Monthly Archives: December 2015

Close but not good enough for Gala

On Saturday 12th Dec an Edinburgh select team travelled to Gala for the second round of the East of Scotland Squash Conference. In the previous event Gala had triumphed at Grange Squash Club and this time were hoping home advantage would ensure another victory.

The Edinburgh team consisted of Christy Looby, Shane Martyn and Laura Robertson from Grange, Jim McConnell (Watsonians), Gordon Robertson (Collinton Castle) and Guest Cameron Saetre.  Although the Gala team included the Club Champions Andy Gill and Rachel McAleese, as well as Luis Molero, Del Sharratt, Ruaridh Kohler and Sarah Hale – the Edinburgh select team proved too strong as they won the key matches.

Laura Robertson of Edinburgh was Player of the Match as she made quick work of Sarah Hale (3-0), Rachel McAleesae (2-1) and Ruaridh Kohler (2-1).  Gala’s top seed Andy Gill put up the best fight with victories over Jim McConnell (2-1) and Shane Martyn (3-0), but it was all too little to late as Edinburgh select won 27-23.

Gala captain Del Sharratt said “It was a frustrating day, I think there was a lot of heavy legs out there today as the guys have played  a lot of squash lately with all the various tournaments and the Club Championship.  I know I certainly felt my usual movement and court coverage wasn’t what it usually is.  But the main thing was it was a thoroughly enjoyable event and we will be back for the next one in January.”

Full Results:

Luis Molero 2-1 Gordon Robertson, Jim McConnell 2-1 Ruaridh Kohler, Andy Gill 3-0 Shane Martyn, Laura Robertson 3-0 Sarah Hale, Cameron Saetre 2-1 Del Sharratt, Andy Gill 2-1 Jim McConnell, Gordon Robertson 2-1 Del Sharratt, Luis Molero 2-1 Christy Looby, Laura Robertson 2-1 Ruaridh Kohler, Cameron Saetre 2-1 Sarah Hale, Rachel McAleese 3-0 Sarah Hale, Shane Martyn 2-1 Luis Molero, Gordon Robertson 2-1 Andy Gill, Jim McConnell 2-1 Del Sharratt, Laura Robertson 2-1 Rachel McAleese, Shane Martyn 3-0 Ruaridh Kohler, Rachel McAleese 2-1 Cameron Saetre.


Some of the players involved in the match

Some of the players involved in the match


Rachel powers through to take the title

For the second year running, following a significant hiatus, the ladies championship was played at Gala Squash and Racketball Club.  It was set to be an open match with the defending Champion (Sandra McCutcheon) and club new comer (Joy Borowska) dispatched in the Semi-Finals.  Contenders and club regulars Jane Logan and Rachel McAleese faced each other for the 2015 Club Championship.  Both ladies were used to friendly matches but never had they played together for the coveted trophy and for the kudos of having their name etched permanently on the Championship Board. It was bound to be a tough match and intriguing to know who would have the upper hand in skill, determination, court craft and Stamina.  Rachel was going for the Double as she has already triumphed in the 2015 Handicap Cup at the Squash Club.

First out of the blocks was McAleese, swiftly securing the first game by domination of the centre of the court and blocking any effort Jane made to break to the front.  Logan didn’t do herself any favours by playing too many half court shots which were easy fodder for Rachel to cut in and kill.  The first game was 9-4 to Rachel.  Straight into round two and both ladies appeared more settled though Rachel was going all out to make short work of this game too.  Ahead 6-1 a minor error let Jane back in to score 2 more points, it was just enough to remind Rachel to up her pace and power (concluded at 9-3 to Rachel).  After a short rest, both returned to court.  A mental barrier faced Jane as she had to secure this game to have any chance of winning the championship.  Refreshed, Jane took the first 5 points with relative ease and decisiveness, presenting Rachel with her signature and challenging lob serve.  A switch had been flipped and a determined Jane was fighting her way back.  Rachel broke in with the odd point but was definitely in a defensive position.  Fighting to stay in the competition Jane stole this game 9-6.

Going into the fourth game Rachel was not going to make any point easy for her opponent to win.  She significantly upped the power on each of her serves.  She very quickly, and worryingly for Jane, was ahead 8-0.  Then Jane snatched one point on her serve (8-1), then another before reeling off 6 in a row.  The game was most definitely on and their was little quarter given.  The score was tight and the atmosphere was tense.  Rachel 8, Jane 7 (playing to 9).  Jane only needed 2 points to take it to a deciding game.  However, it wasn’t to be as a loose shot into the ‘tin’ resulted in Jane’s departure.

The final scores of Jane and Rachel respectively were: 4-9, 3-9, 9-6, and 7-9.  So, the first victory for Rachel McAleese- a worthy champion.  Both ladies congratulated each other on their performances, and that of the marker/umpire (Sandra McCutcheon).

Jane (left) and Rachel (right) after the match

Jane (left) and Rachel (right) after the match

Gala members taste success at Grange Open

On the 5th & 6th December, two players from Gala Squash Club made the trip to Grange Sports Club in Stockbridge, Edinburgh for the Close Brothers Asset Management Grange Open 2015 – Club Championship Runner Up Luis Molero and Club Captain Del Sharratt.  The Grange Open regularly attracts big names from the squash world and is Open to Players of ANY club.  A recent winner of the Grange Open is Scotland International Dougie Kempsell who, due to squash commitments, was unable to enter this year, but the draw was full of other players of similar standard.

The event was graded and Gala’s Luis Molero was Runner Up in the Secondary grade; his matches included a 3-0 (15-9, 15-2, 15-6) victory against Andrew Chrmka (Grange), and Luis took the scalp of the grade’s top seed Jamie Dalrymple (Grange) in an epic 3-1 (16-14, 6-15,15-9, 15-8).  In the final, Luis was against the youthful Tom Clark (Watsonians) and the youngster’s fitness and speed proved too much for Luis as he as won 3-0 (15-11, 15-8, 19-17).

In the same grade Del Sharratt crashed out to eventual champion Tom Clark in the opening round 3-2 (15-10, 16-18, 15-8, 13-15, 15-8);  therefore Del entered the plate tournament, which he won with notable victories over Edinburgh Waverley’s Samir Nizam 3-0 (15-6, 15-7, 15-13) and in the plate final Del triumphed against Luis’s first round victim Andrew Chrmka 3-0 (15-11, 15-5, 15-10).

In the Main Event the final was contested between Heriot Watt University’s Michael Ross and Edinburgh Sport Clubs Canadian player Jaques Laas.  The match went the distance and both players had their chances in a thrilling 3-2 (12-10, 11-13, 11-7, 9-11, 11-2).

Del Sharratt said “It was a great experience just to rub shoulders with some of Scotland’s best, these guys are an inspiration to some of the younger players in the country and hopefully more of Gala Squash Club members will participate in this event next year.”


Close Brothers Asset Management Director presenting the Winners Trophy to Michael Ross

Close Brothers Asset Management Director presenting the Winners Trophy to Michael Ross

Close Brothers Asset Management Director presenting the Grades Runner up trophy to Gala's Luis Molero

Close Brothers Asset Management Director presenting the Grades Runner up trophy to Gala’s Luis Molero

Gill Retains Club Title

On Monday 30th November, reigning champion Andy Gill took to the court for the defence of his title against a constantly improving Luis Molero. Along the path of his defence Andy had seen off 2014 runner up Ian Chalmers 3-1 and 2013 Champion John Sharratt 3-0 in the Semi-Final.  Luis had defeated two opponents he had never beaten before: Michael Haywood 3-0 and in the Semi Final took the scalp of Poland’s Adam Niemczewsi 3-1.

Many had Luis written off before the final and Andy took the first game relatively quickly, 9-2, as the gulf in quality seemed evident.  But something just clicked for Luis in the second game and despite Andy Gill romping to a 3-0 lead, Luis’ enthusiasm and determination saw him fight for every point and return shots that lesser mortals would have given up on - even the tight shots and  the balls out of the corners – to take the game 9-4.

The third game saw some long rallies and awesome squash, the pair seemed happy rallying the ball down the walls and trying to force their opponent to make a mistake. Stamina and concentration were the deciding factors in this game and with Andy capitalising on some loose shots from Molero this one went the way of Andy,  9-2.

In the fourth game Luis used his key shot – an excellent overhead backhand return of serve which just kills the ball in the front corner, Luis claimed at least 4 serves back with this shot as Andy found no answer to it.  Then some accurate and powerful serves that seemed to find the corners perfectly ensured Luis levelled the match 2-2 with a 9-4 victory.

Luis served first for the deciding game and immediately found fatigue kicking in as his serve went AWOL and nearly ended up in the viewing gallery upstairs.  Andy capitalised by taking a 3-0 lead relatively quickly and although Luis ran for every ball and nearly burnt a hole in his soles the reigning champion seemed slightly more at ease in the final game and soon took a commanding 6-1 lead.  Luis’s usual signature shot- his forehand straight drop shot was starting to find the tin as fatigue started to affect his concentration and despite a late push and several ecxhanges of serves Andy became only the fourth man in recent history to successfully defend their maiden title.

A gruelling encounter came to a conclusion as Andy triumphed 3-2 (9-2, 4-9, 9-2, 2-9, 9-2).

Match umpire Del Sharratt said ” The quality of squash on display was the best I have seen for some time, all credit to BOTH players. If Luis had played like that against anyone else at the club he would likely have won the match.  I have no doubt the name of Luis Molero will feature on the Champions Board in the not too distant future.”

Del Sharratt (Left) presents Andy Gil lwith the Trophy, Luis Molero looks on wistfully

Del Sharratt (Left) presents Andy Gil lwith the Trophy, Luis Molero looks on wistfully

Andy with the trophy

Andy with the trophy