After a Great weekend of Finals with an epic 5 setter at Wimbledon and England winning the Cricket world cup; all eyes descended on Gala Squash Club for the Club Championship Final 2019. Defending Champion Tony Elliot was up against Kev Douglas in a repeat of the 2018 final. Tony was going for 3 titles in a row but Kev was gunning for his first ever Title and both players were up for the occasion.
Club Stalwart Andy Waddell was the referee and he got the players started promptly after the 5 minute warm up. Tony Elliot won the spin and he took the hand; Tony reeled off a couple of quick points before the players settled into typical back hand rallies, both players tried to keep the ball tight to the wall and both produced some good squash. Tony kept the ball tighter to the wall than Kev and continued his lead to 6-3 and then 12-6; an uncharacteristic fluffed drop shot by Tony gave Kev the hand back and Kevs hard fast style of serve meant he commanded the rallies and got it back to 12-10 before Tony got the hand back and Tony hardly missed a thing after that and took the first 15-11.
The second game went point for point until it was 3-2 for Kev, then a cross court drive by Kev made Tony twist and Tony seemed to pull up a bit and his pace slowed, Tony felt a niggle in his groin and his pace slowed and movement reduced, Kev noted this and capitalised by sending the ball from left to right and went 7-2 and 10-3 up and seemed to be coasting.
Tony shook off his problem and regained focus, a deft drop to the front corner was out of reach of Kev and brought Tony back into the game. Tony soon got it back to 13-9 but his movement was still not quite there and Kev, who has one of the hardest hits at the club, played a couple of full length shots with pace and took the second 15-10; the game tied at 1-1.
After a couple of minutes breather, Tony seemed to come back refreshed and it was game-on, Tony was back to his usual squash and hardly missed a shot despite Kev’s best efforts with fast shots and some bluffs Tony took off to a 9-3 lead. This game was more a war of attrition with Tony just returning the fast drives from Kev and although Kev made a game of it Tony took it 15-9 for a 2-1 lead.
Tony only needed one more to win and the tension could be felt by fellow members and spectators in the viewing gallery. Tony settled quickly in the fourth and normal service was resumed as Kev was chasing the game and Tony went 7-3 and 10-4 with some straightforward long tight squash, like the first game though one unforced error by Tony and Kevs confidence rose and Kev started to command the rallies from the T-Line and sent Tony running from corner to corner, Kev brought it back to 11-9 but Tony seemed to find that extra gear when it mattered and remained focussed like a true champion to win the game 15-9 for a 3-1 victory.
Match referee Andy Waddell commented on the high standard of speed and skill in the match which kept him concentrating and Andy had to make two or three big stroke decisions during the match.
Now Triple Champion, Tony Elliot didn’t get it all his own way; Kev Douglas fought valiantly and gave Tony a scare during the match; Tony Elliot is coached by Scotland Squash International Rory Stewart and Tony says Rory has made a big difference to his game and is looking forward to more challenges over the coming year