Where Day 1 at Nottingham ran to form, there were a series of narrow escapes and thrilling finishes in Day 2.
In the Men’s 65s Geoff Walton (CHS) was the first 5/8 seed to fall, 16/14 in the fifth to Richard Whitehouse (SFD). British Open Champion Ian Holmes (NHM) fell 2/1 behind to Devon’s Steve Morrall but edged the fourth 15/13 and then the fifth. Paul Reader (HPH) escaped 15/13 in the fifth with a mixture of winners and tins against Jez Horrocks (MSY).
Joe Richardson (BRK) took three tight games against former Champion Ian Graham of Suffolk, another 5/8 seed, while almost the biggest shock in the group came when no. 2 seed Geoff Redfern (WKS) fell two down to Edward Winter (YKS) 20/18. 17/15. Redfern recovered to two all but then fell 14/10 down in the fifth. Remarkably, Redfern reeled off six points in a row to survive.
In the 60s there was order as the seeds came through although David Kirk (OFE) 5/8 retired hurt against Simon Evenden (NHM) to join the rest of the top eight in the quarters. It was the same story in the 55s with the top eight all coming through although there were tough battles as Greg Loach (DYS) , David Box (CBA) and John Parkes (WOC) who came through in four. The closest match was Steve Calvert (NLD) against former Army star Ray Burke (LNH) going to the Northumbrian in five after a hard contested match.
The upset of the day came in the Men’s 50s as 2018 Champion and no. 1 seed David Youngs (NFK) squandered a lead in the fourth and three match balls in the fifth to go down to the powerful and hard hitting Duane Harrison (KNT). The rest of the eight seeded players took their places in the quarters.
The Men’s over 70s started today and the seeds all came through. A regular Masters Champion Phil Ayton (SFK) has a tricky match against Larry Grover of Guernsey while British Open Champion Howard Cherlin (MDX) should be tested by Open finalist Aubrey Waddy (BUX). Defending Champion Barry Featherstone (HPH) faces Scotland’s Alex Sinclair.
The Women’s draws also commenced with the over 55s. The top two seeds Mandy Akin of Kent and Scotland’s Fiona McLean look destined to continue their fierce rivalry and start their campaigns tomorrow. Meanwhile there were wins for Leslie Sturgess (DYS), Hilary Kenyon (CHS), Heather Tweedle(MSY) and Susan Pynegar (NOT).
In the Men’s over 45 the defending Champion, Nick Staunton (WKS) and Ireland had a tough match with Thomas Ison (SFK) before taking it in four and now meets Jonathan Gallagher(DVN), the Leicester pro. Another anticipated match up is Jonathan Gliddon against no. 2 seed Nick Wall of Yorkshire who had been watching his son in the main event earlier.
Top seed and defending Champion Jamie Goodrich (NFK) cruised through to the last eight and has a tough match with Nottingham Club manager Nick Hargreaves. Adam Giles (WLT) upset the seeding after returning to squash after a stint at boxing, beating 5/8 seed Andy Corben (DOR) 3/0, and the former Wiltshire Champion earns a match with 3/4 seed Mike Potter (CHS). Second seed Matt Marshall (BUX) also progressed smoothly and now meets Mick Biggs (MDX).
The Men’s 35s is particularly interesting with former World No. 2 Peter Marshall (NOT) playing. The legendary double hander is playing two age groups down but is the top seed here. Former Champion Darren Lewis (LEC), seeded at 2 may try to have a say in that. Both men moved into the last eight as did the other seeded players.
The favourites are all moving forward in their draws and tomorrow it gets more serious with some tremendous match ups throughout the age groups. Spectators are very welcome at Nottingham Squash Club and there will be some superb squash on show.
Chairman, England Squash Masters.