The ultimate event of the season and the last tournament before selection for home international duty in all categories!
This year we were very pleased to announce that the event was sponsored by Douglas Laing & Co who specialise in the selection and release of specialist craft Scotch Whiskies. Each player received a very stylish t-shirt and a miniature bottle of whisky. Not a bad way to start the weekend!
SSRC held this event from 12th-13th March for the second year running and what a fine job they did! This really is a cosy club with a friendly vibe and they do the best sausage roll ever!
This year we had 74 competitors playing over the weekend and each and every one seemed to be on top form.
Ladies Over 35/40
It was fantastic to see newcomer Sara MacDonald play in this event. Sara who came all the way from Shetland beat Edinburgh’s Pernille Thompson to finish third in this category. Former internationals Helen Nicoll and Sue Dalrymple were certainly the front runners with Helen wining the final 3/0.
Ladies Over 45
Only three players in the event but what a fantastic tournament they had! Shetland’s Joan Smith proved to be too fast and consistent for Ashley Mears which led her to a 3/0 win. The real battle in this event was Ashley Mears and Sabine MacKenzie. Both players seemed to be equally matched in standard and playing style. A contentious match with lots of decisions, some crafty front court play and great retrieving. It was to be Ashley’s day and she eventually ran away with a 3/2 victory. However it was Sabine MacKenzie who was to win the event as a whole. Congratulations to the Over 45 Champion.
Ladies Over 55
All the ladies seemed in competitive mode in this round robin event. The battle was on for the top three spots. There was a closely fought contest between Eunice Bond and Christina Graham. Christina’s experience and quirky shot play was still not enough to outwit the solid and feisty Eunice Bond who was the eventual Ladies over 55 winner.
Men’s Over 35
Another round robin event for this category. There were some really well contested matches. Craig Duff against David Morrison was a thriller of a match on Saturday. A fairly even contest with two similar styled players. David went on to win 3/2.
The runner up was Aberdeen’s Fernando Vicente who only lost to Andrew MacBean. MacBean seemed on fine form this weekend and strolled to victory without dropping a game.
Men’s Over 40
With only four competitors in men’s over 40 the event was played using the round robin format.
The final was probably the match of the tournament, Simon Boughton against Mark Ford. The crowd were in for a real treat with this match. A real contrast of players, the consistent and very fit Mark Ford’s retrieving was at times proving to frustrate the talented shot maker Simon Boughton. Simon recovered from two games down before wining 10/9 in the fifth with both players having match ball more than once. This match could have gone either way and both were worthy winners of the title.
Men’s Over 45
In this event we had some newcomers to the masters circuit. Adrian Richmond a former team member of Daniel Stewarts School who reached the semi final of the National Schools Squash Championships gave top seed Pete Buchan a run for his money in the first round. Richmond narrowly lost 3/1.
Pete Buchan was a delighted winner. A three time previous finalist he managed to go the whole way this time to lift the trophy beating Watsonian’s team player, second seed Paul Jenkins 3/0 in the final.
Men’s Over 50
This proved to be the event of upsets! Top seed Brian Robertson reached the final after a tough battle with Colin McMullen, although always seeming to be in control Brian came away with a 3/1 victory.
However, nothing seemed to be stopping the unseeded Jimmy Wells whose first victory came in the shape of a 3/0 victory over no3 seed Ronnie Carter which earned his place in the semi-finals which is where he claimed his second victory over top seed Brian Robertson 3/1 in the final to clinch the title.
Men’s Over 55
The Masters legend and no1 seed Alan Thomson “Thomo” was gutted to have to withdraw from the event due to a calf injury after his first round match. However no 2 seed Chris Holt took full advantage and beat David McAleese comfortably 3/0 to win the final.
Men’s Over 60
With 10 entrants it was a simple knock-out format. The 2 last-16 ties were won by easily won by Alan Murray and Bryan Jackson, with Bryan then giving number 1 seed Paul Harris a pretty good game in the quarter final despite the 3-0 outcome. In the lower half of the draw Dave Taylor and John Rae both won 3-0. The last quarter was effectively a playoff for the remaining automatic place in the home internationals team – Eric Donohoe v John Charles. John was in control for most of the match and won 3-0. The first semi was Paul Harris v John Charles. Although he probably did not realise it at the time, the third game that John won was just enough to clinch his place in the team although Paul prevailed 3-1 after a tough test. The second semi was Dave Taylor v John Rae. With Dave not striking the ball with usual authority, John won a rather fractious contest relatively quickly 3-0.
Hence Paul Harris and John Rae met for the third time in a Masters event final this season, although on this occasion the stakes were higher. As with previous encounters the match see-sawed with Paul winning the first game, then John taking the initiative with a change of tactics which saw him build a 2-1 game lead. In the fourth game the match looked like heading to John, when a close decision at 8-1 on match ball went Paul’s way. From that point the match turned, with Paul surviving several more match points before taking the game and levelling the match at 2-2. The final game again was closely contested although stamina was beginning to tell after some very exiting and energy sapping rallies. In the end, after 58 minutes Paul won through 9-6 in the final game to take his first National title (dedicated his mother, who recently passed away on 3rd March).
Men’s Over 65
What a fantastic event this proved to be. On Saturday we had some cracking matches in the early rounds with Alex Everingham narrowly beating Ian Ross to gain a semi-final spot. Warren Cameron sneaked a 3/2 win over Phil Leak. It wasn’t to be Phil’s weekend as he lost to Ian Ross in the plate final. The final proved to be an all Watsonians affair with Jim Dougal who reached the final of the over 65’s British Nationals proving to be too strong for his younger opponent John Rae wining 3/1.
Men’s Over 70
Although there were no real upsets in this category Alfie Thomson had a battle on his hands in his first round match against Ian Nicholson in which Alfie thoroughly deserve his semi final spot with a 3/2 win.
Edinburgh’s Bernard Starkey seemed very focused and in fine form this weekend proving to be too much of a handful for his competitors beating Dave Brown fairly comfortably 3/0 in the final.
Men’s Over 75
Just three entries in this category and it certainly was all about the quality and not the quantity. Eighty-four year old Andy jack was forced to compete with the young guns due to their being no other entries in his age group. Although he is in fine shape the other competitors Brian Bathgate and Vincent Taylor proved too strong.
Vincent Taylor, whose squash coach is the world famous Heather Wallace proved a worthy winner by comfortably beating both opponents.
All in all there was a fantastic two days of squash. All matches were played in a competitive but friendly spirit which really was lovely to see. With this standard of squash things really are looking good for the forthcoming Home Internationals. Good Luck to all involved!!