|Organiser Stuart Summers with men's champion Rob Downer
This year's Tournament saw the biggest entry for well over ten years, boasting 4 main grades and an Over 45 event. The larger pool of players also made each event stronger and more competitive with several of the countries strongest U19, all home grown in Hampshire, competing. Trojans Squash Club hosted the event which saw 11 hours solid play on all 4 courts on both days with a total of 103 matches played. Generous support was given by the top racket brand Pro Kennex and shirts through Neil Dyke and Stitch-a-logo.
The C and D grades were won by James Gibbs (Bounty) and Aled Goddard, two of the 13 Southampton University players. The B grade was won by Callum Greasley (Totton), a keen supporter of the event, who beat Hampshire Chairman Paul Trott (Lee). The O45 event saw the new addition to the age category, Stuart Summers (Bounty and Wykeham), take the title from the seasoned veteran George Kousseff (Winchester) 3-1.
The main event was highly competitive right from the start. All 4 seeds made their way to the semi-finals, both of which had the potential to cause an upset to the seedings. Rob Downer stayed ahead of the rapidly improving youngster Adam Corcoran (both Winchester) to pip him 3-2 in a thrilling match. Top National junior Kyle Finch (Fair Oak) recovered from being what is commonly called ‘bagelled’ (11-0) in the first game to eventually win comfortable 3-1 against an injury-hit Phil Bull (Winchester).
The grand final of Downer, studying at Winchester whilst competing on the PSA circuit, versus Finch, itching to break into the professional scene, had a packed audience. As expected, the wait was worthwhile as Finch snuck the first 12-10. Downer came back hard in the second and his relentless pressure and accurate placement eventually game him the edge in the next three games, each time getting a few points clear – a mountain to climb in the PAR (point-a-rally) scoring system.
Hampshire has one of the strongest County set-ups in the country and probably the best supported County Closed. "This was possibly the best final in the strongest tournament that I have run over the last ten years”, said organiser and County Captain Summers. This was further echoed by Hampshire Chairman Paul Trott who thanked the players for their continued support and also announced the exciting news of an upcoming exhibition match featuring two of the top England players (more details to be announced shortly).
A-grade: Rob Downer,Kyle Finch, Phil Bull, Adam Corcoran
B-grade: Callum Greasley,Paul Trott, Oli Costain, Sachika Ingale
C-grade: James Gibbs,Lee Parker, Alex Plimmer, Scott Griffiths
D-grade: Aled Goddard, Steve Hardy, Steve Stannard, Richard Corcoran
O45: Stuart Summers,George Kousseff, Ian Udal, Richard Freemantle