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Epic Squash sees Chew Valley Player Crowned Champ of Champs in the Butcombe Race of Champions Super Series Final

Epic Squash sees Chew Valley Player Crowned Champ of Champs in the Butcombe Race of Champions Super Series Final

 

John Thompson (Centre) being presented with The Butcombe Race of Champions Super Series Final Cup by CVSC's Chairman, Brian Pate (Left) and Polly Harris from The Pelican Inn, Chew Magna representing Butcombe.

 

The Super Series Final was the culmination of 4 tournaments throughout the 2017/18 squash season. The cumulative top 8 players from these tournaments including 3 previous tournament winners came together in the final of finals. The opening phase of the Butcombe Super Series Final worked a bit like football's World Cup with group stages. Group A was, seemingly, the easier route to the ultimate final featuring only one previous Champion in Joey Williams along with Andy Fountain, Mark Simmons and Jamie Watson. Group B was the much tougher group. It included 2 previous champs in John Thompson and Steve Wakefield plus Rich Nichol and Brian Pate.


The group stages produced some great squash. The standard of squash as the tournament has played has gone from strength to strength; clearly every player wanted to win that ultimate crown!


There were a couple of results that caused the spectators to raise an eyebrow; were the players playing mind games with each other, who knows?
Thompson and Wakefield locked horns. The smart money was on these two making it through to the final-final. So, it was "interesting" to see that Thompson won 3-0 (9/6, 9/0 and 9/4) - not many would have predicted such a relatively easy win so it looked like they were just feeling each other out!


Williams v Simmons was another that got the tongues wagging. Previous tournament winner Williams was overpowered by Simmons losing 1-3 (3/9, 9/10, 9/5 and 1/9). Williams was then pushed to the limit by Watson but he did come through to win 3-2 (7/9, 9/5, 4/9, 9/6 and 9/1).

The top two players from each group won through to the semi final stage. From Group A it was Joey Williams and Mark Simmons and from Group B (as predicted) it was John Thompson and Steve Wakefield; so all three previous champions were through to the semis along with giant killer Mark Simmons.


The first semi was John Thompson v Joey Williams. Wow did the standard of squash just take off. Thompson won 3-0 (9/4, 9/0 and 9/0) but the intensity of the squash was not reflected in the scoreline. Then came Steve Wakefield v Mark Simmons and it was a similar tale; Wakefield won 3-0 (9/5, 9/5 and 9/4) but he was pushed all the way on every point by Simmons.

 

Onto the Super Series Final of the Butcombe Race of Champions featuring John Thompson from Chew Valley Squash Club versus Steve Wakefield from Chippenham Squash Club.

 

BEFORE: The Two Finalists - Thompson & Wakefield: Pre-final and no sign of nerves or of what was to come

 

The battle commenced and what a battle it was.


There was little sign of what was to come in the first game. John Thompson carried on his dominance over Steve Wakefield that we saw in the Group stage and he took the first game 9/5. That was when the spectators were treated to some sublime rallies. It was nip and tuck all through the second game; the pace of the game and the length of the rallies was grueling. The pressure of both this game and the demands of the overall tournament were beginning to show on both players but Thompson was the first to crack. At 6-6 in the second game he turned to return a great drive from Wakefield and he badly twisted his knee; a time-out and a knee bandage needed. Was this to be a cruel blow for John Thompson - he's made of sterner stuff! He got back on court, finished the game and won it, albeit narrowly, 10/9 to go 2-0 up in the match. Steve Wakefield perhaps sensed his moment with John carrying his injury and he pushed hard from the outset of the third game. Steve went ahead only to be hauled back by John. The points ebbed to and fro as John tried to close the match out; looking for that 3-0 victory and probably not wanting to put his knee through another game or more. Steve on the other hand was determined to get back into the game which is exactly what he did by winning the 3rd game 10/8 to bring it to 2-1 to John Thompson. Steve now seemed to be gaining the upper-hand. The fourth game was yet another exhibition of top notch squash; both players giving it their all. It was another close game all the way through but John Thompson put in one last ditch effort and was rewarded by winning the game 9/7 to become the first winner of the Butcombe Race of Champions Super Series Final - congratulations to John.


AFTER: The exhausted finalists!

 

Chairman, Brian Pate said “It was great to see such awesome squash for the Super Series Final - lived up to it's name. Thanks go out to all who entered throughout the 5 tournaments, the organisers and the sponsors Butcombe Brewing Co, C S Simmons Engineering and The Pelly, Chew Magna.”


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