Midlands Masters 2004-05

Friday 18 March - Sunday 20 March 2005

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Draw Type 
Finalists / Top Two 
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The Final Regional Tournament - the Midland Masters was held at Grantham Squash Club and although successful, was plagued by late withdrawals.

The entire Woman's event was scrapped when four out of the six competitors pulled out on the last day. However, it is the brief of the two Ladies in the Committee to make sure for 2005/6 that the Ladies entries rise dramatically, thereby increasing competitiveness and making the 'top players' put themselves into the firing line, as the Men's groups have done.

The Mens O40's has also failed to capture the imagination of the top players and a hard core of County stalwarts have contested the Regionals. Malcolm Willstrop will tell you that Peter Lonsdale is his best ever 'improvement' over the age at which he usually coaches, and remember, Malcolm has been helping Dave Manning win National titles. Anyway, Peter beat Stuart Wardle in a tight final and as both are in the top four for points, earn their International Caps. Congratulations! Hopefully, for next year, with five Regionals in situ, we will see a much better entry.

Ditto the O45's as a late surge of withdrawals decimated the original entry. However, it had no effect on the selection of the International side which is published on the site. Keith Hinds from Yorkshire was the weekend winner over Terry Johnson from Oxford. It is true to say that the three age groups benefitting most from the Regionals this year have been the O50 / O55 + O60.

The O50's have had nearly all the top players enter at one stage or another and Grantham was the deciding venue for International places, between Northants Ian Holmes and Essex' Martin Ballands, both on 1000 points. The latter had shaded their previous encounter at Bury but this time Ian piled on the pressure, playing non stop length at pace, interspersed with his trade mark backhand drop, to emerge a 3/0 winner. Then on the Saturday he took out all the rest of the draw before flying off on his annual family skiing holiday a very happy chappie. Martin, however, accrued enough points with 3 victories out of four to claim the fourth points spot. Congratulations!

The O55's had a plethora of candidates entering with four places still to fill. In the first round, Peter Lewis gained a sweet revenge over Rod Boswell in the Semi Final took out the No1 seed, John Smith 9/4 9/5 5/9 9/3, on the very hot and true Grantham courts. In the other half, another surprise, Martin Pearse reversed his previous two narrow defeats to Paul Smith, the No2 seed. In twelve games between the two this season, eight have gone to game ball and this time Martin was on the right end - 10/8 9/10 10/9 9/1. The Final was a cracker lasting over an hour with Peter Lewis leading 2/0 and 4/0 before Martin turned the tables to lead 8/5 in the fourth. A very tired Peter stuck in and pulled it back to claim his first Regional. New caps were awarded to Peter Lewis and Paul Smith, whilst John Smith, Martin Pearse and Phil Ayton completed the National side for the Home Internationals.

The O60's again was a closely contested finale with Ken Johnson shading Mike Clemson in a see-saw Final. The latter has spells of brilliance which has put paid to the likes of Clive Stiff and Mo Yasin (for hardly any points) but also sometimes goes walkabout. But he is quite capable of beating anyone, including his nemesis Mr Perrott and Ken played very well to contain him. Ken hails from Newbiggin on Sea and is a close neighbour of John Smith. Having semi-retired from squash he developed a liking for the amber nectar until J.S. persuaded him to make a comeback. A rowing machine was purchased (out of the housekeeping) installed in the conservatory overlooking the North Sea, and now Ken spends as much time on his make-believe boat as he did at the bar. Very strong and fit, he has surprised everyone at O60 apart from Perrott and Wright. John Prowse shaded Tommy Elves 3/2 and lost to Ken by the same score and Clemson walked through the other group beating William Wilson, Tony Clifford and Lance Kinder. In the third place play off, William Wilson played a very tight game to lose out 5/9 in the fifth to Prowse.

Finally the O65's was contested by Arthur English and Lance Kinder with the latter winning 9/4 9/0 9/3, his fourth game in three days (at 70!)

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