The Newly refurbished Northern Squash Club was the host of Northumbria County Closed 2012. Over the weekend 13th-15th January almost 50 players competed over 4 events.
There were no surprises in the Mens event with the top 4 seeds smoothly making it to the semi-finals. Dave Barnett played against Sunderland born Jon Tate in his semi-final. Tate had travelled up from Birmingham where he is head coach at the university. Barnett started strongly taking the first 11-6 but it got tougher from then on, Tate had a 10-7 lead in the second before letting it slip 12-10 and the 3rd was also very tight but Barnett won through 3-0, 11-9 in the 3rd.
The number 2 seed was Westoe’s Paul Lord who played Northern’s top player Liam Gutcher in the other semi-final. Lord seemed never to be rushed playing very accurate squash and comfortably beat Gutcher in three games to set up the expected Barnett – Lord final.
Lord started the final where he left off from his semi-final in total control. Barnett did fight to make the first game close Lord took it 14-12. Lord was clinical in the second taking it 11-4 and was in firm control. Lord also started the 3rd and 4th games very well taking early leads but Barnett fought back in each one as his opponent seemed to tire. The fifth was nip and tuck most of the way until Barnett eventually took the win 11-7 in the fifth to seal his 9th County Title.
The ladies again went to seedings but number 2 seed Lucy Beecroft was pushed in her semi-final by Sarah Oswald before closing out a 3-1 win to take her place in the final against Samantha Ward. The final was a very close all the way, the first 2 games were shared before a very long and gruelling 3rd game was won by Ward 12-10 which looked to set her up for the win but Beecroft fought back very impressively taking the fourth 11-1! Like in the mens the fifth was extremely close and reached 8 all and became very tense. It was Ward who held strong and took the next 2 points to get 2 match balls, she took it on the 2nd one to defend the title.
The ‘B’ event was dominated by the junior entrants with Jamie Todd from Tynemouth and Simon Graham from Hexham making the final. Todd has been in great form all season and despite some strong resistance from Graham Todd won 3-0.
The ‘C’ had a father/son semi-final battle. Dad Dave North beat son Dan in a tense 5 games to make it through to the final against Tynemouth’s Steve Cubbins. Cubbins never looked under threat on his way to the final and that continued in the final with a comprehensive 3-0 win.