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Club Finals weekend

A great day of 9 semi-finals and 2 finals on Saturday, followed by 10 finals on Sunday gave the good crowd plenty of players to support and congratulate as the days wore on.

A selection of the winning finalists, l to r, Brandon Groggins C'ship Plate, Sam Nichol Handicap and C'ship Div B, Ian Savage Non Ranked, David Hetherington Veterans over 50, Daniel Harrison Club Champion, Nigel Stewart Veterans over 40. (missing Malcolm Andrews Veterans over 5-0 Plate and C'ship Div C, Nick Richardson Veterans over 40 Plate, Handicap Plate, Zac Singleton C'ship Division C Plate)

The first final concluded on Saturday was the Veterans over 40 Plate, which saw Nick Richardson against Tony Brannon, and it was Nick in control in the first 2 games with a succession of points runs that kept him clear of Tony, taking the first two games by the same score 15/6. Tony more than held his own in the third however until a back injury to Nick digging a ball out of the back corner turned the game in his own favour at 4/7 down. Nick became far more accurate and deliberate with his shot positioning and he took control from then on, taking the third game also 15/13 for a 3-0 win.

Tony & Nick Nick
 Tony Brannon v Nick Richardson  Vet's over 40 Plate Champion Nick Richardson

After a series of other semi-final matches, the next final contested was the Veterans over 50 Plate which saw John Messenger against Malcolm Andrews, his second match of the day following an earlier semi. In an even start to the game the first 9 points were split 5/4 in Malcolms favour and considering how the match had started, John then managed to win only 1 of the next 11 points giving Malcolm a 1 game lead 15/5. In the next two games whichever of them got a point, they got bunches of them and it see-sawed back and forth, in the second Malcolm took a run of 6 and 4 points, only to see John pull right back to 10/11 with his run of points, but Malcolm triumphed again 15/12 to lead by 2 games. in the third, 3 points to John, 4 to Malcolm, 4 to John, 3 to Malcolm, and on it went, but Malcolm won the game 15/11 to take this strange match 3-0.

 John & Malcolm  
 John Messenger v Malcolm Andrews  Vet's over 50 Plate Champion Malcolm Andrews (photo to follow)

 Sundays finals started with the Championship Division B between Daniel Andrews and Sam Nichol. Sam got off to a great 7/0 start and maintained a good lead throughout with some steady squash, despite having a bit of a wobble close to the end with Dan catching him up, but not enough as Sam took the opener 15/10. The second game was a tight one with points being shared out up to 10/10, but Sam pulled away with the next 5 points to go in front 2-0 with a 15/10 score. Dan led the third game at 5/4 but then lost another run of points to be 10/5 behind and with Sam in the mood he soon clinched the third 15/8 and the match 3-0.

Sam & Dan Sam
 Sam Nichol v Daniel Andrews C'ship Division B Champion Sam Nichol

Malcolm Andrews in his second final of the weekend, this time the Championship Division C against Andrew Bragg was always in control throughout the first game but with Andrew hanging onto his "shirt-tail", but in the end Malcolms little bit of experience held up and he won 15/10. Andrew employed "plan B" in the second game and was soon 5/0 up but for some reason only known to himself reverted to "plan A", or perhaps Malcolm just worked it out, and the second game was Malcolms by the same 15/10 score. "Plan C" for Andrew got a very brief airing in the third gameas Malcolm hit winner after winner and stormed to victory 15/4 for a good 3-0 victory.

 Malcolm & Andrew  
 Malcolm Andrews v Andrew Bragg C'ship Division C Champion Malcolm Andrews (photo to follow)

The Handicap Plate was on court next featuring Peter Fox and Nick Richardson, his second final of the weekend also. Peter is vastly more experienced and with Nick still feeling the effects of his back injury from the day before it was going to be interesting. Peter gave Nick 9 points start to 24 points to win a game, best of 3 games, therefore Nick needed to score just under 1 point to every 3 of Peters and surprisingly it worked out just like that. Both players scored in bunches of points which one minute gave Nick a big advantage but then when Peter Scored his points it pulled it all back level. It was taken to the wire but in the end Nick took the first game 24/21. Peter got off to a shocker in the second with nick scoring 7 of the first 12 points, in effect putting himself 10 points ahead of the handicap and up on the score sheet 16/4.  Peter started to accrue points in bunches again as Nick tired and only scored single points, but at 21/16 to Nick we were back on handicap schedule. Peter scored 6 of the next 7 points to level the game score at 22 all and with a relatively easy forehand drive to play off a Nick backhand back corner boast, he should have gone ahead. However he crashed the ball onto the top of the tin and the point was lost and another point later so was the game and match as Nick trioumphed 24/22 and 2-0.

Peter & Nick Nick
 Peter Fox v Nick Richardson Handicap Plate Champion Nick Richardson

The Veterans over 50 saw David Hetherington against Martin Blair in a good game from two relative "oldies". By the middle of the first game Martin had a 3 point lead and he maintained it through to 9/6 up, but from then on there was only Dave scoring as he creamed off the next 9 points to take it 15/9. In the second Dave won 4 points, then Martin won 5 points followed by 6 of the next 8 to mean David was 5 behind and chasing the game, it wasn't long before Martin levelled the score at 1 game all 15/11. The third was crucial for both and the points were more evenly shared out with neither player having more than a 2 point lead until Martin got passed at 12/11 and David took three points to finish the game and go 2/1 up. Martin dug deep in the fourth game as once again for the first 13 points there was only 1 point between them, but David pulled away with 5 unanswered points to give himself a good space and even though Martin took a few of the late game points he couldn't stop Dave from taking the title with a 15/12 game for a 3-1 win.

 Dave & Martin  Dave
 Daveid Hetherington v Martin Blair  Vet's over 50 Champion David Hetherington

The Handicap final was next, and since the start of the year the improvement in Sam Nichols game has meant that he was playing much better than his handicap suggested, which for his opponent Matthew Harrison (aged 11 and no mean player in his own right) was giving Sam 2 points start up to 17 points. Sam got a flyer in the first game with a straight 4 points and for Matt 17 points seemed a very long way off, but he dug in and took the next 4 points to ease himself back into the game, but 5 more points in a row to Sam took away Matt's iniative and a little bit of confidence and Sam took the opening game 17/7. Too many points at the start in a row for Sam in the second scuppered Matthew's chances of sustaining a challenge in the second game and although Sam never got things his own way throughout Matthew was never close enough on the scoreboard to exert any real lasting pressure on Sam and Sam wrapped up the game 17/9 and the match 2-0.

 Sam & Matthew  Sam
 Sam Nichol v Matthew Harrison  Handicap Champion Sam Nichol

In the Championship Division C Plate final Zac Singleton was up against Kai Nolan, an interesting mix of an experienced youngster and an inexperienced new squash player. Kai's fitness shocked Zac in the first game as everything that Zac hit kept coming back, and that added to Zac's errors, meant that Kai was a relatively easy winner of the opener 15/6. Zac regathered himself at the break and played better squash in the second, exposing his opponents inexperience and keeping the ball away from his murderous forhand drive, this paid dividends and Zac took the second game 15/7 to level the match. More of the same from Zac in the next 2 games meant there was only likely to be one outcome and with scores of 15/5 and 15/6 Zac wrapped up the match 3 games to 1.

Zac & Kai Zac
 Zachary Singleton v Kai Nolan  C'ship Division C Plate Champion Zac Singleton

The Non Ranked competition between Jimmy Irving and Ian Savage was a tight affair throughout and it was hard to pick a winner in the first game as the points racked up. Ian had a 7/5 lead only to see Jimmy pull it back to a 9/7 lead in his favour, and so it went on, into a tie breaker at 14 all and beyond until finally Ian claimed a long, close first game 19/17. The second game again saw Ian get clear only for Jimmy to put together a run of points to catch up, again it was close until Jimmy trailed 9/10 and Ian pulled away with 5 unanswered points to take it 15/19 and lead 2-0. The third game was more of the same with the first 21 points shared, and neither player dominating. From 13 all it was Ian who closed it out to win 15/13 and take the title 3-0.

Jimmy & Ian Ian
 Jimmy Irving v Ian Savage  Non Ranked Champion Ian Savage

Next up was the Veterans over 50 final between Peter Fox and Nigel Stewart, "two good old pros", who played some great stuff between them. There was nothing between them in the first 17 points as Peter lead 9/8, but Nigel took 7 of the next 10 points to take the first game 15/12. The second game saw the early rallies and points shared between them before Nigel opened up a gap with 4 points in a row, only to see Peter fight back with fouir of his own to level it again, even at 9/9 it was looking as though it was just going to take one of them to put another run of points on the board to take the game and Nigel again took all of the final 6 points on offer for a 15/9 result and 2-0. Peter was determined in the third not to let Nigel dominate any points runs and did his job getting to 8/5 up. Then his resistance broke and Nigel scored 5 points to go 10/8 up but credit to Peter he levelled it up once more. Nigel wasn't to be denied however and 5 of the last 6 points was enough to see him home as champion with a 15/11, 3-0 victory.

Nigel & Peter Nigel
 Nigel Stewart v Peter Fox  Veterans over 40 Champion Nigel Stewart

Martin Blair had his second final of the day against Brandon Groggins in the Club Championship Plate and it was the younger player Brandon who calmly took control after the initial skirmishes, running away on the scoreboard to 12 points to 4, Martin dug in at the end to make the score respectable but it was Brandons game 15/8. Brandon kept his "pedal to the metal" in the second with a quickfire 4 point lead, and with more great squash between them the match fizzed along at a good pace with Brandon still in the ascendency leading 12/4, the last 6 points were shared but the damage had been done and Brandon lead 2-0, 15/7. Martin settled down better in the third as Brandon took his foot off the pedal a little and 5 points in a row saw Martin enjoy his squash better, and once he had extended his score to 9/3 he looked nailed on for the third game, and although Brandon kept getting Chances and points the gap was too large to bridge, Martin winning the third game 15/13 to get on the scoreboard 1-2 down. In a tighter 4th game the early rallies were shared with neither of them doing anything too spectacular for fear of letting the other in, but Brandon held an early 2 point advantage all the way through to 10/8 up, Martin cracked thereon and Brandon took the final 5 points to win 15/8, 3-1.

Martin & Brandon Brandon
 Martin Blair v Brandon Groggins  Club C'ship Plate Champion Brandon Groggins

Jackson Holliday last years runner up played Daniel Harrison in the Club Championship final, both having played great squash to qualify through their respective semi finals against Michael Hetherington (last years champion) 3-0 and Ryan Barton 3-1.  Dan started the steadier and lead 6/2 but Jackson kept going for his shots and when they came off he got his nose in front 7/6, but still pushing his luck cost him the first game as Dan took 6 points in a row to take an unassailable lead winning the first game 15/11. The second saw both juniors playing some fantastic rallies with plenty for the large crowd to enjoy and at 9/8 to Daniel it was Jacksons turn to pull away with a run of 4 points, but Dan again levelled it up only to see Jackson hit three winners to square the match at 1 game all, 15/12. Jackson was confident in the third as he realised his game was good and he took the fight to Dan leading 6/2, but Daniel has played in some high stakes matches despite his youth and soon was back at parity and then a couple of points up with the score 11/9. Jackson got the serve back but with only 2 of the next 6 points the third game was Daniels 15/11, to lead again. The fourth game was a cagey affair early on, Jackson being cautious not to give anything cheap away and Daniel not wanting to gift anything to Jackson to hit a winner off, so it was no surprise we got to 5/5 and difficult to split them. Daniel broke the deadlock and opened up his game taking the next 6 points in a row, and after a couple of further points split between them it was Jacksons turn to haul in some points and with match ball against him he went for broke. 4 points in a row stopped Daniels victory march but Jackson went for a Nick too many and as the ball jumped out it was Daniel who cracked it back in to claim the winning point and a great victory, 15/12 for a 3-1 win, making him Club Champion at his first attempt.

Daniel & Jackson Daniel
 Daniel Harrison v Jackson Holliday  Club Champion Daniel Harrison


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