 12 consecutive points to close out the game 15-8, and retain the World Championship with a superb score of five games to one over two matches.

"It was strange I felt more nervous going into the second leg with a four-nil lead than I did two years ago against Harry Foster (the then World Champion) when I led 4-1 at that stage," said Stout. "I thought Alex would come out with all guns blazing as he had absolutely nothing to lose.

"I wasn't really worried about losing the first game, I had a lot of confidence in myself, and it takes just one point for momentum to change. You're in the service box, you win a point and the momentum is in your favour.

"Anyway I was feeling confident, I relaxed more and we had some very good rallies where I had him under pressure. We picked up the pace, I was pushing him up the court more and he was no longer able to play winners. It was just a matter of time before he started making mistakes."

Stout's parents, John and Karen Stout were on hand to see him retain his title.

"It was nerve-racking, especially as Alex is such a strong player," said John Stout.

"In retrospect there was no need to worry as the damage had been done in New York with the 4-0 lead. Some of the rallies in the second game were amazing, the ball was moving so fast. It's incredible that the players can control it and judge where it's going in order to hit it . It was very exciting. "

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