Tournament Report - 2024 Karakal Welsh Masters Closed - Squash Wales

Tournament Report – 2024 Karakal Welsh Masters Closed

31st January 2024

Masters

The 2024 Welsh Masters Closed concluded on Sunday January 28th after 3 days of competitive, hard fought squash taking place. 124 entrants divided up into 12 age categories competed for national titles which saw some truly entertaining matches throughout the entire weekend. It was fantastic to see such a great turnout, with players coming from all areas of the country to participate and a great crowd to watch along and celebrate the quality within Welsh Masters Squash. A huge thank you from Squash Wales to everyone, from players, organisers, officials and volunteers for making the weekend such a huge success. 

Women’s O35’s

Played in a four women round-robin, the first matches took place bright and early on Saturday morning, with Rebecca Baker and Stacey Gooding getting their tournaments off to a great start with assured 3-0 wins against Anna Adams and Angharad Llewelyn. Anna and Angharad faced off the following morning and played out a thrilling 3-2, with Anna claiming the win 11-3 in the fifth. Stacey and Rebecca played out in a ‘winner takes all’ for the title, with the spoils going to Stacey Gooding 11-7, 11-0, 11-2. 

Women’s O45

In another early kick off on Saturday, Jill Griffiths and Heather Charles produced a quality match in a five setter, with Jill fending off a comeback from Heather after being 2-0 down to win 3-2 to play Number One seed Helen Barnard in the Semi-Finals. And in the other half of the draw, Clare Catto and Rhian Davies emerged as 3-0 winners against Erica Howcroft and Sally Davis to set up their Semi-Finals match. 

Sally and Erica then battled for a place in the plate final, and a battle it was, in a back-and-forth match. Sally wins the first game, before Erica mounts a comeback to take the lead 2-1, before a comeback from Sally would book her place against Heather Charles in the final. Sally put up a fantastic effort after a gruelling match earlier on, however it was Heather Charles who took the Plate crown in a tight 3-0 victory (12-10, 11-9, 11-7).

Back in the main draw, Rhian Davies beat Clare Catto in a well-fought 3-1 win, while Helen overcame Jill Griffiths 3-0, to then go on and win it all against Rhian in the final, winning 11-2, 11-2, 11-7.

Women’s 065

Three familiar faces of Masters Squash played out in a round robin within the Over 65 cateogry. First up, Sian Johnson went up against Lynne Davies in a close-fought match, with Sian taking the first game 13-11, before Lynne hit back to take the second 11-9. Sian would go on to win 3-1 but not without a fight from her opponent, with both games extremely close 12-10 and 11-8. Jill Campion, showing off some excellent skills with her serve, was able to overcome Sian 3-0 and play a cracking game against Lynne, winning 12-10, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8 in a match as close as it sounds to secure the overall championship.

Men’s O75

The Men’s over 75 event was broken down into 3 groups, with the winner of each group progressing into the playoff draw. In Group A, Stephen Evans won his match against Paul Ogden 11-3, 11-7, 11-4 to secure his place in the playoffs. Group B saw Mike Mooney win the group with 3-0 wins against both Tudor Young and David Grant. Despite their earlier losses, Tudor and David played out a tenacious 3-2, with both men showing great effort. Tudor would take the first 11-9, with David levelling the score in the next 11-7. Tudor again edged a close game 12-10 before David struck back again to level the scores again 11-6, before going on to win 11-5 in the decider.And in Group C, Duncan Jones emerged as the winner with two 3-0 wins. Geoff Trenchard beat Rhiwbina’s Peter Kerry in the competition’s first match, 

Moving on to the playoff draw taking place on Sunday, Stephen Evans beat Duncan Jones 3-1, and Mike Mooney also won his match against Duncan 3-0. Mike and Stephen then played off in their own winner takes all match, with Mike coming back from dropping the first game to win 3-1 and take the overall title.

Men’s O70

13 entrants played in the over 70’s category. Raymond Davies, Alan James, Kwesi Hazel and Derek Wright all won their first round matches 3-0 to remain in the main draw, with David Angove, Steven Noot, John Summons and Stephen Rowlands all moving into the Plate draw. Martin Vicary also moved into the next round with a hard fought 3-1 win against Jiwan Gahunia and would do it again in the quarter-finals against Alan James to book a place in the last four. Meanwhile, Kwesi Hazel and Clive Morgan also won 3-1 to set up their own semi final match. Number One seed Tony Bevan had a commanding 3-0 win to play Martin for a place in the final and would come out on top 11-6, 11-4, 11-4, while Clive and Kwesi played out a very tight match, with Clive emerging as the victor to confirm the top two seeds would play in the final. The spoils would go to Tony Bevan, winning 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 to confirm himself as champion. Jiwan Gahunia defeated John Bennington 3-1 in a great battle on Court 2, with not much to split either player in all games to become the winner of the plate draw. 

Men’s O65

Another great entry was held in the men’s over 65, with plenty of thrilling matches taking place. Richard Manner’s 3-1 win over Jonathan Taylor and Chris Owen’s 3-2 win over Michael Clifton-Thompson were the pick of the first-round matches in the category, and Chris would follow this up with another epic battle against Paul Brennan in the next round, but this time on the wrong side of a 3-2, just falling short of the semi-finals. Huw Davis faced off against Dafydd Davies in the other half of the draw and would win his own 3-2 match 13-11 in the fifth. He would play Philip Monaghan in the semi-finals following his win against Avtar Singh Saran and emerged victorious 12-10, 11-9 and 11-8 in a close fought match. Going up against Paul Brennan in the final, Huw won 3-1 in another tense match to finish as the overall winner, while also improving his squash levels score by an impressive 20%! 

In the plate draw, Paul Hounsell mounted a brilliant comeback against Jonathan Taylor after going 2-0 down, winning 11-8 in the fifth to play Michael Clifton-Thompson next, producing another great game, winning this one 3-1. He would play Ian D’Irvy in the final after Ian’s 3-0 win over Roger Bleay and take the plate trophy after defeating his opponent 3-0. 

Men’s O60

Over 60’s action commenced with a brilliant start, as Terry Prosser beat an unlucky Anthony Powell 11-7 in the fifth, with each game incredibly close. Tony Smith, Ian Howarth, Phil Eason and Kingsley Rees were also able to reach the next stage, all winning their games 3-0 to confirm the quarter-final set up. 

Looking at the plate draw, Hugh Bird edged past Gareth Jones 3-1 in another close game, but was unable to beat Tony Powell in his next game. Julian Griffiths and Hashim Elsarrag played out an excellent match, going back and forth but Julian just edging Hash 11-9 in the fifth, coming back from 2-1 down. Tony and Julian put on a great show for their final, with Tony winning this one, 3 games to 1. 

Back in the main draw saw some more great games. Jon Evans just fell short against Mike Logan, losing 3-2 and Gary Hales beat Tony Smith 3-0 to reach the final, where he would go on to win the whole thing, beating Mike 3-0 in the final.

Men’s O55

The Men’s over 55’s was also set up as a three group round robin, with the winner of each group moving on to final playoff round robin. Beginning with Group A, Richard Murphy began the tournament with convincing 3-0 wins against Michael Williams and Paul Soulsby. Paul and Michael faced off with Paul taking second place with a consistent 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 win against Michael.

Steve Evans kickstarted his campaign with assured 3-0 win against Mel Davies in Group B. Neale Jones took down Llandaff’s Mel Davies 3-0 in the groups other game, to ensure the winner of the next game would proceed to the playoffs, which would go to Steve with another solid display to dispatch Neale 3-0. 

Last but not least, in Group C Ian Fenner-Evans emerged as the winner taking down a very capable opponent in Mark Jones, winning 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 11-2 to ensure the top seeds would all play in the playoff. 

The Playoff was set up nicely, with anyone being more than capable of claiming victory. Richard got off to a great start with a hard fought 3-0 win over Ian, and Steve following suit with a 3-0 win of his own later in the afternoon to set up a high-stakes final between them. Steve Evans emerged as the over 55 winner with a sound 3-0 win over Richard Murphy, ending his incredible 11 year win streak in the Masters. Steve’s efforts also earnt him the most improved Squash Levels score over the weekend, moving up an impressive 20.2%. 

Men’s O50

To begin In the Over 50’s, the first round of matches saw Justin Nemeth and Chris Hampton played a great game with the spoils going to Justin winning 11-6 in the fourth, and also Dan Patterson beating Carl Whiteman and Marcus Thomas winning against Iwan Hughes. Chris and Iwan would then play in the plate semi-finals producing a battle, with Chris edging this one in the fifth game to reach the final. He would play Chris Powell, who had beaten Carl Whiteman in straight games in the other semi. In the battle of the Chris’, it was Powell who won 11-5, 11-4, 11-9 to take the plate title.

Back in the man draw, Dallas Hayvice overcame Paul Thomas 3-1 in the first semi-final, and David Robertson came through as the victor against Richard Tailby in a back-and-forth game. This one could have gone either way, but it was David who held out 11-9 in the fifth in a testing game to reach the final. It was Dallas Hayvice who was crowned as he over 50’s champion, defeating David 11-3, 11-6, 11-7 to take the glory. 

Men’s O45

The Men’s O45 commenced on Friday evening, with the standout match coming between Gary Fry and Darren Thomas in an exhilarating match-up. Darren came out on top 13-11 in the fifth to move to the next round, against Steve Glenton after his win against Marco Perna. The remaining matches all finished 3-0, but not all were as simple as the scorelines suggest. Paul Barrell managed to overcome a tricky game with Phil Cording in a close match up, to meet Steve in the semi-finals in the last match of Saturday night which produced some fantastic rallies, but Paul ultimately winning this one,  while Jonathan Davies in the other half of the draw proved worthy of his number one seed status with 3-0 wins against Andrew Kettlewell and Stephen Bird to meet Paul in the final. Both players fought hard in front of a big crowd, but it was Jonathan who won the over 45 crowm with a 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 win.

Neil Hughes progressed to the plate final after coming back from a game down against Alistair Wingfield before he unfortunately pulled out injured, but it was Gary Fry who, earlier beat Kevin Matthews in three games, went on to win the plate draw, winning 11-7, 11-2, 11-4. 

Men’s O40

A strong over 40’s category promised some exhilarating matches from the get-go. Ryan Davis and Adam Jenkins put on a great show, with Ryan keeping his composure to take the win 11-3 in their decider, and Eirian Crabbe upset Anthony Roberts to win their clash 3-1. James Powell and Ross Cassley both recovered from slow starts to both win 3-1 in their matches against James King and David Goghlan to move into the semi-finals. Alexis Cole, who previously beat Ryan Davis 3-0 in the quarters, beat James Powell in three in the semis, was up against Ross Cassley in the main event final and putting on a great show, with Alexis claiming the trophy 3 games to 1. 

Meanwhile in the plate draw, Adam Edwards bested Dai Selway 3-1, and Adam Davies beat Alex Meredith in a close game to move to the last four, however they were unable to proceed further, losing to Lee Thomas and Alex Jenkins, and it was Lee Thomas who battled to plate glory, winning in 5 to take the trophy. 

Men’s O35

Lastly, the men’s over 35’s, also boasting some strong talent throughout the category took place. Jason Jones, Terry Turner and Alex Powles all won their first matches 3-0 to reach the quarter-finals, which saw some very competitive squash. Dale Bradley played off against Terry Turner, with Dale winning this one 3-1, and Damian Burgess also progressing after beating Jason 3-0. Number one seed Daniel Anderson dispatched of Sion Jones 3-0 to set up his game against Damian and expertly only needing three games to reach the final in their contest. He would play Steve Colarusso in the final, after his tough semi-final match with Dale winning 3-1. However it was Dan who would take the title after winning 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6. Looking at the plate draw, Shaun Waller bested Maesteg’s Michael Moseley 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 to set up a final against Rob Monaghan and went on to win 3-1 to cap off another great year of Masters squash. 

A huge well done to every single entrant is owed for their participation to make the weekend what it was, especially to those who made such an effort to travel long distance to attend this year’s tournament. A special thanks goes out to Rhiwbina Squash Club and those who helped organise for hosting such a wonderful competition. And a special mention goes out to the referees for their commitments which does not go unnoticed. 

All the results can be found here.

Day 3 Results

Women’s O35

Round 2

Anna Adams 3-2 Angharad Llewelyn 10-12, 6-11, 11-4, 16-14, 11-3

Final

Stacey Gooding 3-0 Rebecca Baker 11-7, 11-0, 11-2

Women’s O45

Final

Helen Barnard 3-0 Rhian Davis 11-2, 11-2, 11-7

Plate Semi-Final

Sally Davis 3-2 Erica Howcroft 11-5, 8-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-9

Plate Final

Heather Charles 3-0 Sally Davis 12-10, 11-9, 11-7

Women’s O65 Final

Jill Campion 3-1 Lynne Davies 12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 12-10

Men’s O35

Semi-Final

Daniel Anderson 3-0 Damian Burgess 11-5, 11-7, 11-3

Steve Colarusso 3-1 Dale Bradley 11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6

Final

Daniel Anderson 3-1 Steve Colarusso 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6

Plate Semi-Finals

Shaun Waller 3-0 Michael Moseley 11-6, 11-9, 11-6

Plate Final

Shaun Waller 3-1 Rob Monaghan 6-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-5

Men’s O40

Final

Alexis Cole 3-1 Ross Cassley 11-4, 8-11, 5-11, 11-6

Plate Semi-Final

Lee Thomas 3-0 Adam Edwards 11-5, 13-11, 11-2

Alex Jenkins 3-0 Adam Davies 11-7, 11-1, 11-7

Plate Final

Lee Thomas 3-2 Alex Jenkins 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5

Men’s O45

Final

Jonathan Davies 3-0 Paul Barrell 11-5, 11-7, 11-4

Plate Semi-Final

Neil Hughes 3-1 Alistair Wingfield 12-10, 7-11, 7-11, 11-0 (Ret.)

Gary Fry 3-0 Kevin Matthews 11-5, 11-4, 11-7

Plate Final

Gary Fry 3-0 Neil Hughes 11-7, 11-2, 11-4

Men’s O50

Semi-Finals

Dallas Hayvice 3-1 Paul Thomas 11-9, 4-11, 12-10, 11-6

David Robertson 3-2 Richard Tailby 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9

Finals

Dallas Hayvice 3-0 David Robertson 11-5, 11-7, 11-4

Plate Semi-Finals

Chris Powell 3-0 Carl Whiteman 11-7, 11-9, 11-5

Christopher Hampton 3-2 Iwan Hughes 7-11, 11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 11-4

Plate Final

Chris Powell 3-0 Christopher Hampton 11-5, 11-4, 11-9

Men’s O55

Round 3

Richard Murphy 3-0 Ian Fenner-Evans 11-7, 11-9, 11-5

Steve Evans 3-0 Ian Fenner-Evans 11-9, 11-5, 11-7

Final

Steve Evans 3-0 Richard Murphy 11-4, 11-8, 11-6

Men’s O60

Final

Gary Hales 3-0 Mike Logan 11-6, 11-6, 11-4

Plate Semi-Finals

Tony Powell 3-1 Hugh Bird 11-1, 7-11, 11-4, 11-5

Julian Griffiths 3-2 Hashim Elsarrag 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9

Plate Final

Tony Powell 3-1 Julian Griffiths 11-4, 14-12, 9-11, 11-4

Men’s O65

Final

Huw Davis 3-1 Paul Brennan 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4

Plate Semi-Finals

Ian D’Irvy 3-0 Roger Bleay 11-8, 11-3, 11-6

Paul Hounsell 3-1 Michael Clifton-Thompson 9-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-8

Plate Final

Paul Hounsell 3-0 Ian D’Irvy 11-4, 11-4, 11-2

Men’s O70

Final

Tony Bevan 3-0 Clive Morgan 11-6, 11-5, 11-7

Plate Semi-Finals

John Bennington 3-0 Stephen Rowlands 11-7, 11-6, 14-12

Jiwan Gahunia 3-0 David Angove 11-4, 11-4, 11-8

Plate Final

Jiwan Gahunia 3-1 John Bennington 11-7, 12-14, 13-11, 11-8

Men’s O75

Round 3

Stephen Evans 3-1 Duncan Jones 11-6, 11-2, 9-11, 11-4

Mike Mooney 3-0 Duncan Jones 11-8, 11-2, 11-7

Mike Mooney 3-1 Stephen Evans 8-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-3

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