The SquashMatch Summer tournament was another huge success story. Many thanks to Robert at Walthamstow Squash Club for the use of facilities and to the tournament sponsors <Sorry, this link is no longer online> for their generous prize donations.
A bright eyed band of merry men and women arrived nice and early, raring to get stuck into their first game. The first two games were played as one off games, the first to 21 – a gruelling extension to the usual first to 15. An early defeat put pay to any hopes of winning the overall tournament, and there were a number of high calibre exits at this stage. A tough draw saw Troy Quin play Keith Lesser in the first round and Greg Smart played Andy Russell. Both games went down to the wire with Andy and Keith Lesser narrowly sneaking through. Elsewhere Andre Ainsworth, Matt O’Hara, Richie Bangay and Dante Vilca all made confident progress to the second round.
Tensions were high and everyone was looking for that extra few per cent that could make the difference. Andre took home a souvenir in the form of a racquet-shaped welt on his head after trying to sneak in behind a backhand, getting a bit too sneaky and walking into the follow through!! A painful lesson learnt the hard way!!
The second round was the split between the top tournament and the plate tournament. The early favourites emerged as Greg and Troy for the plate, and Keith Lesser for the overall victory. The second round saw all four progress easily and the competition intensify. The next three games were best of three to 15 points and it really became a war of attrition. There were a few notable games, Matt beat Richie in a hard fought 2-1, Keith Lesser beat Dante 2-0 to ease through another round and Fatema had a great victory over Rob.
As the day drew to a close the finals were as expected – Greg vs Troy and Mark Nash vs Keith Lesser. The games were played at the same time and both were closely run. Troy took an early lead against Greg, who had been struggling a bit with a wrist injury. After a closely contested second game, Troy proved just a bit too strong, his powerful shots pegging him back and proving enough for an excellent victory.
Meanwhile, the overall tournament final provided an interesting contrast between the powerful and direct game of Keith Lesser and the more fluid game of Mark Nash. Mark Nash took the first game in a contest that could have easily gone the other way. Spurred on by taking the upper hand Mark Nash managed to claw back a deficit to win the second game and take a well-deserved overall victory.
With a group of now bleary eyed and weary players everyone was grateful to shower and get to the bar for a hard earned beer and a barbecue feast in what was probably the sunniest day of the year.
Once again, a big thank you to England Squash and Racketball for providing the trophies and to Sweatband.com for providing the prizes!