Masters Home Internationals Match Report Men’s Over 50’s Dublin 2024 - Squash Wales

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Masters Home Internationals Match Report Men’s Over 50’s Dublin 2024

Early on a misty April Friday morning, 6 proud Welshmen make their way across the water to the Fair City of Dublin. Arriving with a very scary bump we landed safely. Liam decided it was best to run there and completed 178,245 steps on the plane (he does not like flying). Perhaps this was the Barry warm up routine, who knows…we then shared a taxi with the English number 1 – as luck would have it, we discovered he once went to Prestatyn for a holiday, so we applied to Welsh Squash for a change of Nationality. Sadly, the request was denied so we carried on as planned.

First up….England and on court for Wales was Paul Thomas taking on Chris Lynam. Paul played some great squash, but Chris was just a bit too strong, 3-0 to Chris. Next on court Richard Tailby up against Matthew Stephenson. Even the deceptive left hand and on court ‘debates’ were not enough to see off the Englishman, Richard went down 3-0. Our number 1 and ‘Kiwi team talisman’, Dallas was next on court against the newly appointed and honorary Welshman Mike Gregory. Mike, the current British Nationals Champion was far too strong for Dallas – sadly another 3-0. After an extensive warm up on the plane and next to do battle was Liam Corrigan taking on Adam Dominey. Liam played some great squash, however sadly picked up an injury early on which would not go away and would go down 3-0. Finally, the captain Dave Robertson to step up against the English Kiwi, Paul Boyle. Playing with some ‘captains nerves’ Dave would go down in 3 games also. Tough afternoon in Dublin losing 5-0 to the English. So after a meeting with the team and thinking about team morale and lifting the spirits, a decision was made by the captain to take a few Guinness in the bar – purely for medicinal purposes of course, the spirits were definitely lifted with ‘two words……’

Bright and early on Saturday morning we met for breakfast with a newly focussed mindset. Paul had 37 Expresso shots, Rich eating more eggs than Mr Strong, and Marcus eating the breakfast of champions…..well almost. Scotland were to be our first opponents of the day. A fresh Marcus Thomas taking on the Scot John Kynoch. Marcus was to go 1-0 down and then his gritty, steely determination (and debatable serves) saw him pull through and win the next 3 games. Wales were up and running, the first win on the board! You could here the cheers from far and wide, or at least the balcony of the next court. Great work Marcus, setting the tone for the day ahead. Boosted by the first result, Rich raced onto court to meet his opponent, Adrian Richmond. Sadly, the excitement was all too much and Rich was beaten by the better player on the day going down 3-0. Level in matches and all still to play for, Dallas was up against a very strong number one in Simon Boughton, however with all of our Kiwi talent on display, Dallas went game ball up in the first and if not for the distance of the top of the tin, would have won the first, but unfortunately it was not to be and lost the first 13-11. Simon proved to be too much for Dallas and Dallas was to lose 3-0. Our number 4 for the match Paul Thomas was next to play and taking on Tim Herron, Paul gave a great display coming close in all games – sadly though not quite enough and would eventually go down 3-0. Finally, the number 2 string Dave Robertson took to the court up against Keith Simpson. Keith is a battler and his clinical shots (and frustrating lob serve) got the better of Dave and would also go down 3-0. Not an ideal morning, however the early finish gave us the opportunity to study our next opponents Ireland….

After a light lunch (and a heavy sleep…Marcus!) we prepared ourselves for the final match of the weekend. Our superb hosts, the Irish team had a strong battle with England and eventually coming out on top – they needed to win against Wales to take the title. Wales were not going to roll over easy though. This was our last match of the weekend and we all decided that we treat this one as a Saturday afternoon mess about with our mates and look forward to a few drinks in the bar afterwards. The ‘carrot’ of a beer seemed to work….

The number 5 strings were first to go. Marcus Thomas against Cuan MacAogain was a fantastic match, you could not get a spot on the balcony to watch! Marcus flew out of the traps, taking the first 2 games comfortably. With the finish line (and beer) in sight, Marcus needed ‘two words’ (Match Ball) however this was not to be. Marcus would lose the next 2 games making the Welsh team sweat more than Liam on a runway. We could not watch; it was so tense – and then Marcus reverted back to his game plan in the first and came through with a victory! Leaving Marcus undefeated throughout the weekend – what a team player, fantastic effort. Rich was next up against Dara O’Flynn. On court, pre match photos taken and ready to play, the warm up began. Nearly ruining their whole weekend, the Irish quickly realised they were playing out of order! Oh no, so with a swift player change, Rich was now playing David Ayerst. Was this a tactic to put Rich off? Who knows, however Rich narrowly avoided the first bagel of the weekend, clearly put off by the player change would eventually go down 3-0. On next, only the ex-world number 7 Derek Ryan on as Dallas’s opponent. Dallas came up to Derek’s hips and this meant he ran twice as far as Derek – simply unfair in my opinion – however the Welsh Kiwi gave a great account of himself, but Derek was too strong and Dallas was to lose 3-0. Back on court for a second time, Dara O’Flynn taking on Paul Thomas of Wales (which sounds very regal). With the extra warm up, Dara was too strong for Paul, again Paul lost out 3-0 to the stronger man on the day. Onto the last match of the day, the captain Dave Robertson with nothing to lose whatsoever. Playing boasts to his hearts content, Dave somehow managed to get the win against a slightly weary Rob Staunton which rounded off the weekend in style 3-0 to Wales.

On behalf of the whole team, we would like to thank the Irish, Scottish, English and the Welsh teams, the event organisers, the fantastic team at the amazing Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club and the Mespil Hotel.

Two words….the end!

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