40 Chris Ryder today added his name to a distinguished list of champions as
he defeated the popular World No. 76 Max Lee in four hard fought games.
Ryder sees his name added to and honours board including the likes of Peter
Nicol, Lee Beachill, Alex Gough, Azlan Iskander, and the late great John
Following 12 Scottish National Masters finals, a large crowd gathered in
anticipation following a series of excellent matches throughout the weekend.
A fast and furious start saw Lee pull away from 7/7 with a combination of
stunning winners and lung bursting retrievals. Ryder saved one game ball but
could do nothing with the second as Lee crushed a forehand volley into the
front right nick. 11/8 and first blood to Lee.
The second saw a more composed Ryder begin to stamp his authority on the
match. Some crisp and stubborn volleying saw Lee on the end of the bulk of
rallies and despite more astonishing gets Lee could do nothing. Ryder was
beginning to hold the ball a lot more, something which Lee commented on
after the match. "He brought in his hold in the second. The constant
starting and stopping left my legs feeling like cement", Lee said. 11/6 to
Ryder and we were all square.
The third started in similar fashion to that of the third. Ryder is a clever
player and he knew Lee was beginning to suffer as a result of a marathon
five set match with his compatriot Dick Lau from the previous night. The
holds became ever more frequent and somehow ever more deceptive. Lee could
do nothing but chase and even then he had to give that up towards the end of
game three. A few desperate, and ultimately unsuccessful, nick attempts
later and Ryder was 2-1 thanks to the 11/2 game three scoreline.
Realising something had to change Lee came out in game four and put in a
huge physical (and probably mental) push. Wrestling the 't' off Ryder, Lee
pushed ahead to a 5-2 lead. Ryder responded with a kick of his own and the
result was that we were never more than a point apart right up until 7/7.
Ryder sneaked ahead with a winning straight drive and a Lee error. Ryder
then dropped one in the tin from mid court himself and we were at 8/9. A
clinging backhand drive from Ryder took him to match ball and then a
deceptive forehand drive that also never left the wall and it was all over.
Ryder punched the air with joy. Lee, despite being clearly exhausted
and disappointed turned to embrace the winner. The standing ovation from the
crowd which followed was duly deserved.
That's me done for the weekend. This years tournament was hard work but
great fun at the same time. Aberdeen Squash Racquets Club (who I believe I
have failed to mention so far are the current European Club Champions!) was
buzzing all weekend and the players are the reason for that.