FINALS DAY in Johannesburg

Six for England and a record Sixth for van der Wath

sp_21648The final day of the 2016 WSF World Masters saw 19 champions crowned in Johannesburg.

It was a good day for English players with six titles claimed (including Jersey’s Nick Taylor) , while hosts South Africa collected three, including three in a row  and a record sixth overall for Craig van der Wath.

sp_21528The day started with the older age groups at Parkview and started with victory for Australia’s Marilyn Kennedy in the W65 event.

sp_21532A run of English victories followed as Malcolm Gilham won an all-English M80 five-setter with John Woodliffe, Ann Manley collected her third World Masters title with a 3-2 win over Bett Dryhurst – her final opponent in her previous two victories – Adrian Wright collected a fifth title as won his M75 final in four close games, and Karen Hume won her fist as she came from two games down to beat top-seeded compatriot Jill Campion.

sp_21533More European success came as Finland’s Esa Matti Tuominen, Germany’s Udo Kahl and France’s Mylene de Muylder won their first tiles while Ireland’s Willie Hosey and Barbara Sanderson continued heir run of wins to collect their third and fifth titles.

sp_21535The USA collected their first title as Norbert Kornyei won a thrilling M70 final against England’s Guy Davies, both playing having three match balls before Korynei finally won 15/13 in the fifth.

sp_21649The final match at Parklands saw home favourite Craig van der Wath claim his third title in a row in the M50 division – and a record sixth overall – as he beat England’s Yawar Abbas in straight games.

Play moved to the glass court at Wanderers Club for the younger age group finals, starting with a third Masters title (to go with her five senior world titles) for Australia’s Sarah Fitz-Gerald.

sp_21545England’s Nick Taylor came from 5-10 down in the first game against South Africa’s M45 top seed Michael Tootill on the way to completing a three-nil win for his first World Masters title. Taylor was later awarded the ‘player of the tournament’ award.

sp_21556Two all-South African finals followed with Samantha Herbert and Rodney Durbach claiming the O40 titles, Herbert coming through a second successive five-game battle to beat Anlen Murray while Durbach won in straight games against Adrian Hansen.

sp_21582The O35 finals concluded the tournament and their was a ‘home’ winner as top seed Natalie Grainger, a Parkview native who currently lives in and plays for the USA, beat Lauren Briggs in four entertaining games to collect a second World Masters title.

In the men’s final home favourite Gary Wheadon put in a terrific challenge to hot favourite Mohamed Abbas, taking the first game and challenging in the next three before the Egyptian finally secured his first title after an hour’s intense play.

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What they Said:

sp_21548“It was touch and go for a while, I had a calf injury which almost stopped me entering, so I feel really humble that I made it here and still came through to win another title.

“There’s always pressure when you’re playing for a world title, and it’s a bit of a reality check in the Masters, everyone slows down, reactions aren’t as good, and they play drops and lobs! ”

Sarah Fitz-Gerald

sp_21603“Mike is a very clever player, hard to play against and he played really well in the first. At 5-10 I just had to dig in and taking that gave me a real boost.

“I’ve worked hard for this, it’s a big event and there are a lot of people behind me to thank.

“It feels fantastic to think I’m a World Champion!”

Nick Taylor

sp_21565“I was actually less nervous for the final than I had been in all my other matches.

“She started out so fast, my coach told me I had to stick to my game plan, and if it  didn’t work just do it again! So I managed to get back and hold on for her to make mistakes.

“It’s my third World Masters, this is the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of and it’s mainly South African which makes it even more special.”

Samantha Herbert

sp_21570“I just love playing squash, it used to be my job but I’m still working to keep  myself as fit and fresh as I can and hopefully I’ll keep on playing for a long time.

“It’s great to have the World Masters here in South Africa, and to play a great friend like Adrian in the final was a bonus.

“It feels fantastic to have won the World Masters for the first time, really proud of it.”

Rodney Durbach

sp_21580“There’s nothing like winning at home, even if it is my home away from home these days …”

Natalie Grainger

sp_21585“Masters squash is so different, it’s still tough but it’s so much fun too.

“Gary played well throughout the match, it took me a little while to get going, so I’m glad I did and I’m delighted to win the title.

“It’s been fantastic playing here in South Africa, all of the Egyptians have really enjoyed it, the facilities, the organisation, the crowd have all been great.”

Mohammed Abbas

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