The dramatic defeat of reigning and seven-times winner of the Bedfordshire County Squash Championships, Steve Davies, by third seed Gbenga Adeyi, signalled the end of a fascinating weekend of top quality squash at Towers Health & Racquets Club in Bedford.
Play began early on Saturday morning at the fantastic new facilities in Bedford with juniors getting things underway and all matches going as expected.
Once the adults got going, they too went to form as the winners went on to compete for the A Grade, while first round losers looked to win the B Grade prize.
By the time the first round of matches was complete the first winner of the weekend was decided as young starlet Sophia John brushed all competitors aside easily to take the women’s crown.
The second round of men’s matches proved to be considerably more competitive with a particular shock occurring between Towers home based player Will Montgomery and Flitwick’s Matt Suckling.
Suckling is a renowned shot player and the contest was always expected to be tight, but the intensity was too much for him as he ended up having to pull out during the match with an injured hamstring, gifting Montgomery a semi-final place.
All the remaining matches in A went to form as the other top seeds progressed in a straightforward manner to the semis.
The B Grade was much stronger this year s and there were some tight matches.
Luton’s best hope of a senior award was here, but sadly for young Sean Davies it wasn’t to be as he lost out to Barry Smith of Towers in the quarter-final.
The drama of day one, however, happened in the U13 final as the Main sisters faced each other.
It was almost a year ago exactly since elder sibling Lily had beaten Natalie to be the reigning U13 champion.
Lily came out firing on all cylinders as she showed tremendous touch to race into a 2-0 lead.
The crowd sensed an upset, but Natalie was having none of it as she fought back to take the third in a dramatic tie break.
Thereafter, whilst Lily showed some signs of regaining her early form, Natalie seemed to grow stronger and ultimately completed the comeback to take the title.
After a hard day and two tough matches most of the men returned, but Lee Bartlett joined the walking wounded in pulling out of the tournament injured.
For the players who did make it to day two, it started in dramatic fashion as Adeyi pulled off a shock win against Biggleswade’s Nathan Derrick, last year’s finalist.
Derrick grew increasingly frustrated with Adeyi’s retrieval skills and ended up playing risky shots to no profit.
Reigning champion Davies, now of Towers, having previously flown the Luton banner, saw off Montgomery with few problems.
In the B Grade, Smith beat Paramjit Deol in a fractious match whilst Ivan Schemanski triumphed over the awkward Tim Clinch.
Schemanski, a late entrant due to the injury withdrawal of eight times County champion Steve Barlow on the eve of the tournament, then capped a great weekend with a confident win in the final over Smith.
The Grade A final delivered plenty of drama, as it was standing room only to get a view as local favourite Davies, going for a record equalling eighth win, facing Lloyd’s Adeyi.
Adeyi clawed back an early deficit to take the first, but after some lung-bursting rallies Davies claimed the second to tie things up.
The third was competitive all the way as both players battled to take the initiative, however Adeyi took it.
Many felt that would seal Davies’s fate, but he blasted out of the blocks and as he took the fourth with comparative ease it looked like Adeyi was physically spent.
A change of shirt seemed, however, to reinvigorate Adeyi as he won the decisive fifth to take the title for the first time after more than an hour of exhausting squash.
Final Standings, A Grade: 1, Gbenga Adeyi; 2, Steve Davies; 3, Will Montgomery; 4, Nathan Derrick; 5, Connor O’Dell; 6, Matt Towers; 7, Lee Bartlett; 8, Matt Suckling.
B Grade: 1, Ivan Schemanski; 2, Barry Smith; 3, Paramjit Deol; 4, Tim Clinch; 5, Sean Davies; 6, Lee Watts; 7, Phil Hales; 8, Jay Patel; 8.
Women’s: 1, Sophia John; 2, Natalie Main; 3, Lily Main.
U13: 1, Natalie Main; 2, Lily Main; 3, Sam Pattinson; 4, Jack Burke.