An interesting week of squash held at the new Johannesburg Country Club courts (wonderfully warmed by underfloor heating) finished on Saturday morning with absolutely nobody complaining about the clash with the rugby. As last year, Chamber were the most represented club with 13 players out of the 30 that played (another 4 that I know of, pulling out for various reasons).

In the A Section we were represented by Jeff Davidson who eventually finished joint second to the run-away winner James Woodroffe who comprehensively drilled everybody 3-0 in the small round-robin section.

In the B section we had 8 entries out of the 14-man swiss-pairing and with seedings 1,2,3,5,6,7 & 8 a good chance of winning the section (so we thought). An early pairing saw George and Nick resume their long-standing battle with George proving (in his opinion) that he always has the edge.

In the semi-finals Phil came up against the un-seeded dark horse (sorry for the pun) of the competition, Tagara and a long hard struggle saw Phil going down 3-2. The other semi saw Chris and John playing with Chris cruising at 2-1 up and 4-0 in the 4th going walk-about to lose that game and take it to a 5th where order was restored with Chris winning comfortably.

Third and fourth saw John pip Phil (yet another 5 setter). In the final Chris started off strongly to take the first 9-6. Those were the last points Chris won for the next 2 games as Tagara hit winner after winner (I don’t remember Chris even serving). At 4-0 down in the 4th and Chris looking extremely tired and frustrated, the match appeared over, but Chris is made of sterner stuff this year, digging in and graciously accepting several lucky shots to take the 4th. The 5th game was neck and neck until , at 8-all Tagara chose 1, and then hit Chris’ serve into the nick. Another nick finished off a great match. Tagara, originally from Zim, and an ex-Zim player, is coming back after a long lay-off and deservedly won the section.

In the C section Michael and Des were doing battle although Des’ 1st match had to be conceded courtesy of SAA being late from Durban. Michael cruised through his matches to reach the final against Dave Wilson. Finding himself 2-1 down, Mike started showing ex-2nd league class to take the 4th and another 5th set cliff-hanger reached 7-all. Two winners though saw Mike through, and euphoric bedlam erupted (well from Mike anyway) with Chris on the next court being refused a let for noise interference.

The ladies section saw Claire and Amanda competing in another small section, but although they tried hard they finished 4th and 5th respectively.

Thanks to Matthew Woodroffe for organizing an enjoyable tournament – it’s just a shame that more clubs and players do not support this event.

A swift COTY nomination though must go to Ryan who when marking Phil and Tagara gave a let to Tagara half-way through the match when he broke a string in the middle of a rally. Nice one Ryan.

The friendly wager with the Old Eds chairman as to which club would field the most players in the tournament resulted in a no-contest. Our prize is currently being manufactured by Gauteng Squash.

The final placings are below:

Mens A

1. James Woodroffe
2. David Cowie
3. Jeff Davidson
4. Neil Baxter-Bruce
5. James Brice

Mens B

1. Tagara Hove
2. Chris Van Heeswijk
3. John Shannon
4. Philip Maxton
5. Capalie Botha
6. Ryan Chegwidden
7. Jeremy Manton
8. Graham Vermaak
9. Mags Pather
10. George Bowen
11. Paul Roussos
12. Peter Carey
13. Nick Papatheodorou
14. Andy Barnes

Mens C

1. Mike Hunt
2. Dave Wilson
3. Andrew Viljoen
4. Reenen Burger
5. Marnus Kruger
6. Des Crossman

Ladies A

1. Sharon Morrison
2. Heidi Marais
3. Collette Hooten
4. Claire Sternberg
5. Amanda Burger