Both our Mens and Ladies county teams battled it out against other counties in the finals weekend earlier on in the year. The Ladies managed to hold their place in the Premier Division and the Men finished 3rd, narrowly missed out on promotion from Div 1.

Men’s O65 Surrey Team report by Steve Jackson

Travelling up to Sheffield for the Inter County final, Surrey men’s over 65 team had the “luxury” of 4 players in this 3 man team format. A challenging weekend was in store with 3 matches to be played over a less than 24 hour period, a tough ask for old bodies. Two great venues were provided: The Fulwood Club and The Hallamshire Club, but England squash organisation left something to be desired. Among other issues, finishing their 2nd match well after 9pm the team found themselves hunting for a place to eat after the club closed its bar and food service at 5pm!!

The format for the finals was a Monrad system which ensured all 8 teams got worthwhile games, even if they lost. Starting out against Shropshire, Captain and driver Steve Jackson elected to rest himself in the opening match, leaving Paul Ekins, Peter Culver and Allan Davison to do the business. First up Allan at 3 was in a no nonsense mood and polished off his opponent for the loss of 6 points. Paul at 1 was pacing himself, as he was the only one required to play all 3 games. Paul was playing a wiley opponent and although sneaking a game, never really got into the match. So at number 2 Peter had it all to do. Hero or zero? Fortunately he was not troubled untowardly and reeled off 3 games in succession to take us into what would effectively be the semi final. Our opponents, Berkshire, looked strong and with Peter resting for this game Allan needed to get us off to a winning start. A see saw match saw Allan being pushed hard by a mobile opponent, but ultimately class told and Allan clinched a nail biting match 3/2. Paul was aware he needed to improve on his first match but had a very tricky opponent, a regular on the Masters circuit. With his opposition playing some tight squash Paul was struggling and went 2 down. Knowing he might have to play the decider, Steve urged Paul on with some sage advice and Paul duly upped his game and the won the next 3 – game set and match. Steve had the luxury of a dead rubber, but nevertheless won 3/0 without being troubled overly.

So on to the Finals on Sunday, being played at the prestigious Hallamshire club. Superb facilities with the added glamour of Nick Matthew as the touring pro. Our opposition in the final was Cheshire, who had beaten former holders Hampshire, who we lost to in the last final played before Covid. With 3 strong players all at a similar level we knew we were in for a tough one. Up first, Steve was playing a tricky, unorthodox opponent, who produced winners out of nowhere. A good start to go one up was lost as the match turn against Steve when his opposition won the next two. Knowing his fellow team members would have tough games, Steve knew he had to dig in, which he duly did and won a tight 4th and a more comfortable 5th. Could Paul finish it off early? Indeed he could, playing his best squash of the weekend he dominated his opponent to win 3/0. Peter at 2 had nothing to play for but like all squash players didn’t want to lose. After going 2 nil up Peter’s opposition began to find his length and won the next 2 to even the score. A tight 5th saw him just lose, but no matter the team won 2/1 which was a big relief having lost the last 2 finals played.

Champions at last!