GRAMPIAN REGIONAL MASTERS – 20/21 OCTOBER 2018

The Grampian Regional Masters tournament was held at the Aberdeen Squash and Racketball Club on 21/22 October 2018.

There were a total of 79 competitors who took part in two Ladies’ events and eight Mens’ events.

Fenando Vicente, Jim Webster, Ernie Cowell and the Grampian committee managed a very well organised tournament. 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 Fernando, Jim, Ernie and the Grampian committee for all their hard work. Maureen Maitland supported the committee by providing refereeing services throughout the tournament.

There are some excellent photographs from the Grampian Masters taken by Margaret Sturman on the Scottish Squash website.

Ladies O35

There were four competitors and the competition was played as a round robin.

Ailsa Polworth played well and was the comfortable victor in the Grampian Ladies  O35 round robin, winning all her matches 3/0. Jennifer McArtney won a very competitive match against Elaine Inglis 3/1and came second. Mandy Craig Gould was fourth despite volleying well throughout.

Ladies O50

There were four competitors and the competition was played as a round robin.

Fiona Morrison was the outstanding player and in good form she won all her games 3/0 and took the O50 Grampian Masters title.

Jane Davey played all 3 matches on Sunday. In the match of the day she started with a fiercely fought 3/2 win over Helen Cordiner. Helen was 2/1 up before Jane fought back strongly and eventually won 21/19 in the fifth in a nail biting final game to finish second. Norma Marshall played well and was awarded over 60s first place.

MO35

There were six competitors and the competition was played as two round robins.

On paper it looked as though it would be a close and tight affair between the top seeds, Iain Young from the Peter Nicol Centre and Michael Black from Aberdeen Squash and Racketball Club.

In the Box 1 round robin Iain Young had comfortable 3/0 victories over Fernando Vicente and Jonathan Thompson. In the other match Fernando beat Jonathan 3/0 and was runner up in Box 1.

In the Box 2 round robin Michael Black convincing beat Andrew Bremner and Billy Scott 3/0 and Andrew beat Billy and was runner up in Box 2.

In the semi final play offs Iain played Andrew and Michael played Fernando. Iain beat Andrew 3/0 – it was close in the third game but Iain closed it out 11/9 to progress into the final. Michael was also playing in the O40 event and he was showing signs of fatigue in his match against Fernando – it was a closely contested match with some long rallies but Michael won 3/1 to reach the final between the two Aberdonians.

Michael was the favourite, but playing in two events was physically very challenging – Iain won the first game 11/9 and then took control and won the next two games 11/2 and 11/6 to deservedly win the match and the O35 Grampian Masters title. Iain won all four matches 3/0 over the weekend.

MO40

There were nine competitors and the competition was played as a knock out.

In the first round Grant McGovern comfortably beat David Niven to join the remaining competitors in the quarter finals.

Top seed Mike Black had a straight forward win over Nicholas Riley, as did number 2 seed Keith Simpson over Grant McGovern. The other 2 quarter finals proved to be tight matches.

Firstly, after losing the first game 17/15 to Blair McKenzie, Scott Hay found a way to grind his way back, winning the next 2 close games, and keeping the momentum to come through into the semis with a 3/1 win.

Then third seed Barry Masson took on Matthew Morton in a tight match, which was on court for well over an hour, with Matthew coming from 2-1 down to win 3/2.

In the first semi final, Mike won all 3 close games against a determined Scott Hay to take his place in the final. Then Matthew v Keith was a very tight match. Matthew took the first 2 games in a similar manner, just edging a couple of points ahead towards the end of each game. Keith then did the same to take the third 11/8 and they were into a close battle. Matthew got himself ahead 10/9 and match ball in the fourth, only for Keith to find a way to edge it 12/10. Then remarkably the same pattern in the fifth, and Keith had got out of jail and into the final!

In the plate final, Barry played Blair, who took full advantage of a tiring Barry and played his best match of the weekend to win 3-0.

In the final of the main draw, Keith managed to beat clubmate Mike 3/0, with Keith’s determination and Mike’s tiredness in the legs from playing 2 events finally proving too much for him.

Well done to all for a good tournament, all carried out in good sporting spirit, and as ever, genuine thanks go to all the markers and organisers.

MO45

Peter Buchan (Montrose) lived up to his billing as pre-tournament favourite, sweeping to a convincing victory in the 2018 Grampian Masters Over-45 section. As usual, Buchan produced his tried and tested combination of solid play and determination in his first event of the 2018-19 campaign.

First round matches went according to the seedings as Mark James battled past local player, David Corry to set up an all-Montrose semi final with Buchan. At 2-1 down, Corry lost the fourth game 12/10 and might have given himself a chance had he managed to extend the match to five but James’ experience saw him through. Chris Turlik (Dollar Squash Club) secured a comfortable 3/0 win over Ian Morrison of Edinburgh Sports Club while the pick of the quarter finals saw veteran campaigner and second seed John Kynoch from Inverness Tennis and Squash Club take on classy shot maker Adam Clayton (Linlithgow Squash Club). Kynoch defused the expected challenge however as he sent Clayton to the Plate thanks to a comprehensive 3/0 victory. Clayton did go on to claim the honours in the Plate with tidy wins over Corry and Morrison.

Onto the semi finals and Buchan put James through his paces in a fast and furious encounter but with James playing in two age categories, his fitness was a factor as Buchan eased into the final 3/0. In the second semi, Turlik and Kynoch renewed their rivalry with Turlik once again coming out on top at the end of a hard fought match. The third seed got off to a fast start in each game leaving Kynoch with too much to do and Turlik made his way to his first Scottish Regional Masters final.

The final was an entertaining match and Turlik pushed Buchan hard, particularly in the first two games, which Buchan won 11-9, 11-9. Ultimately Buchan’s renowned fitness combined as ever with electric speed and enhanced by decades of experience all proved the difference as he punished Turlik’s loose shots, converting a straightforward 3-0 victory and emerging a worthy champion.

Tayside and Fife champion, Paul Jenkins (Watsonians), was notably absent in Aberdeen, along with regular contenders Angus Woodward (Newlands) and Douglas Emery (Whitecraigs). All three are expected to make a return at the West Masters in November where Buchan has confirmed that he will not be competing. Scotland’s leading O45 players, Simon Boughton (Edinburgh Sports Club) and Peter O’Hara (Newlands) have yet to play an event although the latter may also feature in his home event. With competition for national team qualification heating up, the West event might ultimately play a crucial role in deciding the shape of that team. 

MO50

There were only seven entrants in this year’s Grampian Mens Over 50s event, but on the plus side the draw did include five of the Scotland team that travelled to Dublin for the 2018 Home Internationals.

With Brian Robertson having the luxury of a bye, there were three matches played on Saturday morning:

Mike Ramsay, who lives in Southern England but had travelled north to play in his first Scottish Masters event, made smooth progress with a straight games win against Donald Durrand.

David Lindsay was already one game down against third seed Mark James when he showed that lightning can indeed strike twice – affected by injury during the Tayside and Fife tournament, but seemingly fully recovered, a similar movement in game two led to recurrence of the injury.  While Mark eased into the semi-final, David tried to avoid further damage, but recovered enough to win the plate final on Sunday.

The third match of the session involved Willie Irvine and Colin McMullen.  A close first game was won by Colin, but Willie fought back by winning the second and then forged ahead by winning game three.  Thereafter, the momentum swung very much Colin’s way as he first levelled the match at 2-2 and maintained control to win the decider.

The semi-finals were played early on Saturday afternoon, with Brian playing Colin and Mark playing Mike.

Having lost the first game against Colin at the same stage in the Tayside and Fife Masters last month, Brian made a better start this time round, opening a good lead and winning the game despite a fight-back from Colin.  Colin was ahead for much of the second game, but Brian managed to sneak it 13-11 before completing the job by winning the third.

Mike did well to prevent Mark from playing to his strengths in the first two games, winning both by a clear margin.  The third game was much closer, but Mike was able to close the game out 11-8 to progress to the final without dropping a game.

The final was played later on Saturday afternoon and Mike immediately took control of the first game as Brian struggled to get the ball past his opponent until the latter stages.  The second game was much more competitive, Mike continuing to apply pressure with very effective and consistent backhand drives, but Brian managing to counter, getting good return from drop shots on the backhand side.  Both players had opportunities to win the game, but Mike showed his ability in closing the game out 11-9.  The third game was a repeat of the second, keenly fought to 9-9, but Mike again able to close the game out 11-9.

And that was the MO50 main event over – 1 day, 3 rounds, 6 matches and one deserving winner in Mike. 

MO55

There were 11 competitors and the competition was played as a knock out, games to 15 points. It was good to see Allan Law returning to the fray, part of his recovery after a serious medical time-out.

There were three first round matches Saturday morning.  Based on the scores, Archie Magillivray beat Eric Duguid fairly comfortably 3-0, as did Allan Law against Lance Marshall.  The third match was tighter, Ricky Easton prevailing 3-1 over David Goldring, all the games scores quite close with the last two being two-pointers.

The quarters were played early Saturday afternoon.  There was deja-vu for Chris Holt and Archie being paired again; Chris won the first game comfortably and although Archie appeared to be moving freely, a hip injury from mid-week took its toll and forced Archie to retire in the second.  Norman Paterson cruised to victory 3-0 over Allan, consistently playing flat hard boast winners and although Allan managed a few of his reverse boasts, they only delayed the inevitable.  Jimmy Wells had a comfortable 3-0 win over Ricky, only the second game being close.  The match of the quarters was between the two home club players, Neil Rayner and Les Symons, their relative strengths of deft volleys or touch and speed around the court resulting in a close encounter. Neil was 2-1 up after three fairly close games before Les’ energy gained the upper hand; Neil appeared to save himself for the fifth but to no avail, Les coming through 3-2.

The plate had numerous walkovers such that there were only two matches.  Eric beat Lance 3-0 with only the second game close, to earn the right to play David Goldring who had walked his way over to the final.  Maybe the walking helped as he won the plate, beating Eric 3-0 relatively comfortably

Back to the semi-finals of the main event which were contested by Chris vs Les, and Jimmy vs Norman.  Chris and Les were on early Sunday morning which resulted in some scrappy play at times – who plays well early morning? Chris took the first game convincingly but Les put him under more pressure in the next two but not quite enough to prevent a 3-0 win.  Jimmy won the first two games easily, assisted by Norman making too many mistakes, his boasts tinning in sharp contrast to his previous match.  Norman led the third and had a game point before Jimmy just did enough to win it 16-14 and 3-0.  So both semis were comparable in the effort required to reach the final.

Chris and Jimmy last met in the Nationals final in March, Jimmy being victorious so a chance for Chris to gain some revenge.  He started strongly winning the first 15-7 by taking the ball early, so there was hope, but Jimmy levelled it with the same score, finding a better length.  This pattern was repeated to set up a decider.  Jimmy maintained the momentum of winning the fourth to win 3-2.  Strangely for a seemingly close match, each game was won convincingly, the highest losing game score being 9-15. 

MO60

There were 11 competitors and the competition was played as a knock out.

1st Round

The first match was played between Duncan Selkirk and Dick Bird, with Dick overcoming Duncan comfortably 3/0.

Next on were William Jappy and David Taylor. This was an enthralling encounter of completely differing styles, William took a 2-game lead going into the 3rd but David dug deep and eventually clawed it back to 2 all. David eventually went on to win the 5th game and the match.

Keith Hobson and Lance Marshall played next, and Keith outplayed Lance on this occasion and went on to win the match 3/0.

Quarter Finals

No 1 seed Peter Shivas played Dick Bird in the next round, Dick proved a difficult opponent for Peter – the score of 3/0 to Peter did not reflect this closer than expected contest.

John Charles played Bryan Jackson – John found his rhythm quickly and went into a 2/0 lead. But Bryan woke up in the 3rd game and made life more difficult for John and won that game. The 4th game was very close with John scraping home in the end to win 3/1.

Up next were David McAleese and David Taylor – again another hard-fought contest between these two consistent players. David McAleese went ahead with a 2/0 lead and eventually won the 3rd but it was so close.

Keith Gristwood made his entrance into this competition after his success in the previous tournament. His opponent, Keith Hobson did his upmost to stop Keith taking control of the match but eventually lost 3/0 due to Keith’s power and experience.

Semi-Finals

Peter played John in the first semi final – John worked hard to upset Peter’s rhythm by mixing a short and back game, but Peter could not be knocked off course, eventually winning 3/0.

David played Keith in a fiercely competitive match with the lead switching between the two continuously.  David attempted to get the ball wide and past Keith whilst Keith attempted to take the ball early. Eventually David won out over Keith 3/2.

Final

Peter Shivas v David McAleese

This was a hard-fought contest with the lead switching between players throughout the match.

In each game David initially managed to breakaway to a 4- or 5-point lead, but Peter managed to claw his way back into the game and overcome David’s lead and won each game comfortably and the match 3/0.

Plate Final

Bryan Jackson won a hard-fought plate final against William Jappy, who has shown vast improvement from previous years. Bryan won 3/2.

MO65

There were 10 competitors and the competition was played as a knock out.

There were two first round ties on Saturday morning which included two of three competitors in this event from Kirkcaldy Squash Club, namely Duncan Selkirk and Matthew Crawford involved. Brian Duffy from Whitecraigs Rugby Club beat Duncan 3/1 and Colin Davidson from Crieff Squash Club beat Matthew 3/0 – both matches were competitive.

On Saturday afternoon in the quarter finals the four top seeds all progressed. Ernie Cowell (1) had a comfortable 3/0 win over Brian Duffy, Alex Allan (4), the other competitor from Kirkcaldy Squash Club beat Jim Webster 3/0 and Dave Sturman (2) beat Colin Davidson 3/0. In the other quarter final Ian Ross (3) beat Walter McAllister 3/1 – this was a very close match. The first game was nip and tuck and could have gone either way before Ian won it 15/13. Walter, who was playing well fought back and comfortably won the second game 15/11. In the third and fourth games Ian hit better lengths and Walter made a few mistakes and Ian closed out the match 3/1 to progress to the semi final.

In the semi finals on Sunday morning Ernie played Ian and Dave played Alex. Ernie and Ian had never played before and there was some friendly banter between the players before the match. Ian started very strongly and comfortably won the first two games 15/7 and 15/5. In the third game Ernie fought back and serving well and playing winning volleys he won the third game 15/8. The fourth game was very close and at 12 all it could have gone either way but Ian won the last three points to win the game 15/12 and progress to the final.

The other semi final between Dave and Alex was a tense match. The first game was close all the way with Dave snatching the last two points to win 15/13. Alex was playing well considering he has had a late start to the season. The second game was even closer and Alex had two game points before Dave closed out the game 17/15. In the third game Alex was tiring and going for too many boasts and Dave won the game 15/10 and the match 3/0.

In the final Dave started very strongly and clinically played winning shots and won the first two games 15/8, 15/11. Ian fought back, playing some good lengths and winning drops, and won the third game 15/8. The fourth game was very close and could have gone either way before Ian won the last two points to win 15/13 and take the match to a deciding fifth game. Ian lead 7/4 in the fifth but Dave then won a series of points to take a crucial four point lead at 12/8 and closed the match out and won the game 15/11 and deservedly won the O65 title.

There were only four competitors in the O65 plate competition. In the semi finals Jim Webster comfortably beat Duncan Selkirk 3/0 and Walter McAllister beat Matthew Crawford 3/1. In the final Walter played well and beat Jim 3/0 in the final to win the O65 plate.

An interesting statistic of the O65 event was that the three competitors from Kirkcaldy Squash Club played in six of the 12 matches!

MO70

A good entry of 9 competitors and the competition was played as a knock out.

First round Saturday morning

John Mortimer overcoming Rob Respinger in the first round – this turned out to be the match of the day. A real see-saw affair 4/15, 15/9, 11-15, 15-11, 15-13 win in the fifth for John, who made up the eighth player in the quarter finals.

Quarter finals

No upsets with the top four ranked players moving smoothly into the semi finals.

George Stirrat (1) v Alfie Thomson (7)

George facing Alfie, another lefty and paired together as last year at this event. This time George kept his focus and completed a comfortable win.

Result 3/0 to George

Tom Kane (2) v John Mortimer (9)

An easy win for Tom who dominated his opponent with his movement and impressive touch play.

Result 3/0 to Tom

Bernard Starkey (3) v Andy Duff (6)

An excellent match which saw Andy in control from the off, with his aggressive play, accurate volleying and movement getting the better of Bernard. Andy won the first and continued to play well in the second, however Bernard hung-in and with some forceful play and movement got into his game, and won the second. Then dominated play and overcome Andy taking next two games.

Result 3-1 to Bernard

Ken Reid(4) v Ian Nicholson(5)

After an early exchange Ken took the first game, Ian broke back in the second. It was then Ken who took the initiative and controlled the rest of the match, winning the third and fourth games.

Result 3-1 to Ken

Sunday

Semi finals

George Stirrat v Ken Reid

George with his hard accurate service, made it difficult for Ken who couldn’t match his opponent, and unforced errors allowed George to make the most of loose balls and winning the match 15/11, 15/9, 15-11.

Result 3-0 to George

Tom Kane v Bernard Starkey

Bernard had a tough match against Tom, having lost the first but with some hard hitting he eventually won the next three games and the match 8-15, 16-14, 15-12, 15-10.

Result 3-1 to Bernard

‘Tom is an amazing player and you cannot let up against him.’

Final

George Stirrat v Bernard Starkey

George was again just too consistent for his opponent, Bernard, was always playing catch up, great match, with both players in great form.

Result 3-0 to George

Champion George Stirrat Over 70s Grampian Regional Masters – (without losing a game in all his matches).

Plate

Andy Duff beat Alfie Thomson 3-1 to book his place in the plate final with Ian Nicholson.

Plate final

Match of the Day

Ian took an early lead in what was an evenly contested match. Andy was clearly feeling the effects of his earlier match with Alfie.

However Andy fought back well, and showed a remarkable amount of retrieving and running, to finally beat Ian 13/15, 15/11, 17/19, 15/2, 15/12.

Result 3-2 to Andy

Plate winner Over 70s Grampian Regional Masters Andy Duff.

Masters Ranking Points

The most recent Masters Ranking points can be found here.

Dates for your Diary

Scottish Masters Events

West of Scotland Regional Masters – Hamilton Squash Club – 24/25 November 2018

East of Scotland Regional Masters – Edinburgh Sports Club – 19/20 January 2019

Central Scotland Regional Masters – Bridge of Allan Sports Club – 9/10 February 2019

Scottish National Masters Championships – Inverness Tennis & Squash Club – 15-17 March 2019

For details of all 2018/19 Masters Tournaments check the Scottish Squash website.