Sir Andrew wins Gala’s five-set squash classic

Gala SRC captain Del Sharratt presents champion Sir Andrew Dowlen-Gilland with the Alex Doherty Memorial Shield.
Gala SRC captain Del Sharratt presents champion Sir Andrew Dowlen-Gilland with the Alex Doherty Memorial Shield.

Galashiels Squash and Racketball Club recently staged the final of the Alex Doherty Memorial Shield tournament 2019.

This is a competition for the first-round losers of the Club Championship but, according to club boss Del Sharratt, is a very prestigious and highly sought-after prize.

Gala SRC captain Del Sharratt presents the runner-up trophy to Ruaridh Kohler.

Gala SRC captain Del Sharratt presents the runner-up trophy to Ruaridh Kohler.

When the club was near collapse several years ago, said Del, Alex Doherty single-handedly pulled it out of the doldrums and the club would not be here now, never mind thriving, if it was not for him.

Alex sadly passed away in 2015 and the club uses this tournament to honour his memory.

It was an epic five-game thriller, in which two veterans of the game, Sir Andrew Dowlen-Gilland and Ruaridh Kohler, put on an awesome spectacle for the club members.

In the first game Ruaridh, shot off to a 5-0 lead but, as soon as Sir Andrew got the hand (serve) he played some non-returnable serves and it was soon 6-6.

Sir Andrew seemed to find his way after a slow start and he maintained focus and concentration to take the first 15-10.

The second game again saw Ruaridh start strongly, as he used the back-back-front technique to keep Sir Andrew running. Ruaridh commanded most of the rallies from the T-Line; this one went to him by 15-9.

A familiar pattern was starting to emerge as Ruaridh went 4-0 up in the third but Sir Andrew again capitalised as soon as he got the hand and reeled off several quick points to take it to 5-5.

Again, Sir Andrew found his niche and, although Ruaridh didn’t stop running and reached even the tight balls, Sir Andrew proved too strong and won 15-8.

The momentum was with sir Andrew and, in the fourth, he took an early lead 6-2. But Ruaridh refused to give up and fought back valiantly with

some varied shots to 14-14 and into tie-break, as a two-point cushion was needed to win the game.

Ruaridh used a couple of deft boasts to send Sir Andrew the wrong way and Ruaridh took it 16-14, to tie the match at 2-2.

In the decider, it was impossible for the fans to call a winner. This was another close game and Ruaridh used some of his trademark boasts to win

several points but Sir Andrew found the length when it mattered and proved just too good to win 15-12 and 3-2.

Del, also the match umpire, said: “It was a classic five-setter. I was also kept on my toes with several contentious decisions that the players were challenging but I just called it as I saw it, and it contributed to the tension and pressure of the match.

“Sir Andrew is a stalwart of the club and plays for the Border Reivers in the East Leagues, so he is no stranger to competitive squash. Big congratulations to him on winning this trophy.”