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It’s déjà vu in Chew Valley Squash Club’s Butcombe Race of Champions Series 4

Chew Valley Squash Club held their fourth in a schedule of five open tournaments recently. The Championship final turned out to be a repeat of the final for Series One!


As in the previous tournaments, the Butcombe Race of Champions attracted entrants from across the South West and the competition was held at the Chew Valley Leisure Centre where spectators were treated to a feast of squash.


The Knock-outs: The tournament opened with a match between Gareth Thomas and Alan Lade; two players who seem to be drawn to be involved in the first match of the tournament. No surprise with this result as Alan went through to the next round. There were wins too for Brian Pate, Joey Williams (Series 2 Champion), Mark Simmons, Steve Wakefield (Series 1 Champion) and Andy Fountain.


The Semis: Onto the semis in both the Championship and the Plate tournaments. The Championship tournament semis were Steve Wakefield v Mark Simmons and Joey Williams v Andy Fountain.


The first Championship semi-final was a bit of a strange affair. In the opening game Mark shot off into an early lead and his sheer pace around the court had Steve struggling. Mark took the first game 9-2 and was playing some commanding squash. This seemed to spur Steve on and he levelled the match at 1-1 by winning the second game 9-6. But the score doesn’t tell the whole story. At the start of the game Mark had continued his domination and was quickly 6-2 up. Steve then totally changed his approach to the game, slowing the pace right down and Mark struggled to cope with Steve’s new tactic. This was underlined in the third game where Steve was now dominant and won it 9-0! The fourth game was a bit of a see-saw. Steve went 5-0 up. Mark pulled back to 5 all. Some amazing rallies followed and Steve came out on top winning the game 9-5 and the match 3-1. Steve Wakefield was into his second Butcombe Race of Champions final.


The second Championship semi-final went with seed as Andy Fountain was out-classed by the Series 2 Champion, Joey Williams who won 9-0, 9-5 and 9-6. So, Joey Williams was into his 4th Butcombe Race of Champions Final – yes, he’s played in the final of all four tournaments; an amazing achievement.


The Plate tournament semis were Jamie Watson v Alan Lade and Brian Pate v Ricardo Paredes. No surprises here. The first Plate semi-final went with seed as Jamie played his way into the Plate final with a straightforward 9-0, 9-1 and 9-5 victory. The other semi-final was another strange one. Ricky was 2-0 up (9-3 and 9-3) in no time at all as Brian seemed to be half asleep! The third game was a different kettle of fish and a tremendous battle. Brian was on fire and won it 9-7; was a comeback on the cards. We didn’t have to wait long for the answer. Brian burned out and Ricky won the fourth game 9-3 and the match 9-1.


The Plate Final: Jamie Watson v Ricardo Paredes. Jamie was quickly out of the blocks and into a 1-0 lead by taking the game 9-3. Game 2 had to be seen to be believed. Jamie was 5-0 up in the second game and seemed to be cruising towards the Plate title but Ricky had other ideas. Without dropping serve Ricky went from 0-5 down to lead the second game 8-5; Ricky had 3 games points in hand. Now it was Jamie’s turn to fight back. Things couldn’t get much closer as Jamie levelled the game at 8 all; which way was this going to go? Ricky took it 10-8 to level the match at 1-1. Ricky now seemed to have the upper hand and he pressed home his advantage by winning the 3rd game 9-6 and taking a 2-1 lead in the match. But this time Jamie had other ideas had other ideas and Ricky looked to be running out of steam. Jamie levelled the match with a 9-2 victory in the 4th game. A thrilling 5 setter..... all neck and neck to 5 all with the serve going backwards and forwards several times. Jamie found that extra bit of speed and power and he took the Butcombe Race of Champions Plate Trophy, winning the game 9-5 and the match 3-2. Well done Jamie.


The Championship Final: Joey Williams v Steve Wakefield. This was Joey’s 4th appearance in The Butcombe Race of Champions Final and was a repeat of the Series 1 final which Steve won. This was a battle of two champions; Steve was Series 1 Champion whilst Joey won Series 3. Joey was out for revenge. The first game was another see-saw game. Joey went 5-0 up only to be pulled back and stare defeat in the face at 5-8 down. Steve served for the game 3 times before he was overhauled by Joey who won the game 10-8 to go 1-0 up in the match. The next 2 games were odd. Joey went 2-0 up in the match winning the 2nd 9-1. Steve bounced back by winning the 3rd game by the very same score, 9-1. Steve levelled the match by winning the 4th game 9-6. Another five setter for a final! Unfortunately for Joey, Steve had worked out winning tactics; he’d gone from 0-2 down to take The Butcombe Race of Champions Series 4 Trophy by winning the 5th game 9-2 and the match 3-2; well done Steve.


Chairman, Brian Pate said “It was great to see so many quality players entering Series 4 of the tournament. It was great to see the titles contested and go all the way to the wire with 5 set finals; quality squash. Thanks go out to all who entered, the organisers and the sponsors Butcombe Brewing Co, Topline Catering and The Pelly, Chew Magna.”


The Super Series Final, the battle of the Champions, takes place on 14th to 16th June and promises to provide a feast of squash as the top 8 players from Series 1 to 4 battle it out to become the overall winner of The Butcombe Race of Champions for the 2017/18 season.

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