NORFOLK END 42 YEAR TROPHY DROUGHT
REDBRIDGE LEISURE CLUB in Essex, were the proud hosts of the Men’s Over 35, Women’s League and Women’s Over 50 Inter County Finals on the 26/27 March 2011
MEN ‘S OVER 35
SEMI A – MIDDLESEX v HERTFORDSHIRE
Holders Middlesex went 2-1 up over neighbours Hertfordshire, with wins for Peter Gunter and Mike McLaughlin. First string Eammon Price levelled the tie for Hertfordshire, with an excellent 3-0 win over Jago Nardelli, Alistair Coker then completed the result for Hertfordshire, who only 2 seasons ago were languishing in the 2nd division, as he beat Guy Olby 3-1 in a tight encounter.
SEMI B – OXFORDSHIRE v NORFOLK
With Scott Handley and Mark Cairns at 1st and 2nd strings Oxfordshire, looked a good bet to joinNorfolk in the final. However the tie was won 3-2 by Norfolk with strong lower order displays for David Youngs, Ian Cox, David Gouldby at 3rd, 4th and 5th strings.
PLAY OFF – MIDDLESEX v OXFORDSHIRE
Very disappointingly, Middlesex were unable to muster 5 players for the short trip across to Redbridge for Sunday’s 3rd 4th play off versus Oxfordshire. It can only be speculated if they would have been able to do so had they reached the final.
Oxfordshire duly took 3rd place with wins at 1st and 2nd strings, Middlesex won at 3rd string.
FINAL – HERTFORDSHIRE v NORFOLK
Las Fernando gave Hertfordshire the perfect start at 5th string as he beat David Gouldby 3-0.David Youngs levelled for Norfolk, beating Scott Rickard 3-0 at 3rd string. Things then tightened up. At 4th string there was a great tussle between Chris Stanley and Ian Cox, which went to 2-2 before Cox ran out the winner, giving Norfolk a 2-1 lead. Meanwhile on the adjacent court the match of the weekend was unfolding between Eammon Price and Jamie Goodrich. A tight 1st game was won 12 -10 by Goodrich. Price took the 2nd 11/8, Goodrich the 3rd by the same scoreline, Price levelled 11/9, so all on the 5th, which was another great game, finally won by Goodrich 11-9 in 73 gruelling minutes. Whilst this marathon match was played out the 2nd strings Alistair Coker and Stuart Cowie were having a very lively encounter to say the least! Coker took the 1st 11/2, but Cowie then took a very tight 2nd 12/14, and then the 3rd 11/4. Coker pulled back in the 4th to level, but Cowie pressed home 9/11 in the 5th. Norfolk, ending 42 trophy less years were champions 4-1
WOMEN OVER 50
SEMI A – ESSEX V KENT
Home side Essex started well with Elaine Chubb beating Rebecca Czuzman 3-1, so it was down to 1st string Karen Hume to keep Kent alive in the tie, and she duly did with a 3-0 win over Kath Kemp. Down to the 2’s then and Sue Giles took Kent to the final with a 3-0 win over Sue Vine.
SEMI B – AVON v SOUTH EAST WALES
Despite a good win for Helen Gould at 1st string for Avon v Sian Johnson, holders South East Wales went through to the final with wins for Lynne Davies (3-1) versus Jan Ellis and Kath Horler Clee (3-0) versus Mary O’Duffy at 2nd and 3rd strings respectively.
PLAY OFF – ESSEX V AVON
A close play off was anticipated, and Essex got off to a fine start as Elaine Chubb beat Mary O’Duffy 3-1 in the 3rd string match. Helen Gould levelled the tie at 1st string as she beat Kath Kemp 3-0. The outcome of the tie hinged on the 2nd string match between Sue Vine and Jan Ellis, and what a great match it was. 1-1 after the first 2 games, Vine looked to have taken the edge in a tough 3rd, which she won 10/9. However, the effort of securing that game took its toll and Elliswrapped up the next 2/9 2/9 to give Avon 3rd place.
FINAL – KENT v SOUTH EAST WALES
A tight 3rd string encounter between Rebecca Czuzman and Kath Horler Clee set the tone for the final. Horler Clee just took the 1st game 10/9, and then the 2nd 9/5. Czuzman is a fighter though and came back in the 3rd 9/3. However the younger legs of Horler Clee proved decisive and she won the 4th 9-1 to give South East Wales an all important lead. Despite a steady performance Karen Hume could not quite make the breakthrough against a determined Sian Johnson, who ran out a 3-0 winner in a 1st string match that was tighter than the scoreline suggests. So South East Walesretained their title, with captain Lynne Davies putting the icing on the cake with a 3-0 win over Sue Giles
SEMI A – BERKSHIRE v ESSEX
Despite strong local support, Essex could not contain a Berkshire side captained by Desiree Schalkwyk, whose strength lay in depth and lost 5-0, despite spirited performances from Keeley Peacock and Tracy Beake.
SEMI B – SURREY v MIDDLESEX
Led by Vicky Strange at 1st string, Surrey were far too strong for a Middlesex team somewhat depleted by injury and unavailability, and they matched Berkshire by also winning 5-0. Claire Richardson was in fact the only Middlesex player to get a game as she lost 3-1 to Kim Graham
PLAY OFF – ESSEX v MIDDLESEX
With pride at stake, both teams were determined not to lose this local derby. Essex looked stronger from the off though as Tracy Brown and Sarah Mackie won at 3rd and 5th strings against Paulina Stephenson and Jillian Lilico to give the home side a 2-0 lead. The stylish Keeley Peacock gave Essex 3rd place as she beat Tania Loughran at 1st string. Captain Colleen Campbell added another win at 4th string over Cara Wszolek. Claire Richardson was the only winner for Middlesex as she beat Jackie Gregory 3-0.
FINAL – BERKSHIRE v SURREY
Sophie Beake gave Berkshire an early lead as she beat Sandra Dunn 3-1 at 3rd string. The 5thstring match between Alison Richardson (Berks) and Kathryn Milne (Surrey) was tight, and proved to be crucial to the outcome of the final. Richardson won a tense 1st game 10/8, but Milne levelled 9/6 in the 2nd. Richardson edged ahead in the 3rd 9/3, but a determined Milne levelled again 9/3 in the 4th. Both players had chances in the 5th, but fewer errors by Richardson gave her the match 9/5 and an important 2-0 lead to Berkshire. Tammy Bennett needed to win at 4th string to keep the tie alive for Surrey against Desiree Schalkwyk, and she duly did, winning 3-0 in under half an hour. However, Berkshire 1st and 2nd strings Fiona Mclean and Sarah Parr were too strong for Vicky Strange and Kim Graham, both winning 3-0, and giving a first title to Berkshire.
A great weekend of squash, at a great venue was mirrored at the Saturday evening dinner held at the centre, giving the players a chance to relax and socialise together.