Whiteway wins Manx Telecom Dave Karran Memorial Squash Tournament

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.

Photos from the Manx Telecom Dave Karran Memorial Squash Tournament

Photos from the Manx Telecom Dave Karran Memorial Squash Tournament

A full report on the tournament will follow soon, but for now here are some photographs of the prize winners with  Brian Karran who presented their awards.

Tournament Winner – Thomas Whiteway

Tournament Runner Up – Jason Blue

Tournament Third Place – Pat Fitzpatrick

Tournament Plate Winner – Peter Sharples

Tournament Plate Runner Up – Peter Baker

The IOMSRA would like to thank Manx Telecom and the Karran family for their continued support of the tournament.

Court Allocations and Order of Play for Matches

League Fixtures commence next week with the B league playing on Mondays, the A league playing on Thursdays and the C league playing 3 fixtures on Tuesdays and 1 fixture on Fridays.
We are well used to having 4 courts and playing 2 fixtures on the night. The start time of 6.30 remains unaltered. Similarly having 1 fixture played on 2 courts is straight forward.
This year we will be playing 3 fixtures on 4 courts which necessitates us having an earlier start time. On Monday (B league) and Tuesday (C league) nights when we have scheduled 3 fixtures we have a start time of 5.45. We will have 3 courts from 5.45 to 6.30 then 4 courts from 6.30 until 8.45. We will have to share out he courts between matches so I have prepared a plan which should help you to organize this. It is shown on the graphic below but can also be found on the NSC Notice board next to the fixture schedules.

 

Junior Academy back into Division B

Division B will be a contested by six teams this season.The Teams along with the Squads of players are shown in the graphic below –

Defending champions Crowe Dragons, having signed up James Martin, Dave Hedley and Mark Grace, will be a lot stronger this season. Their captain Jon Shepherd will ensure that this is a very competitive team. 

Last year they were pushed all the way by the Outcasts who are unchanged but with Chris Cave, Nathan Quilliam and Liam Davies occupying the top three places in the team they will be hard to beat.

Derivco Sharks have lost Mark Webster-Smith but Merseyside Over 60’s player Dave O’Neill is a very welcome replacement. Dave Freer captains he team who won the most matches of all the teams in the league in the first half of last season. 

Racketeers Pioneers have lost Dean Sowerby who has moved to warmer climes but they still remain strong and we will see Rob Boyles and Dafydd Lewis scrapping it out for the number one spot again.

Island Tyres & Exhausts experienced a mass exodus from the team with only Shaun Callow of last seasons squad remaining, but IOMSRA Committee members Les Callow and Steve Baker have shored up the team and recruited some exciting young players.

The Junior Academy complete the league line-up. In the past the junior teams have been very competitive in the B league and their team this season will be spear-headed by the two Oliver’s – Wait and Williams. These are two fine young prospects with big futures ahead of them so they may cause some upsets.

Having six teams in the B league will mean a match every week so player availability could be a factor when it comes to determining who will be  crowned B league champions.