Essex Squash Racquets Association
2017 Essex Closed Squash Tournament
Match Report and Results Summary
Held at Club Kingswood in Basildon 20th to 22nd January
MILLANE Contract Services Ltd (Basildon)
Keller Williams Property Consultants (Southend)
Last weekend saw the return of the Essex Closed Squash Tournament to Club Kingswood in Basildon after an absence of several years.
The competition draws in the county elite players, and 2017 was no exception with world ranked players battling it out in front of a capacity crowd. The tournament is made all the more prestigious by support from our sponsors who provide the prizes, trophies and competition shirts that draw in the competitors.
Squash goes somewhat unnoticed, which is surprising as England has some of the world’s top players, including the world number 1 over recent years. Also Essex is proud to boasts having a number of players in the top world rankings who have aspired through our junior programs.
Squash and its sister sport Squash 57 (formally Racketball) are 2 of the best sports for both aerobic and physical fitness, they also provide an incredible social platform at all levels, ages and genders, as well as being fun to play.
The weekend attracted nearly 100 entries from all parts of the county who battled it out over the 3 days. Full draw and results are posted on the Essex SRA website at www.essexsra,com and on our Facebook page ‘Essex SRA’
Men’s A Winner - Richie Fallows Ladies A Winner - Alice Green
(World no. 62) England U17 no.2, U19 no.7 & WR 189
Event WINNER RUNNER UP Men's A Richie Fallows Rory Pennell Men's B Steve Cunnew Francis Engerer Men's C George Rapley (Jr) Zaid Mushtaq (Jr) Men's 35 Antony Savage Paul Wallace Men's 45 Chris Long Paul Goodhew Men's 50 Nigel Bacon Pascal Dibattista Men's 55 David Harris Lee Horton Ladies A Alice Green (Jr) Keeley Peacock Ladies 40 Michelle Higgins Kerry Munn Ladies 50 Lisa Tolhurst Maureen Duke
PLATE WINNER RUNNER UP Men's A Dave Smith Phil Lavender Men's B Darren Vickery Zaid Mushtaq Men's C Adrian Dibattista Andrew Pell Men's 35 Darren Vickery James Ware Men's 55 Tariq Mushtaq Wyn Edwards Ladies 50 Dawn Robinson Elaine Oddie
Main Competition Results
Friday 20th January
The weekend started with matches on Friday evening which saw the first rounds of the men’s B & C competitions
Saturday 21st January
Saturday was a very busy time, matches started at midday and went on well into early evening with the results setting up the semi-finals and finals that would be played on the Sunday.
Sunday 22nd January – FINALS DAY
Sunday morning started with a bang as the semi-finals got underway, from 10am until about 2.pm competitors battled for a place in the finals. All matches were hard fought but the highlight of the semis was the first round of the men’s A between two world ranked players - Elliot Selby and Rory Pennell.
Rory went down 2 games, then fought back to win the 3rd, Elliot put himself into match winning position in the 4th but was unable to clinch the win bringing the match level to 2 games all. The 5th game was spectacular, Elliot again got himself into a winning position, but Rory dug deeper and deeper to erode Elliot’s advantage to bring the points level. From then it was cat and mouse with both players taking the advantage then losing it, eventually an exhausted Rory managed to clinch the winning point to take the 5th game 16-14. And after an hour of play there was only a 3 points margin separating the winner from the loser.
This had been preceded by an equally challenging ladies match between Sarah Neller and Keeley Peacock. Keeley took the first game, Sarah pulling level with the 2nd, losing the 3rd then taking the 4th to even the match at 2 all. In the deciding 5th game Keeley pulled ahead to an 8-4 lead and looked good for the win, but Sarah dug in to level the score and then take herself to match ball at 10-8. Keeley however held on to again level the score, and much as in the men’s match advantage switched between players until Keeley managed to sneak the win for a place in the final.
We kicked off the finals around 3pm with some of the plate competitions before we got into the main competition. The plates were contested with equal determination as the main events, and produced some enjoyable displays of competitiveness and good gamesmanship. We had several juniors enter the tournament and young Adrian Dibattista (just 14) won the C plate.
Despite having played rounds on the Saturday and in the morning all the finalists still treated the crowd to stunning competitive matches which had been scheduled to finish with enough time for all competitors to watch the finals of the Ladies and Men’s A group.
Again we would like to highlight the importance of juniors to the game, and Essex is pretty good at bringing them along, this was born out by the Men’s C final contested by 17 year old George Rapley and Zaid Mushtaq just 13. In the match neither player gave an inch but both displayed superb court conduct coupled with determination, serving as a fine example of sportsmanship the county can be proud of.
Then we had the Men’s final, Rory Pennell a previous title holder and still hurting from his semi-finals match was up against world no.62 (and rising) Richie Fallows yet another Essex junior star now 21. Much as with the ladies, the first game proved a cat and mouse affair, each player inching forward and avoiding making any errors or providing openings for the other. The rallies were intense most over 25 shots or more, with staggering retrievals and stunning shots. Richie clinched the first game but was held to task in the second, Rory went ahead towards the end of the game but Richie was able to pull his lead back to take the second game 11-8. Richie set himself up nicely for the 3rd game going 10-6 ahead and serving for the match, but Rory was having none of it, he dug deep to pull back to 10 all. Richie slammed an exhausted Rory all over the court for the next 20 minutes and just managed to clinch the 3rd game with an inch perfect drop nick shot, giving Richie that game 17-15 and consequently the match and Essex Closed Men’s Champion Title.
So a perfect weekend of superb squash that entertained and thrilled the crowd of spectators we had for the whole 3 days. The event relies heavily on sponsorship to cover the cost of prizes, trophies and shirts, so I would like to thank ‘Millane Contract Services ltd’ and ‘Keller Williams’ for their kind support.
I must also thank Club Kingswood for hosting the event, the spectators who came along and provided the atmosphere, and of course the players without whom this would not be possible
Special thanks to the helpers and organisers especially:
Kerry Munn – Club Kingswood
Geoff Went – Essex SRA
Antony Savage – Millane Contract Services
And all the markers who did such a fantastic job (particularly Joe Blackmur)
We look forward to 2018 and hopefully attracting similar sponsorship, players and venue.
Thank you all for making this tournament the success it was.
Chairman Essex SRA