follows the Finals ...
I have been working on my ubiquitous talents,
but with so many matches it's hard to follow everything. I thought about cloning, but my budget for this event
wouldn’t allow it.
So, I settled for delegates.
For the Ladies' final, Mr Malcolm Willstrop
was there to support his “girls from Pontefract” against New Eltham, along
with son James and club owner Mick. The match was short - Pontefract won
5-0, total 85 minutes, no games lost.
Mandy Akin on New Eltham Ladies
For the Ladies 3rd/4th play-off between Redland Bristol and
Nottingham, I asked 2nd string Sue Pynegar from Nottingham to make
a report on her club's brilliant 5/0 victory.
And for the Ladies’ plate final between Village Cheadle and
Wimbledon, I had the pleasure to have a word with Wimbledon's 3rd string
club assistant manager Claire Baker.
In the morning, I followed the Men's 3rd/4th
play-off meeting between Limpsfield (who play in the
Surrey League, along with my club Wimbledon) and Nottingham. Unfortunately
for them, Nottingham only came with 4 players, so they started with a
Then came the time for the men's final.
For a moment, I wondered what was happening, when I saw Marcus Berrett,
Ashley Flathers and Lee Jemmett wandering around the place. But I was told
that they were playing in the racketball final. Sorry, don’t have
time for that, guys…. [they won, Ed.]
THE MEN’S FINAL
Colets (again in the Surrey League, my, I chose the right county to play
in, didn’t I?), a beautiful club down the A3, had the firm intention of
retaining the title they won last year. By the way, I was told that next
season, they will bring in a new player to play number one. Rumour is that
Alex Gough could be that player, but it could only be a rumour….
But as Heaton knocked out the 2002 champions Pontefract in a 3-2 quarter
final, everything was possible for the Bradford club and they had the
express intention to go home with the trophy.
Danny Meddings (Colets) opened hostilities against Alex Stait, just back
from the Atlanta Open in the States. And even if the match was “only”
three games, it lasted 55 minutes.
Alex started leading 5/0. Danny was making mistakes, tins, out of court,
soon concentrated and came back to 5/5, but Alex dominated the rest of
the rallies, and took the first game 9/5.
In the second, Meddings again made a lot of mistakes, put under pressure
by Stait's length and precise cross-courts and tiring drop shots. Stait
wins easily 9/2.
But Meddings hadn’t given up yet. In the third game, the hand-in hand out
were frequent, and the score wasn’t moving quickly, let me tell you. We
stayed at 0/0, then at 0/1, at 1/1 - 2/1 saw 10 changes of serve. Danny
was playing very well, Alex started doubting (or was it the jet lag
starting to show?). Danny went straight up 6/1, attacking very well,
covering a lot of ground and fighting for every shot.
But it was his turn to feel the strain of the match, and Alex Stait clawed
back 5/6, then 7/7. The end of the match was tense, the crowd loud and the
lets numerous, although not challenged (again very good refereeing from
John Massarella), and Danny Meddings couldn’t pick up Alex’s last glued to
the wall drop shot, and conceded the last game 9/7.
A beautiful match that was.
One-love for Heaton.
On court 9, Phil Rushworth (Heaton), Wimbledon's new head coach, battled
long and hard to honour his soon to be former club, but couldn’t overcome
Adrian Jaski. A 5 setter that put the clock back on 12!
Scott Handley (Colets) didn’t give Nick Taylor a chance, I’m afraid,
although the 1st game was very close. I believe that had Taylor taken the
first one, the result might have been different. The 2 players were close
indeed in that 1st game : 3/3, 5/5 (for a while…), 6/6. But Scott soared,
and never looked back. He won 9/6, 9/0, 9/4 in 40 minutes.
In the third, a tired Nick Taylor thanked a spectator who was kind enough
to shout “Come on, Nick, PUSH”. “Thanks, mate” retorted a very tired
Two-one for Colets.
On court 9 again, Heaton was fighting hard, and re-balanced the meeting
all over again, thanks to Neil Guirey's quick victory over Alan Thomson
9/5, 9/0, 9/0.
MARK CAIRNS: Stares at Referees ...
A bit of “people” news for you now. Sam, Mark’s girlfriend, has decided to
make an honest man of him, after making him wait for seven years. They are
finally tying the knot in September. God, she must be a saint, that girl…
Only joking Mark, only joking…
But what is not a joke, is Cairns' fitness. Blimey, whatever Sam puts in
his breakfast, I want some! I’m not sure of Mark’s age, but I know he is
over 35, and he doesn’t look one day over 25! And he had well recovered
from yesterday’s twisted ankle.
Two things always strike me when I see Mark play. One, he doesn’t look at
the ball, he WATCHES the ball! And two, his stares are wonderful. He
raises one eyebrow, puts his hands on his hips, freezes, and stares at the
referee for a good few seconds.
He could do my profession (no, not the journalist part, dear, the actor
part…) beautifully well.
It was Mr Sabre himself, Paul Lord who had the heavy duty to play Cairns
in this decisive match. Heaton’s second string was never a threat for the
“old timer” Cairns, although the match lasted 58 minutes.
Paul played very well indeed, but whatever shot he would play, Cairns
would pick up and send back with a vengeance. Length, drop shots, lobs…
nothing was too far away for Cairns.
In the first game, Paul Lord started well, and fought hard at 3/3 to stay
in the game. The rallies were long to extremely long, but it was always
Cairns that had the final word, the final touch, the final hit. 9/4 for
The second game followed the same pattern. Fought hard until 3/3, and
Cairns soared again 9/3. The third was a formality, as Cairns went up 5/0
and finished quickly 9/2.
3-2 to Colets. Title retained!
A funny thing happened during the presentations. When Mark was
about to pose for the photographs with his team mates, and just after he
thanked Chris Nutley and his England Squash staff, and also Nottingham
Squash Club for their organisation and hospitality for the event, a voice
was heard in the crowd.
It just so happened that the over 45 men winners had been forgotten in the
presentation! So Mark took over the role of compere, and invited them to
join the Colets team on court, and gave them their trophies. Good thinking!
I told you, Mark could be a wonderful actor/presenter, if one day he
decides to hang up his racquet ….
Sorry again to the players I haven’t spoken about, but my only defence
is that I did try….
So that's the end of the season really.
There's the BSPA Grand Prix Finals in June, but no other really major events
Have a good rest everybody…
Colets cool off
before the final
|Women's 3/4 play-off:
First on court were Alison Goy (Nott) and Ruth Drysdale
(Redland). This began as a tense error prone game , maybe something to
do with Saturday night out in Nottingham City Centre ...
|Ladies Plate Final:
Wimbledon 4 – West Family 1
Only joking…. Wimbledon was actually playing Village Cheadle, but
West, mum, Kristy and Evie, daughters, were playing 3rd,
4th, 5th string ...
Mark Cairns with Sam - they
tie the knot in September
In the morning, I followed the meeting between Limpsfield (who play in the
Surrey League, along with my club Wimbledon) and Nottingham.
OI! What about us !!!
Mark rounds it all up
REST FOR THE
“Didn’t I see you yesterday at another event?” Gawain Briars, in his squash
gear, asked me on my arrival. “Didn’t I see YOU last night at another
event?” I replied …
Yes, a few of us are here today, well, when I say here, physically yes, not
sure about the rest…
Davie is here as a simple referee this time, it’s Joss Garvey who is
organising the refs.
Also John Massarella, who refereed the Super Series
Final last night between Thierry Lincou and Joe Kneipp (and did a mighty
good job, if I may add), and even Wendy Danzey, although she just came here
for the view, as she is baby sitting…
As I got in late (2 accidents on the M1, thank you, 20 miles an hour….), I
have to admit I wasn't that clear about what was happening in the event….
IN THE FINAL
I could only catch up with the second game of Mark Cairns (Colets) vs Ben
That match was the decider of the first semi-final - I missed Scott Handley
3/2 against Chris Tomlinson and Danny Meddings 3/0 against Toby Mortimer
(for Colets), and Kristen Johnson 3/0 against Adrian Jaski and Colin Payne
3/0 against Greg Pearman (for Limpsfield).
Well, I don’t know what Mark Cairns ate last night, but Lion and Gazelle
must have been on the menu, as he was flying on that court, side to side, up
and down, attacking extremely well, hitting good length and dropping
beautifully. As usual, Ben Ford retrieved pretty well, and played lovely
deception shots, changing pace and direction constantly.
But today, Mark was just a step ahead. He won the 2 first games 9/6, 9/6,
and exhausted Ford who fought very well until 4/4 in the 3rd, then just
stopped running, and Cairns won the last one 9/4.
So Colets was in the final, not a big surprise really, is it?
AND THEY WILL PLAY ???
In came Heaton and Nottingham.
On court number 9, Neil Reddington (Nottingham) defeated Chris Bentley quite
rapidly 3/0 in 40 minutes.
On court number 10, Nick Taylor (Heaton) was facing a very fit
Nick Douglas. And as usual, some people were shouting “come on Nick”…
Oh well, that’s clever and very helpful, cheers!
Nick Taylor was just in another league altogether, and the precision of
his drop shots in particular was too much for a very determined Douglas.
“Nick’s width and length were just too good, he is quick on the court, and I
just couldn’t keep up the pace. He prevented me from playing my own game.
But I did learn a lot from this match, and I hope that next time I play him,
I play better.”
Taylor takes Heaton's first point. One all.
3rd string was a bit one sided I’m afraid, and Nottingham’s Matthew Oxley
didn’t have the weapons to defeat a too precise and too quick Neil Guirey
who wins easily 3/0.
2/1 for Heaton.
As Paul Lord (string 2) was starting his match against Shaun Pearson, match
ball was being played on court number 9 between Phil Rushworth
(Heaton) and Tim Richards.
Phil lost the first game 6/9, and his opponent was cruising 7/3, when
suddenly the young Rushworth lit the rockets and started to play divinely.
His opponent could not believe the transformation, and was unable to douse
Phil’s fire. And in a four setter, Rushworth gives Heaton the decisive
Paul Lord gave himself a bit of a scare by going into a 5 setter in the
“dead rubber” that lasted only 47 minutes, losing the first two 9/2 9/0, and
winning the rest (well obviously) 9/6, 9/3, 9/1.
ON TO TOMORROW ...
I’m not sure who will play 2nd string for Colets tomorrow, as Mark Cairns
had to retire for injury. Will he be fit to play, we’ll see.
But the men's final will be between Colets and Heaton, and for the
Ladies, Pontefract (they only lost one game, shame on Nikki Dudley,
only joking) vs New Eltham (not one game lost).
Shame that, once again, everything is happening together, Men’s and Women’s
3/4 play offs at 11 am, and the finals at 2pm.
I need a clone !!!!!!!!!!!
Colets 3-2 Limpsfield
New Eltham 2-1 Chapel Allerton
AN EVENT TOO MANY
As Mark Cairns was running in the left corner
to retrieve a deep drive from Ben Ford in Colets' semi-final against
Limpsfield, Cairns twisted his ankle, but went on playing as if nothing had
Unfortunately, his ankle must have got worse, as he was seen putting some
ice on it just before his second match of the day, the Over 35 final
where he was playing number 1 against Wigan's Gary Thwaite (the National
Over 35 champion, who I interviewed in February)
The order of play was changed to accommodate the busy player, to allow him
to rest between his 2 events (as he had just played the decider in the main
event), but unfortunately, Mark could only play one game, and had to retire,
as his ankle could not take another run.
But by then his team had already won.
Sorry Mark, hope you’ll feel better for tomorrow…
NEW HEAD COACH FOR WIMBLEDON
Phil Rushworth, 21, playing 4th string for
Heaton, is about to become the new head coach for Wimbledon Racquets and
Fitness Club, I was told by Claire Baker, assistant manager for Wimbledon,
here to play the Ladies Plate Final.
“It’s a good opportunity for me”, the young man told me. “It’s a big name
club, and working there will give me the opportunity to get known in the
south of England. I just finished my Health and Sports studies in
University, and I had to slow down my squash as I got injured many times for
back spasms, as the injuries just got the better of me.”
As I told him that his performance in the semi-final was awesome, he smiled
“I want to leave Heaton with a bang, to thank them for all the help they
gave me over the years, free membership, etc. I want to try and win the
title for them.”
Well, here is a lovely and dedicated young man.
Good choice, Ms Baker…
ON & OFF DUTY
Some of the refs had a rest today,
like Wendy Danzey, but some very definitely didn't. Peter Blackmore, for
example, refereed three matches in the semi-finals, and did it excellently.