Wales Men 65+ Captain’s Report for Nottingham, April 2024 - Squash Wales

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Wales Men 65+ Captain’s Report for Nottingham, April 2024

 Seven players from all corners of Wales, and Northumbria, gathered to face the challenge of the Home Nation’s Squash Masters at Nottingham Squash Club. The order of play was England, Scotland and Ireland.

For the current 65+ Welsh champion Huw Davis (Hirwaun), it was his first taste of international squash as he faced all three no.1 seeds of the opposition!

Richard Manners at no.5 (Rhiwbina) kicked off for Wales facing English opposition for the very first time. He lost the opening two games narrowly against Julian Craxton, but recovered to secure a win in the third 11-9. Julian responded well in the fourth to take the match 4-1. No.3 Adrian Alderton (Hexham, Northumbria) faced the English David Kirk. ‘Captain’ Kirk played some exceptional squash to win the match 3-0, despite Adrian playing his best squash in the third losing 9-11. Welsh no.1 Huw Davis played the English Captain and British Master’s finalist Tom Burton, who hails from across the border in Hereford. Showing nerves of steel Huw got stuck into his match and pushed Tom very hard in the opening two games losing 8-11 and 12-14. Huw deservedly won the third game 11-8 to pick up his first international point. Tom however regained control in the fourth to win the match 4-1. Paul Brennan (Caldicot) played the English no.4 seed David Stones. Despite a very close opening game Paul lost the match 0-3. Mark Davies (Wrexham) at no.2 faced the notorious English specialist lob server Nick Gollaglee to end the first day’s play. Mark was frustrated throughout as he waited for the frosted ball to drop into his rather chilly backhand corner. The weather never improved although Mark scored 7 points in each game. Wales 1-4 England.

 The Friday evening entertainment was led by tour guide Adrian, which was a very short walk to England’s oldest pub ‘Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem’ (1189), and a sample of their ales. But not for Huw Davies however, who was wrapped in cotton wool and had an early night overseen by his son and mentor Ryan.

Saturday morning meant a breakfast free 9.30am start for Richard against the Scotland no.5 George Stewart. Buoyed by taking a point off England, Richard went further and defeated George 3-2 in the nail biting fifth game. The presence and avid support of Richard’s wife Karen clearly got him over the line. Ceredig Emanuel (Carmarthen) at no.3 faced the skilful Peter Shivas who won 0-3. Not so skilful however was Peter’s ability to tie his laces up as each squash shoe in turn flew across the court mid rally! Huw Davis took stage again at no.1 to face the highly experienced and ranked Robin Ridley (3,711). Despite conceding the two opening games Huw took the third game 11-7, and pushed hard in the fourth only to lose agonisingly 11-13. Paul Brennan at no.4 played the current Scottish 65+ champion Norman Paterson in a highly competitive and close match. Paul pulled back from a 0-2 deficit (a common theme for the Wales 65+ team), to draw level at 2-2, with Norman squeezing a win in the fifth. The final match saw Phil Monaghan (Swansea) face the large figure of Keith Gristwood, Scotland’s no.2. Keith dominated initially taking the first two games (again, as above), before Phil recovered his form to win the third game comfortably. Keith however dug in with his unorthodox game to take the match 3-1. Wales 1-4 Scotland.

The final match was against an Irish team who had lost narrowly to Scotland. During the opening match Michal Conlon at no.5 proved too tricky for the out of form Ceredig Emanuel who suffered a 0-3 loss. The same fate faced Phil Monaghan and Huw Davis against James McSweeney and David Lalor. Adrian Alderton however played his best squash of the weekend to check the Irish tide through defeating the South African born Irishman Peter Stephens. Despite a dodgy achilles Adrian, at 1-2 down, comfortably won the remaining games to win 3-2. Mark Davies faced Michael Mulhall at no.2 to play the final match of the weekend. Mark started strongly to take the first game only to finally succumb narrowly in each further game to lose 1-3. Wales 1-4 Scotland.

 Disappointing results but an excellent weekend. The squad got on really well and appreciated the support and company of Karen and Ryan in particular, including the other Welsh teams. The highlight was clearly the outstanding success of the women’s 65+ (winners) and the women’s 45+ (runner’s up). Unofficially, as a result of the women’s success, Wales came second overall over the weekend’s squash !

On a lighter note, it should be recorded that both Huw and Adrian turned up without a tie, while Richard managed to leave his suit at home despite clear instructions in the invitation for smart attire. Both Huw and Richard’s outstanding performances on court however rescued them from further censure.

Ceredig Emanuel

April, 2024 

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