Island Exhausts Vets maintain winning record

Island Exhausts Vets maintain winning record

In Division A Team AON claimed the top spot courtesy of their 4-1, 174-131  win over Crazies. Both Chris Cave and Dafydd Lewis won 3-1, whilst the in-form Jason Crease wasted no time on his way to a very good 3-0 win over James Ramsey. Both the other matches were 3-2 results with Mason McLarney coming back from 2-1 down against Mark Webster-Smith to clinch his victory. Captain Ashley Sandyford-Sykes took the Crazies only win to prevent AON gaining maximum points.

The other A league match brought together Cannell Print and new team Argosy AllStars. After the top two strings had played the match was equal with Argosy’s Malcolm Levy and Cannell’s Josh Green both getting 3-0 results. However the other three matches were all close five game battles. Steve Morley had a break from squash last season because of injury but is rapidly regaining his form. He played his usual aggressive hard-hitting game to beat the younger and higher ranked Oliver Wait, coming back from 2-1 down to take the other win for Argosy. Cannell were the overall winners in the end as Ben Peach and James Martin took the other two matches. Although both are ranked above their opponents they had to battle hard to get their 3-2 wins with Argosy’s Magnus Lamprecht playing particularly well to push Martin all the way. 

In the B league Island Tyres and Exhausts made it two wins out of two matches with a maximum points win over Racketeers Pioneers. Peter Sharples and Shaun Wylie both had convincing 3-0 wins at numbers five and one respectively but the middle order players had to battle a bit harder for their 3-1 wins. Magnus Lamprecht and Richard Cretney both lost the first game to their Racketeers opponents Andrew Brown and James Leith before winning the next three. The match of the night was a real tussle between the number twos Liam Townsend and Baillie Watterson where Townsend played with passion and came out on top beating his higher ranked opponent 3-1.

The Outcasts continued their unbeaten run with a 4-1 win over Argosy Junior Academy with good matches all round. Outcasts captain Peter Ginty and number two Chris Cave claimed 3-0 victories over Ben Leith and Isaac Quayle respectively. Christian Webster at three for Argosy pushed A league player Liam Davies all the way, with Davies just coming out on top in the fifth after an amazing game of squash. Outcasts stalwart Mark Henson secured a 3-1 win to make it four wins for the Outcasts. The juniors number 1, Oliver Wait, clinched the juniors only win 3-1 in a fine match with another top 25 player Angus Hopkinson.

The third B league match was Sharks against Crowe Dragons. On paper the Dragons had the edge but the Sharks top two players Alan Macnair and Douglas Jacobsson punched well above their weight to defeat their higher ranked opponents and Dave O’Neill made it three for the Sharks with a convincing 3-0 win over Peter Ferguson. The closest match of the night was a five game battle between island player Beth Jones and Sharks Greg Ansara. Greg was 2-1 down but dug deep to pull it back and claim a 3-2 victory. Dragons captain Darren Smethurst prevented the whitewash taking their only win of the night 3-0 at number five.

In the C league Island Exhaust Vets proved too strong for the Falcons and walked away with a maximum points win. Mark Stratford and Peter Sharples won their games 3-1 against Julien Uzzell and Lewi Long respectively. Les Callow had to work a bit harder for his 3-1 victory over Vusimbe Zivave who played well to take a game off his higher ranked opponent. Gerrit Du Toit and Vets captain Ian Sheard both won 3-0 in their matches against the Falcons ladies Vicky Watterson and Sarah Simpson.

Chrystals Junior Academy bounced back from their opening-night defeat with a hard-fought win over Hansard Racketeers on Tuesday. The youngsters won all five of the C League tie’s encounters, including a walkover for Leighton Ginty after opponent Gary Stephenson was delayed at work. The other four rubbers went to four games with victories going the way of Callum Larkin, Amaline Batty, Emma Leith and skipper Beth Jones, who came from one down to triumph over Mark Harrop 3-1.

Buchanan & Pitts Misfits maintained their 100% record with a 4-1 win over Outcasts Dragons in the other C league match. Misfits Mark Henson and Stephen Pitts only dropped one game in their wins while Dragon Chloe Corrigan pulled one back for her team with a 3-0 win at five. Andy Dixon and Phil Whittam had a five game battle at second string with Dixon winning 15-13 in the fifth while John Watterson and Fatheha Essa also went to the full five games before the more experienced Watterson clinched the fourth match for Misfits.

The Photo above is of the ‘Island Exhausts Vets Team’. From left to right – Ian Sheard (Captain), John Smith, Les Callow, Peter Sharples, Mark Stratford and Gerrit Du Toit  

Revisions to IOMSRA Squash Teams and Squads for the 2020-2021 Season

Revisions to IOMSRA Squash Teams and Squads for the 2020-2021 Season

The have been a few amendments to the Team names and the Squads off players representing the various Teams. The most recent ones are that Steve Morley has joined Crowe Dragons and Peter Ferguson has joined Outcasts Dragons. Barry Irvine has also registered as a Hansard Racketeers player. 

I have updated the ‘Team org Chart’ to reflect these changes. The revised document can be seen on the linked PDF and also on the Image shown below. 

Team Org Chart

It is a working document and I will update it throughout the course of the season as new players join the various squads. In quite a few cases teams do not have Vice Captains so if you are Captaining a team try to provide me with details of your teams Vice Captain please.

StoneArt off to a flying start in the A league

StoneArt off to a flying start in the A league

As IOMSRA league squash commenced last week StoneArt started their season by dropping only one point against Cannell Print, the final result being 4-1 in rubbers. With Cannell’s top player Thom Whiteway out of action due to self-isolating, Josh Green played at number one and had a super five game match only just losing to Jason Blue 11-9 in the fifth game. Cannell’s only victory came at two as Ben Peach defeated Hamish Thornton in another five game match, taking the last 12-10. Steve Baker and Toby Woolard both won 3-1 in their matches and Lyndon Cheetham managed a 3-0 win. A good start for StoneArt who capitalised on Cannell being under strength on the night.

The other A league match also resulted in a 4-1 win, this time for Team AON over league newcomers Argosy Allstars. There was a very close match at fifth string where every game between Allstar’s Magnus Lamprecht and AON’s Chris Cave ended 11-10. AON’s Mason McLarney and Jason Crease both secured 3-1 wins while ex-racketeers team-mates Rob Boyles and Dafydd Lewis had a five game battle with Lewis taking the win. Argosy’s only victory came through number one player Malcolm Levy who put in a brilliant performance to secure a 3-2 victory over Pat Fitzpatrick.

In the B league Island Tyres and Exhausts had a good 4-1 over the Sharks although three of the five matches were very competitive going all the way to five games. Shaun Wyllie didn’t drop a game in his match and was too strong for Douglas Jacobsson, who was returning after 12 months out of league squash. Sharks only victory came from Mark Stratford who held on in the fifth to beat Magnus Lamprecht. In the fifth string match Peter Sharples’ experience had the edge over Greg Ansara on this occasion as he took the win  4-1 for Island Tyres.

Pat Fitzpatrick’s precocious Junior Academy side hinted at B League title charge this season with an opening-night victory over Racketeers Pioneers. The Argosy-sponsored teens won four of the second-tier encounter’s rubbers in their 235/198 victory. Isaac Quayle, Christian Webster, Ben Leith and Olly Wait picked up the wins, the latter seeing off the determined challenge of the Racketeers’ newly promoted number one Joe Burrows. Baillie Watterson returned from last season’s successful loan spell at fellow B League outfit Sharks to land the Racketeers’ sole win on the night at second string.

The third B league match of the night also finished in a 4-1 result when defending champions Outcasts took on Crowe Dragons. Outcasts were too strong in the lower order with Liam Davies, captain Peter Ginty and Mark Henson all winning their matches without dropping a game. Dragons number one James Martin had a very close match with Angus Hopkinson with all the game scores ending in double figures, Angus got the win to make it four wins to the Outcasts. Dave Hedley took the only win for Dragons triumphing 3-1 over Chris Cave.      

The C league saw Falcons field two new players in their match against Santander Racketeers Academy. Both Phil Butler and Vicky Watterson performed well to win their games against Martin Greenwood and Jas Singh respectively. The more longstanding Falcons players however did not fare so well. Lewi Long battled against Fraser Dorling for five games but Dorling eventually won 3-2. In the other two matches Charlie Beard overpowered Jon Cox by 3 games to 1 and Andrew Brown continued to show good form to win his match 3-0. Although Academy won the fixture 3-2 Falcons actually won on points 206-192 reflecting how close the match was.

Buchanan & Pitts Misfits got their season off to a flying start with an emphatic win over Hansard Racketeers. That said, signs of lockdown were evident as players only slowly recovered their stride and the squash improved as the evening progressed. There were good 3-0 wins for Mark Henson and Andy Dixon over Matt Corlett and Mark Harrop respectively. Stephen Pitts also came away 3-0 over Lucy Kerr although she ran him exceeding close and on a different night might easily have won two of the games which ended 15-14. John Watterson overcame Dave Johnson 3-0 while Chris Gledhill was the only Misfits casualty of the night going down 0-3 to Racketeers skipper Andy Dalrymple.

The fixture against Crystals Junior Academy was by no means a straightforward opener to the season for Island Exhaust Vets as the Juniors all gave a very good account of themselves against their more experienced opponents. In the lower order both Gerrit Du Toit and Les Callow won in straight games but from there on it got increasingly difficult for the Vet players as both Peter Sharples and Ian Sheard lost their opening games to Amaline Batty and Leighton Ginty respectively and were given a run for their money. Both of these Juniors had good court coverage and a range of shots to make their opponents work hard throughout. At number one Mark Stratford managed to scramble the first game, but from then on Emma Leith proved herself the better player, dominating the court and not allowing Mark back into the match at all. 

Current A league leaders StoneArt Squash Team are pictured above. 
Back Row – Hamish Thornton, Steve Baker (Captain) and Lyndon Cheetham.
Front Row – Jason Blue and Toby Woolard

Sandyford Sykes Sees off Opposition to win Manx Telecom Dave Karran Memorial Tournament 2020

Sandyford Sykes Sees off Opposition to win Manx Telecom Dave Karran Memorial Tournament 2020

The IOMSRA Squash season started last week with the Manx Telecom Dave Karran Memorial Tournament. The tournament was restricted to 32 players and, with a full draw, each competitor was promised a full five matches using the Monrad or Swiss System.

There were no upsets in the first round which went according to seeding. In this round normally the 16th and 17th seeds match up can be quite close but Shaun Wyllie made a good start to the season with a 3-0 win over his close rival. The only match which didn’t return a 3-0 win was between Marc Taggart and Steve Morley. On three occasions the game scores were 12-10 in this match but Morley got the win 3-1.

In the second round the seeding still proved to be a good predictor of the results however there were three very close matches in this round. The 8th and 9th seed  match brought Mason McLarney against the competitive James Ramsey in a super contest with McLarney just earning his place in the quarter final with a 14-12 win in the fifth game. Another five game battle was between two stalwarts of IOMSRA Squash, current president Les Callow and ex-chairman Peter Ferguson, resulting in Ferguson just getting the better of his older opponent 3-2. Two very promising youngsters also enjoyed a close encounter as Isaac Quayle took on Emma Leith and eventually took the win 3-2.

As the rounds progress scores tend to get tighter because players are more evenly matched. The third round saw a number of close 3-2 matches. Some notable ones were the experienced Mike Hayler beating Angus Hopkinson, Oliver Williams triumphing over Isaac Quayle, Ben Leith battling hard to get the better of Peter Baker and Richard Cretney seeing off Marc Taggart. There was also a fine performance by Liam Townsend who managed to get a 3-0 win over Harvey Douglas.

The fourth round started late meaning a very late finish around 10 pm on Tuesday.  There were some super matches in this round but the best was the match up between the 2nd and 3rd seeds Pat Fitzpatrick and Jason Blue. This went all the way with Jason just clinching this attritional match 11-4 in the final game. Other noteworthy five game matches were Liam Townsend overcoming Oliver Williams and Vicky Watterson beating her new teammate Phil Butler. There were also some seeding upsets when Ben Peach, Beth Jones and Andrew Brown all triumphed over higher ranked opponents with 3-0 score-lines.

The final round of matches was played on Thursday and the evening brought us some cracking squash. The Falcons new recruit Vicky Watterson beat Misfit Stephen Pitts 3-2. Isaac Quayle had yet another 3-2 match beating Peter Baker to claim the 23rd place. Argosy Allstars teammates Dave O’Neill and Steve Morley had a great match with O’Neill coming back from 2-0 down to take the match 3-2 and claim the 15th spot. The play-off for the 7th place brought together Mason McLarney and Steve Baker, McLarney went 2-1 up but Baker levelled it at 2-2 only to see a very determined Mason take the fifth game 11-2 to win the match.

The first of the key matches in this round was a play-off for the 9th ranked player. James Ramsey and Toby Woolard took it in turns to win games but Ramsey eventually claimed the 3-2 victory. The Plate Final was between university student Liam Townsend  and local ‘bobby’ Richard Cretney. Cretney got off to a good start and was 2-0 up but Townsend is a real-fighter and clawed his way back into the match to take the next three games and the plate final 3-2. The third place play-off was a real epic between Hamish Thornton and Malcolm Levy. Levy’s ‘never say die’ attitude is a real example to us all as despite being 2-0 down and looking like he had lost he dug deep and managed to come back to claim a 3-2 win.

The final was a battle between the wily and experienced Ashley Sandyford Sykes and the youthful and energetic Jason Blue. Ashley played very aggressive squash and never really gave Jason a chance to settle into the match and find a rhythm. Sykes won the final 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 to claim the title. The Manx Telecom RoseBowl was presented to the winner by the late Dave Karran’s brothers Bill and Brian. The IOMSRA would like to thank Manx Telecom and the Karran family for their continued support of this season-opening tournament.


A Few words about Steve Gaylor

A Few words about Steve Gaylor

The Isle of Man Squash Community was very saddened to hear of the death of Steve Gaylor on Monday 7th September, aged only 51 years. He died of a particularly aggressive cancer and faced up to it with great courage and never complained. Steve leaves behind his partner of 25 years, Kim, and two children Oscar 13 and Jasmin 10.

Steve was a very popular and much-loved member of the Squash community here on the island. He played competitive squash for a good many years and for various teams. He was first seen wielding a racket at Summerland in the early 1990’s. He also played at Onchan Squash Club where he was a member of a number of teams over the years including Onchan A, Cains and Davrost. While playing for Davrost he succeeded in winning the A league in 2011.  He had a break from squash when his children were young but came out of retirement to play for StoneArt and Crowe Dragons from 2015 up until the end of 2018. His signature shot was his fore-hand drive which he could hit with real pace.

He will be missed by all those who had the privilege to play with him or against him. The squash community are all the richer for having had him among us, he was a gentleman and a thoroughly good bloke.