Tournament success for McClelland & Vrahimis

LSRC’s annual squash and racketball tournaments concluded at the end of May 2023, with Steve McClelland and Tony Vrhaminis securing the titles in racketball and squash respectively.

A series of photos from the Racketball Open final, which was won by Steve McClelland against Gary Westwood.
A series of photos from the Racketball Open final, which was won by Steve McClelland against Gary Westwood.

The racketball final took place at 6:45pm on Wednesday 24th May at Lilleshall National Sports Centre, with Steve McClelland edging the match 3-0 against Gary Westwood, in a brilliantly close and competitive encounter, which was played in a good spirit. For Steve, it was the fourth time he has lifted the Racketball Open trophy, and he defended the title he last lifted in 2019. It was the first time the tournament had been contested since the pandemic.

And for Steve, it was a double tournament shift, as he had also made his way through the field to contest the squash final too, which took place the following evening on Thursday 25th May. This time, Steve faced former champion Tony Vrhaminis. The final was again superbly contested, and close, with some incredible rallies, but it was Tony who managed to seal the Squash Open title for the second time, with a well executed 3-0 victory. Tony had previously lifted the trophy in 2018.

A series of photos from the Squash Open final, which was edged by Tony Vrahimis against Steve McClelland.
A series of photos from the Squash Open final, which was edged by Tony Vrahimis against Steve McClelland.

A huge well done to our two champions, and to all of the other players who took part across the racketball and squash competitions, which were contested in the right manner throughout.

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Ladies and Juniors Christmas tournament a festive delight

It was the 18th of December – the day of the squash tournament at Lilleshall National Sports Centre and everyone was excited. It was what the last few months of training and preparation had been leading up to. All the coaches, participants and the guests for the day had all taken a Lateral Flow Test that morning and were all clear to attend – the messages on the WhatsApp group were full of excitement…

The coaches and some attendees turned up 30 minutes earlier to prepare the courts with Christmas decorations to make the occasion fun and memorable for everyone. Above all, key safety measures were in place – hand sanitisers, masks worn when not playing, ensuring ventilation in playing areas, etc.

The tournament started soon after 1:00pm with the ladies going first with five of them participating – each of them to play each other in first to 11 points’ games. The kids drew lots to determine who was going to play first and then we were off with two games being played simultaneously, refereed by the coaches.

The matches were very close with a range of skills on display from all players – most players winning at least one game, making it difficult to tell who was going to win and what order the others were going to finish in. With only five points separating the top three players, it came down to the last match to decide the winner. Jane A took the honours, with Jane finishing runner-up – it turned out to be a battle of wills for the Janes! Toey and Jane scored the same number of points, but Jane edged it to finish runner-up by winning more games. Kai and Kayleigh took the 4th and 5th places respectively. Another day or time, the finishing order could have easily been very different – highly entertaining games.

It was then the turn of the ten junior contenders (Archie, Billy, Emma, Lee-May, Will B, Amy, Edward, Harry, Josh and Will – aged 7 – 14 years) to battle it out – the ladies and coaches drew lots to decide the first set of opponents to take to the squash courts. They were divided into two pools of five players each playing everyone else in the pool and then the winners of the two pools were to have a shoot-out for overall winner and runner-up positions. If the ladies games were close, the junior games were simply out of this world, with most of the juniors winning at least one of their challenges, going right up to the last couple of games, keeping the pool winners a mystery to the very end.

The level of playing skills were only matched by the maturity and sportsmanship on display from our young talent – it made the coaches day to watch the games play out between all the junior players. When the dust settled, Will B took the honours for Pool A, while Will took the honours for Pool B. You couldn’t have written a script for this with the Janes coming top of the Ladies games and the Wills coming top of the juniors’.

On to a truly epic finale, with the Wills trading point-for-point in the shoot-out and there being nothing in it when they both were at ten points each – one final serve to decide the title – a pity someone had to win the game, but Will B took the winning point clinching the tournament on the last point of of the last game – a fantastic finish to the tournament – a battle of wills between the Wills!

We all retired to the café at Lilleshall National Sports Centre and the room they had there for just such an occasion, to partake of some nibbles, pizzas & drinks and some card games for the kids to determine the distribution of a variety of gifts that had been arranged by the parents of the kids.

Finally it was time to hand out the tournament shields – there were shields for each of the winners and runners up for the Ladies and Juniors, but there was also a special shield for the most improved girl and boy. Emma took the shield for most improved girl having just started training in September and making excellent progress. Archie took the shield for most improved boy, not simply for the improvement in his skills, but for showing the kind of gentlemanly behaviour and sportsmanship on court that is at the core of a true sportsman – a credit to the sport and his family.

If you would like to bring your kids to squash coaching, you are more than welcome – we are here every Saturday at Lilleshall from 1pm. Contact Martin Carey on 07812 235400 for further details or visit the Junior Coaching section of our website.

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Sam Clark wins the 2019 Squash Open

Sam Clark was victorious against Linda Prichard in the final of the 2019 Squash Open competition – winning the Club’s most prestigious individual squash title for the first time.

Having previously defeated Joel Reed in his semi-final, Clark managed to seal the title 3-0 in a well-contested final against Linda Pritchard, who was taking part in her first Open final – the first female player in the Club’s history to achieve this feat.

Sam managed to seal the Open title at the second-time of asking, having previously finished runner-up in last year’s final to Anthony Vrahimis.

A huge thank you to all the players who took part in this year’s competition and look out on the Club noticeboard and website for the next round of tournaments which will be launching later in the Spring.

You can view all of our previous Club champions – stretching all the way back to the 1970’s – here.

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Open tournaments launch

The draws for our two most prestigious annual Club tournaments – The Squash and Racketball Open – have now been made.

Both tournaments are played entirely ‘off scratch’ without the use of any handicaps (i.e. both players start at 0-0) and first round losers will automatically be enrolled into the respective plate competitions, which guarantees each entrant a minimum of two matches to play.

The tournaments, which will crown the best Squash and Racketball players in our Club, will be played through until the end of the calendar year.

The best of luck to all players taking part and you can find out more about tournament dates and the draws here.

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Westwood Seals Two Tournament Titles

It was a double celebration for Gary Westwood this season, as he won two of the three available Spring competitions, sealing the Robson Squash (+40) and John Perry (Handicapped) Racketball titles against two strong fields of opponents.

Westwood’s first success came in the final of the Robson Trophy, which is a squash competition played off-scratch (non-handicap) and open to players aged 40+. Gary played Steve McClelland in the tournament final, edging the contest 3-1.

Gary followed this title up with another just days later against Andy Reed in the final of the John Perry Racketball Trophy, which is an open handicapped tournament named in honour of former Club member John Perry, who sadly passed away a few years ago aged 70.

In a well-contested matched, Gary came out the winner against Andy in straight games 3-0 to showcase his ability across the two sports.

Having just missed out in the Robson final, Steve McClelland managed to go a step further and claim the final title on offer this Spring – the Dave Fox Trophy, which is a handicapped squash tournament open to all members.

Steve faced Stuart Moore in the final and came through the match 3-0, despite giving his opponent a +6 handicap advantage. Stuart played very well on the day, but Steve showed exactly why he won three Club titles last year.

The next round of Club Tournaments will begin in September 2019 and all members are welcome to take part, whatever their ability. Look out for the entry sheets on the Club Board nearer the time.

You can view a comprehensive list of all our former Club champions (going all the way back to the 1970’s) here.

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Tournament success for McClelland and Vrahimis

Tournament success for McClelland and Vrahimis

Steve McClelland and Anthony Vrahimis were among the tournament winners as the last club competitions of 2018 were settled at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre.

Steve secured his second tournament title of 2018, following on from his success in the Squash Plate final a few weeks previously against Joel Reed, with a well-earned 3-0 victory over Kevin Redstone in the Racketball Open final.

The Racketball Open competition, organised by Club Chairman Paul Evans, featured 16 of our club’s best racketball players. Kevin Redstone defeated Ian Roberts, Pete Langston and Adrian Smith on his way to the final. Steve overcame the challenges of David Frost, Gary Westwood and Keith Hansell on his journey to meeting Kevin in the final showdown.

Anthony Vrahimis secured his maiden Squash Open title after he was awarded with a walkover victory in the grand final against Sam Clark. Anthony, who is originally from South Africa, had an incredibly tough test in his first round match against Steve McClelland, but came through strongly with a 3-0 win and he then went on to defeat Don Tennant and Tim Collins, a former Open champion, on his way to the final.

Sam Clark defeated Dave Frost, Pete Howells and Adrian Smith on his pathway through the tournament draw, but he unfortunately suffered an ankle injury over the Christmas period which led to him having to concede the Open title to Anthony. This was a great shame, as many club members had looked forward to watching two of the club’s best players battling it out on court for the title.

Meanwhile, the Jordan Trophy, which is awarded to our club’s highest performing individual within our internal squash ladder, measured over a 12 month period (i.e. the player who has been ranked #1 for the most consecutive weeks), was recently awarded to Keith Hansell. Huge congratulations to Keith.

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Thrilling conclusion to the LSRC Plate tournaments

The annual Squash and Racketball Plate tournaments concluded last week, with two brilliantly contested finals taking place at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre.

The finals had been due to be played on 19 Dec, but were postponed into the New Year following the maintenance work which took place on the Club’s courts.

Andy Reed and Dave Frost met in the Racketball Plate final on Weds 23 Jan and following some superb rallies and closely contested games, it was Andy who sealed the inaugural title with a 3-0 victory.

The Racketball Plate tournament, which was launched by the Club for the first time last year, was open to preliminary and first round losers of the main Racketball Open competition. Andy and Dave lost their first round Racketball Open matches against Pete Langston and Steve McClelland respectively, but then worked their way through the rest of the Plate field to face-off in the final. Andy and Dave defeated Tony Waldron and Tim Mansell respectively in their semi-final matches, prior to the final showdown.

Steve McClelland (left) secured the Squash Plate title with a tight 3-0 victory over Joel Reed.

Steve McClelland and Joel Reed lined up in the Squash Plate final on Sat 26 Jan, with both players contributing to a high-quality match which showcased a series of tactical well-crafted rallies.

Joel missed the opportunity to convert three game balls in the opening game of the match, with Steve making him rue his errors, as he took the first game 20-18. Steve then went on to seal the title, edging the next two games 15-13 and 15-11, to complete a well-deserved 3-0 win.

The Squash Plate tournament was open to preliminary and first round losers of the Squash Open competition. Steve battled past Hardip Sahota and Stuart Clark in the earlier rounds to reach the final, having lost his Squash Open preliminary against Tony Vrahimis. Joel was previously beaten 3-0 by Pete Howells in the opening round of the Squash Open, but went on to defeat Dave Diss and Dave Frost on his way to the Plate final.

The highly anticipated Squash Open final had been due to be contested by Sam Clark and Tony Vrahimis last week, but it was postponed due to a recent injury picked up by Sam. The game will be rescheduled very soon.

Steve McClelland will be involved in final action once again, when he plays Kevin Redstone in the Racketball Open final, which is due to be played in the next few weeks.

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Tournament Dates and Fixtures Announced

Tournament Dates and Fixtures Announced

The respective draws for the Open Squash and Racketball tournaments were made earlier this afternoon throwing up some intriguing matches between now and the end of the year.

Details of the full draw can be found here, along with further information from Chairman, Paul Evans.

Entrants should be aware that Preliminary and First Round losers will automatically be entered into the Plate competitions for Squash and Racketball and these tournaments will run concurrently along with the main Squash and Racketball Open draws.

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Sam Clark wins Dave Fox title

The other finals evening took place on Wednesday 20th June. A closely fought final in the Dave Fox (handicap) competition, with Sam Clark defeating Steve McClelland to win 3-0.

The trophy was awarded to the winner by Paul Evans (pictured, centre) following the conclusion of the game and photos taken by John Haskins and Joel Reed.

The result below :

Dave Fox (Squash handicap)

  • Winner – Sam Clark
  • R/U – Steve McClelland

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Competition titles for Westwood and McClelland

A good evening last week with some closely fought finals in the Robson and John Perry competitions.

Special thanks to Tim Collins who came down specially to marked the Robson final and to Paul Evans who stayed on to mark the John Perry final.

Trophies were awarded to the winners by the chairman Paul Evans (pictured above, centre) and photos taken by Glyn Thomas, Roy Fisher and John Haskins.

Steve McClelland (left) became the John Perry Racketball Handicap champion after closely defeating runner-up Rob Hall (right). Steve received his trophy from Paul Evans (centre),mClub Chairman, after the match.

The results below :

Robson (Squash 40+)

  • Winner – Gary Westwood
  • R/U – Pete Howells

John Perry (R/B handicap)

  • Winner – Steve McClelland
  • R/U – Rob Hall

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