Men’s O55 County Squash Team Fall Just Short of National Title

26 April 2023

After qualifying strongly from the regional competition back in February, the weekend of 15/16 April saw the Bedfordshire Men’s County O55s Team play in the national finals at Peterborough. The team, which had five representatives from Club Towers (Steve Evans, Bruce St Leger, Ian Thomas, Steve Barlow and Matthew Towers) was disappointed to be seeded only 7th, but faced strong competition from the bigger squash counties such as Herts, Surrey, Berkshire, Cheshire and Essex.   

The first match was against No 2 seeds Surrey. A tense start saw the match tied at 1-1 after the first two rubbers with Thomas losing narrowly 3-1 but Richard Carr winning by the same scoreline. Towers won 3-0 to put Beds 2-1 ahead, before Evans won a titanic duel with fancied Mark Aldridge 3-1 and St Leger closed out the tie with a 3-2 win, so that Beds progressed to the semis 4-1.   In the Saturday afternoon semis, Essex were the opponents but did not get a look in, with Bedfordshire taking the match by an impressive 5-0 scoreline.

The national final was scheduled for Sunday 9am (never a popular time!) and turned into an epic battle with local rivals Hertfordshire.  First on court was Thomas, and he wrapped up a 3-0 victory with impressive ease. Meanwhile, on the other court, St Leger went down 3-1, despite a valiant effort in the second game, and Towers lost by the same scoreline after winning the first game comfortably. Richard Carr produced a magnificent fighting performance to win 3-2, taking the 5th game by the narrowest 12-10 margin, so that it all came down to the No 1s with the match tied at 2-2. Evans was taking on Eamon Price and it was an epic battle, flowing one way and then the other. Evans built a 2-1 lead and looked set for the win, but a brilliant fightback in the 4th and 5th saw Price take the match 3-2 and Herts took the title.

Bedfordshire had never before reached a national final at any age group so it was a great effort by all of the team. They will be looking to go one better next time!