The West of Scotland Masters tournament was held at Newlands Tennis and Squash Club on 22/23 October 2016.

There were a total of 66 competitors who took part in 8 men’s events and one ladies O50 event.

The Newlands Squash Club committee with Brendan Forrester playing the pivotal role, managed a very well organised tournament. They all worked hard to make all competitors welcome and provided a good catering service throughout the tournament. At the prize giving hosted by Emilio Fazzi, competitors thanked the Newlands Squash Club and Brendan for all their hard work in the organisation and the smooth running of the tournament.

Thanks are also due to SSRL (Allan McKay and Lisa McKenna) and ‘SportyHQ’ for managing the entry and supporting the Newlands Squash Club committee in running the tournament.

MO35

There were 10 competitors and the competition was played as a straight knockout.

On Saturday morning, the first-round matches saw no real surprises with Graham Lind and David Morrison both winning 3-0 against Fernando Vicente and Paul Wynne respectively. The afternoon brought the second round with all the top seeds playing. Peter O’Hara (seeded 1) winning in his quick fashion against Graham Lind 3-0. Andrew McBain (seeded 2) winning in a more laboured way 3-0 against David Morrison. Peter Buchan (seeded 3) managed to subdue Blair McKenzie from his winning/hard shots to win 3-0. The surprise came when Neil Stedman played extremely well and in 3 close games beat Richard MacBride (seeded 4) in the Saturday afternoon matches.

Sunday morning started with the 035 plate competition which was highly contested. Blair McKenzie played his fellow Aberdonian Fernando and always seemed to have too many winning shots at the end of each game. Blair won 3-0. Richard MacBride was also in good form and managed to keep David Morrison from playing his normal game, winning 3-0. The final of the plate was a contested match with Blair taking control of the first two games winning 9-6, 9-3 against Richard. A Richard comeback (or Blair taking a rest) saw Richard winning the third 9-1. The fourth game saw Blair renewed and taking the game 9-6 and match 3-1.

The main competition saw two good semi-finals. The first saw Peter O’Hara win 3-0 (9-4, 9-3, 9-2) but his opponent Neil did put up a much bigger fight than when they last met in the Dundee Masters. The other semi-final saw Andrew McBain (slightly injured lower back) come through a 5-game match with Peter Buchan– with all games extremely close. Andy showed enough composure to win 9-7 in the fifth. After this effort, his injury became much worse and unfortunately he had to withdraw from the final with Peter O’Hara – which meant he had now won the O35 event. This was a shame as the crowd would love to have seen such a hard-hitting match between the two top seeds.

MO40

There were only three competitors, Scott Hay, Peter O’Hara and Paul Wynne and the competition was played as a round robin.

Peter O’Hara proved too strong for both Scott and Paul and comfortably won both matches 3-0 and won the O40 title. In the other match Scott Hay also beat Paul Wynne 3-0 and was runner up.

MO45

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

In the set of first-round matches, top seed Angus Woodward demonstrated his billing as the man to beat in this event by ensuring Andy McCulley did not get many chances and won 3-0 quite quickly. Mark James gave Douglas Emery (seeded 4) a scare by taking the first game 3-9. However, Douglas kept up his work rate on court and managed to change it all around winning the next 3 games and match 3-1. Paul Jenkins (seeded 3) was playing his first event of this season’s master’s tournaments against David Lindsay. He continued his fine form by taking the ball as early as possible and was too strong for David winning 3-0. Peter Buchan (seeded 2) played John Kynoch who put up a strong effort but unluckily could not get to 8 points and lost in 3 straight games 3-0.

The plate competition saw Andy play David in a very close match. Andy took the first two games before David came back to win the next two and take it into a fifth. However, Andy kept his nerve and won the deciding game 9-4 and match. John Kynoch had a walkover as Mark withdrew. In the final on Sunday, John was far too strong for Andy and won 3-0.

The first semi-final between Angus and Douglas was a very good match to watch. The first game seemed to go on for ever with both players not able to win two points in a row and the rallies being relentless. The first game could have gone either way but Angus prevailed 10-8. After winning the first game, Angus then took charge and won the remaining two games quite comfortably. In the second semi-final Paul took the game to Peter from the word go with his volleying and drop shots. This worked and he took the first game 10-8. Peter then managed to change the way the game was being played and with errors starting to appear from Paul, he won the next two games to lead 2-1. The fourth game was lucky for Peter as he managed to comeback from being 8-2 down to take it 10-9 and the match 3-1!

The final was a good match but Angus was always leading and taking the game to Peter. Apart from the third game where Peter managed to volley a lot more, Angus was mostly in control and came through to win the event 3-1.

MO50

In the build-up to the West event, the number of O50s players peaked at 9, but by the eve of the tournament the number had dropped to 7, leaving the unfortunate Rod Robinson with no match on Saturday.

For the remaining players, matches started on Saturday afternoon, with the first contest an intriguing South of Scotland duel between Jimmy Wells and Ronnie Carter. Jimmy made the better start, winning the first game 9-5, and maintained his form to win the second comfortably. It was nip and tuck in the third, in what was a make or break game for Ronnie, but it was Jimmy who got over the line by a margin of 9-7, saving valuable energy for Sunday.

Having played against each other for the first time in this season’s Highland Masters, Brian Robertson and Tom Adams met again surprisingly soon at Newlands. A close first game was edged 9/8 by Brian, but thereafter, the margins were clearer as he followed Jimmy’s lead by winning in straight games.

The final O50s match of the day was between Danny Russell and Mike Robinson. Danny competed well, but Mike had the upper hand when it came to keeping the scoreboard ticking over. A third 3-0 win of the day, with Mike the victor.

Sunday

The upshot of Saturday’s matches was a Sunday morning semi-final line-up of Rod versus Jimmy and Mike against Brian.

Jimmy carried on where he left off the day before by winning the first two games against Rod, but Rod fought back by winning the third game with a convincing 9-2 score line. However, he was unable to force a decider as Jimmy regained control in game four, reaching the final with a 3-1 win.

Meanwhile, there was no repeat of the five set match Brian and Mike had in the season opener at Broughty Ferry, as this time Brian got ahead and managed to stay ahead, with Mike battling both his opponent and a troublesome back. A 3-0 win for Brian.

And so the final on Sunday afternoon was between Jimmy and Brian, a re-match of the O50 Masters Nationals final last season. Back then it was Jimmy who prevailed 3-1, but this time Brian managed to strike the first blow by winning the first game. The second game was shaping up nicely with both players showing good form when Jimmy suffered a calf strain. Brian was able to capitalise and with the second game in the bag, was able to complete the job in the next.

This was another very well organised and smoothly run Masters tournament in excellent facilities.

MO55

There were 10 competitors and the competition was played as a straight knockout.

Saturday’s games started with 1st round games and wins for Rolf Hansen against Keith Gristwood 3-1 and Norman Paterson against Lance Marshall, with Norman winning 3-0.

Saturday afternoon saw all the top seeds progressing to the semi finals to play on the Sunday. Alan Law beat Rolf 3-1 but Alan took a bad tumble and that was going to have an effect on his semi final game. Norman worked Chris Holt hard but lost out 3-0 but was still the game of Saturday matches. Dave McAleese and Richard Easton won their games 3 -1 against Geoff Cordwell and Paul Whitely respectively.

Sunday was semi final and final day – Chris defeated Richard 3-0 in the first match. The other semi final game looked like it was going to go to a five setter but with Alan taking the third to go 2-1 up, he had to concede due to the knee injury he had sustained in the quarter final against Rolf.

In the final, Chris continued his good form and won the match 3-0 and the O55 title.

The Plate final had bragging rights as both players, Paul Whiteley and Geoff Cordwell play at the Western Club in Glasgow and this was Sunday’s match of the day with Paul coming out a 3-0 winner.

Good weekend of squash and well done to Chris and Paul.

MO60

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

3 of the 4 quarters were straightforward wins for the seeds with Jim Dougal beating Allan Murray, John Rae beating Lance Marshall, and Peter Shivas beating John Pinkerton all 3-0. The other quarter resulted in John Charles winning a hard fought match 3-1 over Eric Donohoe.

The semis were much closer. John Charles played a very good game at the front of the court and surprised Jim Dougal by his speed around the court winning 3-1. John Rae and Peter Shivas, as expected, had a very hard game sharing the first two sets. The third was very close with Peter edging it. Peter then went on to win the fourth reasonably easily for a 3-1 win.

In the final Peter Shivas was just too strong and consistent for John Charles and won very comfortably 3-0 and won the O60 title.

In the final of the Plate, John Pinkerton was too strong for Lance Marshall and he won 3-0.

MO65

There were 12 competitors and the competition was played as a straight knockout.

There were four first round ties on Saturday morning – Brian Dunn beat David Hughes 3-0, Alex Allan (fresh from reaching the final of the O65 Polish Masters earlier in October) beat Phil Leek 3-0, Emilio Fazzi beat David Naylor 3-0, and Walter McAllister beat John McBride 3-0.

In the Saturday afternoon quarter finals the top seeds Jim Dougal and John Rae had comfortable 3-0 wins over Brian Dunn and Walter McAllister.

The other two quarter finals were much more competitive. The match between Ian Ross and Alex Allan went to five games. Ian won the first tight game 9-6, but Alex fought back strongly to win the second and third games 9-3, 9-5. Ian recovered to comfortably win the fourth game 9-0, but Alex still had plenty left in the tank. The fifth game was competitive and Alex looked the likely winner at 6-4 but Ian held his nerve and won the fifth and the match 9-6.

In the other game Emilio Fazzi played David Sturman – Dave started strongly and won the first game 9-5. The second game was important because Dave took an early lead but Emilio fought back to win the second game 9-5. Emilio played well to win the third and fourth games 9-6 and 9-2 to reach the semi final.

The semi finals were played on Sunday morning with Jim Dougal playing Ian Ross and John Rae playing Emilio Fazzi. Jim, John and Ian all reached the semi finals of the British O65 Masters in June with Jim and John meeting in the final and Jim Dougal winning the title – a brilliant performance.

Unfortunately after only seven points in the first game Emilio broke down with a recurring injury and had to retire and John qualified for the final.

In the other semi final Jim started strongly and won the first game 9-4, but Ian fought back to win the next two games 9-6 and 9-3. Jim showed all his experience to turn the match round and won the fourth and fifth games 9-3 and 9-3 to set up another Jim Dougal/John Rae final.

In the lunchtime final John benefitted from the retiral of Emilio in the first game of the semi final. He started very strongly and won the first game 9-0. Jim demonstrated his fighting spirit by clawing back into the second game and winning 9-7. Jim continued the fight back and at 7-7 it was anyone’s game – but it was John who held on to win 9-7. John continued his good form against a tired Jim, and won the fourth game 9-3 and the O65 title.

In the Plate final, Dave Sturman was too strong for Phil Leek and won 3-0.

MO70

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

Of the four entries to the O70s, three were regulars (Ken Reid, Bernard Starkey and Ian Nicholson) and a ‘new boy’ (Tom Kane).

Tom played in the over 75s in the Home Internationals this year winning all his games. This was his first entry into the over 70s.

Match of the Day – Saturday

This was a tough call as both matches – Ken v Tom and Bernard v Ian were worthy of ‘match of the day’.

Both matches went to five games to bring about a result.

Ken went 2-0 down very quickly before rallying to 2-2. He then took advantage of a few mistakes from Tom when the match was at 5-5 to close out the match.

Result Ken won 3-2

In the other match Ian took a 2-0 lead, before Bernard recovered to take the next two games – into the final game saw Bernard taking control only to see him lose easy points to Ian’s persistent play and taking it to 8-8. Bernard finally closed it out 10-8.

Result Bernard won 3-2

Match of the Day – Sunday

Tom Kane v Bernard Starkey

This was a dead rubber, as Ken had overcome Ian earlier by 3-0 and won the 070 title.

This match was possibly the hardest fought and closest match of the weekend.

A clash of styles between two very fit ‘oldies’. Bernard with his crisp harder shots against Tom ‘The Silver Fox’ using his array of touch shots from every part of the court. Both players moving well about the court from beginning to end of this five game match.

Tom prevailed in a very eventful, skilful, entertaining and hard fought match played in the best possible spirit. Not just in this match but for all the matches over the weekend by the 070s

Result Tom won 3-2 and was runner up in the O70s event.

WO50

There were only three competitors, Norma Marshall, Bernie Beattie and Sue Strachan and the competition was played as a round robin.

Sue and Bernie were too strong for Norma and both comfortably won 3-0. The match between Sue and Bernie was much more competitive with Sue, after three tight games, winning 3-0 and the O50 title with Bernie the runner up.

Dates for your Diary in 2016

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

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

Wales Masters Squash Open, Cardiff on 9-11 December (Entries close 17 November)

For details of 2017 Masters Tournament see Scottish Squash and sportyHQ websites.