The Utmost Wealth Isle of Man Squash Championships 2023 took place at the NSC in late March. Unfortunately due to injury, Dave Norman, who is the 23 time winner of this event, was unable to defend his title but Nathan Mead, who won in 2021, was back to try to add to his previous win.
The first round of matches went with seeding but things started to warm up in the second round. Allister Crossley lost in five games (with 5th game score of 14-16) to Liam Davies and Steve Baker lost in five very competitive games to Alan Macnair. Third round saw all the top seeds win, one match to note was between Mason McLarney and Ben Peach with Mason winning in the 4th 14-12.
The quarter finals saw two of the matches going to five sets, with Malcolm Levy just getting the better of Ashley Sandyford-Sykes 11-8 in the 5th and Patrick Fitzpatrick beating Jason Crease in a hard hitting five sets match.
In the 9 to 16 playoffs, Alan Macnair played in two five set matches, firstly losing to Chris Walton and then to Lance Wyllie. Alan eventually finished 16th.
In the 17th to 32 playoffs, Emma Leith played Stephen Pitts in a great five set match only just losing 11-9 in the 5th. Elliot Henson, whose game has improved so much this season, played Phil Butler. Phil had to come from 2-0 down to eventually win in a great game of squash. In another close match, Magnus Lamprecht just managed to get the better of Douglas Jacobsson 12-10 in the 5th game.
The plate final between the 17th and 18th players, Allister Crossley and Steve Baker, was very close. Three of the five games went to two clear points at ten all with Steve just pipping Allister 13-11 in the 5th.
Semi-finals saw number 1 seed Nathan Mead beat Malcolm Levy 3-0 but the other semi-final was a tremendous five setter between two of the best young Island players, Thom Whiteway and Patrick Fitzpatrick. Thom won a very entertaining match 11-5 in the 5th.
The final was between Nathan Mead and Thom Whiteway. Although Nathan won 3-0, the result does not justify the calibre of the match. Both players used all the court and played a great variety of shots with some fantastic retrieving.
In addition, a Round Robin was played for players ranked 29-33 which Andy Mclarney won after beating all his opponents.
The Isle of Man SRA would like to thank Utmost Wealth for their continued support for the Squash championships and also all the competitors for making the event such a memorable occasion.
Three out of the top four in this competition now head to Gibraltar to represent the Isle of Man in the European Team Championships. In the photo is Peter Fergusson from Global Monetary Solutions, the kit sponsor, Team manager Les Callow and two of the Island squad Patrick Fitzpatrick and new cap Harvey Douglas. Missing from the photo are the other squad members Nathan Mead, Oscar Hill and Malcolm Levy who have already left for Gibraltar.
Monday saw the last game of the season for Argosy, who finished on a high. David Norman, disappointed in having not played his 35th Island Championships, pushed through to beat Crazy Billions’ Ashley Sandyford-Sykes 3-1. Argosy’s Malcolm Levy at 2 also secured a win in his final preparations for the European Championships and Steven Moreley steadied the ship to bring home a result for Argosy 3-1.
League leaders AON continued their winning form with a commanding 12-1 game victory against Stone Art with wins from Jason Crease, Robin Crease, Mason Mclarney and Liam Davies. This gave the AONs an 11 point lead going into the final match against second place and defending champions Cannell Print.
Thursday was the last day of matches for the 22/23 A league. The Stone Art Squash team finished the season with a 3-1 win over the Global Monetary Solutions Junior team. Stone Art players Toby Woolard and Steve Baker both won 3-0, though Toby had to battle hard to beat Harvey Douglas. Pat Fitzpatrick enjoyed a 3-0 win over Hamish Thornton to provide the Juniors with their only points. Lyndon Cheetham got Stone Art’s other 3 points.
In the last of the A league games, a much weakened Josh Jaguars met Crazy Billions for a thriller that went to the wire. At 1st seed, Crazy Billions’ Ashley Sandyford-Sykes beat Lance Wyllie 3-0. Crazy Billions’ David Freer at the heady heights of 2nd seed pulled off a great win 3-2. Josh’s Jaguars’ Mike Fernandez showed his strength by hanging on to win 3-2 and Phil Butler just pipped Crazy Billion’s Rich Cretney 3-2 to force a count back. After a very close fixture, Crazy Billions finished with the win.
The final set of matches was between the top two teams in the league; Team Aon and Cannell Print. Cannell Print’s Thomas Whiteway won 3-0, gaining the team’s only win of the night. Team Aon’s Robin Crease, Mason McLarney and Liam Davies beat their opponents meaning Team Aon won overall 3-1.
This result meant that Team Aon won the 22/23 A league 19 points ahead of Cannell Print, the runners ups. Final scores: Team Aon (229), Cannell Print (210), Josh’s Jaguars (181), Crazy Billions (159), Argosy (142), Stone Art Squash Team (141) and Global Monetary Solution Junior Academy (104).
A League Winners’ Team Aon: Top – Jason Crease, Chris Cave, Pat Fitzpatrick, Robin Crease
Bottom – Mason Mclarney, Liam Davies, Daf Lewis
In Island Exhaust Vets against Crazy Jack’s fixture, Vets’ Pete Sharples made short work of his match with Crazy Jack’s Darren Smith, winning 3-0. However, Vet’s Mark Stratford was made to work hard for his 3-0 win against Tek Min Ewe. Les Callow scored a 3-0 win over Crazy Jack’s hard hitting Craig Brereton. Vet’s Gerrit du Toit had to earn his 3-0 win over Tom Baker.
At Number 1, Mark Grace played a much improved Matt Ripley with Matt making Mark fight for a 3-1 win. Island Exhaust Vets won 5-0 overall. With Island Exhaust Vets being 24 points ahead of Buchanan & Pitts who are currently runner ups in the C league, the Vets have secured victory in the C League despite there being one night of matches.
Next, Strix Squash met the Falcons. The first game was between number 2 Clare Townsend and Falcons’ Sarah Simpson. Despite some close games, Clare’s accurate drives gave her the 3-0 win. At number 4, Strix’s Sam Elliot played Kevin Cretney. Close games and long rallies led this match to go to five games but Kevin took the advantage in the final game to win 3-2. Match 3 was between Strix’s Captain George Rumney and Jon Cox for number 1. The first game was very close leading to a sudden death point giving George the lead. George then built on this advantage to win 3-0. In Match 4, Falcon’s 3rd seed Adam Jones took the lead with some great cross courts and hard hitting drives putting the score 2-0. Aaron Rumney won the third game but the comeback was short lived as Adam took the fourth to win 3-1, tying the overall score 2-2. In the final match at number 5, Glen Stewart, who has just joined the league recently, played very well for Falcons. There was a lot of back and forth from both players with the score setting at 2-2. After running out of gas Ewan Cannan struggled in the fifth game giving Glen the victory in the second five game match of the night. This gave the Falcons the 3-2 win for the night.