Nathan Mead victorious in Utmost Wealth Solutions Isle of Man Squash Championships 2020
The IOMSRA staged the Utmost Wealth Solutions Isle Of Man Championships from Monday 9th March through to Friday 13th March. This was played using the ‘Monrad’ methodology which means players usually get a game each round of the Tournament and with an entry of 40 players there was a lot of squash played during the week.
There was a small first round of 8 matches with the winners qualifying for the main draw of 32 players. The closest of these matches was a 3-2 encounter where Stephen Pitts only just overcame Andy O’Neill 17-15 in the fifth game. Damien Loughrey a player new to IOMSRA events had an enjoyable introduction by beating the established Greg Ansara 3-1. Funnily enough this round also featured two players with identical ranking points, Harry Douthwaite and Amaline Batty, who had a close match with Douthwaite eventually inning 3-1.
In the second round most matches went with seeding but there was one upset when the 16th (Richard Cretney) and 17th (Harvey Douglas) seeds met. These two are next to each other on the rankings and had a predictably close match with Harvey eventually winning, taking the fifth game 13-11. The other five game match of the round was Angus Hopkinson against Oliver Williams where Angus came back from 2-0 down to eventually take the match 3-2.
In the third round Damien Loughrey continued to impress with a good 3-0 win over a higher ranked opponent while James Ramsey did well to take a game off the higher ranked Ben Peach. Darren Smethurst had a very close match with Fraser Dorling with Darren taking the match 3-1,15/13 in the final game. Ben Leith and Andrew Brown had a good match with the win going to young Leith 3-1.
The quarter final round saw the players effectively in five groups of 8 players, the top block containing players ranked 1 to 8, the second block containing players ranked 9 to 16 and so on. The top four players all won their quarter final matches 3-0. On paper the closest match should have been between the fourth and fifth seeds but Thom Whiteway never let Pat Fitzpatrick into the match and ran out an easy winner. In the 9 to 16 block Rob Colquitt eventually overcame Alan McNair by a score line of 3-2, despite initially going 2-0 down. In the 17 to 24 block there were good wins for junior players Oliver Williams and Christian Webster while fellow junior Ben Leith had a great match with Julien Uzzell before losing the fifth game 13-11. The 25 to 32 group produced three 3-2 matches with victories in these matches going to Isaac Quayle, Beth Jones and Fraser Dorling. In the 33-40 group the pick of the bunch was young Amaline Batty’s 3-2 victory over veteran player Phil Shaw. The other five game match was between PwC Playables teammates Andy O’Neill and Chloe Corrigan where Chloe won the first two games but Andy fought back to win this very tight match.
The fifth round or semi-final round consisted of 10 groups of four players. Working up from the bottom of the draw there were a few 3-2 matches; Andrew Brown beat his Racketeer teammate Fraser Dorling, Christian Webster and Richard Cretney both fought back from 2-0 down to win against Julien Uzzell and Mark Stratford respectively, and the match between the 6th and 7th ranked players Hamish Thornton and Josh Green was a real see-saw match with players taking it in turns to take games but Hamish ran out the eventual winner 12-10 in the final game.
The top four players competed in the semi-final matches. The first was between Nathan Mead and Thomas Whiteway. Nathan, who is playing in his first IOMSRA event, managed to win in three very competitive games. The other semi-final saw Oscar Hill beat fellow IOM player Ashley Sandyford Sykes by a score of 3-1.
The final round saw twenty matches between players who are effectively very even in playing level and determined the players final position in the tournament. The Vase trophy went to the 33rd ranked player who was Charlie Beard due to his 3-2 win over Amaline Batty. The 17th place and winner of the Plate Event was a player new to IOM squash Damien Loughrey.
James Ramsey and Rob Colquit had a close battle with Ramsey eventually clinching the 9th spot by taking the fifth game 11-7. In the third place play-off the experienced Ashley Sandyford-Sykes had a little too much for Thomas Whiteway and won 3-1 despite dropping the first game.
The finalists Nathan Mead and Oscar Hill are both based across. Nathan is a highly ranked England under 19s player based in Gloucester, his father is Manx and he still has family living on the island. Oscar Hill was schooled on the island but is currently serving in the RAF and is currently RAF senior champion. These are two quality players and the final promised much and did not disappoint. Nathan produced impressive squash and was a convincing winner beating Oscar 11-6, 11-3 and 11-2 to claim the IOM Championships title for his first time.
A photograph showing competitors in the competition
The IOMSRA would like to thank Utmost Wealth Solutions for sponsoring the tournament. The Tournament was organised by Thomas Whiteway and Les Callow and the tournament competitors and the IOMSRA Committee would like to thank them both for all their hard work in making it a success.