The Northumberland Club was host to the first NORTHUMBRIA SENIOR OPEN and the crowds were treated to some high level squash from professionals coming from far and wide to fight it out for the title.
The Mens Open entries were topped by Joel Hinds (world ranked 84) and Shaun Le Roux (world ranked 90). The final was to be between these top 2 seeds although Hinds was pushed hard both in the quarter-final by local Paul Lord winning 3-1 and in the semi-final by Lewis Walters sneaking through 3-2, Walters had previously beaten Northumbria number 1 Dave Barnett in the quarter-final. Le Roux’s path to the final was smoother only dropping one game against Yorkshire’s Neil Cordell in the semi-final.
The big crowd was treated to a high paced final with Hinds volleying at every opportunity but Le Roux matched that and was able to take the lead in every game with more accurate shot placement and impressive short game. Every game took a similar pattern with Le Roux taking control early on and never letting go winning 11/9 11/8 11/7.
The Ladies event didn’t go to seeding with Sarah-Jane Perry upsetting number one seed Dominique Lloyd-Walter 3-2 in the semi-final, Lloyd-Walter had beaten Northumbria champion Sam ward in the quarter-final. In the other half number 2 seed and world ranked 58 Amanda Landers-Murphy from New Zealand fought off Yorkshire’s Carrie Ramsey 3-1 to make the final.
In the final Perry used her superior racket skills to control the early exchanges in each game but Landers-Murphy fought back each time to create a very fast, feisty final but in the end Perry just edged each game of this closely fought contest taking it 11/9, 11/6, 12/10.
The ‘B’ event was won by Northumberland Club player Nick Hale, he beat Nick Pugsley from Cleveland 3-2 in a tough final 9/11 11/2 6/11 11/4 11/1.
The ‘C’ event final was an all junior final with Consett’s Matthew Youngman edging out Hexhams Simon Graham also 3 games to 2, 9/11, 11/8, 11/6, 9/11, 11/9.
PLATE RESULTS- Mens – Matt Sampson beat Liam Gutcher 3-2, Ladies – Helen Dowson beat Maria Bainbridge 3-2, B event – James Thompson beat Dave Jackson 3-0, C event – Freddy Bolton beat John Laidler.
The event was made possible thanks to many local companies making up the £2000 prize fund. The sponsors were THE NORTHUMBERLAND CLUB, THE CHERRY TREE, THE RIP, GOSFORTH PARK MOTOR COMPANY, ROSEBERRY GROUP, STR ENTERPRISES, HARROW SPORTS and NORTHUMBRIA SQUASH.