Ireland scooped up 4 medals at the recent World Masters Squash tournament held in Birmingham. In a spectacular event with nearly 800 athletes from 43 countries it was a fantastic tournament enjoyed by everyone and a showcase for Squash just before the Olympics.
Congratulations to everyone who took part in the event (over 23 Irish players in total) and we hope to see an even greater entry for the next World Masters Tournament which will be held in Hong Kong in 2014.
Winning a bronze medal was somewhat a bitter-sweet experience for me! Seeded 3/4 going into the event, I had ambitions of reaching the final and played well in my first couple of matches against a local Edgbaston player Sarah Roberton in my first round and again against Carola Weiss, who had shocked a 5/8 seed in the previous round with a convincing 3/0 win. I convincingly won the quarter final although I had to work hard to ensure a 3/0 victory. However, in the semi final against Wendy Maitland from Scotland, I did not perform well, not settling to the different conditions of the glass court. Unable to find anything close to my form of the first couple of rounds and with Wendy on top of her game, she quickly raced to a 2-0 lead, although only narrowly winning the 2nd 11/9. With nothing to lose going into the third I took the 3rd game comfortably and it looked like a similar situation in the 4th for a four point lead mid game. Unfortunately though a couple of lose shots and a few great winners from Wendy took her to match ball. Having saved the first match ball and taking the game to a tie break I lost the 4th 12-10.
Having been last match on the Thursday evening, it was by chance that I realised I would have a playoff for the Bronze medal the following morning, something I was not too keen on straight after my evening’s disappointment. The match was scheduled for 11.20am the next morning. There was a long delay before the bronze medal match, as my Irish compatriot was doing battle on my allocated court in a very tense and exciting match. Derek won bronze after a thrilling 91 minute match. Surely, I had to take a leaf out of his book and get another medal for Ireland!
I faced Karen Meakins, from Barbados. Originally from Luton, Karen has been Barbados champion for 12 consecutive years and still competes in some small WSA tournaments on that side of the world. I raised my game considerably from the night before and despite a slight lapse of concentration in the 2nd game, allowing Karen to draw level at 1-1, I raised my game again and took the bronze winning the 3rd and 4th game well.
It is the first time I have ever won a bronze world medal, so a great result really, but on another day it might well have been a different colour! There is always next time!