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Main Draw 2013-14


Friday 23rd May 2014


Tonight reminded my why we run the Club Championships; the club was heaving...both current and former members taking familiar seats in the viewing gallery’s (jammed to full), the squash was excellent, and above all the atmosphere was electric!


The main draw (to decide the club champion 2013/14) saw 13 times champion John Merriman play the young pretender, Kyle Finch. Last year's final (also between these two) ended abruptly with an injury to John. It is testament to John's skill and determination he was able to win a place in this year’s final (beating many of the club's other Premiership stars on the way). But even he wasn't able to hold off our own local, national and European star, Kyle. At one point John turned to the gallery with a shoulder-shrug that said "what do I have to do to win a rally?". It was the only time the gallery was quiet! Kyle won his match 3-0 and is the new Club Champion. Very well done.


Huge thanks to the markers of each match. Few volunteer to accept the responsibility, but it is always appreciated. Thank you again.


And a thanks too to Technifibre. For the 3rd year running they’ve sponsored the event. It is their contribution that allows us to reward the hard endeavours of all the finalists. Thanks again.



Monday 19th May 2014


2 weeks and over 50 matches later we have our Club Championship Semi Finalists! On Tuesday The Over35s will compete their matches first, followed by some of our Premier League stars in the main draw later that evening. On Wednesday the Veterans will decide who amongst them will contest their final, followed by the Plate competitors. All finals are on Friday evening.


These guys aren’t just playing for the goodies kindly provided by our sponsor, Technifibre (all though that may be part of their motivation). Or because they have nothing better to do (noting one exception). No, it is for the glory of competing and for the chance to have a shiny cup on the mantelpiece for a year (or at the back of the cupboard if it doesn’t match the décor theme of the room).


So please come along and give these guys your support this week. The bar will be open.



Monday 12th May 2014


A number of great matches played last night in the 2nd round of the main draw:


Kyle Finch bt. Ben Vincent 3-0. Ben played well as you’d expect, but Kyle was too much of a handful. Kyle keenly observed that he was pushed harder in this round than his first game. How rude (whoever that was)!


Tim Luetchford bt. Soren Chakrabarti 3-0. Soren had a lovely swing and great movement. Very textbook play. But Tim (old man now!) was too wily for him. Great first tournament for Soren (with more success to come from the Plate I’m sure).


Tom Merriman bt. James Wadley 3-1. Gentle touch, finesse, careful placement. James refused to roll over and pushed Tom hard for his win.


Mark Bangs bt. Graham King 3-0. This was a fantastic clash. As usual, Graham dominated the ‘T’, and cut out the ball as much as possible. But this time he found himself under a lot of pressure; Mark’s shots were tight and accurate. This pressure resulted in unforced errors from Graham.


Guest reporter Tom Merriman provided updates for the last 2 matches: 


Dave’s game was a flowing game of boasts and drops with both players trying to mix it up a bit. Dave used his experience and tactical nouse along with supreme racket skills to earn the victory.


John’s game with Nat was as vocal as ever. Nat won a number of good points and dragged the old man all around the court with good length and drop shots. Nat was using the over heads to brilliant effect and staged a late come back in the third. Got it back from 8-3 to 8-7 with some stunning over heads. Alas experience paid off and the golden oldie was able to sneak across the line!


One rearranged match will be played tonight:


Mark Brown vs. George Stanford (Round 2 of Main draw)



Tuesday 6th May 2014


Marcus Hewitt and Chris Wright started things off with an early fixture that went Marcus’ way, 3-0. Was Chris saving himself for his 2nd scheduled match that evening?


First off in the evening were Tom Merriman and Tim Hayes. Tim was striking his forehands to a good length, but Tom was everywhere and made Tim work hard. Tom went on to win 3-0. Tim had failed to send a Merriman into the plate; two others would try as well.


Stuart Delmege was next in line to try, playing Matt Merriman. Stuart looked surprisingly fresh after his marathon clash with Tim Dickins the night before. But not fresh enough for the hard hitting tour-de-force that is Mez. Matt booked his place in the next round 3-0.


New boy Mark Bangs was up next against Mike Willis. Mark lived up to his name with an explosive start, leaving Mike standing. But training partner Graham King gave him a slap in the interval and Mike came out far more alert…and the score line reflected that. But it wasn’t enough to overcome Mark who won 3-0. Mark will be attracting a lot of attention in his next few matches.


Next up young John Merriman took on even younger Aaron Morant. Aaron rallied brilliantly and showed his fitness. But defending champion John had the pedigree to cope, even with the barrage of boasts from Aaron. John ultimately won 3-0.


The penultimate match in the main draw saw Graham King wrestle with arch-nemesis Chris Luetchford. Graham started strongest, winning the opening 2 games. But Chris dug in and a change of approach (hard and low) worked wonders as he drew the game level. It was like watching Palace playing Liverpool. The only question was who would take the 5th. Chris came out strongest, forging a 7-2 lead. But Graham reeled him in and won 9-7 to send Chris crashing into the Plate.


Finally Dave Brierley took on Graham Howe. Neither had played each other before, and Graham took advantage, playing a succession of backhand volley drops to force 2 close games. But as time progressed, Dave (former club Champion) took control and came through 3-0.


The last note on the draw is to acknowledge Ady James has had to withdraw from this comp, and Soren Chakrabarti goes through with a walk-over into the next round



Monday 5th May 2014


And we’re off! 31 competitors makes this the joint record for entries in the last few years. Fabulous! And with some new faces too.


Ben Vincent and Matt Maskell got us underway; Matt had eased his shoulder out over a long warm-up, and was looking confident. Ben came on (twice the size he was this time last year) and was striking the ball very well. Whilst there were many great rallies, Ben’s pace and good width meant he was winning most, and won out 3-0.


Next James Wadley (fresh from his warm-up cycle round the Isle of Wight the day before) took on Paul Lancaster. This was the most deceptive match of the night; every rally was extremely closely fought, but James was finishing each. The score-line of 3-0 to James did not reflect how close things were, but clearly acknowledged James was on top.


Paul Finch and Tim Luetchford were next up. Paul used all his tricks and played some lovely shots, but Tim had aspirations of progressing far in this tournament and showed that with determination and focus. Tim looked increasingly confident/comfortable as he pushed through to his 3-0 win.


The first of Fair Oak’s Premiership stars (the 1st team may have secured a place in the coveted league next season!) and current joint Club Champion, Kyle Finch, stepped up against fellow colossus Andrew Codrai (current Over 35 champ) in what – on paper at least – had 3-2 written all over it. But Andrew was up against it; half the time even Kyle didn’t know where his shots were going as his obvious boasts rattled down the side wall to perfect length and line. Post-match video analysis revealed that it was masterful deception (3 rallies in a row) and that Andrew needs to sharpen up a little! Well done Kyle for a 16 minute 3-0…and watch out everyone else, Kyle is on fire!


The last match in this draw saw the 2nd Premiership star of the night, George Stanford, take on Bob Broadbridge. Despite Bob hitting some delightful cross-court volley drop winners (isn’t that what to George is famous for doing?) it was George who went on to victory, 3-0. Bob was up against it; George will be pushing for the later stages of the competition and – on the strength of tonight – will certainly make it.