Rain stops play indoors at Ilkley

Rain stops play indoors at Ilkley

Natasha Hillyer on the way to her fourth AEGON British Tour title in five years at Ilkley

Essex's Aimee Gibson was the more powerful of the two women's singles finalists

Ilkley's Kyle Brassington is airborne during the AEGON British Tour men's singles final

Clay Crawford is a study in concentration on the way to victory

First published in Sport Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Weeklies Sports Editor

NOT even moving the AEGON British Tour finals indoors at Ilkley could save them from a weather interruption on Saturday.

Two torrential mid-afternoon downpours, which caused a spectacular display of water cascading from the guttering outdoors, led to flooding indoors.

Water came in through a fire door and reached only ten feet from the baseline at the clubhouse end, so there was a 20-minute delay during the women's singles final while mopping up operations took place.

However, the stoppage did not put off defending champion Natasha Hillyer (Warwickshire).

The 25-year-old from Coventry, who later won the women's doubles with 17-year-old county colleague Maria Pandya, defeated the more powerful Aimee Gibson (Essex) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in the singles final by dint of greater courtcraft.

It was Hillyer's fourth Ilkley singles title in five years and, with her shoulder injury now firmly behind her, she hopes to regain a world ranking.

While there was joy for Hillyer, there was disappointment for Ilkley's Kyle Brassington in the men's singles final.

Seeking a fifth crown at the club where he is performance coach, he gave an erratic display in losing 6-2, 6-4 to Leeds teenager Clay Crawford.

Ultimately the match showed the difference between a coach and a full-time player as the Leeds Met University student was more accurate in a match that was full of hard hitting.

"I didn't play as well as I could but Clay took his chances," said a realistic 27-year-old Brassington afterwards.

It was the first time that former world No 810 Brassington had faced a fellow Yorkshireman in the final, and Crawford, who is coached by Huddersfield's Steve McLoughlin, will now seek to improve his current world ranking of 1691.

It was Crawford's third British Tour triumph after successes at Nottingham this year and Leeds Carnegie last year.

Cookridge's Peter Ashley, beaten in the semi-finals by Brassington on Friday, had the consolation of lifting the Wharfedale singles title 6-2, 6-1 over Liam Earnshaw.

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