GRAMPIAN REGIONAL MASTERS – 19/20 OCTOBER 2019
The Grampian Regional Masters competition was held at the Aberdeen Squash and Racketball Club (ASRC) on 20/21 October 2019.
There were a total of 80 competitors who took part in two Ladies’ categories and nine Mens’ categories.
Mark Gauci, Ernie Cowell, Jim Webster and the Grampian committee managed a very well organised competition. They all worked hard to make all competitors welcome and the bar was busy with an excellent selection of hot food and cold drinks. The competitors thanked Mark, Ernie and the Grampian committee for all their hard work.
Maureen Maitland and ASRC referees supported the committee by providing refereeing services throughout the tournament.
Ladies O35/O40/O45 /O50
There were four competitors in the women’s O35/40/45/50 competition and the competition was played as a round robin with each playing matches over both Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday morning there were comfortable wins for Sabine and Karen against Debbie. Moving to the afternoon, Karen and Kerry provided the audience with an exciting game of squash delivering some excellent shots and long rallies. In terms of fitness and sharpness the ladies seemed well matched and each game could have gone either way. Karen however volleyed at every opportunity and this along with her strong front court game eventually won the match 3/1 (14-16, 16-14, 16-14, 16-14).
Karen and Sabine started play on Sunday morning with Sabine setting the pace by taking the ball early and winning the first game. The second however was much more competitive with Karen running well and consistently being able to read Sabine’s repertoire of shots but in the end Sabine held on to take a 2/0 lead. In the third game Sabine returned to her hard hitting driving game to win the match 3/0.
Match of the day was on Sunday afternoon between Debbie and Kerry. Debbie arrived on court super focused with a determination to chase every ball and whilst Kerry took every chance to fight back, Debbie kept the momentum serving well and hitting deep into the back corners to win 3/0 to be the Grampian O50s women’s champion.
Overall an excellent day of squash played in a competitive spirit very much enjoyed by the players and gallery alike.
- O35 winner: Sabine Mackenzie
- O40 winner: Karen Robertson
- O50 winner: Debbie Gillespie
Ladies O55 /O60
There were six competitors and the competition was played as two round robins.
We had six ladies and it was great to have two from the Birmingham area, Bett Dryhurst and Kerry Pottinger, and also Jane Grant, all the way from Thurso.
There were two age groups of round robins and in the 055s the games were closely contested. Bernie Beattie fought hard in both matches and Fiona Morrison commented that Bernie ‘was a force to be reckoned with’ but she was just pipped at the post losing out 3/2 twice! Fiona had it a bit easier against Kerry and was the victor 3/0.
In the 060s Pauline was too strong for Bett and Jane winning both fairly easily 3/0. Bett and Jane were better matched and there were good winning shots from both but Bett was more adept and came out with a 3/1 win.
It ended up with only one crossover match from the age groups as both Kerry and Bett gave their opponents a walkover. Fiona and Pauline had played each other at the Tayside and Fife Regional Masters so Pauline knew what she had to do. Getting the ball high and in the corners at the back took away the opportunity for Fiona to play her normal winning volleys. Match to Pauline 3/0.
There were only three competitors and the competition was played as a round robin.
The three competitors were Andrew Laing from Western Club, and Stewart Morrison and Andrew Goodenough, both from ASRC. All three players won one match and lost one match so it required a count-back to determine the winner.
On Saturday Andrew Laing beat Andrew Goodenough in a five game thriller (11/9, 3/11, 15/13, 5/11, 11/8) and Stewart Morrison beat Andrew Laing 3/1 in four tight games.
On Sunday the final match of the round robin was played between the two local players Andrew Goodenough and Stewart Morrison and the winner would take the title.
And you have guessed the outcome – by beating Stewart by 3/0 Andrew was good enough to win his first Masters O35 title!
There were six competitors and the competition was played as two round robins.
The players in group 1 were Malcolm Cameron, Mark Sherrit and Neil Steedman.
First up were Mark and Neil. Mark didn’t enjoy the early start and Neil took advantage to win comfortably 3/0 (11/4, 11/4, 11/3). Mark was a different player in the match against Malcolm and took a commanding 2/1 lead, only for Malcolm to pull himself back into the game and pip it 3/2 (11/6, 9/11, 6/11, 11/8, 11/6). The final game of group 1 was to decide who would be top of the group between Neil vs Malcolm. Malcolm sneaked the first game, but then Neil upped the standard and ended up winning 3/1 (9/11, 11/3, 11/4, 11/6).
The players in group 2 were Matthew Morton, Danny Selway and David McCormick.
Matthew won a hard fought victory against Danny 3/1 (11/5, 12/10, 8/11, 11/6). Next up was Danny vs David. In an entertaining and hotly contested match, David came out as victor 3/1 (6/11, 14/12, 11/6, 13/11). The final pool match in group 2 was Matthew vs David. After a close first game, Matthew eased past David in the next 2 games to win 3/0 (14/12, 11/2, 11/5).
On Sunday morning, Neil came back from 1/0 down in the first semi-final versus David to win 3/1 (4/11, 11/7, 11/7, 11/9). In the second semi-final, Matthew ‘eased’ past Malcolm 3/0 (11/1, 11/3, 11/2) to book his place in the final.
In a high quality final Neil raised his game and did well to win the third game to trail 2/1 but couldn’t stop Matthew clinching the O40s title 3/1 (11/6, 11/7, 2/11, 11/5).
Peter Buchan (Montrose) once again lived up to his billing as pre-competition favourite, as he defended his Grampian Masters O45 title at Aberdeen Squash & Racketball Club. Playing his first competition of the 2019-20 campaign, Buchan took on the challenge of two age groups to celebrate his recent qualification for the O50 section.
Other than the late withdrawal of Ian Prott (Inverness Tennis & Squash Club), which gifted Buchan a bye and a welcome late start, the first round of the main draw went according to the seedings as John Kynoch, also from Inverness, looked comfortable against Rob Mathieson from Townend Squash Club, easing through 3-0. Local player, David Corry was drawn against second seed, Dougie Emery but the man from Whitecraigs Rugby Club had little trouble as he sent Corry to the Plate. Third seed, Chris Turlik (Dollar Squash Club) saw off a spirited challenge from Malcolm Cameron (also Whitecraigs Rugby Club) to set up yet another semi-final clash with Emery.
With Cameron waiting in the Plate Final, neither Corry nor Mathieson gave an inch in an entertaining encounter but Corry eventually clinched the fourth game 12-10 to progress. After that titanic struggle and with Cameron paying in the O40s as well, perhaps the last thing either player wanted was a five setter but Cameron’s fitness carried him back from 2/0 down to win in five. The 13/11 scoreline in the final game underlined the tension that saw both players make mistakes that allowed their opponent back in. Ultimately, a well deserved victory for Cameron.
In the first main draw semi-final, Buchan was pushed hard by Kynoch. After sharing the first two games, an upset looked possible when the man from Inverness led 6-3 in the third but Buchan upped the tempo to take a 2/1 lead. Kynoch came back again in the fourth but Buchan held on to secure his place in the final. In the second semi, Turlik and Emery renewed their rivalry with Emery coming out on top at the end of a hard fought encounter. The second seed was in control for much of the match although Turlik threatened to force a decider when he came from 8-10 down in the fourth to set up two game points. He squandered those and Emery moved into the final.
Sadly, Emery’s back was not up to the physicality required to challenge Buchan and he conceded the final in the second game. Buchan defended his O45 title and also went on to win his maiden O50 at his first attempt.
Recent Tayside & Fife champion, Angus Woodward (Newlands) and Paul Jenkins (Watsonians) were notably absent in Aberdeen but both are expected to make a return at the West of Scotland Regional Masters at Newlands in November where Buchan will look to continue his form. Speculation that Peter O’Hara might make an appearance at his home event seems premature while 2019 Scotland no. 1, Simon Boughton (Edinburgh Sports Club) would also be a surprise entry.
There was a modest entry of 8 players in the Men’s Over 50s draw, but as was the case in last month’s Tayside & Fife event last month, this number included a good proportion of experienced Masters Home Internationalists. Additionally, Peter Buchan was playing his first competition in the age group having turned 50 recently, while Alan Finlay was playing his first ever Masters competition.
The first round of matches kicked off at lunchtime on Saturday, with pairings as follows:
Brian Robertson v Alan Finlay – Brian assumed control of this match early on and didn’t let Alan settle as he progressed to the next round with a comfortable straight sets win.
Colin McMullan v Mark James – before a ball was hit in earnest, it was hard to gauge the outcome of this match between the fourth and fifth seeds. As it was, Colin drew first blood in winning the first game and backed that up to go into a 2-0 lead. Mark managed to play his way back into contention by winning the third game, but Colin sealed the match in the fourth for a confidence boosting win.
Craig Mitchell v Paul Macari – Craig was always in control of this match and, although Paul fought hard in getting to 9-9 in the third, Craig managed to win that game to progress 3/0.
Allan Sinclair v Peter Buchan – another tie with a 3/0 outcome, this one going the way of Peter, although Allan got close in the second, going down 11/9. While Peter progressed to the next round of the main competition, Allan went on to win the plate competition.
The semi-finals were played later on Saturday afternoon, with Brian playing Colin and Craig playing Peter.
The first two games of the match between Brian and Colin were close, Brian winning the first before Colin levelled the match by taking an equally close second game. In what was shaping up to be a very good contest, the match didn’t then follow the normal course. A penalty point against Colin for returning late for the next game disrupted the flow – Brian raced through that game 11/1 – and, as the disruption continued, the match didn’t continue beyond the third game.
There was no such drama in the other semi-final, which finished in regulation manner – in three games, to be precise. Craig competed well, in particular in the second game, but an assured performance from Peter gave him the win to progress to his first O50 final.
The final was played on Sunday and it was the first time Peter and Brian had played against each other in a competitive situation. In the first game, Peter eased to game ball with a comfortable lead before Brian fought back to within a point, but fell short as Peter closed the game out 11/9. The match was keenly contested from start to finish, but Peter was the more composed and consistent player, his short game working particularly well, and the Montrose man pushed on to win the next two games to collect the O50 title and achieve the double, having already come out on top in the O45 competition.
There were 10 competitors (seed numbers in brackets) and the competition was played as a knock out. Keith Gristwood and Colin McMullan had both doubled up in the 60s and 50s respectively; Keith was grateful of a late withdrawal as this gave him a bye to the second round.
There were two first round matches: Dave Sheard beat Allan Currie 3/1 and David Goldring beat Eric Duguid 3/0. The pick of the second round was Jimmy Wells (1) vs Keith, both from Dumfries; Keith won the first game with some volley drops before Jimmy exerted control to win 3-1. Les Symmons (3), returning to his former home club, beat Fraser Mulford 3/1; Colin (4) beat Dave Sheard 3/0 and Chris Holt (2) beat David Goldring 3/0 despite being well down in the second game, resulting in the top four seeds making the semis to be played later on Saturday.
The plate semis saw two close matches: Keith beat Fraser 3/2 the last game being 11/9, and Allan beat Eric 3/0 each game being 11/9. Keith’s exertions in the 60s took their toll; after being 2/1 up and close to victory, Allan secured the last two games to win the plate.
Back to the semis on Saturday evening: Jimmy vs Les and Colin vs Chris. The first saw Les use his court speed to take a 2/1 lead, before Jimmy’s lobs and lengths began to be effective. Les had his chances in the fourth, losing it 9/11 before Jimmy won the fifth comfortably. Colin had the disadvantage of playing immediately after his 50s semi against Brian Robertson which ended in some controversy over a disputed penalty point. Colin appeared to be up for it in the knock-up but lost heart mid-way through the first game to allow Chris a relatively easy win.
The final between Jimmy and Chris lived up to expectations of a close match as has often been the case. Chris attacked from the start with a high tempo and pushing the ball short to take a 2/0 lead. Back came Jimmy over the next two games, his lobs and ‘watch me’ trickle boasts working well on a cool court to level it. The final game went to the wire, each having three match points before Jimmy finally sealed the fifth 16/14.
There were 11 competitors and the competition was played as a knock out. There were three matches in the first round and all matches went according to the seeding with wins for Richard Easton, David McAleese and John Miller.
The quarter final matches, however, provided two upsets with the biggest being Easton’s 3/2 win over Peter Shivas, the No. 1 seed and last year’s M60s National Champion. McAleese, the No. 5 seed, defeated the No. 4 seed Keith Gristwood 3/1.
The semi-finals paired Easton against McAleese with the latter prevailing in another 5-setter with three games going into a tie-breaker, and David Hickman against the No. 2 seed Norman Paterson with Paterson winning 3/0.
In the Plate, Keith Gristwood beat Dick Bird 3/0 and Bryan Jackson defeated Jim Georgeson 3-0. In the Plate Final Jackson defeated Gristwood 3/1.
In the main final, McAleese took the first game convincingly but Paterson found his stride and took the next three games to win 3/1 which should see him advance to the top of the rankings.
There were 13 competitors and the competition was played as a knock out.
There were five first round ties on Saturday morning and all five seeded players progressed to the quarter finals. David Taylor, Emilio Fazzi and Eric Donohoe had comfortable 3/0 wins over Jim Webster, Brian Duffy and Keith Hobson respectively. The other two ties were more closely contested with Mike Mooney beating Phil Leek 3/1 and William Jappy beating Robert Thompson after trailing 0/2, in a five game thriller.
The top three seeds, namely Jim Dougal, Ernie Cowell and Ian Ross joined the first round winners at the quarter final stage. Jim Dougal played well to beat William Jappy 3/0 and Ian Ross eased through to the semi final by 3/0 but had to save three game balls in the first game against Eric Donohoe.
Ernie Cowell, the Tayside and Fife title winner, had a tough match against Mike Mooney. The first two games were shared before Ernie crucially won the third game 15/12 and closed out the match by winning the fourth game 15/8 and the match 3/1.
In the final quarter final tie David Taylor of Forres Squash Club, fully fit after several years of niggling injuries played Emilio Fazzi. David started very strongly with some clean hitting and excellent return of service winners and won the first two games 15/9, 15/9. Emilio fought back in the third game but David continued his good form and closed out the game 15/12 and the match 3/0.
The semi finals were played on Sunday morning and Jim played David and Ernie played Ian. David again started well and won the first game 15/9 but Jim fought back and used his good drops and boasts to good effect to win the second game 15/11 and the third game 16/14. David continued to play his hard hitting drives and levelled the match by winning the fourth game before closing out the fifth game 15/10 and the match 3/2.
The other match was a repeat of the Tayside and Fife Regional Masters final where Ernie beat Ian 3/1. Ernie started strongly and with good deep serving and winning volleys won the first two games. Ian fought back and hitting the ball to a better length and setting up winning drops, he won the third game. Ian continued his good form and easily won the fourth game to level the match. The final game was ‘nip and tuck’ all the way before Ernie won the last three points to win the game 15/12, and match 3/2 and progress to his second Masters final of the season.
With both players having won five game hard fought semi finals it was no surprise that Ernie and David were tired in the final. This resulted in a match of short rallies. David was fast out the blocks and played some clean winners and comfortably won the first two games 15/9, 15/9. David took an early lead in the third game but Ernie gamely fought back to win the third game 15/9 to stay in the match. The fourth game was level at 9/9 before David had a winning burst of five points and closed the game out 15/10 and match 3/1 and deserved won the O65 title.
Overall it was a great performance from David and hopefully he will be fit to compete in the remaining 2019/20 Masters competitions and challenge for a place in the Scottish Masters team for the Home Internationals in May 2020.
In the plate Robert Thompson beat Jim Webster 3/0 and Phil Leek beat Brian Duffy 3/1. In the final Robert Thomson beat Phil Leek 3/0 to win the Plate final.
A good entry of 8 competitors and the competition was played as a knock out.
Alex Sinclair(1) v Rob Respringer (8)
This was an easy match for Alex who kept his focus and completed a comfortable win. Result 3/0 to Alex.
Tom Kane(6) v Bernard Starkey(4)
A close contested match as usual between these two players. The match was moving towards 2/0 in the second game with Bernard up 14/9 only to loose it 16-14! The match see sawed to 2/2. Tom then dominated his opponent with his movement and impressive touch play to take the match. Result 3/2 to Tom.
Ken Reid(3) v Warren Cameron(5)
Another match that went into 5 games.
Warren made a slow start and Ken led 2/1, before Warren’s excellent return of service and drop shots quickly made it 2/2; then Warren wrapped it up 15-11 in the fifth.
Result 3/2 to Warren.
Andy Duff(7) v Alex Everingham(2)
Alex playing controlled squash took an early lead. In the next game Alex got more confident and started to strike the ball well but Andy fought back well and won the second. Andy took control in the third and had the advantage, Alex clearly struggling with his movement. Andy then let the game and match go with some loose play and Alex won the fourth and fifth games and the match.
Result 3/0 to Alex.
Sunday Semifinals & Finals
Alex Sinclair(1) v Tom Kane(6)
Tom was not as sharp, after a number of matches on Saturday in the O70s and O75s. He had no answers to Alex control and he took match 15/7, 15/6, 15/10.
Result 3-0 to Alex
Warren Cameron(5) v Alex Everingham (2)
Both players made this an even contest, Alex took an early lead. In the second Warren fought back well. Alex dug in to take the third only to loose the 4th & 5th. Was he carrying an injury?
Score 7/15, 15/12, 7/15, 15/12, 157.
Result 3/2 to Warren
Alex Sinclair(1) v Warren Cameron(5)
Alex was again just too consistent for his opponent. Warren was always playing catch up, but he took the second game, only for Alex, moving very well to pick up all Warren’s tricky returns of serve and drop shots, to take the next two games.
Score 15/11, 6/15, 15/9, 15/9.
Result 3/1 to Alex, winner O70s Grampian Regional Masters.
Rob Respringer (8) v Andy Duff(7)
Rob and Andy had walkovers into the plate final.
Andy took an early lead in what was an evenly contested match, but looking like an easy win! Did Andy’s nerves get the better in the last two games? Rob must be gutted coming so close. Score 6/15, 8/15, 20/18, 14/16.
Result 3/1 to Andy.
Plate winner O70s Grampian Regional Masters, Andy Duff.
There were four competitors and the competition was played as a round robin.
On the Saturday, Ken Reid and Tom Kane both had convincing 3/0 wins over Vinnie Taylor and Alfie Thomson, although Alfie did make Tom work for games 2 and 3, which were 14/16 and 13/15.
On the Sunday Vinnie took the third spot with a 3/0 win over Alfie. Good to see Vinnie, the reigning Over 80s British Masters Champion, back making one of his regular Canada –Scotland trips to play in the Scottish Masters competitions.
In the other Sunday game, Tom had a very convincing 3/0 win over Ken, who was unable to deal with Tom’s accurate, and angled, drop shots and overall better positioning around the court. So Tom, without losing a game, became the Men’s Over 75s Grampian Regional Masters Champion.
Upcoming Scottish Masters Circuit Competitions
West of Scotland Regional Masters – Newlands Lawn Tennis Club, Glasgow – 23-24 November 2019
East of Scotland Regional Masters – Edinburgh Sports Club – 18-19 January 2020
Central Scotland Regional Masters – Bridge of Allan Sports Club – 8-9 February 2020
Scottish Master National Championships – Inverness Tennis & Squash Club – 20-22 March 2020
2020 Masters Home Internationals
Ireland Masters Home Internationals: 17-18th April 2020, Galway, Ireland
Men’s over 40 & 60 and Women’s over 35/40 & 60
Wales Masters Home Internationals: 24-25th April 2020, Cardiff, Wales
Men’s over 45 & 65 and Women’s over 45
Scotland Masters Home Internationals: 1-2nd May 2020, Edinburgh, Scotland
Men’s over 50 & 70 and Women’s over 50
England Masters Home Internationals: 15-16th May 2020, Nottingham, England
Men’s over 35, 55 & 75 and Women’s over 50