FINALS DAY FULL OF 5 SET BATTLES!
This years event was held at the Northumberland Club in Jesmond with over 50 entries played over 4 events.
The mens ‘A’ event had the defending champion Dave Barnett as number 1 seed with finalist from 2 years ago Paul Lord as number 2 seed. The top seeds all progressed through to the quarter finals where 5/8 seed Peter Kullar scored an upset against number 4 seed Liam Gutcher in a very long 3-2 match. The semi-finals went to seeding with Barnett and Lord winning 3-0 against Andrew Staley and Kullar respectively.
The final promised to be close as it was 2 years previous and it definitely was. Lord got his characteristic fast start taking the first game and leading 6-3 in the second before Barnett got a foothold in the match, he fought back and took the game 11-9 to level at 1-1. In the 3rd game both players were on top form and it was close all the way, Lord had a narrow lead and reached game ball at 10-9, 11-10 and 12-11 but couldn’t take his chances as Barnett won the game with a forehand drop, 15-13. The momentum was then with Barnett but Lord wasn’t finished and won another close game 11-9 to level the match. In the 5th both players were noticeably tired but it was Lord who started strongly taking a 4-2 lead before Barnett won 8 unanswered points to get championship point at 10-4, he took it 11-5 in the end to win his 7th consecutive county title.
The Ladies event had last years finalists as top 2 seeds with Kimberley Hay at number 1 and Carole Page at number 2. The path to the final for both players was very smooth with only Page coming across brief resistance in her semi against Emma Barnett before winning through 3-0, Hay beat Sarah Oswald in the other semi comfortably.
In last years final Hay won narrowly 3-2 so it promised to be close, Hay started fast looking very alert and taking the ball early, she took the first game comfortably. Despite Page’s best efforts she couldn’t put enough pressure on and Hay continued in top form and won the match 3-0 to take her 3rd county title.
The ‘B’ event final was between number 1 seed Tony Hedley from Concordia and unseeded Steve Fountain from the Northumberland club, Fountain knocked out number 2 seed Nick Wilson in the quarters and 3 seed Derek Collins on his way to the final, Hedley beat Jason Follin 3-0 in his semi. The final was long and tense with both players fighting for every point. In the end Hedley won the match 3-2 after over an hour on court.
The ‘C’ event had the future of Northumbria squash taking the prizes. The final was contested between Simon Graham from Hexham and Stephen Twaddle from the Northumberland club both aged 14 and with bright futures ahead of them. Graham beat top seed Tom Shaw on his way to the final and Twaddle beat number 2 seed Olly Weir along with twins Ed and Henry Glassey from Alnwick. The final was eventful, Graham took a 2-0 lead and had match balls in both the 3rd and 4th games but Twaddle fought back each time and looked on his way to victory at 6-3 in the 5th but Graham had a little bit left and took the game 9-7 and the match with it.
‘A’ Event – Dave Barnett beat Paul Lord 3-2.
Plate – Peter Mcleod beat Russell Hunter 3-1
Ladies Event – Kimberley Hay beat Carole Page 3-0.
Plate – Rachael Oswald beat Maria Bainbridge 3-2
‘B’ Event – Tony Hedley beat Steve Fountain 3-2
Plate – Elliott Park beat Neil Campbell 3-1
‘C’ Event – Simon Graham beat Stephen Twaddle 3-2
Plate – Henry Glassey beat Richard Ridgway 3-1