By Nathan Lake
Last weekend saw the 2018 Gloucestershire County Closed Squash Tournament come to East Glos, an event which dates back to 1939.
This year’s event was organized by East Glos member Mark Toseland and had a record-breaking 62 players battle it out across three categories: men’s, women’s and veterans (or masters as they like to be known).
East Glos was represented by a total of 26 entrants, with some fantastic performances across the board. Joe McGrath came painfully close to winning the Men’s C event but lost in the final 3/2. Some may say this was partly down to his 18th birthday being the night before the final.
Jack Bloomfield stormed through the field in the Men’s B draw, upsetting several higher seeded players with brilliant skill and ball control, winning the Men’s B division. Rumour has it, his father Ian is his next target. Ian himself came very close to clinching his own trophy, losing out to #1 seed Craig Webb, 3/2 in the final of the Master’s draw. He was, however, consoled by collecting the beer his 15-year-old son Jack had won, compliments of one of the event’s sponsors.
In the first women’s event in the last nine years, EG’s Haley Mendez came up against Julianne Courtice, in a much-anticipated final. Both women are ranked in the World’s top 50 (numbers 45 and 47 respectively) and put on a fantastic display of squash to the capacity crowd, with Julianne (pictured right) coming away with the win in a tight three games.
The Men’s event saw yours truly (pictured right), come up against former, World #59 and current Wycliffe College professional, Jonny Harford. Despite Jonny now being a full-time coach, he still has the capability to play at a very high level. The first game was played at a high pace with some great squash from both players. That game and Jonny’s earlier matches from the day took their toll, and I was able to secure the title with a 3/0 win. I am pleased to say that the Men’s County Closed trophy is back in East Glos hands!
On the whole, the event was a fantastic success and played in the best of spirits. The club was a fantastic host and a special thank you should go to the club’s staff, who were on hand to make everyone’s time at the club a memorable one, and to all the members who came out to support our local players.
Tournament organiser Mark Toseland said “It’s been three years in the making to get the annual County Closed to this capacity and strength, and I couldn’t have done it without all the support from the people who have been willing to help and work with Gloucestershire Squash, especially in the last year.
“East Glos have been especially helpful with hosting the event, not just solely with offering the use of their facilities, but making the whole process as simple as possible and helping with the smaller intricacies of making players, participants and supporters feel welcome at the event.
“We look forward to working with East Glos and strengthening our relationship over future years”.