Last weekend, January 18 to the 20th, fifty-six players from across the country gathered at the Vancouver Racquets Club to compete in the 2013 Canadian Team Masters Squash Championships.
Eight teams of seven started play at 3pm on the Friday afternoon. Pool A included number one seed Ontario, Manitoba (4), Saskatchewan (5) and British Columbia 2 (7). As the host of the event British Columbia was allowed to have two teams compete and their other team, BC 1, was seeded third and played in Pool B. Pool B also included Alberta (2), Quebec (6) and Yukon (8). After the three game round robin which took all of Friday and half of Saturday the standings in Pool A were: Ontario in 1st place, BC 2 in second, Manitoba in third and Saskatchewan in fourth. In Pool B BC1 came out on top with Alberta in second, Quebec in third and Yukon in 4th.
The cross-over semifinals began at 1pm on Saturday after the round-robin was completed. The first of the two semifinals found BC 1 playing off against surprise contender BC 2 while the second had Ontario facing Alberta. The all-BC semifinal was a hard fought affair with an injured Bryan McGaw of BC 2 losing in four to Trevor Latimer and the match of the fixture being a heartbreaking loss 12-10 for Brook Macey at the hands of BC 1 Deidre Smith. Both teams played well but BC 1 took the fixture 6-1. The second match was a much closer affair that had Ontario squeak out a 4-3 victory over Alberta with two of those wins going to five games! In the consolation playoffs Manitoba defeated Yukon 5 to 2 and Saskatchewan defeated Quebec 6-1.
On Saturday night the group gathered at the Shark Club for a cosy buffet where we almost managed to squeeze all 67 guests into a room built for 50. The Canucks lost their home opener but the buffet was delicious and the competition for the annual “Neddy” award, for best team skit or sketch, was fierce. First up was BC 2 with their punny sketch about loons and medicine. They were followed by Alberta and Kathy’s amazing joke, Yukon’s Terri read a reworked Robert Louis Stevenson poem and then Manitoba (“TOBA! TOBA! TOBA”) proceeding to mock everyone with their hilarious tall tales. In the end it was Team Quebec, defending their title, who absolutely nailed it with a Top 10 by captain Dan and an amazing song by Robin and the team. Well done to two-time champ Quebec!
Sunday came early with the finals starting at 9am. Ouch. Luckily the Squash Canada refs were on hand en masse and all the players had to do was play.
The 7/8 final was won by Quebec 6-1 over Yukon.
The 5/6 final was won by Manitoba 4-3 over Saskatchewan.
The 3/4 final was won by Alberta 7-0 over BC 2 (but two matches went the distance!)
The 1/2 final was pitted #1 seed Ontario against a strong #3 seeded BC 1and the fixture lived up to it’s billing! Barry Gifford lost a heartbreaker in five to Chris Sadler (see video link below), as did Laura Ramsay to Ontario’s Lisa Coates. Bonnie Cooney (not Clooney!!) won her five gamer over Connie Sacchetto and Diedre Smith won a quick three gamer of Elka Markus tying up the fixture 2-2. Team BC needed to win both of the next matches or an injured Steve Lawton would have to risk further injury. BC’s Mark O’Neill was victorious over Michael Bertin in four but BC’s Trevor Latimer found Ontario’s David Sly too much to handle and, in the end, Steve was unable to play and Ontario won the final by a score of 4-3.
2. BC 1
4. BC 2
On behalf of myself and my co-chair Steve Lawton, we’d like to mention that the tournament would not have been possible without the assistance and support of the Vancouver Racquets Club and all their members who allowed us to take over all five courts for three days! Bev Lawton was an unfailing court control master and Chris Yap and her troupe of refs – Diane Grady, John Roche, Chris Toleman and Shakiru Matti – were awesome. Thanks to Gerry Poulton who came to assess some matches and spoke as the VP of Player Development at the award ceremony.
Big shout out to our sponsors! Matt Fahey and Westpoint Law Group, Apollo Emrik, Manta, Squash Republic, Rogue, The Shark Club, the Sandman Hotels and to our governing bodies, Squash BC and Squash Canada.
We hope that everyone who came to watch enjoyed the matches and the atmosphere and we hope that all the players involved had a great time. There are rumours that we might see you all next year in Edmonton, Whitehorse or even Montreal!
All the best,
Robert Pacey and Steve Lawton
Photos – Squash Republic’s Flickr Page