The decision to host the annual Hampshire Squash Tournament on the Isle of Wight started as an off-the-cuff suggestion back in August.
In the following months things snowballed and the Ryan Leisure Hampshire Championships took place at Westridge Leisure Centre, Ryde last month.
In the final round of matches, the first opportunity of a home win went to Gavin Rogers, who took on the wily George Kousseff.
Former Longparish CC wicketkeeper Kousseff, another long standing supporter of Hampshire squash, saw off his Isle of Wight opponent with some clinical shots and finally got his hands on the Over 45 Cup.
Despite the huge IOW contingent, it was only fitting that the only other chance of some silverware staying on the Island should fall to Alex Phillips, one of their former juniors and now full-time player-coach based in Winchester. In an awe-inspiring final played at an incredible pace, Phillips’ control and accuracy proved too much as he beat team-mate Phil Bull three games to one.
In total, 56 players, almost half of whom were from the Island, supported the event.
Hampshire committee member and player Paul Trott said: “Hampshire has one of the best supported county closed events in the country and the spirit in which the matches were played underlines its overall success and how well Hampshire is promoting squash.”
For the event to be a success, there were many factors that had to be considered, particularly the cost element. Fortunately with the help of local player Martin Phillips, Ryan Leisure readily agreed to sponsor the event after their successful involvement in the Island Games.
Their backing helped to reduce running costs and allow for an excellent weekend.
County captain and organiser Stuart Summers said: “The turnout was simply fantastic. It was brilliant to be able to support the work of Island coach Adam Dominey who made sure that each of the four events had a full complement of players.
“With Phillips retaining his title, Bull stamping his authority and the juniors champing at the bit, squash in Hampshire is in a great position ready for the future.”
Andover players Stuart Summers (third) and Ben Thornton (sixth) will be representing Hampshire as the Senior team fights to stay in the national first division as well as competing for the national title in the Over 35 final.
In other age categories, the over-65s, led by Barry Featherstone, became national champions last month.
Results: Main event: Phillips 3-1 Bull; B-grade: Trott 3-1 Smith; C-grade: Kettlewell 3-1 Faizi; Over 45: Kousseff 3-0 Rogers.