The Veterans Squash Rackets Club of Great Britain

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Over the weekend of 16th/17th April Colets Health and Fitness, in Thames Ditton, hosted the Club Tournament Finals. Once again the quality of squash on display was excellent, with 3 of our World Champions in the mix for prizes and a considerable number of International and County players on display. Also present were the usual suspects, in the guise of markers, to see that fair play was adhered to.

Saturday was semi final day and highlights included the O’45 singles match between Mike Stuart and Darren Withey, and both O’45 Doubles going all the way in thrilling 5 setters with Mandy and Albert Akins beating Chris Harland and Alasdair Niven 11-10 in the 5th. Unfortunately a few matches were not played due to injuries and late withdrawals but those present enjoyed a day of quality squash.Finals day on Sunday and the matches started at 11.00 to enable a full program to be completed by mid afternoon.

The Plate Finals went on first and there were wins for Alan Boulden, Ed Beer, Philip Courtenay-Luck, Keith Searle and Graham Davies. Then followed the main event Finals. There were no upsets but some close matches gave for exciting viewing.

In the Over 60’s Andy Larkin took the first game from our President Philip Ayton but then went down 3-1.
It was the same story for Stuart Hardy in the Over 55’s. Playing some aggressive squash against Mark Cowley he went 1-0 up. World Champions don’t give up easily, and so it was as Mark came through and won 3-1. The 45 and 50 titles went to Darren Withey and Chris Harland, the Over 75 title was won by Malcolm Gilham, another of our World Champions, and the Over 70’s winner was our Chairman John Woodliffe, who played more games over the weekend than any other player as did his doubles partner Lance Kinder. The pair of them having combined ages of nearly 150.

The closest match of the afternoon was the Over 65’s final between Former World Champion Adrian Wright and current World Champion Chris Ansell. Adrian took a close first 10/8 and then the second 9-5. He seemed to take a rest for 2 games as Chris levelled the score at 2/2. In the fifth Adrian went into a 6-4 lead before Chris fought back to win 9/6.

The Ladies Finals produced wins, yet again, for Mandy Akin and Karen Hume with the two of them combining to win the Ladies Doubles. The Men’s Doubles were won by Withey and Cowley in the 45’s and the Willmor brothers Brian and Peter in the 55’s. The Over 65’s were won by Aplin and Froggitt and the Over 70’s by Woodliffe and Kinder.
The Finals were followed by a remarkably short and uneventful AGM where the Committee all agreed to stand for another year and then Philip Ayton presented the prizes.

Most of us have a collection of dusty old plaques and shields in our attic, from Tournaments and Championships long past and forgotten, but the Vets Club Trophies, Glasses, Decanters and Vases remain on show and in use for many years.

Finally, what is for some, the highlight of the weekend, the buffet. A splendid spread was put on by Colets (when they remembered to bring out the sandwiches). A few glasses of wine and beer were drunk and time was spent with old and new friends. Those no longer playing reminisced on how it was in “Their Day” and the current bunch of players young and not so young trying to work out how to do better next year.

Entry forms for next year’s Tournament will be sent out with the Summer Newsletter and I encourage you all to enter. Hopefully we will be able to hold the Finals at Broxbourne.

Geoff Howes
April 2011