Masters under way at The Park
The 2019 Masters Championships opened at Nottingham Squash Club with an entry of 275 players well spread amongst the age groups from over 35 to 80 in the men’s, and 35 to 70 in the women’s.
England Squash Masters were again the event organisers with the irreplaceable Brian Brock in the tournament office.
The event kicked off with the Men’s 60s and 65s who had full 32 draws. The seeded players all emerged unscathed but there was a fine win for Ripley Oyler (Berks) who overcame Dave Stones of Lincs. in four and a close call for the former England Captain Stuart Hardy (Middx) who edged past Scotland International Keith Gristwood in five.
In the 65s John Pearson (Derbys) held his nerve to get past Terry Norman (Som) in five as did Jez Horrocks of Merseyside against Roger More (Wks). and Edward Winter (Yks) took five games to beat Durham’s Tony Pensom.
The Men’s 55s followed the same pattern with the higher rated players proving their class.
Gary Raw(Herts) was given problems by Ian Portas on Lincs. but survived two games in setting to win 3/0. There are some tasty match-ups tomorrow and some close matches are forecast. The top eight seeds in the 50s were given byes and for the pleasure of playing them there were some competitive matches.
Andy Cross (DCL) has won two British Opens and a Nationals at over 45, but was not in the top eight seeds here. He had a talented opponent in Wales no. 1 Nick Jones and Cross came through 3/1. The tie of the round was Peter Lonsdale (DCL) and Scotland’s Craig Mitchell. Lonsdale went two up and appeared on top but the Scot roared back to level at two all. Lonsdale proved the fitter, however and clinched it in the fifth.
Adam Talbot (Notts) won through in five games against Jez Gowers-Cromie (Leics) in the Men’s 40s while County teammate Anthony Corbett won a tight match against Antonio Petronzio (Knt) to earn a match with top seed and defending Champion Jamie Goodrich.
There were a few matches in the 35s and Haroon Rashid (Wks) played a good match to beat Paul Norton 3/1, while Billy Hawkes of Yorkshire earned himself a match against former World no. 2 and double handed legend Peter Marshall, the top seed. Hawes beat Mark Camden-Howard (CNL) 3/1.
So the tournament is well under way and all the big names will be in action tomorrow. There is some fantastic squash to look forward to and no doubt some fabulous victories and tragic defeats before the National Champions are crowned on Sunday.
Spectators are welcome at Nottingham Squash Club and entry is free of charge.
Chairman, England Squash Masters