Sharratt saves his best shots until last to take Gala club title for the first time

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IT HAS been a long, hard season, and for John Sharratt it was a long, hard final.

But the seasoned veteran stuck to the task to win the Gala Squash Club Championship, edging Graham Laing by 2-9, 9-7, 9-2, 5-9, 9-6 in an enthralling five-game thriller.

Neither player had previously lifted the title, although Sharratt had come close when he was runner-up in 1999.

Laing won the first game 9-2 with relative ease as Sharratt made several unforced errors.

But he quickly got into his stride, taking the next two games – a hard-fought 9-7 and 9-2.

Laing got to grips with Sharratt in the fourth, sending him to the back of the court and capitalising with fast drop shots, and this won him the game 9-5.

Both men were tiring and it was tit-for-tat scoring in the deciding game until it was 6-6, when Sharatt pulled out some stunning shots and triumphed 9-6.

Sharratt said: “I felt something go in my leg during the fourth game, but I played on and it was worth it.”

Squash club spokesman Derek Sharratt told us : “It was a thoroughly entertaining match to watch and got plenty of ‘Oohs and Aaahs’ from the audience. A big congratulations to old-timer John.”

Club night friendly: A. Gill 3 D. Sharratt 2.