Finals night at Galashiels Squash and Racketball Club (SRC) produced thrilling handicap action in Plate and Quaich sections.
Club captain Del Sharratt summed it up as “a fantastic night of squash.”
He added: “These finals were both quite even contests and it’s great to see some of the lower seeds winning tournaments at the club.”
Next up would be the Annual Club Championship, in which there were generally many participants, and more trophies would be
awarded, he added.”
The long-awaited Handicap Plate Final saw Iain Gorman (+4) take on Pat Spence (-3).
Gorman took aseven-point swing into the match with him and was a strong, powerful player, while Spence played more precise and controlled shots.
Gorman had won the Quaiche previously and Spence, although a perennial semi-finalist at the club, was making his debut in a club final.
Points were being shared in the first game and it wasn’t until Spence had the hand at 3-9 that he managed to rattle off three points on the trot. This was mainly down to Gorman hitting the ball hard but not having the speed to react.
Gorman was 11-7 up before he managed to take control and got to 14-8 and game point when a waywrd serve let Spence back in. He made a
brief attempt to salvage the game but Gorman took it 15-11.
The second game saw Gorman take control fairly quickly. Spence was making some unforced forehand errors, where his usual reliable drop shots were just hitting the tin. Gorman went 7-0 and 11-2 up before taking it 15-7.
In the third game, Gorman was wilting as tiredness set in. Spence would control the T-line and send Gorman running from corner to corner, Spence got the deficit back at 5-5 and seemed to have resolved his low drop shots by simply aiming higher up the wall.
He didn’t make many mistakes in this game and Gorman didn’t have a rhythm, so Spence pulled one back 15-10.
At 2-1 up, Gorman had shown signs of fatigue but came out a different player in the fourth game. He found the speed in his shots again, which took Spence by surprise. Gorman finished off a polished performance to take this one 15-1 for 3-1 – and the title.
The Handicap Quaiche Final featured Iain Laing (+1) against Amir Hosny (-1).
Former club champion Laing was playing in his first club final since 2002 – indeed, he had just come back from injury in 2018 after a 10-year lay-off to prove that, no matter how long you are out of the game, it really is like riding a bike.
Prodigy Hosny, in contrast, had youth on his side and was a big player within the club, improving from month to month.
This game was spectacular to watch, as Hosny has smooth, perfect movement around the court and Laing has the smoothest shot in the club. This made for some great, tight squash – not many loose balls and a good tactical game ensued.
Despite Laing leading 14-10 and having four game balls, Hosny remained focused and brought it back to 14-14. After some tit-for tat scoring until 17-17, Laing put in some cross-court shots and won 19-17.
The second game saw Laing motor away and Hosny almost seemed to relax and ease off. But, from 3-3, Laing hardly put a foot wrong and won 15-6.
At 2-0 down, Hosny again used his party trick – a regular at coming from 2-0 down. Hosny did indeed win the next two games 15-6, 15-12 to tie at 2-2.
Neither man gave up. Both knew trophies and prestige were at stake and some top-drawer squash kept the spectators engrossed in the match. The deciding game was a tale of two halves. Laing started well and seemed in control until 10-3, when a Hosny back hand was out of his reach and Hosny took the next run of points to tie at 10-10.
Hosny took control of the rallies right from the serves, as Laing now seemed to be on the back foot. A great cross-court smash from Laing regained
the hand and the last few points saw Laing keep Hosny to the back of the court, and Laing took it 15-11 for 3-2.