The Scottish Masters Nationals tournament was held at the Scottish Squash Rackets Club (SSRC) in Maryhill, Glasgow on 13/14/15 March.
There were a total of 71 competitors who took part in three ladies’ and eight mens’ events. It was encouraging that there were sufficient entries to hold all 11 events but the overall entry was disappointing.
The SSRC committee under the leadership of George Allen managed a very well organised tournament. They all worked hard to make all competitors welcome, particularly Margaret Sturman and the catering under Head Chef, David Tennant was excellent and appreciated by players and spectators. At the prize giving competitors thanked the committee for all their hard work.
Thanks are also due to SSRL (Ross Cairns) and Ernie Cowell for managing the draws and supporting the SSRC committee in running the tournament. George Tierney and John Crawford deserve thanks for providing marking services during the tournament.
Alex Sinclair and Ernie Cowell quickly assessed the Scottish Masters National results and updated the final Masters Tournament Points for 2014/15. Alex emailed the updated Points to his Masters’ distribution list of about 350 players who have participated on the Scottish Masters circuit over the previous 10 years.
Ladies Match of the Tournament
Ladies O35 Final Helen Nicol beat Sabine Mackenzie 9-6, 9-4, 9-5
Although the score was 3-0, the match between Sabine Mackenzie and Helen Nicol was both entertaining and hard fought. The quality of womens’ squash was high and the level of sportsmanship was exemplary. Helen ran out winner but both players should be proud of the exhibition of squash.
Mens Match of the Tournament
MO45 Final Simon Gogolin beat Peter Buchan 4-9, 9-1, 3-9, 10-9, 9-1
The final was an excellent match for both players and and appreciative spectators. In a high quality, fast paced match it lasted for the 5 games and could have been won by either player. Peter started off the match quickly and with Simon making a few errors won the first. Simon came straight back into it and blitzed the 2nd. Peter was back in it in the 3rd. After a disputed call from the referee, Simon lost a bit of concentration and Peter took it. The fourth saw Simon blitz Peter again. However, Peter came back from 1-8 to take the lead and at 9-8, serve for the match. Peter put a poor serve in and Simon smashed it cross court into the nick. Two rallies later and Simon won the fourth to make it 2 games all. The fifth saw Simon step up a gear and not let Peter into the game at all. Being very attack focused he tried to hit winners as soon as he could. This worked successfully with Peter not managing to compete. Simon took the fifth and deservedly won the match 3-2. This was an excellent result for Simon who was playing two age groups below.
Results and Leading Masters Tournament Points (after Scottish Masters Nationals)
In the O35s a round robin was played by the three players, Helen Nicol, Hayley McKenzie and Sabine Mackenzie. Helen was keen to add the Masters National title to her recent performance in the senior nationals where she ended up in the top three despite playing against full time players. Helen was too strong for Hayley, as was Sabine who was the recent winner at Bridge of Allan. Helen and Sabine’s match was a joy to watch and Helen’s win justified her position as National Masters champion (see Ladies Match of the Tournament).
Sabine Mackenzie unfortunately has had difficulty all season finding adversaries for the O40 competitions and again was the sole entry for the O45 age group (hence played in O35) but was deservedly awarded the title to cap off a great season having won the O35 Bridge of Allan and East Masters titles and the O40 Tayside and Fife Masters.
The O50s was struck by injury and difficulties with availability secondary to the fairly late change of weekend from the ‘usual’ national weekend at the end of February. Sue Strachan struggled initially with Joyce Leach’s high lob serve and feather into the front nick but recovered from 5-8 down to win the first game 10-8. Unfortunately midway through the second game with Sue leading, Joyce sadly had to retire due to aggravation of an injury sustained in the East Masters in January. So a win as ‘last man standing’ enabled Sue to add the National Masters title to the South and East Masters. A frustrating end for both players but with the Home Internationals approaching it is important that Joyce regains her fitness and represents Scotland.
Unfortunately there were only three competitors in the O55 due to injury so a round robin was played. Eunice Bond and Christina Graham were too strong for Norma Gregory. Eunice also convincingly beat Christina 3-0 to win the National Masters title.
There were only four competitors in this event and they played a round robin. Peter O’Hara, Andrew McBean and Michael Black were all too strong for Craig Duff.
Peter O’Hara’s matches against Andrew McBean and Michael Black were very competitive and entertaining for the large galleries. In the early Saturday match against Andrew, Peter played flawlessly in the first game and won the first game 9-0. Andrew fought back in the second and third games and matched Peter in some long hard hitting rallies. However Peter’s experience told and he closed out both games 9-6, 9-6 and won the match. Michael Black played very well against Peter and won the first game 9-7. Peter turned the match round with some hard hitting rallies and excellent winners. Peter won the next three games 9-2, 9-4, 9-6 and won the match and the O35 title.
In the match between Andrew and Michael both players played very well – Andrew with his long reach taking the ball early and hitting the ball hard and Michael hitting a good length and retrieving well. Andrew won a very tight first game 10-8, but Michael recovered and won the second game 9-1. Andrew then took control and won the third and fourth games 9-0 and 9-7 and won the match 3-1. Andrew was runner up in the O35 age group.
The O35 Team for the Home Internationals in Dublin is Andrew McBean (captain), Mike Black, Peter O’Hara, Craig Duff, Keith Simpson and Blair McKenzie.
In the O40s a round robin was played by four players, Peter O’Hara, Douglas Emery, Mark Ford and Roddy Campbell.
Peter O’Hara, also playing in the O35s, started on Friday night against Douglas Emery and played controlled squash and won 3-0. He continued his good form on Saturday morning beating Roddy Campbell 3-0.
In an entertaining match Douglas Emery beat Roddy Campbell 3-1. Both players played well, moving their opponent around the court. Roddy won the first game but Douglas recovered to win the next three games.
Mark Ford played his first match against Roddy Campbell and after Mark won the first game, Roddy retired with an injury which he picked up in his earlier match. On Sunday morning Mark played Douglas Emery and Mark played very well to convincingly beat Douglas 3-0. This win set up the championship deciding match between Mark and Peter O’Hara.
Peter O’Hara against Mark Ford was a match of high quality and drama and was appreciated by the large gallery. Peter was hitting the ball hard and moving Mark all over the court. Mark was retrieving well, taking the pace off the ball and playing delicate drop shots at every opportunity. Mark was in control of the first game and led 8-4, but Peter fought back and after a number of change of hands where Mark had game balls, Peter levelled at 8-8. Mark chose one but Peter won the point and a dramatic first game. The next two games were very close and competitive but Peter kept control and closed out both games 9-6, 9-6 to win the match and the O40 title. Mark was runner up.
The O40 Team for the Home Internationals in Cardiff is Peter O’Hara, Peter Buchan, Roddy Campbell, Mark James, Angus Woodward and John Kynoch (captain).
There was another healthy contingency of 12 competitors in this season’s National Championship from all around Scotland. There were two first round matches planned for Friday night. The first saw Andrew McCulley get a w/o against Colin McMullan, although the crowd was disappointed as it would have been a very competitive match. The second saw Craig Mitchell use his experience and fitness to overcome Gary Blanchflower 3-1. Saturday started with another couple of first round matches in the early morning. Mark Beaumont beat David Massey comfortably 3-0. Mark used his strength of running and making few mistakes he beat David 3-0. John Kynoch was next up with David Lyndsey. In a match that had the hall marks of a five setter beforehand, John was too strong for David and won 3-0. In all 3 games, he kept a healthy lead and didn’t let David put him under any real pressure by keeping in front and hitting the ball deep. The quarters on Saturday afternoon saw the top seeds enter the draw. In the top half of the draw Peter Buchan took on Craig Mitchell and started very quickly winning the first before Craig could think. The second saw Craig compete but after letting Peter back into it to steal it 9-7, the third was too much effort and Peter won the match 3-0.
Mark James took on Mark Beaumont in what looked like another five set classic with both players playing well. Mark J was too good in the first winning it comfortably. Mark B came back in the second and snuck it 9-7. After that Mark B was always in control and won the next two games comfortably and the match 3-1.
In the bottom half of the draw, Simon Cogolin took on John Kynoch. In a highly entertaining game, John took the first before Simon came comfortably through in the second. The 3rd game saw opportunities for both players with Simon edging it 9-8. The fourth game was Simon’s best and he didn’t allow John any real chance of hitting many winners and thus took the match 3-1. Paul Jenkins took on Andrew McCulley in the last match. Although Andrew was up for this match, Paul was just too strong and seemed always in control. Apart from a close second game which Paul won 9-7, Paul restricted Andrew for a few points in each of the other games. Sunday saw Peter Buchan kick off the semi-finals by playing Mark Beaumont. Peter played an exceptional match, apart from a loss of focus in the second did not give Mark much of a chance. Keeping the ball deep, he waited for Mark to make a mistake before putting the ball easily away. Peter won the match 3-0. In the other semi-final, Simon took on Paul Jenkins for the very first time. In a slow start for Simon, Paul took the first game 9-3. Unfortunately for Paul, Simon then raised his game and gave Paul very few opportunities to hit any winners. He kept the ball tight and when the opportunity occurred, put the ball away winning three games and thus the match 3-1.
In the final Simon beat Peter 3-2 in an entertaining match of high quality which was appreciated by the large gallery (see Mens Match of the Tournament).
The O45 Team for the Home Internationals in Aberdeen is Frank Ellis, John Kynoch, Mark James (captain), Malcolm Kerr, Peter Buchan and Simon Gogolin.
After the Grampian Masters O50s event was cancelled due to a spate of withdrawals close to the tournament start date, there was an encouraging entry of 11 competitors for the O50 Nationals.
The first round of matches saw Mark Adderley, Keith Murray and Graeme Patullo progress. Mark beat Tom Smith 3-0 in one of two matches played on Friday evening, the other being a five setter between Graeme and Stuart Mitchell. Lancashire-based Keith had a tough opening match against Colin Grant on Saturday morning but the match had an unfortunate end when Colin had to retire injured with Keith 2-1 ahead. We hope Colin’s injury is not serious and wish him a speedy recovery.
The resultant quarter finals were all played on Saturday. Keith had a 3-1 win against Rolf Hansen, and there was a win by the same scoreline for Jimmy Wells against Graeme Patullo. Ronnie Carter did not have it easy against Gordon Kerr, losing the first game 9-1, but got the win 3-1 and Brian Robertson opened his account with a straight games win against Mark Adderley.
This left the semi-final line-up for Sunday as Brian against Keith and Ronnie against Jimmy. Both matches followed the seeding, with Brian and Ronnie progressing to the final after close competitive matches. Keith won the first game against Brian and could easily have won the third, while it took Ronnie five games to see off Jimmy, leaving Jimmy to wonder what might have been if he could see clearly (having seen to his hips, he has turned attention to his eyes in his quest to become the first bionic Masters internationalist!).
In the final, Brian managed to do what he had failed to do in their one previous encounter in this year’s East Masters and that was to win a game against Ronnie. Having made that breakthrough, Brian managed to repeat the feat in winning the second by limiting Ronnie’s opportunities to use his devastating boast. Ronnie fought back well from 7-2 down in the third to level at 7-7, but Brian kept his nerve to seal the win 9-7 and win the O50 title
The O50 plate final was contested by Gordon Kerr and Stuart Mitchell, with Gordon the victor 3-0.
The O50 team for the Home Internationals in Nottingham is Brian Robertson (Captain) Chris Holt, Simon Gogolin, Russell Hunter, Jimmy Wells and Alan Thomson (Wildcard Selection)
There were 8 entrants so it was a simple knockout format. Three of the quarters were 3/0 but only Alan Thomson’s win over Keith Gristwood was straightforward. Ken Maxwell and Norman Paterson were locked at one game all at which point the match suddenly turned Ken’s way and he won the next two games 9-1, 9-0. Dave McAleese beat Martin Sullivan after three very competitive games. The last quarter saw Paul Harris beat Robin Ridley 3-0 which, on paper at any rate, was a major surprise. Only the second 10-8 was close.
The first semi was between Ken Maxwell and Alan Thomson. In the first game Ken started well and hit a good length and forced Alan to make a number of uncharacteristic mistakes. Ken won the first game 9/4. In the second game Alan recovered and with his good lob serving and immaculate length he moved Ken all over the court and won the second game 9/3. Alan continued his good form in the third and fourth games and convincingly won the match by 3/1. The second semi was Dave McAleese v Paul Harris. Dave just sneaked the first 9/8 but thereafter his earlier exertions took its toll and Paul comfortably won the next three games.
By the time the final arrived both players were showing signs of fatigue, with Alan’s pre-match stretching routine looking particularly painful. Alan’s experience and accuracy proved too much for a tiring Paul although he did put up some stiff resistance in a close second. The final game was rapid with Alan Thomson winning 9/1 and the O55 title.
The O55 team for the Home Internationals in Dublin is Simon Gogolin, Alan Thomson, Robin Ridley, David McAleese, Neil Rayner and Norman Patterson.
There were 11 competitors for this age group.
The bookies were offering 6 to 4 on another Rae v Dougal final. They were not wrong!
No surprises in the four last 16 ties, apart perhaps the ease of Ernie Cowell’s win over Eric Donohoe. In the quarters Rae and Dougal won reasonable easily. However the other two matches were much closer with Emilio Fazzi just getting a 3-2 win against the persistent Dave Sturman (playing on his own courts), and Dave Taylor beating Alex Allan 3-1.
The Sunday morning semis were very different. John Rae disposed of Emilo Fazzi quickly, whereas the Dave Taylor v Jim Dougal semi was a much more protracted and curious affair. After two close games, the first to Dave then the second to Jim 10-8, Dave raced to an 8/1 lead in the third and the bookies were looking nervous. You would have got very long odds on Dave not winning another point but that is exactly what happened as Jim ruthlessly disposed of a tiring Dave 10-8, 9-0 and reached the final.
Would the contrasting length of the two semis have a bearing on the outcome of the final? You bet they would. Jim Dougal won the first 10-8, the second 9-3, but could not keep it going against a very fit and determined John Rae who won the last three games 9-1, 9-3, 9-2 and win the O60 title.
The O60 Team for the Home Internationals in Cardiff is John Rae, Jim Dougal (Captain), Alex Allan, Emilio Fazzi, Dave Sturman and David Taylor.
There were only six competitors for this event and they played two round robins with three players in each group.
In the first group involving Ian Ross, Alex Everingham and Roy Gordon, the two seeded players Ian and Alex comfortably beat Roy Gordon 3-0. In the other game Ian beat Alex in a tightly contested match 3-0 and both players qualified for the semi finals.
In the second group involving Alex Sinclair, Donald Shearer and Warren Cameron, Warren upset the seeding by beating Donald 3-0 in the first match on Saturday morning. Alex comfortably beat both Warren and Donald and this resulted in Alex and Warren qualifying for the semi finals.
In the first semi final Ian Ross started well and won the first game but Warren Cameron playing well, fought back and won the second game. Ian won the third game but again Warren played some excellent winners to take the match to a fifth game. Warren started well in the final game and led 4-0. Ian fought back but Warren was 7-6 ahead before Ian held his nerve and closed the game out 9-7 to reach the final.
In the other semi final Alex Everingham won the first two tightly contested games 10-8 and took a two game lead. He led 6-1 in the third game but Alex Sinclair, despite suffering from a heavy cold, showed all his competitive spirit to fight back and win the third game. He levelled the match by winning the fourth game. In the final game Alex Everingham started well in the final game and won 9-1 to reach the final.
Ian Ross played well in the final against Alex Everingham and won a tightly contested match 3-0. Alex played very well in the second half of the Masters tournaments and deservedly qualified for the Scotland O65 team.
The O65 Team for the Home Internationals in Aberdeen is Ian Ross (Captain), Alex Sinclair, Alex Everingham, Chris Wilson, Jim Dougal and Emilio Fazzi.
There were five competitors for this event and they played a round robin. Two players, Ian Nicholson and Mike Gibson, were newcomers to the O70s. The other entrants were Bill Kennedy (the only O75 in the group), Dave Brown and Ken Reid (with Ken being the defending title holder).
Unfortunately, Vinnie Taylor was missed this event, since it clashed with his bid to defend his US Squash National O75s Championship.
Mike Gibson made an excellent start, to his O70s career, by beating Bill Kennedy 3-1, Dave Brown 3-1 and Ian Nicholson 3-0, but then lost 0-3 to Ken Reid, in three very closely contested games. In his last match Ian Nicholson, who was struggling with a recent injury, lost all his first three matches 0-3, to Mike, Ken and Dave, but his touch was returning by his last match, which he won 3-0 against Bill Kennedy.
Due to the round robin nature of the event, with every game won earning a point, the final positions were in doubt until the completion of the final match on court, between Ken Reid and Dave Brown. Ken won this match 3-1, but at one game each, and 6/6 in the third, the match could have gone either way – and a 3-1 win to Dave would have given him the title!
Thus the final match left Ken Reid as title-holder (12 points), Mike Gibson the runner up (9 points) and Dave Brown in third place (8 points).
The O70 and O75 teams for the Home Internationals in Nottingham is Ken Reid (Captain) Dave Brown, Vincent Taylor and Mike Gibson, we are still searching for a 5th player.
Dates for your Diary
MO40/MO60 WO35/40 April 24/25 Wales Swansea
MO35/MO55/MO75 WO55 May 1/2 Ireland Dublin
MO50/MO70 WO50 May 8/9 England Nottingham
M045/MO65/MO75 WO45/WO60 May 22/23 Scotland Aberdeen
British Open Masters May 10 – May 17 Hull