The Oxshott Annual Squash Tournament reached its climax on Saturday night with five finals taking place.
The tournament started back at the end of March and encompassed five weeks of matches on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. 49 players entered six competitions (The Open, Ladies Open, Open Doubles, Handicap, Non-Team and Squash 57 (racketball)) with a Plate added after the first round of The Open. The 49 players translated into 121 entries and required 113 matches to take place over the course of the tournament. All games had been scheduled with a specific date and time, however there was flexibility in the schedule to allow games to be moved if players were unable to play on the date given.
Finals night started with Open Doubles on court 3 and was contested between Joe Steidl/Stuart Hibbert and Ed Myhill/Peter Crossman. The match was extremely competitive, but played in a friendly manner with no one being hit with ball or racket. A tightly fought battle ensued over the next hour with Ed and Peter coming out on top 3/1. Court 2 saw the final of the Open Plate at the same time and saw on form, Mat Harris (The Swede) beat the favourite, Mark Francis (Mr Boast) 3/0. It is worth noting here that Mat had played a league game the night before, winning 3/1 and another league game on the morning of the finals, winning that 3/2. No one knows what Mat is taking to achieve this superior level of fitness but he is selling it in bottles in the bar most evenings.
Next on court 3, saw the Handicap final take place between Ben Godfrey and Robbert (with two b’s) Zoet. The Handicap is a notoriously tricky tournament to organise as it is a huge challenge to get everyone’s handicaps fair. However, I think all those watching the final agreed that Ben’s and Robbert’s worked really well come the final. Robbert on minus five won an epic match against Ben, plus five, 3/1 in just under an hour. A mind and leg blowing third game swung Robbert’s way with some entertainingly long rallies getting the crowd oohhhinng and aaahhing as they played every point in their seats… Court 2 saw the Non-Team tournament take place between Simon Hibbert and Barrie Brien. Some excellent squash took place between these two talented players. Simon taking an early one game lead, only to be pegged back and eventually lose 3/1 to a very consistent Barrie.
The main event, The Open, took place on court 3 and saw Stuart Hibbert (4th seed) take on James Shattock (2nd seed) once all the other finals had finished. Stuart had defeated Peter Crossman (1st seed) in their semi-final whilst James had seen off John Gemmell (3rd seed) in the other semi-final. A closely contested first game saw Stuart come out on top and take a 1/0 lead. Stuart then flew into a 10/2 lead in the second and looked comfortable to establish a 2/0 lead. James had other ideas and gradually played his way back into the game taking it to 14-all and requiring two clear to win. It ebbed and flowed over a few points before James levelled the games scores at 1/1. The crowd erupted and it was game on. Unfortunately for James the effort of the second game meant he didn’t get going in the final two games, and Stuart came through to win 3/1 and become Oxshott Squash Champion 2019.
Quick note, the Ladies Open final took place earlier in the tournament schedule, seeing Adel Malcom defeat Nicky Osborne 3/0. The Squash 57 final is scheduled to take place Monday 20th May 2019 and will be contested by James Shattock and Stuart Hibbert, giving James and opportunity to get revenge on Stuart for The Open defeat.
The trophy ceremony took place on court 3 after The Open and were presented by the Squash Chairman, Rob Butler. Please see pictures attached.
Jeff and his amazing family had prepared curry for the 13, 24, 27, 28, 29, 33, 29, 31 people who stayed for dinner afterwards. Yes, you all messed around, struggled to commit by the deadline and kept asking to be added, right up to the evening of the final. Try and get organised in the future. That goes for the scheduled games too.
Finally, a huge thanks to everyone that entered all the tournaments and played all those games. Without the players we don’t have a tournament, so the biggest thanks is to you all.
Links to the results can be found by clicking below: