Whiteway wins Manx Telecom Dave Karran Memorial Squash Tournament
The IOMSRA Squash season started as usual with the Manx Telecom Dave Karran Memorial Tournament. With thirty players competing, the tournament was played using the ‘Monrad’ or ‘Swiss System’ which ensures that all competitors have a match in each round of the tournament.
Most of the first round results went with seeding. The only exception was the match between the 16th and 17th seeds where junior Oliver Williams beat Merseyside over 60’s player Peter Sharples in four very close games. In some of the other matches the lower ranked players succeeded in taking games off their opponents. The competitive Peter Baker had a good contest with Magnus Lamprecht coming back to take the third 11-4 before losing the fourth game and the match 3-1. Crowe Dragons players Jon Shepherd and Darren Smethurst had a good fight with Jon coming out on top. Shaun Wyllie, a player relatively new to competitive squash, was very impressive in taking junior Oliver Wait to four games only just losing the fourth game 13-11.
In the second round the seeding still proved to be a good predictor of the results. The chief seeding upset came when Ben Leith overcame a player almost five times older than him, the evergreen Brian Cowley – as Brian said ’It was going to happen someday soon, but I hoped it wasn’t going to be tonight!’. Lower seeds did put up some good fights but failed to get the better of their opponents, with Steve Baker just missing out 3-1 to the much-improved Ben Peach. The battle between the 8th and 9th seeds proved a real tussle with the athletic Joshua Green coming back from 1-0 down to beat Nottingham University player Calum Baker in four very hard-fought games.
As the rounds progress scores tend to get tighter because players are more evenly matched. The third round saw some close 3-1 matches; Hamish Thornton beat Jason Crease, Oliver Wait triumphed over Jon Shepherd and Dafydd Lewis got the better of Magnus Lamprecht. There were also some fine performances lower down the draw by Harry Douthwaite, Leighton Ginty and Fatheha Essa. The one seeding upset came when Harvey Douglas just edged the fifth game against Andrew Brown.
The fourth round started late meaning a very late finish around 10pm on Thursday. There were some super matches in this round but the best was the matchup between the 2nd and 3rd seeds – Pat Fitzpatrick and Jason Blue. This went all the way with Jason just clinching the final game 11-7. Other noteworthy five game matches were Peter Sharples against Shaun Wyllie with Peter just edging the fifth 11-8, Ben Leith and Darren Smethurst with the later winning the final game 12-10 and Andrew Brown versus Christian Webster with the younger Webster triumphing in the end.
The final round of matches was played on the Friday and the evening brought us some cracking matches. Cannell Print player Joshua Green beat his higher ranked teammate Ben Peach in four very exciting games. Dafydd lewis used all his experience to overcome Oliver Wait. Ben Leith had a really good five game thriller with Andrew Brown only just losing the fifth game 11-9, Ben really is a player for the future. Chris Nash, a player new to the island, just managed to beat Brian Cowley taking the fifth and final game 14-12.
The first of the key matches in this round was the Plate Final between university student Peter Baker and the experienced Peter Sharples. Sharples never let Baker settle and won the Plate in three close games. The third place play-off was a real epic between Hamish Thornton and Pat Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick coaches the juniors and his ‘never say die’ attitude is a real example to them as despite facing five match points against him he dug-deep, managed to save them all and turn things around to take the final game 11-8 to seal the match and his third place spot.
The final pitted two fine young players against each other, last years winner Thom Whiteway and Jason Blue. Whiteway played really impressive squash dominating the ’T’ and taking the ball early to deny Blue time to play his shots. He took the match and retained the title in three straight games. The Manx Telecom Rosebowl was presented to the winner by the late Dave Karran’s brother Brian. The IOMSRA would like to thank Manx Telecom and the Karran family for their continued support of this season opening tournament.