Dazzling Duffield Bring Festival of Squash To Resounding Climax At The NSC
31 May 06
Saturday's 12-hour Festival of Squash at the National Squash Centre in Manchester was hailed a "magnificent success" by England Squash Director of Development & Competitions Adrian Christy.
More than 40 youngsters kicked off the day, competing in the Junior Champion of Champions Finals - the climax of the Junior Graded Tournament season where the winners of each grade (C, D, E, F) from every local event the length and breadth of the country fought for the four Junior Champion of Champions titles.
The four competitions ran simultaneously - players playing one another in single timed games of 15 minutes, the winners going on to play other winners and the losers doing the same.
After some six hours of non-stop squash on the seven courts (including the all-glass court) at the National Squash Centre - which was built specially for the 2002 Commonwealth Games - four winners and runners-up received presentations from Adrian Christy.
Alex Beynon, 15, from Ipswich in Suffolk, won the C Grade title, beating Ryan Whiteley, from West Sussex, into the runners-up position. Beynon, who plays at the Ipswich Sports Club and took up the sport when he was just three years old, was delighted to improve on his third place finish in the event twelve months ago.
Lancashire's 14-year-old Tom Dwyer, from Manchester's Cheetham Hill club, collected the D Grade trophy, ahead of runner-up Alex Morris, of the Riverside club in Gloucester.
The E Grade title went to Eddy Rounthwaite, from Malton in North Yorkshire. The 15-year-old pipped Oxfordshire's Alex Noakes into second place. Ten-year-old Noakes, based at the Racquets club in Thame, was the youngest competitor of the day - and only took up the sport a year ago!
A total of 16 youngsters - including Wayne Rooney's cousin Patrick Rooney - battled for the F Grade title, for those who are new to competition. While Patrick finished in eighth place, Sussex's Nyall Croucher survived unbeaten to lift the trophy. The Storrington club teenager beat Merseyside's 11-year-old David Fumpson, of the Y Squash in St Helens, in the final.
Later in the day, action centred on the all-glass court where the 2005/06 Premier League staged its final, between 1998 champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield faced Churchill Edgbaston Priory, winners of the title in 2001 and 2003.
In a dramatic conclusion to the elite event, watched by a packed crowd comprising enthusiastic fans from both clubs, England international Nick Matthew beat Australian international Stewart Boswell in the top string decider to give an emotional 3/2 victory to Derbyshire club Duffield.
"What a fantastic advertisement for squash the Festival was! The Champion of Champions proved once again to throw out some terrific matches and some wonderful young talent, all played in such a tremendous spirit. I would like to reiterate my thanks to every graded tournament organiser the length and breadth of the country, without whose support during the season, this finale event would not have been possible," said Christy.
"And then to follow up with such an exciting PSL Final was more than we could have asked for. After a terrific first season as PSL, we were rewarded with some tremendous matches and I would first, like to congratulate Matt Suckling and Brian Hargrave and their players on reaching the final - and then to all involved with Benz-Bavarian Duffield on their success."
Junior Champion of Champions - final finishing positions:
C GRADE: 1 Alex Beynon (Ipswich, Suffolk), 2 Ryan Whiteley (West Sussex), 3 Dominic Cole (Nottingham), 4 Marcus Hunter (Warwickshire), 5 Alexander Johnson (Woodbridge, Suffolk)
D GRADE: 1 Tom Dwyer (Manchester), 2 Alex Morris (Gloucester), 3 Mark Broude (Manchester), 4 Jake Bennet (Bognor Regis, West Sussex), 5 Simon Rivers (Reigate, Surrey), 6 Thomas Roden (Stoke on Trent), 7 Joseph Buck (Worcestershire), 8 Joel Croucher (Pulborough, West Sussex), 9 Matthew Turner (Wigan, Lancashire), 10 Tim Moseley (Bromsgrove, Worcs), 11 Russell Clark (Dronfield, Derbyshire)
E GRADE: 1 Eddy Rounthwaite (Malton, North Yorkshire), 2 Alex Noakes (Thame, Oxon), 3 Thomas Turner (Sheffield), 4 James Durbin (Leeds), 5 Luke Bentley (Manchester), 6 Sashka Drew (London SW18), 7 Frederick Simpson-Cassidy (Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria), 8 Andrew Archibald (Chorley, Lancashire), 9 Edward Fairhurst (Manchester), 10 Jack Lubke (Stourbridge, West Midlands).
F GRADE: 1 Nyall Croucher (Pulborough, West Sussex), 2 David Fumpson (Liverpool), 3 Martyn Brierley (Leyland, Lancashire), 4 Jack Cooper (Pontefract, West Yorkshire), 5 Sumitha Bose (Ipswich, Suffolk), 6 Katie Wilson (Coulsdon, Surrey), 7 Joe Jackson (Preston), 8 Patrick Rooney (St Helens, Merseyside), 9 Christopher Fay (Manchester), 10 Charlotte Durbin (Leeds), 11 Hannah Crichton (Egremont, Cumbria), 12 Tom Lubke (Stourbridge, West Midlands), 13 Richard Carter (Halesowen, Worcs), 14 Gavin Waddell (West Midlands)