Wheeler and Naish win titles at Weald Squash Club

All the finalists
All the finalists

At the end of another very successful season for squash at Weald with an almost 25% increase in members over the year and three out of the five teams finishing second in their leagues, it was time for the Finals’ night.

For the last two months members had tested their skills against their contemporaries and those in higher competitions through a qualifying system which enabled two finalists to try their luck in two matches each on the night.

Mens final - Mark Wheeler and Jon Liles

Mens final - Mark Wheeler and Jon Liles

After two unlucky injuries to the top two seeds in the Men’s competition, the way was open for the new talent to come through with Mark Wheeler lifting the trophy after a fast paced match against Jon Lilies who had qualified from the lower tournament with a dramatic improvement in form in the last two months.

Despite being tested in the second game as Jon found good length balls which died at the back of the court, Mark persistently retrieved the ball to save the game and win in three.

The Ladies tournament was won by Sarah Naish with the almost customary match against Gemma Shardlow who attacked in the third, forcing a number of long twisting rallies ending with her trademark pin-point accurate drop shots from the back. However, Sarah knuckled down to play better length drives to win in three. Mark Pearson made yet another comeback to regain his Veteran’s title, standing forward on the court to cut off the unconventional play of last year’s finalist, Dave Jump. Dave had an opportunity to pull ahead in the third as his drop shots found their mark, but Mark steadied to relentlessly kill off the ball in eight successive points to win in straight games.

In the B tournament, Jon Liles faced new member Josh Wilson and their history of junior squash coaching showed in a number of wrong footing and trick shots from both players.

Ladies final - Sarah Naish and Gemma Shardlow

Ladies final - Sarah Naish and Gemma Shardlow

Josh dominated in the first and kept the pressure on Jon to tire him in this second final. However, it seemed that Jon had gained a new set of legs and he steadily drew ahead with better placed shots to win 3-1 after an entertaining match.

Noel Poncelet faced a much younger opponent in the C final, making sure he kept the pressure on from the start to take a two game lead. Andrew Barbour stepped forward in the third to dominate the rallies in turn to win the third, before the tables turned once more as Noel used his experience to cut out the errors and win 3-1.

Andrew then went on to play the D Tournament and seemed to be fired up after his first match, forcing Gary Sheail into the back corners with hard low drives followed by short drops or boasts to win in three. In the E competition, the steadily improving John White did not break into a sweat to earn his trophy as his opponent had rolled his ankle in a friendly the previous night.