After eight years since the last one, Penrith Squash Club hosted the County Closed Masters’ competition. Across the four age groups, Penrith hosted five entrants.
In the O70’s group, David Richardson met David McGlasson in the final. Not only members of Penrith, but both are founder members of the club when it was started in 1976. Richardson took the first game, before McGlasson got into his stride, and won the next three games, taking the title of County Champion.
In the O65’s, again two Penrith players met each other in the final, Richard Utting (who has just turned 65) and Chris Lilley, who regularly plays for the County’s O65 team. These two have been playing each other most weeks for the last 40 years. Lilley got off to a good start taking the first before Utting came back to take the second. Whilst not many rallies, Lilley played his customary style of going for winners, and took the next two games to win the match.
Carlisle’s Collis Sheik (another regular County player) met Kendal’s Mark Pearson in the O60’s final. Both played well, covering the court, playing wide, but Collis made fewer mistakes, and despite a late valiant effort by Mark in the third game, Collis won by 3 games to nil.
In the O55’s plate final, Graeme Braithwaite of Kendal met Carlisle’s Brian Davis. Graeme was never challenged by Brian, despite his excellent speed and court coverage, taking the match 3-0.
The O55’s was last match of the competition: Penrith’s David (Digger) Gray met his old friend and adversary Dave Box, a Carlisle player. Both have played for the County teams for many years. Digger got off to an excellent start taking the first two games with some typically accurate shots, whilst Boxy didn’t seem properly focussed. However Boxy got into his stride and with his superior fitness and speed, took the next games to go into the fifth all square. The last game was always very close with some superb shots from both players; the spectators were treated to high quality squash. Boxy took the last game 11-9 to take the honours.
Whilst the number of entrants was lower than expected, the standard of squash was good and all entrants enjoyed the competition. Now that the tournament has been restarted, it will be held annually and hopefully we can encourage more county players to enter.