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Martin Levens Reporting

The BSPA finals arrived at Ipswich Sports Club tonight, with the favourites showing their class throughout the night.

In the first match Joey Barrington proved too strong for Stephen Meads, Joey pulled away well in the first and led 5/2 early on, Stephen Meads fought his way back into it and managed to square it at 6/6. From then on Joey looked the stronger and pulled away to win the first game 11/8.

A very positive Joey Barrington then took control of the match constantly moving Stephen Meads that bit too far and he ended up a 3/0 winner, 11/8, 11/5, 11/4.

The second match saw the favourite Aslan Iskander take on Scott Handley, Aslan ranked nr 12 in the world was pushed hard in the first game by Scott, who showed some lovely creative Squash to open up a couple of chances. In spite of this Aslan proved too strong and sneaked in 11/9.

In the 2nd Aslan tightened up and was always too quick going forward when attacked by Scott, he took the 2nd 11/1

In the 3rd Scott pushed Aslan too 5/5 before Aslan tightened his game up again for a 3/0 win, 11/9 11/1 11/5.

Alex Gough and Tim Vail produced the most attacking game of the night, after a couple of testing rallies early on Alex took an early 4/2 lead. After some delightful touches Alex forged ahead 8/3, Tim began too find his touch and hit a few nicks but couldn’t quite get back at Alex, first game to Alex 11/7.

Tim was always in with a shout in the 2nd and after some testing rallies, with both players using the whole court he took a 6/5 lead. Although there were still some great rallies to follow Alex just looked to have the edge from here on in and went on to win the 2nd 11/9.

Tim was still in with a chance at the start of the 3rd but after wrong footing Alex at the start of the 2nd to get back to 2/2 Tim made a few mistakes to fall 6/2 and then 9/5 behind. Tim found another couple of great nicks at the end but Alex held on for a 3/0 win, 11/7 11/9 11/7.

The last game of the night was certainly the closest. Simon Parke was pushed all the way by Andy Whipp. After three rapid tins to start, the game settled into a fast pace with some lovely variation. With Andy Whipp playing some lovely creative Squash throughout, and after a delightful feint at the front he took a 5/3 lead in the first. The game carried on with some delightful exchanges and Andy after another delightful straight volley drop took an 8/6 lead, a couple of long rallies where Simon seemed to get even more back than usual and Andy just seemed to find the tin at the wrong time saw Simon sneak in 11/9.

2nd game, some lovely attacking squash from Andy, Simon is retrieving as well as ever and is on to any loose ball quickly, 5/5. Andy attacks with a couple of great holds at the front, and gets himself to a 10/8 lead, a mistake and a loose ball, 10/10, Simon makes the important rallies count again 12/10. 2-0!

Simon took the third game by the scruff of the neck, Andy was still in their but after some tough rallies Simon took a 5/1 lead, all over you’d think.

Somehow Andy starts to get back into it and realises that Simon is tiring a touch. So on the attack again Andy gets himself back in. Following some delightful volley drops and holds at the front Andy gets his nose ahead.6/5 Andy, a mistake and a loose ball leading to a stroke for Simon, 7/6 Simon. Andy again attacks brilliantly a couple of great nicks 8/7 Andy. Yet again two mistakes, 9/8 Simon, Simon had always looked the stronger at the crucial points, but right at the death, he drops a couple of clangers himself, 10/9 Andy, and yet again, a poor shot, Simon puts it away, a tin 11/10 Simon and Simon makes another big effort to bring the match home. 11/9, 12/10, 12/10 Simon.

Afterwards Simon seemed to think that Andy, “had helped me along a bit there at the crucial moments.”

Ipswich Sports Club is expecting a full house tomorrow and Saturday after some entertaining Squash tonight.

Club manager Mike Penmann, “ Great to see top class Squash back at Ipswich Sports Club after a two year break, we’re looking forward to some close games tomorrow. If we can continue with this sort of positive response, we’ll look forward to hosting the finals again next year.”