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.”