Nathan Mead Wins Utmost Wealth Solutions Isle Of Man Closed Squash Championship 2021
The Isle Of Man Closed Squash Championships took place at the NSC from Monday 14th June through to Friday 18th June. The event was well supported with an entry of 30 competitors and it was played using the Monrad or Swiss system. Using this system players have a match in each round, the winners move to the top of the draw and the losers move to the bottom of the draw. By the end of the tournament the players each have a tournament ranking from 1 through to 30 with the number 1 spot being the overall winner, who is of course undefeated.
In round one the closest matches normally occur between the players ranked 16 and 17 who this time were Peter Ginty and Richard Cretney. Cretney eventually beat Ginty in four very close games and therefore progressed to the higher half of the draw. All the other matches were 3-0 results to the higher ranked opponent with the exception of two. Junior Ben Leith played really good squash to take Steve Baker to five games, eventually losing 11-2 in the deciding game. The other close match was between Dave O’Neill and Racketeer Fraser Dorling, experience triumphing over youth in this match too but O’Neill had to work hard to get his 3-1 win with two of the games going to setting.
In Round 2 the 16 players who won their matches were now in the top half of the draw and the losing players in the bottom half. The top half mainly went according to seeding with 3-0 results except for the matches between the players seeded 8-9 and 7-10. Toby Woolard, seeded 8th, had five very close games with James Ramsey, coming back from 2-1 down to take the match. The 7th seed Mason McLarney lost to the lower ranked Olly Wait in five very closely contested games, the third going all the way to 19-17. The lower half of the draw also went to seeding with the exception of two matches: Les Callow beat Leighton Ginty 3-2 and Lance Wyllie got the better of his team-mate Phil Butler 3-1.
The next round of the competition saw the Quarter Finals where the eight players yet to be defeated met to determine the semi-finalists. The three top seeds, Nathan Mead, Dave Norman and Thom Whiteway all booked their places in the Semi-finals without dropping games while Pat Fitzpatrick dropped only one game in his win over fellow AON player Jason Crease to claim the other spot. The matches in the 9 to 16 grouping all ended in 3-0 results to the higher ranked players. The encounters in the third quarter of the draw, players ranked 17 to 24, resulted in 3-0 wins for Peter Ginty and Fraser Dorling while Ben Leith had a cracking battle with Harvey Douglas just triumphing 3-2 and Isaac Quayle beat his coach Les Callow 3-1. In the bottom quarter (25 to 32) there was another 3-2 result for Harry Douthwaite over the veteran Brian Cowley.
The Semi-final round was played on Thursday night. There were not many upsets lower down the draw but Fraser Dorling battled well to overcome Isaac Quayle, while higher up the draw an energetic Chris Cave beat AON teammate Mason McLarney. Two other matches ended 3-1 as junior Christian Webster beat Merseyside over 60s player Dave O’Neil and James Ramsey defeated Steve Baker achieving an 11-0 result in the second game. Undoubtedly the match of the round was the semi-final between the second and third seeds, Dave Norman and Thom Whiteway. Whiteway showed all his fighting qualities and played his best squash to come back from 2-0 down and level the match score at 2-2. The final game was fairly tense with players taking it in turns to get clear by a few points, eventually levelling at 10-10. Both players lost and saved match points with Norman eventually clinching the final game by a score of 15-13.
So to the final round of matches which determine the players finishing position in the tournament. In the lower half of the draw Leighton Ginty, Lance Wyllie and Emma Leith took 3-0 wins to claim the 25, 23 and 21 positions respectively. In the upper half Richard Cretney beat the higher ranked Dave O’Neill 3-1 for the 15th slot. The 5th spot went to the experienced Hamish Thornton who beat Jason Crease 3-2, each game going to the winning player by a convincing score.
The Plate Final was between work colleagues, junior player Ben Leith and Fraser Dorling. Ben Leith who has improved his ranking points significantly throughout this tournament was a worthy 3-1 winner. He is really developing into a fine young player and if he continues at his present rate one day he may be playing in the actual final.
The final was between top seed and last years winner, Nathan Mead, and 25 times tournament winner Dave Norman, both of whom had played quality squash throughout the tournament. The great squash continued throughout the final with both players battling hard to grab the first game, Mead just clinching it 15-13. Mead then seemed to gain the ascendency and took the next two games 11-6 to retain the trophy.
The IOMSRA would like to thank Utmost Wealth Solutions for sponsoring the tournament and the competitors would like to thank tournament organiser Thom Whiteway for running the event so efficiently.
IOM Champion for 2021 – Nathan Mead
A Group Photo of some of the Competitors after the Tournament