Over the last few weeks squash B and C division teams have been competing in a Handicap competition for the SRA Cup.
The fourteen teams consisted of five B league teams and nine C league. Teams play a normal match but afterwards a points value is added to the weaker team which is calculated based on their performance during the season.
In the first round every B league team came up against a C team, some of these being very close encounters. A particularly notable match was between B league champions Crowe Dragons and C league winners Island Exhausts Vets. The Dragons only just won by three points once the handicap was added, with the match between Dragon Magnus Lamprecht and Ian Sheard going all the way to five games. Hansard Racketeers were the only C league winners in this round as they overcame the Outcasts in a close match, thanks in part to Racketeer Matt Corlett who played particularly well in this encounter to beat his higher ranked opponent outright.
The quarter final round brought the four winning B league teams against four C teams. Crowe Dragons and the Sharks were impressive in beating their opponents to progress further in the tournament. The third team to claim a semi-final spot was Island Exhausts who beat Buchanan & Pitts Misfits in a hard fought match. The other encounter was a Racketeers derby with B league Conister Racketeers Pioneers taking on C league Hansard Racketeers. The B leaguers took the match with the pick of the games being Marc Taggart against Lucy Kerr, the latter playing well to gain valuable points for her team.
By the semi-final round all C league teams had been eliminated so it was a B league battle for the Cup. Crowe Dragons came up against Island Exhausts in the first semi-final which was a really great match with some very close encounters. Young Dragon Oliver Wait and the experienced Shaun Callow went all the way with Callow just grabbing the victory for his side in the fifth game. The other five game match was between the two number one players, Ben Peach and Josh Green. Both these players have improved a great deal through the course of the season and they produced a great match. Peach took the first two games but Green levelled it at 2-2. The final game went to Peach15-11, securing the match for Crowe Dragons, who progressed to the final.
The second semi-final saw Conister Racketeers Pioneers take on the Sharks but the Sharks were quite dominant in this match winning 5-0. Racketeers resistance came in the form of Rob Boyles who had five very close games with Mark Webster Smith. The other close match was between Andrew Brown and Greg Ansara. Brown levelled by taking the second game but Ansara closed out the match by taking the next two games.
So the Final was between B league champions Crowe Dragons and the Sharks. The Dragons two junior players on the night, Oliver Williams and Oliver Wait, both fought hard against their respective opponents but couldn’t take games off Alan McNair and Douglas Jacobsson respectively. However Beth Jones and Magnus Lamprecht succeeded in taking a game each off their Shark opponents Greg Ansara and captain Dave Freer. The only win for Crowe Dragons came when Lyndon Cheetham just clinched the fifth and final game 15-14 against Mark Webster Smith. This was a great game played between two top 20 players.
The overall match score was 4-1 to the Sharks and when handicaps were applied they won convincingly. The SRA Cup therefore goes to the Sharks this season, who are very worthy winners as their team has played great squash throughout the tournament.
The Sharks team, winners of the SRA Cup are pictured above. From Left to Right – Mark Webster Smith, Alan McNair, Dave Freer (Captain), Douglas Jacobsson and Greg Ansara