New Squash Club Champion Crowned – Steve Evans is our 2024 Winner

24 May 2024

Our 2024 Squash Club Championships concluded with some spectacular matches this week.. The journey began in March with 51 players split into two main knockout events, the A grade and B grade. First round losers were then drawn into Plate competitions, which culminated with four finals on Wednesday night.

B Grade Plate Final – In an intriguing tussle between two of our up-and-coming players we saw Brook Harris take on Adam Soilleux . Brook showed the progress he has made in the last year from working hard on his game, while Adam’s experience from playing in Division 2 of the county league showed his big match mentality. Adam settled quickly into his stride with a dominant first game, but Brook fought hard and was narrowly pipped in the next two games; Adam winning 3 – 0 (15/8, 15/13, 15/13), by making good use of his long reach and slight power advantage.

B Grade Final – For two very experienced players this was strangely the first time Simon Joyce had played squash against Athar Ahmad. Athar usually reserves his excellent width and length game for Racketball but this year he has worked hard on his fitness and had an excellent run in the B grade squash category. The signs in the first game were that this would be a close contest and Athar found his range quickly. A burst of 6 consecutive points took him to a 13-11 lead, but Simon hit back with 5 of the next 6 points to win 16-14. In the second game Simon hit his stride by making Athar twist and turn. This paid dividends as Simon closed the game out 15-8. Athar took an early lead in the 3rd game, 6-1 ahead and later 10-6 ahead, but he tired as Simon reverted to his earlier tactics….. coming through 15-12 as he closed out the match.

A Grade Plate Final – This was an eagerly anticipated clash between our next generation of fast improving players … Jake Joyce (age 22) and Jonathan Towers (16). Despite their young age they play each other regularly and know each other’s games very well. Both play at a fast and powerful pace, with excellent all-court coverage. Jonathan hit his stride first but Jake won 6 consecutive points to lead 6-4, before the points ebbed and flowed from both players. That two point lead proved crucial as Jake took the first game 15-13. Jonathan hit back with several counter-punches and high intensity rallies throughout, but when Jake is in his zone he is a compelling force …. He knows not to let his opponent off the hook and his mental strength brought him through with two more very impressive games, to clinch the trophy. This was a great night for the Joyce family, winning two of the finals to round off their daughter/sister’s 21st birthday.

A Grade Final – after the buzz of the earlier finals this was the highlight of the night. Our undefeated champion and several times county champion (Steve Davies) versus many times opponent Steve Evans, who has been on top form this year …. fresh from his 100% record representing Wales at the recent O55’s Home Internationals in Cardiff. There was an eerie anticipation in the crowd as this was expected to be close, especially given the 3-2 result in last year’s final. At 7-all in the first game it could have gone either way, with a top class array of shots and long rallies, but then Evans broke through with a run of 8 points to take the game. The spoils were exactly shared in the 2nd and 3rd game with Davies winning 16-14 in the 2nd game and Evans taking the 3rd, 15-13. Evans had put a huge effort in to win the 3rd game and Davies hit back to take a 7-1 lead in the 4th, only for Evans to respond with a big swing of points …. narrowly falling short as Davies closed the game out at 15-12.

This was brutal and there was no telling who would win the 5th game as both players looked tired but gave no quarter. The accuracy and length went up another level, and the rallies seemed to lengthen as neither player would give way. However, Evans had a steel in his play that carried him narrowly over the line, clinching the game and the Championship 15-12. It really is a case of “out with the old and in with the old”.

Results Summary

A Grade – Steve Evans beat Steve Davies 15-6 / 14-16 / 15-13 / 12-15 / 15-12
A Grade Plate – Jake Joyce beat Jonathan Towers 15-13 / 15-6 / 15-6
B Grade – Simon Joyce beat Athar Ahmad 16-14 / 15-8 / 15-12
B Grade Plate – Adam Soilleux beat Brook Harris 15-8 / 15-13 / 15-13

Some of the many Steve’s tried to get in on the action at the presentations ceremony, insisting on having their photo taken with the champs!

Thanks to the members who came to watch the finals and to all those who entered. We look forward to the Doubles tournament on 15th June – open to players in box leagues 1 to 6 – and the Handicap tournament running from mid-August until the final on 18th October.