HIGHLAND MASTERS – 1/2 OCTOBER 2016

The Highland Masters tournament was held at Inverness Tennis and Squash Club on 1/2 October 2016. The tournament was sponsored by Spey Valley Brewery with prizes of local craft specialist beers.

There was a total of 40 competitors who took part in 6 mens’ events. Unfortunately, there were insufficient entries to hold any ladies events or mens’ O40s or O70s events – the two O70 competitors played in the O65s event. A number of the regular Masters’ competitors were playing in the World Squash Masters 2016 in South Africa.

David Massey and the Inverness Squash Club committee managed a very well organised tournament. They all worked hard to make all competitors welcome and provided an excellent hospitality throughout the tournament. At the prize giving competitors thanked David Massey and the committee for all their hard work in the organisation and the draws.

Thanks are also due to SSRL and for the new ‘SportyHQ’ tournament management system which supported the Inverness committee in running the tournament and provided live on-line results. Keith Oversby from Oban was available on Saturday as a referee with this organised by SSRL with Keith recently qualifying as a level 3 referee and his support was greatly appreciated.

MO35

There were five competitors, namely Neil Steedman and Graham Lind from Edinburgh, Billy Scott from Aberdeen and Mike
Martin and Scott Hay from Glasgow and the competition was played as a round robin.

All the matches in the youngest age group were fiercely contested and competitors entertained the spectators with their hard hitting and fitness. This was in contrast to some of the older age groups where competitors used their finesse and rallies were much shorter.

Mike Martin won all four matches and the O35 title but this included one five game and two four game matches. His match against Neil Steedman was very close – Mike won the first game 9-5 but Neil held his nerve to win the second game 10-9. The long third game was crucial with Mike winning 9-7 and Mike showed his fitness in closing out the fourth game 9-1.

Neil won his other three matches including a hard match early on Saturday morning with a four game win over club mate Graham Lind. Neil was runner up and Graham finished in third place with two wins.

We hope that the O35 age group will attract a good level of interest in the future 2016/17 Masters Tournaments.

MO45

There were four competitors and the competition was played as a round robin. The first match of the weekend was between John Kynoch and David Lindsay, John won the spin but David looked like he went on court with a match plan to take control of the match which resulted in a 9-7, 9-3, 9-4 win. Douglas Emery was next on court in the group with David Massey, the start of each game saw the serves going back and forward but Douglas moved David around too much and won 9-3, 9-2, 9-0. The second round of matches put John against Douglas on court first but John was not able to match Douglas with Douglas taking the match 9-4, 9-5, 9-2. The David’s took to court 2 with David Taylor refereeing so one thing was certain about this match, David would win and lose with David calling the shots! The match started with Massey taking the 1st game 9-5 but Lindsay pulled back with a commanding 9‑5 and 9-1 and then the 4th game was won by Lindsay 9-7 to win the match 3-1.
After a night’s rest, some beer and a curry there was only one match on the Sunday for the over 45s, Kynoch against Massey and Lindsay against Emery. Kynoch/Massey were up first with Massey taking the first game 9-4 but Kynoch was having none of that coming back 9-0 in the second with Massey taking the third 10-9. The legs were tiring and Kynoch took the 4th and 5th 9-0 to win 3-2. Emery and Lindsay took to the court last to fight it out to be the event winner for the weekend, Lindsay again went on court with a match plan taking the first 9-3, Douglas came back quickly in the second winning 9-0. The 3rd game saw slow progress in points for both players as the serve went back and forth with Douglas accruing more than David in the closely fought game to win 9-4. The fourth and final game of the match progressed smoother with Douglas taking control to win the game 9-2 and match 3-1 to close off the event.

MO50

After an encouraging entry of 10 competitors for the first Over 50s Masters event of the season in Broughty Ferry, it was disappointing that only half that number entered the Highland event at the Inverness club.  That said, with each player getting 4 round-robin matches over the two days, it promised to be a busy and eventful weekend…

Saturday

The first round of matches on Saturday morning saw Rod Robinson up against Chris Holt and Tom Adams play Brian Robertson.

Rod and Chris had met at the quarter final stage in the season opener, with Rod the victor, which added an edge to this match.  It looked like Rod may maintain his early season advantage when he won the first game, but when Chris levelled the match at one game all, the tide was turning and Chris went on to gain revenge with a 3-1 win.

By contrast, Brian and Tom hadn’t ever played against each other, so there was the immediate challenge of adapting to a new opponent’s style of play.  It was Brian who got points on the board early and he didn’t look back, winning in straight games.

In the second set of Saturday matches, Brian’s opponent was local player Davie White.  After winning a couple of early points, Davie couldn’t sustain his challenge and Brian ran out a comfortable 3-0 winner.

At the same time, Rod and Tom were battling it out on another court.  A close first game was won by Rod 9-7 and with the momentum that brought, he was able to push home his advantage, winning the second more comfortably and the third more comfortably still.

Later in the afternoon, Chris and Davie competed in the last of the Saturday matches.  In a one-sided match, Chris completed a 3-0 win without dropping a point.

Sunday

Sunday matches for the Over 50s started mid-morning and, as was the case the previous day, court conditions were ideal.

Davie Wood was unable to make an impression against Rod Robinson, Rod strolling to victory by a 3-0 margin.

Meanwhile, Chris Holt was playing Tom Adams in another re-match from the Tayside & Fife event.  At Tayside, Chris won narrowly 3-2, but this time he won more emphatically, 3-0, leaving Tom still without a win this weekend.

Next on court were Rod Robinson and Brian Robertson.  This match was closer than the score-line suggests, but Brian was the one who managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over for a 3-0 win.

The last match for Davie Wood and Tom Adams gave each the opportunity to break their duck for the weekend, and it was Tom who did so by a clear 3-0 margin.

And so the final outcome would be determined by the last match on court between Chris and Brian.  Chris played the
more positive squash to take the first game, and continued to go for his shots in the second.  Had Chris been able to win that game too, then it would have been a long way back for Brian, but as it was Brian did enough to level the match and then increasingly exert control and push on to win by 3-1.

Thanks to the organisers for putting on a well-run tournament on excellent courts and to the competitors for keenly contested matches played in a good spirit.

 MO55

There were eight competitors and the competition was played as a straight knockout.

The O55 started with all the seeds going through with Alan Law, the number one seed going through 3-2 – a tougher game than expected with John Charles taking him all the way. Graham McAinsh went through with a bye after his opponent withdrew and Richard Easton and Dave McAleese won 3-0 in their games.

The semi finals were played on Saturday afternoon, Dave going down 3-0 to Graham. Dave was off the pace in this match due to not being on the court much this summer (more court sprints Dave). The second semi final went to the wire with Alan winning 3-2 with Richard moaning reverse boast need to be banned!

The final was played on the Sunday, with Graham winning 3-1 against Alan Law and he played some great drop shots in the back hand corner. Alan, after a couple of five setters, was a tad off the pace and went for quick winners but the accuracy was not quiet there. Congratulations to Graham for a deserved win.

In the Plate final John Charles defeated Lance Marshall in a very competitive final.

MO60

There were 8 players so a simple knock out format.

2 of the 4 quarters were relatively straightforward wins for the seeds with Eric Donohoe beating Phil Leek 3-0 and John Charles beating Lance Marshall 3-0. Keith Hobson was making a comeback in Masters squash and took the first game against Bryan Jackson but Bryan tightened up his game thereafter and benefited from too many error on Keith’s part and won 3-1. The other quarter was William Jappy v Dave Taylor which almost ended before it started as Dave was struck near his left eye by an errant shot during the knock up. After a short time out Dave played on and won 3-0 and he then proceeded to the local A & E to get his eye checked out. Medical advice was not to do anything that might increase blood pressure so that effectively ruled him out of the afternoon semi v Bryan Jackson.
The remaining semi was John Charles v Eric Donohoe. Eric won the first 2 games 9-6 but John took the next 9-0. However the long rallies that Eric specialises in, together with the after effects of John’s tough match in the morning in the O55s resulted in a comfortable 9-4 for Eric in the 4th.

The final – Eric Donohoe v Bryan Jackson. The first 2 games were shared. The third was a long attritional affair and crucial in the context of the outcome with Eric winning 10-9 after both players had numerous game balls. The 4th was rapid as Bryan legs tired and Eric won the match 3-1 for his first ever Masters title – well done Eric.

MO65

There were originally eight competitors however following a late withdrawal in the O70 event the two remaining O70 competitors were added to the O65 event. The competition was played as a straight knockout.

There were two first round ties – local player George Porter who has not played on the Masters circuit for two years beat Ian Nicolson by 3-1 in a very close match and in the other match Walter McAllister beat Jim Webster by 3-1.

In the quarter finals all four seeded players progressed to the semi finals. Ian Ross beat George Porter 3-0, and in a close match Alex Sinclair beat the improving Phil Leek 3-1. Warren Cameron beat Bernard Starkey 3-0 and second seed Dave Sturman edged out Walter McAllister 3-1 in a closely contested match.

In the first semi finals on Sunday morning Ian Ross and Dave Sturman were too strong for Alex Sinclair and Warren Cameron and comfortably won their matches 3-0.
   
The final was a closely contested match between Ian Ross and Dave Sturman. Ian started very well and won the first game 9-1 and despite Dave playing better Ian won the second game 9-6. Dave played better in the third game led 7-6 before Ian recovered and won the third game 9-7 and O65 title.

In the O65 Plate Bernard Starkey beat Ian Nicolson 3-2 in the battle of the O70s before Bernard then beat Jim Webster by 3-1 in the Plate final.

Dates for your Diary in 2016

West of Scotland Masters, Newlands Squash Club 22/23 October (Entries close 7 October)

West Highland Masters, Oban 5/6 November (Entries close 21 October)

South of Scotland Masters, Dumfries 19/20 November (Entries close 4 November)

Welsh Masters 2016, Cardiff 9-11 December (Entries close 17 November)

For details of 2017 Masters Tournament see Scottish Squash and sportyhq website  s

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