Masters Finals – Chairman’s Report
After an eventful two months with the new England Squash Management trying to implement a new system and finally reverting back to the tried and tested formula, plus condensing the Tournament into an unmanageable 4 days, play reverted back to start on the Wednesday with the early rounds
To the most important facet – the squash!
WO60 – Julie Field was in a class of her own, as expected from the World Champion, with Eunice Bond (Scotland) coming runner up.
WO55 – Jill Campion retained her title beating Lesley Sturgess, 11/15 15/8 15/12 15/7, after the latter unexpectedly overturned the current World O55 Champion Karen Hume.
W O50 – Rose Bamber claimed the title 15/13 in the fifth from the unlucky Fiona McLean who also narrowly lost by the narrowest of margins in the Open Final, to Rachel Woolford. Bamber beat Woolford, 15/13 in the Semi and McLean gained a walkover.
WO45 – Andrea Santamaria had a walkover through injury in the Semi v Sarah Parr and then beat Sam Mueller 11/8 13/11 11/4 in the Final.
WO40 – Keeley Johnson will be on Cloud 9 for the next year after an amazing performance when she comprehensively beat the favourite and no 1 seed Shayne Baillie, 11/3 11/3 11/9.
This, after she had gained a hard fought 3-2 over Rachel Calver in the Semi, her power length hitting, especially on the backhand, and courtcraft, being a decisive factor.
WO35 – Lauren Briggs was expected to claim the title and duly did so beating Natalie Lawrence, 11/6 11/3 11/2, after the latter had beaten Anna Vaughan Hawkins in the Semi.
MO80 – Pat Kirton, second only to Phil Ayton in remaining at the top of British Squash for nigh on 60 years, was a mite too good for his fellow competitors, squeaking past John Woodliffe, 15/13 in the fifth before beating Lance Kinder 3-1 in the final pool match on Sunday.
MO75 – World Champion Adrian Wright, still doing damage in the O70’s was far, far too good for all and sundry, beating Geoff Coe 15/6 15/4 15/3 and Eric Robinson, 17/15 15/6 15/9.
MO70 – Phil Ayton, arguably the best British Masters player of all time, no 1 in every increment in Britain since he was 18, duly recorded yet another title beating Rod Boswell, 15/13 15/13 15/10.
MO65 – Ian Graham, after losing the World Title in Johannesburg and playing with injections prior to major knee surgery, had all his prayers answered in four days, beating Terry Belshaw, 16/14 in the fourth to record his first ever Squash National Title, but he has won numerous Racketball Titles. Belshaw, a much improved player is normally the absolute master of winning tight matches, edging Phil Godfrey and Alan Edge despite match balls against , but this was just one bridge too far.
MO60 – This group was weakened dramatically by injury and non entries and eventually finished off by illness. Steve Johnson, carrying a groin injury, was due to play Simon Evendon who had prevailed over Rustom Bativala (who had an ankle problem), but Simon’s evening meal gave him food poisoning landing Johnson the Title. Johnson had taken out the no 2 seed, Stuart Hardy, 3-0 to get to the Final.
MO55 – Mark Woodliffe, having missed the World’s through injury, made up for lost time and beat the never say die, John Parkes, 3-0 in the Final. Woodliffe has the economy of movement and time to adjust that all the top pros possess, and gave a master class.
MO50 – Steve McLoughlin had the result of a lifetime, beating no 1 seed, Yawar Abbas, 13/11 1 6/11 6/11 11/7 11/6, his speed and fitness always at 110% in what is and has been all year, a very strong group in overall standard, with at least 10 players all capable of beating each other.
MO45 – With the stars coming out to play, Nick Taylor, Peter Marshall, David Campion, Jamie Goodrich who has won 3 Regionals this year at O35, reckon he should have dropped down an age group!
In the end, Taylor came back from a game down and 1-7 down in the third to record a 3-1 victory over ex World no 2 Marshall, in what he described as the ‘Real World Title’! Richly deserved as well.
MO40 – Peter O’Hara of Scotland was the outright favourite and didn’t disappoint, beating Danny Massaro, 11/9 11/5 11/8, with Ashley Bowling and Johnathan Gallacher the unlucky semi finalists.
MO35 – A talented field with Darren Lewis overcoming Ben Ford, 3-1 in the Semi but coming up against ex World top 30 Andy Whipp in the Final, 11/1 12/10 11/6.