Mens O55 Inter County Premier Division Stage 1

O55’s secure hat-trick of National Semis appearances

Men’s Over 55 Inter County Championship 2015/16 Premier Division Stage 1

Northumbria Men’s Over 55s have reached their third National semi-final in successive years, securing second place in the Premier Division Stage 1 Northern Group held at Tynemouth Squash Club over the weekend of 17/18 October 2015.

The Northumbria squad boasted current British National Over 55 Champion Jon Evans at the top of the order, and was strengthened by “new boys” Glenn Ward and Peter Slaughter. In the absence of Ron Freeman for health reasons, we welcomed back “old boy” Derek Collins, the current British Open Over 65 Champion. Stalwarts Andrew Wilkinson, John Thompson, Colin McNestrie and Alan Coates completed the intimidating 8-man squad.

1. Jon Evans (Tynemouth)
2. Glenn Ward (Tynemouth)
3. Peter Slaughter (Newbiggin)
4. Derek Collins (Northern)
5. Andrew Wilkinson (Hexham)
6. John Thompson (Tynemouth – captain)
7. Colin McNestrie (Tynemouth)
8. Alan Coates (Walker)

Without Glenn and his magic to inspire us in our opening match against Lancashire, we struggled to get started, with Peter, Derek and Andrew all losing 3-0, and despite Jon and John winning 3-0 and 3-2 respectively, we went down by a match score of 2-3 (6-16).

Northumbria vs Lancashire

Jon Evans 3-0 Peter Upton - 9-5 9-1 9-4
Peter Slaughter 0-3 Ian Bradburn - 9-10 4-9 6-9
Derek Collins 0-3 Allen Barwise - 4-9 5-9 3-9
Andrew Wilkinson 0-3 Andy Heller - 6-9 7-9 0-9
John Thompson 3-2 Alan Connor - 9-5 10-8 5-9 7-9 9-0

In the other match Cheshire beat Yorkshire 4-1 (17-8).

Andrew and John were rested for the 2nd match of the day against Cheshire, and Glenn and Colin came in. Peter went down 3-0 but Colin levelled things up with a hard-fought 3-2 win and Jon, Glenn and Derek all cruised to 3-0 wins for a match victory of 4-1 (17-5).

Northumbria vs Cheshire

Jon Evans 3-0 Rob Blair - 9-2 9-5 9-2
Glenn Ward 3-0 Rick Walker - 9-1 9-1 9-0
Peter Slaughter 0-3 Simon Walton - 4-9 6-9 3-9
Derek Collins 3-0 Mike Hickson - 9-1 10-8 9-1
Colin McNestrie 3-2 Phil Wilks - 2-9 9-6 5-9 9-5 9-5

Meanwhile in the “Roses” match Lancashire comprehensively beat Yorkshire 5-0 (20-2).

On Sunday we played our top 5 for our final match against Yorkshire and despite Peter going down again to a talented opponent, there were comfortable 3-0 wins for Jon, Glenn and Andrew, and Derek also won 3-1 for a match score of 4-1 (17-4).

Northumbria vs Yorkshire

Jon Evans 3-0 Phil Wakefield - 9-4 9-1 9-2
Glenn Ward 3-0 Anthony Kettlewell - 9-1 9-1 9-1
Peter Slaughter 0-3 Keith Hinds - 4-9 5-9 6-9
Derek Collins 3-1 Dave Lines - 9-2 9-4 3-9 9-6
Andrew Wilkinson 3-0 Mark Shipley - 9-3 9-2 9-2

Lancashire wrapped up the group by beating Cheshire 5-0 (20-1).

Final Scores

1. Lancashire 56
2. Northumbria 40
3. Cheshire 24
4. Yorkshire 14

So Northumbria finished 2nd meaning that for the third year in succession, we’re off to the Finals weekend on 19/20 March 2016. We’re hoping to add a certain Mr Beeson to the Finals squad, which should give us a chance of making it third time lucky and finally lifting the trophy.

Thanks to Tynemouth for hosting the event, and for providing four of the County squad, all of whom remained unbeaten over the weekend on their “home courts”.

Five things we have learnt about the Northumbria squad over the weekend:

  • Jon did extremely well to hold things together over the entire weekend and relieve the pressure lower down, despite dealing with problems caused by his Uncle Dai and other members of the Rhea family.
  • Glenn’s Over 55 debut was particularly impressive, overcoming a career-threatening nose wound (thanks for the plaster Derek) and using his magic wand to scintillating effect in dropping just 5 points in 2 matches.
  • Once the real Derek turned up, he returned to his awesome award-winning role as The Terminator in destroying his last 2 opponents.
  • Andrew has now rediscovered the game of squash after a long absence. He may even decide to play a couple of times between now and the Finals in March.
  • Tynemouth court 5 (the glassback) is now Peter’s least favourite court.

  • Finally congratulations and thanks to the whole squad for another great team results, some photos added to share.

    John Thompson

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