The Veterans Squash Rackets Club of Great Britain


home > news > european masters 2023
 
 
EUROPEAN MASTERS SQUASH CHAMPIONSHIPS – HAMBURG 2023


SEVEN GB VETS WOMEN TOOK PART IN THE 2023 TOURNAMENT.
CATHERINE RUFFLE – O45, ALISON GOY – O50, SARAH PARR – O50, MANDY AKIN – O60, TAMMY BENNETT – O60, LYNNE DAVIES – O65, ANN MANLEY - O70 /O75 / O80 (COMBINED)

OVER 45 – CATHERINE RUFFLE
CATHERINE
started her event with a good 3/0 win, she then came up against an unknown/unseeded French opponent. Catherine started well and took the first game; the 2nd game was tight all the way, but Catherine took the game 12/10 to give herself a 2/0 lead. The third was another tight game but Catherine edged into the lead to give herself game ball at 10/9 but her French opponent was not finished yet and managed to sneak the game 12/10. Game on into a 5th. Catherine started to struggle a little and her opponent really started to work her around the court (it was approximately 30 degrees on court). With the match now at 2/2 it was a battle for the 5th, but Catherine could not maintain her earlier form and lost the battle 2/3. She then moved into the 5th – 8th playoff group, where she won both her matches 3/0 to give her a 5th place finish in her first European championships
OVER 50 – ALISON GOY & SARAH PARR
ALISON
had a bye in the first round so started her campaign the Thursday and had though second round against an experienced German player (5/8 seed) and although she gave it her all, she came out with a 0/3 loss. This moved her in to the 9th to 16th place group.
She took her next match with a solid 3/0 win. Her next match was a tough one, but he started well taking the first game 11/4, the next game was a real battle with Alison coming out on top 14/12. She then lost the next two games but fought back in the 5th to take the match 3/2. This put her in the 9th / 10th place playoff.
Alison took the first game but lost the next two, she fought back in the fourth but couldn’t quite finish it and lost the game 13/15 giving her a final finish of 10th place, which was a good placing in a strong field.
SARAH PARR was not going to enter the event as she’d been nursing tennis elbow. She made the decision two weeks before the event to give it a go!
She was a seed and although lacking in match practice, she put in two excellent performances to win her first and second round matches 3/0. This moved her into the semi-final against the no. 2 seed. She made an excellent start and took the first game 11/8 and the second game 11/6. The third game was much closer as the number two seed started to find her range and the score was 10/10, when the number 2 seed picked up an injury and could no longer run, and Sarah took the next two points to win the third 12/10 and the match 3/0 booking her place in the final against the ex-pro Simone Korrell.
The final was on the glass court, which Simone had played on the previous day but Sarah hadn’t yet had the opportunity, so this was a tough ask. Sarah made a fabulous start winning the first game 11/9. She looked like she was born to play on the glass court! Simone came back in the second and took the game 11/8. Sarah wasn’t flustered and went on to take the third 11/6 to give herself a 2/1 lead. Sarah continued to play brilliantly on the glass court but Simone was not ready to throw in the towel and at 10/10 in the fourth, it was still all to play for. Sarah continued her great play to take the game 12/10 and the match 3/1 to win her first European Championship Gold medal. She was very glad she made the decision to enter!
OVER 60 - (MANDY AKIN & TAMMY BENNETT)
TAMMY BENNETT
had a tough first round match (due to the strange set up of the groups) and her first match was against the no. 3 seed, who was runner up in Poland at the world masters. Tammy just lost the first game 11/13, she dropped off a little in the 2nd game but came back with a good performance to take the 3rd game, unfortunately it wasn’t mean to be and she lost 3/1. She played two more group matches and won both of those 3/0 with two good performances and this put her in to the 4th to 6th playoff box.
Tammy continued to play well and won her next 2 matches 3/0 to ensure she finished in 4th place.
MANDY AKIN had a bye in the first round due to a late withdrawal from a 5/8 seed. So kicked off her event the following day with a 3/0 win to book her place in the 1st to 3rd playoff group.
Her next match was against the No 3. Seed who was her opponent in the final of the World Masters in Poland in 2022. Mandy put in a solid performance to win the match 3/0 to move her in to the 1st / 2nd place playoff the following day.
Mandy was then up against one of her (favourite) rivals from the past, who was making a welcome return to competitive squash, Bea Spitse from Holland. This was always going to be a battle and the first game proved to be just that with Mandy ‘just’ managing to take it 16/14! Bea took a rest in the 2nd game which also went to Mandy but she came back with a strong performance to take the 3rd. In the fourth Mandy battled hard to secure a 5 point lead at 10/5 match ball and won the match to take the over 60s European Championships Gold medal.
OVER 65 - (LYNNE DAVIES)
Due to some strange scheduling within the groups, Lynne Davies (3/4 seed) had a tough first round against her Welsh teammate, Sian Johnson (2 seed), but Lynne was on her game and took the win 3/0 with a great performance. She then moved on to also win her next match 3/0 to put herself top of her group and moving her in to the 1st to 3rd playoff group.
She won her next match 3/0 to gain herself a place in the final. The final was against another one of her Welsh teammates, Jill Campion (1 seed). Although Lynne fought hard, Jill took the match and the over 65 European Championships Gold medal with Lynne taking the Silver medal.
OVER 70S TO 80S – COMBINED AGE GROUPS
ANN MANLEY
– WHAT A LEGEND!
Ann was playing in a group format and had three matches in her group stage against players who ranged from 70 to 80. Her first match was against a youngster who is still in the over 70 category, but Ann (who is in the over 75 category) took a tough first game 13/11 and then continued her strong performance to take the 2nd 11/2. Her opponent fought back to take the third but Ann continued battling and took the fourth 11/6 and the match 3/1. Having got her eye in Ann went on to take two 3/0 wins in her next two group matches which moved her into a 4 draw to playoff for positions one to four.
Ann played the experienced Claire Bryers from France who is still in the 70’s category and put in a great performance to win 3/0, which moved her in the final.
The final followed the next day with a match against another England player, Catherine Woodhart, who is in the over 70s category. Ann being the legend she is took the first 11/4, with Cath battling back in the second, but again Ann hung on to the game to take it 11/9 and then backed that up with and 11/3 score the final game to take, not only the over 75 European Championship Gold medal, but also the over 70s European Championship Gold. She will add these to her massive total of nationals, British opens, European and World Championship medals – fantastic performance Ann and always with a smile on your face.

WOMENS REPORT BY MANDY AKIN

The men’s GB Vets squad had a mixed tournament, result wise. There were some notable performances from IAN ROSS taking gold. BRYAN FRANCIS and BARRY FEATHERSTONE who both took silver medals, DARREN WITHEY and MATT STEPHENSON taking bronze. Darren beating world champion Freddie Johnson in the quarters, a fantastic result for the Buckingham player.
Barry Featherstone met his closest rival Ian Ross in the final of the men’s 75’s, these two were the stand-out players in the group. Ian taking the final 3-0. Barry having beaten the No1 seed in the previous round.
The O70’s had a stand-out performer from Ireland as the No1 seed, the other players were basically playing for second place, a position Bryan Francis did exceptionally well to achieve. SAM BALSDON 3/4 seed reached the semis but also lost out to the No.1 seed.
ALLEN BARWISE and IAN BRADBURN were both expected to do well in the O65’s event, however, although they both had reasonable wins in the early rounds much more was expected from them, Allen reaching the semi’s and deciding not to play in the bronze play-off and Ian the quarters in which he was 2-0 up against the overall winner. In the same age category RIPLEY OYLER progressed to the third round when he came across a handy Finn who was a little too strong for him.
DAVID HARRIS in the 60’s was subject to a poor draw and lost in the second round to John Dineen from Ireland. EAMONN PRICE who had high hopes for the tournament despite the incredibly strong entry made the quarter finals losing out to the eventual finalist from Switzerland. MARK WOODLIFE seeded two lost to the eventual winner Jonas Ulvsback in the semi. Darren Withey after beating the No1 seed lost out the Georgio Sorio who had previously disposed of Eamonn.
PARAMJIT DEOL lost in the second round in the O55’s to a strong sixth seeded Spaniard. He did however, have a good win in the first round.
Matt Stephenson had an excellent tournament beating several good players on his way to third place in the O50’s. Matt training hard prior to the event.
Finally..........Huge congratulations to all of the ladies who managed to bolster the success of the Vets, especially MANDY AKIN and SARAH PARR winning their respective age groups. Much respect !!

MENS REPORT BY ALLEN BARWISE