Squad (left to right): Marcus Thomas, Paul Thomas (captain), Mark Jones, Liam Corrigan, Simon Lau, Ian Fenner- Evans
Day One: Wales v Ireland
Stepping forward first we saw Marcus Thomas take on Conor O’Neill. Marcus, started well and powered his way through the first game-winning convincingly 11/5, then carried his superior squash through the second and third games winning 3/0. Great start.
Mark up next, in only what can be described as some exceptional jogging pants for the warm-up. Tough match for Mark against Adrian Leeson, an awkward shot player who had a few too many winners for Mark.
Our No.1 Ian had a very tough match next against David Ayerst – who prior to the weekend had not lost a match all season!! Slightly slow start for Ian, but it got better with each game with the third being a very close 11/9. But sadly, this was a 3/0 loss.
Next up, one of the teams two new debutants – Paul Thomas playing against David Cassidy – who looked nothing like the singer! Quick start by Paul winning the first 11/4, then two more slightly dogged games of 14/12 sealed another win for the team and a first win for the debutant.
So, it was down to the decider – Liam against an Irish master’s legend Dara O’Flynn. Very tough first match for Liam with Dara closing the match out 3/0.
Overall, great start to the weekend with a narrow 3/2 loss.
Day Two: Wales v England (cutgate)
Saturday morning saw our match against the ever-ready England team! Up first we had our second debutant for the weekend – Simon Lau. Always going to be a tough first match in his Master’s career. Sam Hanbury proved a bit too hot to handle running out with a 3/0 victory over Simon.
Next up, Mark Jones (I can’t find a hairbrush) playing Tim Clark. From the warmup we could see that this was going to be tough for Mark. First game, Mark lost by eleven boasts to three, and then this continued with the next two games having so many boast winners we all lost count!
Ian up next against the No.1 Englishman, Stuart Hargreaves which wouldn’t be everyone’s choice of how to spend a Saturday morning. Again, we saw a slightly slow start from Ian but with some excellent squash as the match went on. In the third game Ian had an excellent opportunity to extend the match being 9/7 ahead – but unfortunately Stuart came through to win 11/9 and take the 3/0 win.
Paul Thomas on next against David Youngs – this turned out to be a cracker. David started well taking the first 11/6 but Paul came back well to take the second 11/5. The players were well matched and the third went down to the wire with Wales taking it 14/12. The fourth was sad, very sad – five match balls to Paul only to lose 14/12. A mixture of luck (bad), shots (bad) and ref decisions (bad) let the game slip!!! David went on to take a difficult fifth game 11/6.
Liam on last again, this time against the butcher from Yorkshire. On the Friday John Simpson (England) had smashed his Scottish opponent (Adrian Richmond) resulting in a visit to A&E for stitches. Back to Liam v John – first few points were pretty feisty, and with the game getting towards it’s conclusion – BANG – John smashed Liam’s eye open!!! But, with Marcus in Liam’s corner, Vaseline in place to stem the flow of blood and a new headband and bandage fitted, the Cobra kai squash player was back on court to take the first game!! With half an eye the next three games were tough for Liam with John running out the winner 3/1.
A very tough but enjoyable match against England, and a trip to A&E for Liam.
Wales v Scotland
The afternoon and final match against Scotland was going to be very hard as the Scottish team had a very narrow 3/2 defeat to England.
First up, Simon against a very sharp Douglas Emery. Good start by Simon and some strong squash but on the end of some rallies that could easily have gone the other way. Great effort by Simon only for the result to go Scotland’s way 3/0.
Mark played the lightning-fast Angus – who had three Shredded Wheat before the match. Although there was some good squash from Mark, Angus was just that bit to quick around the court and ended up with a solid 3/0 win.
Ian had the more than difficult task next of playing the wonderful Simon Boughton. Unlike the previous matches Ian started fantastically well and produced some stunning squash not only in the first game but throughout the match. Whilst going down 3/0 it was a great performance against Simon who was unbeaten all weekend.
Marcus on next against Malcolm Kerr who had returned from Hong Kong to play for Scotland. Slow start but when Marcus got going the match was a closely fought contest but a little too much to catch up with Malcolm coming away with the victory 3/0.
Finally, we had Liam against Adrian – the two blood injury specialists. What a cracker to finish, the game ebbed and flowed 11/8, 4/11 at first then the third took it out of both players with Adrian edging at 13/11. With Adrian on his knees (and resting), Liam took advantage in the 4th to make it two all with a quick 3/11. When they came out for the final game of the weekend the rest had been good for Adrian who powered through the final game to seal a 5-0 for the Scots. But, what a fantastic effort by Liam.
A wonderful weekend of squash, with super friends and excellent hospitality from the team at Edinburgh Sports Club. Everyone knows Mark’s acute dress sense and Saturday night – no tassles and winklepickers just an inspired Susie and the Banshees shirt.
And for me a great privilege to captain a super set of chaps.
Written by: Paul Thomas, Men’s Over 50’s Captain