Finals Night 2002
The evening had arrived. However, this year did not have the familiarity of previous years gone by. The reason – Paul York was not in the Chase Cup final. Due to an ankle injury the nearest he got to the final this year was having the honour of scoring the match. Anyway, before the mens match there were a host of other entertaining games.
The event this year, being generously sponsored by Copperstore Ltd and Lolworth Hall Farms, began with the Copperstore Cup with 15 players vying for this coveted trophy. With everybody playing each other and playing with a handicap score there were several competitive encounters. Eamonn Treanor and Tim Prior played some aggressive squash and proved to be the early front runners, however it was Paul McCormick, Mick Lewis and Steve Brown whom eventually came out on top. Paul narrowly clinched a place in the final over Mick. Steve last years champion, played Paul in a close final but Steve used all of last years experience and retained the cup for another year coming out on top 2 games to 1.
Unfortunately John Mitchell turned up injured and since he had reached two finals this created an unexpected clash for his rivals. Namely, Graham Wright (Veterans Plate Final) and Eric Wilson (Mens Plate Final). An exhibition match was decided to be played between the two whilst John watched the match from the balcony thinking of what could have been. And what a match it was. It was Eric who stormed off with the first game leaving Graham to wake up a bit more! The following games proved to be a closer affair. Both gentlemen used there many years of experience (yes, many!) to push the other around the court. Eric as usual calling for the most outrageous of lets and strokes – always knowing that he’ll never be given one because he’s invariably languishing elsewhere on the court to where the ball is! From the balcony amongst the crowd was another old wily campaigner, Roy Grundy, who has had so many operations on his knee he can no longer play, but in his youth he’s had many a battle with Eric and you couldn’t help but see that smile when Eric yelled for a shot that he would never reach – the memories. Enough of this blast from the past, the match could still swing either away, though as the match went on you sensed that Graham was looking the fitter. However, Eric had a revival in the 5th game and Graham gave him a lead he was unable to recover from. Eric was the winner.
On the next court was the battle for the Handicap Vivian Cup. Only one thing was certain in this match – Mr. Smith was going to win it! This was a close match between Mark Smith and Paul Smith (no, they’re not related). This turned out to be the tightest match of the night (good handicapping) and provided much entertainment for the crowd. Neither player was giving an inch, but in the end there is always a winner and Mark sneaked it to win 3-2. Mark now had plenty of time to recover for the Chase Cup later in the evening!
Next up was Roger Banks v John Fields in the Handicap Plate Final. This proved an interesting competition between the delicate touch of Roger and the power of John. Rogers athleticism and brilliant retrievals tested John to the full, but the full range of Johns shots saw him take the trophy 3-1.
The Veterans Cup saw the resumption of a long time duel between Mike Ferreira and Paul Redfern, these two having played each other in the previous two years.
Despite Paul playing some neat and tight squash Mike again took the title 3-0. Mike now equals Jim Cochrane in the number of times he has won the Veterans Cup (5 times, 1998-2002)- will he overtake him next year?
Finally it was the one everyone had been waiting for. Paul York (last years winner) was marking. It was a battle of the steady play of Mark Smith (who was still seen licking his wounds after last years loss against Paul), and the whack and run of Simon Barker. Mark seemed to have fully recovered from his earlier match and if anything seemed to have warmed him up nicely for this match!
Simons aggression and power was subdued by Marks tight game making Simon work very hard and producing unforced errors. Simon kept looking to the balcony for inspiration but unfortunately his brother (Richard) was nowhere to be seen.
Richard heard that Simon had reached the finals and decided to get out of the country knowing that the Barkers name was at stake! So it proved, Simon at one stage in danger of losing the third 9-0. However, he managed to gain a point to start a comeback which never happened! Mark staying calm throughout claimed his second trophy of the evening 3-0.
After the matches it was down to the Daniel Lambert for a few drinks and the presentation of the trophies.
The trophies were presented by Michael Ferreira Jnr who had flown in especially from America and cheered his dad to victory in the Veterans Cup!