HASSRA takes all the Silverware at the 2017 Squash Team ChampionshipsDSCN0914 1

The late withdrawal of 3 Teams from this year’s Squash Team National Open Championships meant only 4 teams would contest for this year’s prestigious CSSC Trophy! HASSRA however had prepared well and brought along 2 strong teams to try and repeat their success of 2 years ago when their “A” Team were crowned as Champions. Lining up against this formidable opposition were teams from the “North West” and a “Pick ‘n Mix” select team from various parts of the country and Captained by CSSRA’s President Marian Holmes.

All teams consisting of 3 men and 2 ladies would play each other in a “Round Robin” format over 2 days starting on Friday the 3rd February 2017 and finishing on the Saturday 4th February. The first round saw the favourites HASSRA “A” face the “Pick ‘n Mix” squad and mark up an impressive but hard fought 5-0 win. The other match between HASSRA “B” and North West however was a much closer encounter. The HASSRA “B” Team in the end could not repeat the success of their “A” Team and only the “B” number “3” player Phil Reasbeck chalked up a win against North West’s Jim Fay. HASSRA’s number “5” Sian Hughes however put up a superb effort against North West’s Shena Ferrie only losing out in the 5th game 15-11!

The second round matches saw HASSRA “A” and “B” teams face each other. The “B” Team’s number “1” player Nigel Williams did make a valiant effort to gain victory when he came back from 2 games down to win the 3rd game against Marc Thomas 15-13 – however he could not sustain this success and lost the next game and his match 15-4. The remaining HASSRA “A” line up of Adam Ward, Chris Beldon, Keeley Grindle and Jackie Codman all followed Marc’s lead and proved too strong for their fellow HASSRA “B” Team opponents. The other match between North West and Pick ‘n Mix whilst yielding a similar 5-0 victory for North West didn’t reflect the efforts of both Micky Gallacher and Marian Holmes from Pick ‘n Mix - both only losing very close games 3 -1.

Saturday’s pairings would see the undefeated teams of HASSRA “A” and North West face each other in a match to decide the Squash Team National Champions for 2017. The other match between HASSRA “B” and Pick ‘n Mix would decide the winners of the Plate Trophy.

In the Main Final Shena Ferrie got her North West Team off to a fine start by taking the first game from the experienced campaigner Jackie Codman 15-8. Jackie however responded well to this pressure and fought back to take the next 3 games and with it her match. North West’s Becky Campbell however was in no mood to capitulate against HASSRA’s Keeley Grindle and fought hard to keep the final alive. This battle between the number “4’s” was to produce the “match of the Tournament” – both players producing superb and exciting squash! Becky eventually edged the 3rd game 19-17 to take a 2-1 lead and could have felt confident to win her match in the next game! Keeley however had other ideas and in another “cliff-hanger” and saving 1 match point edged the 4th game 16-14 to take the match to a fifth and final game decider. In this final game Becky couldn’t overcome the momentum which Keeley had created and the HASSRA Team grabbed their 2nd match and took another step to securing the overall win. Whilst this drama had unfolded HASSRA’s hero from 2 years ago Chris Beldon once again took his Team over the winning line with a fine performance by defeating North West’s Jim Fay 3-0. Pride however was still at stake and both Dan Willets and Paul Lane from the North West Team had points to prove. Both Players pushed their HASSRA opponents Marc Thomas and Adam Ward hard – it was always to be HASSRA’s day however and the plucky North West players both eventually lost their games 3-1.

In the Plate Final HASSRA’s Ruth Sleigh overcame the challenge from the improving Pick ‘n Mix player Deborah Atkinson. This opened the door for HASSRA’s Phil Reasbeck to cement their Team’s lead by defeating Pick ‘n Mix’s experienced Graham Cole 3-0. The stage was set for HASSRA’s Captain Sian Hughes to take her Team to victory by facing her opposite number – Pick ‘n Mix’s Captain, Marian Holmes. Sian was once again soon embroiled in another marathon match. This match proved to be crucial when Sian narrowly won the final game   15-12 and so established an unbeatable 3-0 match score over the Pick ‘n Mix opposition. The importance of Sian’s win was underlined when Pick ‘n Mix’s number 1 and 2 players            Craig Blurton and Micky Gallacher both won their matches against Nigel Williams and          Kevin Mulligan – a close call for HASSRA “B” and bad luck for their opposition!

Congratulations go to HASSRA “A” and HASSRA “B” – a Trophy AND a Plate – very impressive!

Prizes were presented by the newly elected Civil Service Squash Rackets Association Chairman  Sian Hughes. A social evening and quiz was hosted on the Friday for players to relax and enjoy – the quiz was won by Team “North West”.Thanks were extended to all the participating players and to Nottingham Squash Rackets Club for the use of their fine facilities.

The next Squash Event will be the Squash Masters and Racketball Tournament in Nottingham on 19th and 20th May 2017 – further details can be found on the CSSC website and on our website www.cssc-squash.co.uk Players should also note the CSSC Games this year is on 15th September and will host Team Squash but this time in a new format of 3 players to include at least 1 man and 1 lady – watch out for more details from CSSC and on our website.DSCN0920 1

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