Racket-Up Club Championship
The first Racket-up Squash Club Championship at David Lloyd, Gidea Park earlier this month attracted an impressive entry of players, all keen to support new club coach Niall Engerer.
Niall became new head coach at David Lloyd in April and has hit the ground running swiftly installing group training sessions, junior and ladies coaching nights, one-to-one coaching, team mentoring as well as tournaments, including the first club championship.
With a starting field of 30, the handicap event threw up some interesting pairings in the first round. Kenny Trim (7 seed) had his work cut out to edge past Ray Hill (27) 2-1 while silver fox veteran John Smith (10) scraped home 16-14 in the decider against Zubi Ahmad (23). Brad Carylon (14) overcame the famously named Omar Mossad whose 30th ranking position suggests he is not the former world number 3 from Egypt.
The second round saw Niall enter the fray, for some reason the event organiser managed to bag a bye in round one. How does that work? The number one seed had plenty to do, mind you, eventually overcoming a chunky handicap to defeat Falzan Ahmad 15-12, 16-14.
New club member Mickey ‘Bad Knees’ Calder (6) took out John Smith in round two but came up short against Laurence Rodrigues (3) who was emerging as the strongest challenger to Niall for the number one spot.
Second seed Steve Cunnew also looked in good nick overcoming Nic Coleman (12) and the tricky Francis Engerer (5) before going head-to-head with Laurence in a semi that promised and delivered plenty of fireworks. In a real humdinger, it was Laurence who took the honours and a place in the final against Niall who took down Barry Quested (9) in his semi.
In front of packed gallery, Niall and Laurence delivered a final worthy of its name with several rallies lasting slightly longer that some of the earlier matches. Laurence brought his best no-nonsense, hard-hitting style to the table but it was Niall’s controlled, accurate placing of the ball that won the day and bagged him the first David Lloyd Racket-Up Club title.
Earlier, Scott Carylon had edged Steve Wheatley to win the Plate event in another high octane match.
The evening was topped off with a highly entertaining exhibition match between Niall and former World top 100 player Ben Ford who is now one of the country’s leading elite coaches, based in Kent. A thrilling end to a hugely successful week of top squash action.