The 2014 World Squash Masters

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The World Squash Masters (WSM) Tournament is a squash extravaganza which gets all of the top players together to fight to become world champions in their respective age-groups. The last tournament was held in Birmingham in 2012 – and 2014 was Hong Kong’s turn to host, with the entire tournament run and managed by local HKFC member, Malcolm Kerr, and his trusty team of hard-working volunteers. Malcolm, who had entered this event 4 times previously, knew precisely what was required in order to make the event a success. And, after more than 18 months of very hard work and fantastic organisation, assisted by a huge team of paid staff as well as volunteers, the event came to life on Friday 4 July with the Opening Ceremony held at the HKFC.

 

769 squash players from around the world converged on Hong Kong for an eight-day knockout tournament which contained many ex-professionals and many famous squash names. The tournament was subdivided into 18 different age groups (men and women), with early losers being kept active in a series of Plate events while the big fishes fought each other for the titles. Matches started at 8am each morning and were shared between the HKFC and the Hong Kong Squash Centre on Cotton Tree Drive. It was a truly international event with both South Africa and Australia sending some very strong representatives – but the true global nature of the game was proven by a stream of entries from the likes of the Cayman Islands, Reunion,

 

By the end of the week, more than 1,500 matches had been played, and a series of finals were played on the second Friday of the event. The seeding committee got their work done very well – with 7 number one seeds in the 10 men’s tournament winning their event – and 5 number one seeds in the eight Ladies events winning their age-groups.  The South African contingent was well represented with involvement in 7 finals, but the Australians trumped that – with a grand total of 14 finalists between the various age-groups.

 

The quality of the squash was phenomenally strong and we had strong hopes for our own local entrants, in particular Chad Sunde (club champion). The luck of the draw (or the lack of luck) meant that Chad was drawn to face the number one seed and defending champion, Craig Rowland (ex-professional and former British Open semi-finalist), in only the third round. Despite a brave and skilful start, Chad was eventually pushed aside by Rowland who made so very few mistakes and still boasted an array of winning shots at the same time. Rowland had spent 5 hours per day training for the event, for the last six months, quite remarkable dedication. Chad lost in three games, and Rowland, in time, fully justified his seeding by winning the 0-40s final at the end of the week.  Chad gained some solace for his week's work by winning the Men's 0-40s Special Plate final against Vikas Nayar of India.

 

Performance of the week, from a HKFC perspective, was shared by tow squash mainstays of the HKFC teams – first of all to Glenn Hitch, who made the quarter-finals in the 0-40s event. Glenn combined his good week's squash with plenty of support for the whole tournament and had assisted Malcolm in running the event from its conception. And secondly to Malcolm Kerr who more than justified his seeding in making the quarter finals of the 0-45s event before succumbing to the French seed Jean-Jacques Pineau. I'm not quite sure where Malcolm and Glenn find the energy to play squash and simultaneously run the event – well done to them both.

 

Several champions retained their titles: in addition to Craig Rowland who won the O-40s event again, both Craig Van Der Wath of South Africa (Men’s O-45s) and John MacRury of the Cayman Islands (O-60s) retained their crowns.

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HKFC was blessed with a consolation event-winner though with Dodo Kwong delighting the local fans by winning the Ladies 0-35s Consolation Plate event, coming through strongly in the final against Sona Brabcova of the Czech Republic. And HKFC's success didn't end there. There were also fine performances from Simon Barton (0-45) and Brian MacDougall (O-55) who were both narrowly beaten in their respective consolation Plate finals. Lynley Solomon, an absent member now living in NZL was also runner-up in the Ladies 0-50s Plate.

 

The entire week became a celebration of how to run a sports event. Squash players met fellow squash players, enjoyed mingling with each other, sharing each other’s company as well as the excellent sporting facilities. The week’s entertainment was a truly excellent sporting and social occasion which has forged many new friendships and alliances.

 

The closing ceremony saw the baton passing now from Hong Kong to Johannesburg, the 2016 host for the next WSM event. Our congratulations go to all the winners and to all contestants who took part in a truly memorable week of fun, friendship and top-quality squash. Without Malcolm Kerr's hard work and honest endeavour, though, the tournament could not have been such a success. Well done and thank you to Malcolm!

 

The World Champions

 

Men

Ladies

Over 35s

Omar Elborolossy (Egypt)

Natalie Grainger (USA)

Over 40s

Craig Rowland (Australia)

Amanda Hopps (Australia)

Over 45s

Craig Van Der Wath (S Africa)

Sarah Fitzgerald (Australia)

Over 50s

William Hosey (Ireland)

Sue Hillier (Australia)

Over 55s

Geoff Davenport (Australia)

Mary Sceney (Australia)

Over 60s

John MacRury (Cayman Islands)

Pauline Douglas (Scotland)

Over 65s

Brian Cook (Australia)

Averil Murphy (England)

Over 70s

Adrian Wright (England)

Jean Grainger (S Africa)

Over 75s

Voon Chan (Canada)

 

Over 80s

Trevor Coulter (New Zealand)

 

 

 

 

 

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Phil Head and his team are available for lessons, both private and group, for all ages.  For more information please contact Phil on philhead@netvigator.com or on 9166 4931.

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