Whiteway Wins Isle of Man Open Tournament sponsored by Santander International

Whiteway Wins Isle of Man Open Tournament sponsored by Santander International

The IOMSRA Open Squash Tournament took place from Monday 9th November through to Friday 13th November 2020 and was sponsored by ‘Santander International’. The tournament was played using the Monrad system which enables all players to have a match in every round.

In the first round matches normally go according to seeding as there is often a large disparity between playing levels, however in the middle of the draw more closely ranked players meet, resulting in some tight matches. The 16th and 17th seeds, Magnus Lamprecht and Christian Webster, had a very close encounter with Lamprecht coming back from 2-1 down to win 3-2. Two other matches went to four games with Andrew Brown and Julien Uzzell both taking a game off their higher ranked opponents Alan Macnair and Shaun Wyllie respectively.

The second round produced two very close 3-2 results. StoneArt teammates Steve Baker and Lyndon Cheetham had a good battle with Baker getting the win while Angus Hopkinson put on a really good performance to beat James Ramsey, a player ranked about 10 places above him. Chris Cave did well to take a game off Oliver Wait as did Vicki Watterson, struggling with a hand injury, in taking Stephen Pitts to four games.

In the third round, or quarter final round, the three top seeds Ashley Sandyford Sykes, Thom Whiteway and Pat Fitzpatrick all showed why they play for the IOM with easy 3-0 wins. Junior Christian Webster proved what a fine young prospect he is with another good performance taking a game off top 20 player James Ramsey. Another noteworthy match of this round was between Magnus Lamprecht and Chris Cave, which ended in a 3-1 victory to Chris. Probably the closest match was between Sharks captain Dave Freer and Shaun Wyllie, Freer paved the way to a 3-0 victory by clinging onto victory 16-14 in the first game and went on to finish the match with 11-9 and 11-8 scores to claim a 3-0 victory against his higher ranked opponent.

Semi Final night usually brings close matches as the players are very evenly matched in this round and this one did not disappoint with the four IOM players still undefeated and battling it out for places in the final. Malcolm Levy came back from 2-0 down against Ashley Sandyford-Sykes to claim one final spot and the other went to Thom Whiteway who came out on top in a 3-2 thriller against Pat Fitzpatrick to claim the other.

In the block of players ranked 5 to 8 Angus Hopkinson got a very good result. Angus has made steady progress climbing up the rankings this season and in his match against Olly Wait he came back from 2-0 down in games and a match point against him to surge on to a 3-2 victory. In the 9 to 12 block it was Dave Freer who continued to impress with a 3-2 result against the higher ranked Chris Cave.

In the lower half of the draw the matches between players ranked 21 to 24 recorded two 3-2 results. Stephen Pitts and Julien Uzzell took it in turns to win games but Stephen got the odd numbers so claimed a 3-2 victory. Santander Racketeers Academy players Andrew Brown and Fraser Dorling had a really close match with two games going to setting before Fraser eventually won the 3-2 victory. Congratulations to the 28th seed Sarah Simpson who also performed well to better her original seeding with a 3-2 victory over Harry Douthwaite. 

The final round of matches determined the players overall position in the tournament table from 1 to 28. Working from the bottom of the draw up we had a fine performance by Julien Uzzell beating Andrew Brown 3-2 to claim the 23rd spot. Santander International employee, Marc Taggart, gained the 19th placing. Higher up the draw Outcasts players Chris Cave and Liam Davies had a 5 game encounter with Chris getting the 3-2 win to grab the 11th ranking place. Steve Baker played Oliver Wait, a player over forty years younger than him, for the 7th spot with youth winning this time as Wait played very well, a worthy winner.     

The 9th placed player, James Ramsey, only lost one match in the tournament and beat teammate Dave Freer 3-1 to gain his 9th spot. Congratulations to Dave though as he has had a good tournament and improved his overall IOM ranking by about 15 places. The third placed player is another player to lose only 1 match, his semi-final match. This slot was decided when Ashley Sandyford Sykes played Pat Fitzpatrick, Ash showed his class by taking the match and third place with a 3-0 result.

The Plate final took place between the 17th and 18th ranked players, Darren Smethurst and Harvey Douglas. Harvey seemed to really apply himself and kept his error count very low to claim the much coveted Plate final by a score of 3-1.        

The Final was between Thom Whiteway and Malcolm Levy. Levy managed to clinch the first game 14-12 but Whiteway fought back to take the second and third games 11-7 and 11-8. Thom looked to have one hand of the trophy but Malcolm snatched it off by taking the 4th game 11-8. So the winner of the 5th and final game would determine who would be the IOM Open Champion. Both players started the final game in very determined fashion but it was the younger man, Thom, who displayed greater strength, stamina and skill to claim the victory.

The IOMSRA would like to thank Marc Taggart and Santander International for sponsoring the tournament.