Jason Blue triumphs in the Santander International Open Squash Tournament 2019
The Santander International Open squash competition was held last week at the NSC courts. Format for the competition was the popular Swiss system with entrants playing two matches on Tuesday and Thursday and one on finals night on Friday.
Games went to seeding in the first round with only one going to five sets and that was between junior Oliver Williams and Darren Smethurst – the latter winning 11-9 in the fifth.
In the second round, every match went to seeding with two going to five sets. Beth Jones was 2-0 up against Stephen Pitts but the latter kept his composure to win the next three. Williams had another five-set match, this time against Fatheha Essa, but this time he won 11/4 in the final set.
Round three matches were a little tougher as the seeds get closer. Mason Mclarney had to work very hard against the much-improved Ben Peach before winning in the fifth. Further down the ranking Fraser Dorling had a tough five-set match with junior Christian Webster, the Racketeers player winning 11/7 in the last set. Harry Douthwaite managed to beat Chris Nash, again in the fifth.
In the fourth round, two of the top juniors, Oliver Williams and Ben Leith, had a very hard-fought five-set encounter, with Williams getting the win by one point. This round also acted as the semi-finals for the top seeds and Thom Whiteway was drawn against Hamish Thornton. The latter has enjoyed a revival in his form recently and pushed Whiteway all the way, before the Island Games player won in the fifth to secure his place in the final.
Finals night itself saw some very close matches. Douglas rugby club scrum-half Shaun Wyllie is improving all the time and pushed the more-experienced Peter Ginty all the way before losing 11/9 in the fifth. Island Games player Amaline Batty beat Chris Nash in five very close sets, while fellow juniors Leighton Ginty and Isaac Quayle had a great match with Leighton winning 11/6 in the fifth.
The Plate final, which is contested by the 17th and 18th placed players, was between Oliver Williams and James Leith.
Williams obviously likes getting value for money, as he played his fifth five-setter of the week, before losing to Leith in a very competitive game. Ben Peach against Oliver Wait was always going to be a close match and it did not disappoint with long rallies and excellent squash from both – Peach managing to win a very entertaining five-set match.
Whiteway and relatively new player to the island, Jason Blue, contested the overall final, the latter having beaten Mason McLarney 3-0 in the other semi-final. Whiteway came back from 8/4 down, to win the first game 15/13. The second game produced a similar pattern with both playing some of the best squash seen in the island. This time Blue won 12/10 to level the score. Blue kept up the pace in the third and, as Whiteway began to tire, Jason took advantage winning this game and the next to get his name on the trophy.
Andy Dalrymple, Sports reporter
The above picture shows competitors in the Santander International Open Squash Tournament 2019.
The above picture shows Santander International Open Squash Tournament 2019 Winner Jason Blue being presented with the Tournament Trophy by Les Callow of the IOMSRA and Marc Taggart of Santander international.
The IOMSRA would like to thank Santander International for sponsoring the tournament. A special thanks also to Marc Taggart who did lots of work with the IOMSRA to ensure the Tournament ran so smoothly.