Over 75 Men Match Report. Cardiff 2024. - Squash Wales

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Over 75 Men Match Report. Cardiff 2024.

The month of May brings one of the highlight tournaments in the Squash Masters calendar……The Home Internationals.

For the “Very Senior Masters” (O75), it is all about Preparation and Timing. i.e. Avoid injuries, holidays, hospital appointments and don’t over-train in the run up to May, to ensure  availablity and still be mobile enough to achieve the honour of representing our country, Wales, against the other British Nations O75 squash teams.

This year, Wales were the host nation for the O75s competition, playing in Cardiff Squash Club and the prestigious National Sports Centre of Wales, Sofia Gardens Cardiff.

Wales O75 team 2024. Players selected for the tournament, following the Wales Closed Masters event in January, were Mike Mooney, Stephen Evans, Duncan Jones, David Grant.

Wales O75 had achieved runners up to England for the last 2 years and had a stronger team this year, with Mike Mooney available to play at No.1 So with confidence we met for our pre-tournament pep talk and team photo before taking on Scotland on Friday night.

Unfortunately our confidence and high hopes were dented a little, when with a change in game plan Duncan having  recovered from 0- 2 to 2-2 experienced a reciprocal change in game plan in the 5th game from Alex Sinclair playing at No.3 for Scotland enabling Alex to win 3-2

The No 1 string game between Mike and the highly ranked Ian Ross of Scotland was exciting and tense, as Mike took the second game, came very close in the third and was winning the 4th when during a rally Mike had the misfortune to turn quickly, twisting his ankle badly, causing an injury making it impossible for him to compete.

Although Scotland had therefore won the tie, there were still points and games to be won so the contest recommenced with the No. 2 s. Scotland’s Alex Everingham, a mere youngster, only just into the O75 category was very quick around the court and each game was very competitive but Steve was able to close out three of them to win 3-1.

So Scotland won the tie accruing 10 points with Wales a creditable 6 points.

However the injury to Mike against Scotland unfortunately was severe enough to rule him out of playing against England or Ireland the following day requiring all 3 remaining team members to move up the seedings and play 2 tournament matches within a four hour window on Saturday.

The team results were somewhat

inevitable, having lost the services of our No.1 however, there were well deserved performance highlights, first from David fighting back, after being 0-2 down to level up at 2-2. when playing against his English opponent. These were David’s first two. inaugural winning games for Wales.

Duncan also achieved a commendable 3-1 win playing at No. 2 against Ireland’s Tim Murphy

However the weekend highlight has to be Wales v England. Duncan stepped up the seedings (Mike’s injury withdrawal) to play No.2 against his English opponent Larry Grover, the current O75 British Masters Closed champion. Larry promptly disposed of Duncan and the first game 11-1 only to find himself in a fierce battle for the second game with a very determined and unconventional shot playing Duncan. It was great to watch, as Duncan pushed the British champion to not only 10-10 but to 17-17 at which point Duncan threw in another unconventional front court winner followed by yet another inexplicable, unforced, into the tin,  error from Larry which earned Duncan a game 19-17 which he will hope to dine out on for the next ten years.!

So in conclusion although the overall result of 4th was disappointing for our O75 team, each member contributed game points won to our total of 12.  The playing experience and opportunity to watch some very high quality squash from the younger age catagories along with the excellent presentation dinner and social interactions makes the Masters Home International weekend tournaments very special. (Especially if you are still playing in it at over 75 years of age)

My thanks to Wales Masters Squash, organizers, referees and participants for all their commitments towards an excellent weekend.

Stephen Evans


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