This seasons County Closed took place at Tynemouth Squash Club over the weekend of 14th-16th of January. With around 50 entrants playing over 4 events it was a busy weekend of competitive squash.
The Mens event was set to be a rematch of the last 2 seasons with defending champion Dave Barnett and last years losing finalist Paul Lord seeded to meet in the final. There were close matches from the first round onwards with upsets along the way. James Wilson from Tynemouth beat 4th seeded Craig Forsyth in the first round and late entry Andrew Staley won 3-2 twice to progress to the semi-final against Lord who only just made it through against Matt Sampson.
Barnett made it through to the final comfortably winning 3-0 against Dave Jackson, Richard Elliott and Matt Hardy in the semi-final. Number 2 seed Lord had to withdraw injured in the first game of his semi-final against Staley to set up a rematch of many junior county finals between Barnett and Staley.
The final went to seeding with a 3-0 win for Barnett but Staley put up a great fight, many of the rallies were long and tiring and Staley upped the pace in the 3rd to get a game ball but Barnett closed it out to take his 8th County Title 11/6 11/8 12/10.
The ladies event saw the return of Sarah Bowles who won the title a few years back but the defending champion Kimberley Hay has moved to New York so wasn’t able to defend her title. Bowles was number 1 seed with Tynemouths Sam Ward number 2 but there was no clear favourite with a very strong draw of 8 players.
There was a small upset in the first round with Laura Setterfield beating Emma Barnett 3-0 to set up a semi-final with Bowles who beat Maria Bainbridge 3-1 in the first round. In the other half Sarah Oswald beat Karen Heron and Ward beat Eleanor Bowles.
Sarah Bowles comfortably beat Setterfield 3-0 in the first semi-final, the other semi was much closer going to 5 games with Ward narrowly beating Oswald to make it through to play Bowles. The final was close all of the way with each game going to the wire, Ward looked to have won it leading 9-6 in the 4th and 2-1 up but Bowles fought back to level at 2-2. Bowles started the fifth well taking a 4-0 lead but Ward calmly clawed it back and got back on level terms , it was close all the way from then, Ward eventually winning 12/10 to take her first Senior County title at just 17.
The ‘C’ event had many juniors competing and it was to be 2 juniors in the final. Martyn Hope was the winner having upset the seeding all weekend he beat number one seed Simon Graham from Hexham 3-1 in the final.