It was The Final of the Alex Doherty Memorial Shield tournament 2019 at Galashiels Squash and Racketball Club. This is a tournament for the First round losers of the Club Chapmionship and is a very prestigious and highly sought after prize.
When the club was near collapse several years ago Alex Doherty single handedly pulled the club out of the doldrums and the club wouldn’t be here now nevermind thriving if it wasn’t for Alex Doherty.
Alex Sadly passed away in 2015 and the club uses this tournament to honour his memory.
It was an epic 5-game thriller, two veterans of the game in Sir Andrew Dowlen-Gilland and Ruaridh Kohler put on an awesome spectacle for the club members.
In the first game Ruaridh shopt off to a 5-0 lead but as soon as Sir Andrew got the hand (serve) he played some unreturnable serves and it was soon 6-6. Sir Andrew seemed to find his way after a slow start and he maintained focus and concentration to take the first 15-10.
The second game again seen Ruaridh start strong as he used the back-back-front technique to keep Sir Andrew running and Ruaridh commanded most of the rallies from the T-Line; this one went 15-9 to Ruaridh.
A familiar pattern was starting to emerge as Ruaridh went 4-0 up in the third, Sir Andrew Again capitalised as soon as he got the hand and reeled off several quick points to take it to 5-5.
But again Sir Andrew found his niche and although Ruaridh didn’t stop running and reaches even the tight balls Sir Andrew proved too strong and won 15-8.
The momentum was with sir Andrew and in the fourth it was Sir A that took an early lead 6-2 – but Ruaridh refused to give up and fought back valiantly with some varied shots to 14-14 and into tie-break as a 2 point cushion was needed to win the game. Ruaridh used a couple of deft boasts to send Sir Andrew the wrong way and Ruaridh took it 16-14. To tie the match at 2-2.
Into the decider and it was impossible for the fans to call a winner. This was another close game and Ruaridh used some of his trademark boasts to win several points but Sir Andrew found the length when it mattered and proved just too good to win 15-12 and 3-2.
Match umpire Del Sharratt said “It was a classic 5-setter; I was also kept on my toes with several contentuous decisions that the players were challenging but I just called it as I saw it and it contributed to the tension and pressure of the match. Sir Andrew is a stalwart of the club and plays for the Border Reivers in the East Leagues so he is no stranger to competitive Squash and a big Congratulations to him winning this trophy.