Masters Inter County champions crowned on thrilling finals day
The 2023 Masters Inter County Championships Finals took place over the weekend with six different categories taking place across both Peterborough Squash Club and Hunts County Squash Club to decide which counties would be claiming the titles.
In the Men’s over 35 category, top seeds Warwickshire survived two close battles with Avon and Yorkshire to claim a spot in the final, beating them both 3-2 with Sam Miller, Howard Lancashire and Nick Staunton claiming wins in the semi-final against Yorkshire. Their final opponents Surrey didn’t drop a game en route to the final, beating both Lincolnshire and Essex 5-0.
Warwickshire claimed victory by the same scoreline in the final, with wins from Sam Miller, Rob Staunton and Tom Robinson taking the midlands county to victory. The win for Warwickshire means that the county has successfully defended their title from last season and giving them their second title overall.
Surrey and Berkshire contested the Men’s over 45 final with both counties producing impressive wins over Cambridgeshire and Wiltshire in the semi-finals, respectively. Berkshire’s Tim Burrell and Darren Gary recorded straight game victories over Nick Brown and John Williams to take the lead in the contest and a superb comeback from John Hope, who trailed 2-0 but came back to win, handed Berkshire their first title in the Men’s over 45 category.
Hertfordshire were victorious in the Men’s over 55 category after they recorded two 4-1 victories over Berkshire and Cheshire to earn a spot in the final. They would then meet neighbours Bedfordshire for the title after the latter stormed through to the final beating Surrey and Essex in emphatic style. Straight game victories for Las Fernando and Teejay Sogunro put Hertfordshire in a great position and a five-game win for No.1 Eamonn Price sealed the title for the top seeds.
Lancashire 1 took the Men’s over 65 title as they defeated Essex and Northamptonshire both 2-1 before despatching Berkshire in the final. Two 3-0 victories for Allen Barwise and Alan Connor were followed by a five-game victory for Ian Bradburn to seal the comprehensive victory for the North West county.
More success followed for Hertfordshire as they claimed another victory in the Women’s over 40 category. The team - consisting of: Louisa Dalwodd, Mhairi Gritz and Libby Montgomery - only lost one match in their four county finals group. But managed to secure enough points in their other matches to hold off runners up Kent to claim victory, finishing just two points ahead at the end of the weekend.
There were three teams in the Women’s over 50 category, and after both South Wales and Warwickshire comfortably beat Sussex, the title was up for grabs as the pair faced off in the final match. Ginny Lee secured the first points of the contest for Warwickshire but impressive 3-0 wins for Jill Campion and Helen Barnard turned the tables for South Wales who captured the title.
Men’s Over 35: Warwickshire bt Surrey 3-2
Men’s Over 45: Berkshire bt Cambridgeshire 3-2
Men’s Over 55: Hertfordshire bt Bedfordshire 3-2
Men’s Over 65: Lancashire 1 bt Berkshire 3-0
Women’s Over 40: Hertfordshire 28 points, Kent 26 points, Surrey 1 24 points, Warwickshire 8 points
Women’s Over 50: South Wales 23 points, Warwickshire 15 points, Sussex 4 points