2009 Age Group Competition - On CourtThe Grand Masters of Civil Service Squash gathered with their vast experience recently to attend the very first stand-alone Civil Service Age Group Championship. The Tournament held at one of the country's leading Squash Clubs in The Park, Nottingham attracted over a cumulative 1000 years of squash knowledge and craft.

The senior members of this gathering - Men's Over 55 saw the almost youthful face of Phill Crane enter the event for the first time having recently qualified (got old!!). The former Over 45 Champion looked unstoppable sweeping aside opposition from David Stratford and last year's Over 55 winner Paul Taylor. His main opposition, however, lay in the opposite side of the draw in the form of Tony Claydon - but Claydon was giving Crane nearly ten years - a daunting task! Claydon, however, despite his years was never short in the competitive department confidently sweeping aside both Bob Shepherd and Chris Johnstone to reach his expected meeting with Crane in the Final. Claydon showed all his courage and best effort in this match but the young pretender Crane edged through to victory with a fine 3-0 win!

2009 Age Group Competition - PlayersIn the Men's Over 45 Tom Burton was in hot pursuit of his third Over 45 title. Some serious contenders, however, stood in his way on Saturday's final day of play. First to try his hand at unseating the Over 45 Champion was Andy Robinson in the semi-final. However, Andy, an experienced CSSC player was not able to prevent his progress into the final, with a 3-1 win for Tom. In the other half of the draw was Peter Windram, who had been tested in his first round match by Steve Burnett and again by Rakesh Bhandari in the semi-final. Windram, who has a fair turn of power and pace as well as his renowned touch, tested Burton to the full in a thrilling final match though Windram finally fell short of the finishing line losing 3-1! A third Championship for Burton - immortality assured!

Next on the age pendulum came the Ladies Over 40. There was, however, only ever going to be one winner - this in the form of England Over 40 International Heather Tweedle. The race for second place, however, nearly took an unexpected turn when the number two seed Helen Townend found herself two games to one down to Cynthia Crane (yes related to the very old, very talented husband Phill). It was not to be, however, but Townend had to dig deep to defend her second spot place.

In the Junior/Baby section - Men's Over 35, the four contenders fought their way through a Round Robin over the two days. Marc Aldridge, many times holder of the main CSSC trophy, was the favourite but neither CSSC men's captain Mervyn Davies nor Mike O'Brien were going to give in easily. Mike's valiant efforts to see his way through to the Final were thwarted by both Aldridge and Davies, though his match against Davies had all the hallmarks of a thrilling contest, with Davies fighting hard only just scraping the 5th 10-8 and the match 3-2. Paul Wilkinson was to be commended for his efforts against such strong opposition, but he was never in contention. The consequent Final between Aldridge and Davies was a contest that had been seen before with Aldridge holding the balance on paper. Davies put in a strong challenge but the end result was perhaps predictable and Aldridge crept over the finishing line ahead of a disappointed Davies. Aldridge looks forward to qualifying for the Over 45 Event next year!

The third/fourth playoffs in the Over 55 and Over 45 resulted in wins for Chris Johnstone and Andy Robinson respectively.

2009 Age Group Competition - Winners PresentationNewcomer to the competition, David Stratford won the Plate event in the Men's Over 55 with Steve Burnett taking the Plate prize in the Men's Over 45.

Early entry prizes of Countdown vouchers were won by Dave Kennedy, Cynthia Crane and Chris Johnstone and the prize for new entrants won by Mike O'Brien.

Prizes and trophies were presented by CSSRA Chairman Linda Parsley who congratulated all the players on their strenuous efforts over the two day event. Thanks were extended to Nottingham Park Squash Club for their excellent facilities and to the Sports masseur who had been in attendance to manipulate aching bodies and limbs back into shape. Also appreciated was the coaching from CSSC's Tom Power. The players themselves gave the event a high rating level, citing the friendly atmosphere, sportsmanship and good standard matches as key aspects they had enjoyed.

CSSC's next Squash event is the National Singles Championship, a Graded event for all standard of player, which this year is being held alongside the CSSC Games in Loughborough on 17/18 September.