Tony’s Treble Triumph

Tony, Kev cups

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

Epic Final for Shield Tournament

ruaridhRUS sir A -winner

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.

East of Scotland Award for Reivers Captain

At The East of Scotland squash End of Season Presentation dinner several awards were handed out, Edinburgh Sports Club were crowned East League Division 1 Champions and Heriot Watt triumphed in the East of Scotland Cup.  But in the individual awards Gala Squash Club Captain Del Sharratt was awarded the prestigious “Clubperson of the year” award.  Former Club person winner Iain Clark presented the trophy to Del and said “This award is to recognize an individual who’s commitment and dedication has been over and above expected levels and is vital in the progression of squash in theEast of Scotland.  Del is a deserving winner; we received an unprompted e-mail from a member at Gala squash club recommending Del for this award.  Del single-handedly runs the club, he does everything from run the internal competitions, maintenance of the building, runs the finances of the club, he runs the juniors, arranges events, he is Captain of the League team, he deals with memberships.  Del is well known in squash Circles around the East of Scotland and it is right that his exploits are recognised.”
Del said “I really wasn’t expecting anything.  As far as I am concerned it’s a team effort to keep things going at the squash club, I do what I can but I am supported by the committee and a Very Tolerant and Supportive wife!  I wish I could do more for the Club and East Squash but I juggle my life with a full time job, two young kids and the squash club.  I am honoured that the East of Scotland Squash Committee have recognised my hard work in this manner and I will treasurer this award.”

Del Award

Del Receiving the Award

 

Students put to sword

Border Reivers 18-4 Heriot Watt 4s

 

Del Sharratt 3-2 Thomas Ewen

This was an odd match, as Del surrendered a 2-0 lead before taking it 3-2. Del started off sharp and fast and was in control of the rallies, Tomas was no mug though And had great perception of the game and knew roughly where Del’s shots wold go. But Del seemed to have the edge and as soon as he got to th T-Line seemed able to command the rallies; Del took the first to 15-10, 15-6; in the third game the match swung t oThomas Ewans favour, the rub of the ball and the luck seemed to be with th student and Del dodn’t do much wrong, just didn’t have the control of he rallies like before and Thomas took the third 15-12. Ewen was having to work hard and up his game to keep Sharratt at bay, the fourth game went the distance, indeed Sharratt served for the match at 15-14 up but the serve was out and Ewen rattled off the next two points to take it 17-15 and into a decider. Del refocussed and in the decider once again took control of the T-Line and Thomas didn’t have an answer as Del took the fifth 15-8.

 

Iain Laing 3-0 Ben Graham

This one was 15-8, 15-5, 15-10 in the Borderers favour; a fairly straight forward victory for Laing who has one of the sweetest strokes at the club and was sending the student round the corners of the court. Iain Laing maintains his unbeaten status within the team with his record played 5- won 5.

 

Pat Spence 3-0 Stuart Graves-Morris

This oddly enough ended in exactly the same scoreline as the previous rubber with the Reivers taking it 15-8, 15-5, 15-10. But a completely different style of play. Reivers Veteran Spence used placement of shots to combat the speed and agility of the younger Graves-Morris. Spence played some tricky deceptive shots which caught the student out and earned a good 3-0 victory.

 

Amir Hosny 3-2 Calum Henning

WE were getting towards the business end of the teams as the battle of the second seeds made for some awesome viewing. Although Hosny seems determined to go 2-0 up in every match before winning 3-2 – this seems to be the story of the season for Hosny.

Hosny used his prowess with full length and full width shots to keep Henning at the back of the court and control the match. But on the flip side Henning won out on all the front court rallies as Hosnys short game was found waining. Hosny took thfirst two 15-9, 15-9 before Henning really pushed the short game to come back with 15-10, 15-12 and 2-2. But whether it was stamina, concentration or home advantage – Hosny found the extra needed to take the fifth 15-6 for 3-2.

 

Tony Elliot 3-0 Simon Aitken

Having had some tricky games lately, Elliot found this one more straight forward. Aitken was making his debut for Heriot Watt 4 and it was a baptism of fire as he came up against one of the strongest players in the league. Tony managed to command this from the start and although Aitken made some of the rallies last Elliot was too good and won 15-6, 16-4, 15-8.

 

Captain Del Sharratt said “10/10 for effort right through the team, this was an important victory as we have sufferd som heavy defeats lately and were at risk of dropping down the table. Our final league match next week is against Craigshill Xcite and we need a 10 point swing on them to jump them to fifth in the league. We are all up for it and like tonight it will be maximum effort throughout!”

Charity night

Several members from Gala Squash Club joined with Doctors and staff from the BGH to raise money for the Friends of the BGH.  Over £200 was raised on the night for Lifecard devices for the Cardiology Dept.  The format was straight knockout and 8 minute games.  There was a Plate and a Bowl tournament for early round losers.
In the Final Amir Hosny beat Iain Gorman 16-13; the Plate final seen Ruaridh Kohler triumph over Lucy Black and the bowl tournament champion was John Barrow who narrowly defeated Andrew Graham.
Organiser Del Sharratt said “What a great event, we support the Friends of the BGH every couple of years with Charity matches and these are generally well attended.

Pic 1 – Tournament Champion Amir Hosny and Player of the Night Sasha Graham.
Pic 2 – some of the players from the night.

.charity 1 charity 2

Reivers lose to Abercorn

Abercorn 18-6 Border Reivers

Del Sharratt 0-3 Bernard Starkey

Del was quietly confident going into this tie. Bernard, although a seasoned veteran was 30 years Del’s senior and Del was hopeful his stamina could win out. This proved to be a false hope for Del. Bernard had accurate shots and used the full length lob several times which always seemed to find the nick at the back of the court and Del couldn’t get the shots back. Del tried to boss the rallies by dominating the T-Line but Bernard would throw in a lob every so often and this would be good enough to beat Del, the match wa 15-12, 15-9,15-10.

 

Graham Bensted 1-3 Tom Clemens

The games here were 15-13, 14-16, 14-16, 11-15 and the match could have gone either way. Bensted has a hard fast shot and Clemens had to be quick to react to get the shots. This match was as much a mentally tiring as physically as the players had to react quickly to the fast shots. Tom used home advantage in the bounce of the ball and the heat in the courts count and just sneaked the victory in a close tie.

 

Pat Spence 1-3 Neelu Sarkar

Abercorn Captan Sarkar has been out for several months with an injury, but s=there was no signs of this hindering Neelu’s performance tonight. Reivers Veteran Spence was trying to send Sarkar to the front of the court so he would have to lunge in the hope that he may still be feeling the after effects of his injury. But if anything Sarkar seemed to be back more refreshed than ever and has obviously been working hard on fitness and movement over his spell out. This was an exciting match up and the scores went 11-15, 15-11, 11-15 as little separated the players. Spence’s usual deft drop shots weren’t quite coming off for him and he surrendered several points in each game by hitting the tin from the drops. Sarkar proved equal and more to whatever Spence threw at him and won 3-1 for the City Side.

 

Amir Hosny 2-3 Martin Browse

Browse record against the Border side now reads p6 w6 as he remained undefeated. On another night the result may well have been the other way rund but Hosny’s mind just didn’t seem to be on the game.   Browse opened the match 15-9 and 15-1, then Hosny took a couple of minutes at the end of theseconf game and Captain Del Sharratt took the opportunity to motivate Hosny to keep focussed and get mentally attuned to the game; Sharratt also advised Hosny that Browse was trying to slow the game right down to suit his own style and told Hosny to go out all guns blazing. Hosny must took something on board as a completely different player emerged in the third game. Hosny exploded out the blocks and played a fast flowing game to disrupt Browse slower play, Hosny won it 15-10 and carried this onto the fourth. Browse was trying to play the referee and claim some soft lets but the referee was having none of it and dismissed Browse claims. Hosny seemed to have the nack of coming from 2-0 down to win games and this tie went to 14-14 before Browse pulled out some excellent cross court shots to win 16-14 for 3-2.

 

Tony Elliot 2-3 Senga MacFie

Tony seemed a bit out of sorts in this tie and was swiping at several of Senga’s serves. Tony found it difficult to get on top of the rallies, and former Scotland International Senga used her accurate lob serves to dominate the rallies, whenever they got into rallies Tony proved to good but senga would ratle off several points jst from her serves, this was good enough for the first two games which Senga took 15-13, 15-12. But like Amir, Tony emerged a different player in the third and was more like the Tony Elliot we know (and, begrudgingly admire!) and had the measure of Senga’s serves. Tony rattled off the games 15-6, 15-3. But Senga dug deep in the fifth and used all her guile to win 15-11 For a huge Scalp.

 

Reivers Captain Del said “We didn’t get the rub of the ball in the games tonight, luck seemed to favour Abercorn and if we play again tomorrow it may well be a different result. To be fair to Abercorn the Resolve of the ir players is second to none and all the matches were exciting ties.”

Defeat for Reivers

Hatton 15-3 Border Reivers

Andrew Dowlen-Gilland 0-3 Malcolm Mitchell

Sir Andrew found he was chasing this game from the off, Malcolm was straight out the blocks and took a 4-0 lead fairly quickly. Sir Andrew was just a wee bit too slow and Mitchell rattled off the points and won the first 15-5. Although Sir Andrew had the shots and the knowhow, this seemed to be a low key performance for the Reivers veteran. Sir Andrew just didn’t seem to have the right movement and kept getting himself in a twist, Mitchell had a focussed performance and took the next games 15-8, 15-7.

 

Del Sharratt 0-3 Nick Tinning

The 15-9, 15-11, 15-9 scoreline flattered Tinning a bit in this game, this was a more exciting match, Tinning seemed to have the knack of keeping Sharratt behind him and therefore dominated most of the rallies. It was the odd lapse of concentration from Sharratt that meant his normal safe shots didn’t find the target and Tinning would pounce and kill the ball. This made it 2-0 to Hatton.

 

Pat Spence 0-3 John Miller

This was another 3-0 victory for Hatton; Spence was a bit fatigued having travelled around the country on business for most of the day and this hindered his movement slightly and Miller, although not particularly quick himself mastered his footwork and moved smoothly around the court. Spence gave a goo showing and found the corners with a lot of his shots but Miller won 15-8, 15-6, 15-7.

 

Amir Hosny 0-3 Milan Govan

This was a fantastic match up, this was a fast speedy performance from the players, neither player really pulled away and Govan just had that wee bit of Luck that meant most 50/50 rallies ended in his favour. Hosny’s forte was sending Govan to the back of the court and had great length on his shots, but Hosny’s lack of killer edge at the front meant Govan could capitalise and it was close at 15-11, 15-13, 15-10.

 

Tony Elliot 3-0 Alan Love

Tony Elliot mad this look ease, but it was a tight tussle. Love, who hadn’t lost at home all season oozed confidence but Tony showed his prowess around the court and some great reaces and counter attacks from Tony were the main difference. Tony found when he reached the front court forehand drops that Alan couldn’t handle his fast cross court returns and this got several points for Tony. Tony won the Borderers only points of the match with 15-7, 15-13, 15-10.

 

Captain Sharratt Said afterwards “this is our biggest defeat of the season, Hatton had a strong strong team and it’s obvious why they are top of the league. This was always going to be a tough game but hopefully this spurs us on for the remainder of the season and we can bounce back with a win at Abercorn next week.

Junior Big Shots

IMG_20190223_170632L-R Dima Graham , Sahsha Graham

 

The Latest instalment of the Big Shots series was held at Edinbugh Sports Club – The Big Shots series is an entry level Squash Tournament for kids age 6-16 and is split into divisions. Galashiels Squash Club was represented by Current Junior Champion Dima Graham and his younger brother Sasha Graham.

 

Sasha was placed in Div 4 and struggled to live with the competition. The tournament was MONRAD format so everyone got 3 games and an overall ranking, the games were timed for 7 minutes so the highest score after 7 minutes would win.. The first game seen Sasha pitted against Daniel Evans form The Grange. Sasha found Daniel’s serves very difficult to read and Daniel would score several points just from the serve, this went 22-9 to Daniel. This put Sasha in the 5-8 playoff and he came up against another of Grange’s rising stars in Megan Read, this was a closer game and both players enjoyed the rallies, Megan took it 18-12 which meant it was Sasha Graham v Benjamin Wilkie in the 7/8 Play Off. This was and exciting watch, and remained pretty close for the first 5 minutes, but at the end Benjamin was too fit and strong and pulled away to take it 20-12.

 

Dima Graham was in Div 2 with some Formidable players, his opening rubber seen him against James Kelly of Edinburgh sports Club, James Kelly proved a very skilful player and rocketed off to a 32-10 victory, James Kelly later pulled out of the tournament but was on track to win Div 2 before he withdrew. Dima was then put in the 5-8 play off where his first opponent was Josh Myers of Edinburgh Sports Club. This was a close fought match with neither player really pulling away, Dima triumphed with a confidence boosting 17-15. For 5/6 place Dima was up against Finlay Templeton of Colinton Castle, Finlay had beaten Dima in a previous encounter, so Dima was keen to settle a score! Templeton started well in this and some good squash from both kids made it entertaining to watch, but Finlay went to 12-7 and seemed to be in control, but Dima kept his focus and wouldn’t take his eye off the ball and Dima knew time was running out for him to come back but a series of clever boasts by Dima brought him back into the game and Finlays head went down as he swiped at a couple of key shots and Dima Graham came from behind to sneak it 19-18 in the dying seconds of the match.

Dima was delighted with his 5th place and was already look9ing forward to the Next Round at Colinton Castle. The Div 1 title for the day was won by Thomas Crawley of The Grange, who beat Scotland Under 13s Representative Jamie Pearman of Tyne Squash Club 32-10 in the final.

Gala Squash Club Captain Del Sharratt said “It’s great just to see the kids get a competitive tournament against kids from other clubs, this is a vital stepping stone for Dima and Sasha into the Junior Open events and both boys are as keen as mustard.”

Close Victory for Reivers

Border Reivers 13-9 Grange 5

 

Del Sharratt 0-3 Josh Stokes

Josh Stokes maintained his 100% record against Sharratt with a great display of squash. Despite the loss, Sharratt thoroughly enjoyed the match and there was several long rallies and fast movement but Stokes was too good for Sharratt and this went Grange’s way 15-9, 15-13, 15-10.

 

Graham Bensted 1-3 Alex Whitters

This was a close tight tussle, both players have a very strong powerful serve and this earned several points for both players, the hard fast hits didn’t produce many long rallies but neither player would relent and the scores were 15-12, 12-15, 15-12, 15-2 in favour of Grange.

 

Piers Wilkinson 3-1 Peppe Andaloro

This was a battle between old pals. As Piers had played Team Squash for Grange in previous years but now represented The Reivers. Piers and Peppe had many a titanic tussle during Piers time at Grange and this match was to prove just as exhilliarating. Piers started strong and had precise placement of the ball, he romped to a 15-8 victory in the first game. The second game seen a complete reversal as Peppe commanded the rallies and found the corners t otake it 15-5. This made both players focus and the rest of the match there wasn’t much to separate either player, Piers used his 6’4” frame to reach almost anything that Peppe tried to lob or put past him,but Peppe jut didn’t seem to stop running, with the help of a little bit of good Fortune, Wilkinson took the next games 15-13, 17-15 for 3-1.

 

Amir Hosny 3-2 Jonathan Hughes

This was another cracker of a match, this went the distance and as soon as one player looked like they would pull away, the other would come back just as strong. Amir won the first 15-10, then the next ones went 13-15, 12-15, 10-15. The match had lots of good long rallies. Amir would command the T-Line for the majority and have Jonathan running from side to side to play the ball, a lot of the sqush was full-legnth here and both players seemed reluctant to play drop shots or to the front. At 2-2 Hosny decided to throw in some front court boasts to keep the ball away from Hughes, but several of these hit the tin and Hosny ha to go back to the long game. Hughes was 13-9 up when Hosny seemed to find an extra boost form nowhere and got to 14-14, both players served for match ball but it was Hosny who kept with his long game plan that won 19-17 in the fifth for another Reivers victory.

 

Tony Elliot 3-0 Andrew Light

Tony showed glimpses of his best here, Andrew Light just couldn’t live with Elliot and The Reivers Top Seed made this look easy. Light put up a good battle in the first game, losing a close 15-12 but just couldn’t maintain it as Elliot ran out 15-5, 15-7 for 3-0 and the Match victory for the Border Reivers

 

Gala Captain Del said “This was a close match, if Hughes had held on to his lead against Hosny in the fifth we would have lost the match. But we always like to get one over the Grange, a Friendly Rivalry has developed between our clubs.

Hero in Heriot Watt Open

champ2Tony Elliot, Gala Squash Club Champion

In the Heriot Watt Squash Open, Tony Elliot was flying the flag for Gala Squash Club. In the Qualifying match, Tony was against Watsonians French Prodigy Remi Lecompte, Remi took a 2-0 lead and Tony battled back to 2-2 but the Frenchman just edged Tony in the decider to book his place in the main Draw, (11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 4-11, 11-8). This put Tony in the B-Grade Draw against some formidable opponents.

Tony was drawn against Jonathan Hughes of The Grange, Jonatan had o pull out due to last minute emergency and Tony got a bye to the quasrter final where he met James Robertson of Watsonians Squash Club. Tony played out another 5- set thriller and again came from 2-0 down this time to win 3-2 (7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-2). Tony’s next opponent in the Semi-Final was teenager Andrew Chrumka, although now a student at Glasgow Uni, Chrumka has won junior tournaments up and down the country. Chrumka won the fitness and indeed the skill battle and triumphed over Elliot 3-1 (11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7).

With Chrumka advancing to the final Tony Elliot had a 3rd place play off to look forward to, in this he was against another Glasgow Univ Student in Steffan Gwynn. Tony liks to get his moneys worth as this match again went the distance and Tony won 3-2 (11-5, 8-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-2) to earn 3rd spot in a highly talented field.

 

The Main event was won by Edinburg Sports Clubs Scotland International Rory Stewart – Rory is connected to the Borderers as he is the Gala squash Club coach and Tony Elliots Coach and Mentor. Rory Stewart beat Giffnocks James Henderson 3-1 in the Final to claim the prizemoney and trophy.

Tony said after the tournament “I am delighted to have bagged 3rd place in my grade, this tournament brings in some of the top players in the country and the experience can only help my game.”