Yorkshire fail to progress in Masters over 45’s


Despite a valiant effort, Yorkshire over 45’s failed to qualify for the finals as they exit the Inter County Masters at stage 2.

The competition which was held at Pontefract Squash club saw Yorkshire, Durham, Cleveland and Cheshire compete for a place in the finals.

A new format meant that only one county made it to the finals, it was all to play for.

The first bout saw Yorkshire and Cheshire take to the court which meant Robin Manall (5) and Simon Hepworth (3) were in action. Manall was out of the traps very quickly against a very skilful older player. He proved far too quick around the front of the court and ran out a comfortable 3-0 winner. Hepworth was returning from injury but he played a good match and proved too strong for his opponent, winning 3-1.

Ex pro Jonathan Lilley (1) and debutant for the over 45’s, Paul Adams (4) were up next. Lilley had been working on his fitness and movement in the last couple of weeks following injury problems and it really showed in the early stages. As the game went on he became more relaxed and played some ‘range finders’  and went on to out-skill his opponent with a fine array of deception and shot making, winning 3-1.

Paul was up against a very strong opponent and  in the first two games but dug deep and after a couple of gruelling games levelled at 2-2. But in the deciding game Paul fell to a 3-2 loss. Rick Sanders (2) endured a very tough game against very talented opposition and lost 3-0.

However,  Yorkshire progressed into the showdown match with an overall victory of 3-2. After Durham had beaten Cheshire 5-0 in the early afternoon match it was a winner takes all between Yorkshire and Durham.

Simon Hepworth (5) and Ian Tooms (3) were first up on the court. Hepworth ran into a player enjoying a real purple patch who hit winner after winner which resulted in a 3-0 loss. Ian Tooms played a very experienced campaigner with a remarkable ‘engine’ and after gaining a 2-1 lead he battled hard but could not close it out, eventually losing 3-2.

On at 4, Rick Saunders and this time playing a stylish player who played at a similar tempo . After 3 close games, Saunders proved too determined and defeated his opposition 3-0.

Jonathan Lilley (1) continued to impress in the tournament however, he was up against a very strong opponent in Yawar Abbas. The game was full of quality with two very talented players fighting for their counties. Abbas conditioning proved too much and he defeated Lilley 3-2.

The final match, at 2, saw Stuart Hargreaves taking on a very strong opponent in Andy Cross. Hargreaves struggled to find his touch in the first two games but battled hard to win the third. The fourth game was a very tight affair but it was just beyond Stuart’s reach, resulting in a 3-1 defeat.

This meant that Durham progressed to the finals with a 4-1 win over Yorkshire.





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