Assore S A National Masters Squash Championships
Parkview Squash Centre, Johannesburg
Thursday 10th March – 13th March 2016
A record 150 players participated in the 2016 Championships which formed part of the S A Masters Sports Associations Games. The finals were attended by Mrs Rita Oosthuizen, chair of the S A Masters Sports Association. Competition was knife edged as the championships formed part of the selection criteria for the National Squad to play in the 2016 World Masters.
Easterns John Argyle, the second seed, won his first Masters title beating top seeded Craig Ruane (N) 11-8 13-11 11-5 in the final. Richard Middleton needed 5 games to account for Phil Louw to take third position.
Western Province’s Zuko Kubukeli, a part time Gautenger, the top seed, lifted the 40-44 title after defeating former Gautenger, second seeded Paul Atkinson 9-11 11-5 5-11 11-5 11-6 in an entertaining final.
Gary Plumstead (E) accounted for Northerns’ Jason Phillips to take third place. Kubukeli reached the final of this age-group in Hong Kong at the World Masters in 2014 while Atkinson was a quarter-finalist.
In his usual inimitable manner Craig van der Wath carved his way though his opponents in the 45-49 age group to face Brendan Paul in the final. A tough encounter ensued with Paul taking the first game but van der Wath won the second and third pushing Paul all over the court which resulted in Paul pulling a hamstring.
Van der Wath and Australian Geoff Davenport are the only 2 people who have won 5 gold medals at the World Masters. Van der Wath started in Melbourne in 2001 with the 35-39 title: then followed the second 35-39 crown in Espoo in 2003: the 40-44 title was won in Cape Town in 2006: he reached the semi-finals 40-44 in Cologne in 2010: won the 45-49 title in 2012 in Birmingham and was the same age group victor in 2014 in Hong Kong. No doubt the 50-54 gold in Johannesburg in 2016????
Kwazulu Natal’s Gary Barker , the 6th seed, provided some surprises. First he ousted Conrad van der Merwe (N), the third seed in straight games and then 2nd seeded Pieta Erasmus also in straight games in the semi-finals. In the final Barker needed 5 games to subdue 4th seeded John van Heeswijk. Van Heeswijk had upset top seed Deon Venter 11-8 in the fifth in the semi-final.
Barker reached the quarterfinals of the 45-49 group in Cape Town in 2006.
In the Men’s 55-59 Trevor Wilkinson (N) dropped only 1 game in 4 matches (in the final against Alan Hill (E)) to capture the title. Wilkinson has a long history in the World Masters having captured the 35-39 title in 1997 in Johannesburg: being runner-up in the same group in 1999 in Sheffield: winning the 40-44 in 2001 in Melbourne: reaching the semi-finals in the 40-44 in 2003 in Espoo: a quarterfinalist in 45-49 in Cape Town in 2006: capturing the 45 crown in 2008 in Melbourne: a semi-finalist in the 45 group in Cologne 2010: again a semi-finalist in the 50-54 group n Birmingham in 2012 and a quarterfinalist in 2014 in Hong Kong in the 50 group. Hugh Wallace took third place beating Peter Carey in four games.
Johnny Orsmond (N), the top seed, took the 60-64 title beating Peter Stephens (CG), the third seed, 11-5 6-11 11-6 12-10 in the final 7th seeded Giles Palmer (E) provided the surprises taking 3rd place against 4th seed Geoff Carter (SWD) 4-11 11-7 15-13 9-11 11-3 .
Orsmond was the finalist in the same age group in Hong Kong in 2014 while he reached the quarterfinals in the 50-54 group in Cape Town (2006).
All the men’s sections qualified for the S A Masters Sports Association medals: gold, silver and bronze.
Gautenger Dennis Frey, seeded 2, defeated the number 1 seed Gordon Daniel (L) 8-11 11-8 11-3 9-11 to win the 65+ group. Bugs Palmer (E) the 14th seed claimed 3rd position having upset 3rd Seeded Roy Plumstead in five games in the first round: 6th seeded Des Sacco in the quarterfinals and outlasting Arthur Dyason in a titanic 12-10 11-13 10-12 11-9 12-10 struggle in the final round.
The women’s entry was disappointingly small.
Eastern Province players Jacqui Ryder (EP) and Anlen Murray were too strong for their opponents, winning the 35-39 and 40-44 sections respectively. Ryder beat Nicola Helwick (E) winning in straight games.
Murray accounted for top seeded Samantha Herbert (KZN) and third seed Janet Byrnes (EP) both in straight games to lay claim to the 40-45 title.
Sharon Bender (WP) dropped only one game (against Delana de Jongh(N)) to win the women’s 45-49 title.
Angie Clifton-Parks (E), who together with Craig van der Wath efficiently ran the successful event, took the women’s 50-54 crown. Sharon le Roux (CG) was the runner-up followed by Janita de Villiers (Mpumulanga) and Border’s Alison Andrews. Clifton-Parks won the 40-44 title in Cape Town (2006) having beaten Le Roux in the semi-final and Northerns Vivienne Doeg in the final. In 2003 Clifton-Parks in Espoo won her first gold medal at the World Masters in the 35-39 group defeating Canada’s Louise Lefebvre in the final.
Gautenger Helena Kruger had little trouble in walking way with the women’s 55-59 title not dropping a game on the way to the final. Mandi Joubert was the runner-up with Nanette de Fonseca third and Reinette Mentz fourth.
Shirley Whitmore (WP) took the 60+ title beating Sheena Worwood (CG) 11-2 11-6 11-5. Barbara Hendricks (CG) took third place followed by Bryony Rogers (KZN).
Worwood also has an extensive World Masters record: quarterfinalist in the 55-59 group in 1999 in Sheffield: quarter finalist in 60+ on Cape Town in 2006: quarterfinalist in 65+ in 2008 in Christchurch: winner in 65 + in 2010 in Cologne: finalist in the 70 + in 2014 in Hong Kong.
The women’s 55-59 and 60+ groups qualified for medals.
South Africa has an enviable record in the World Masters annals and being the host for 2016 should provide even more medals.
Here are the full results: 2016 results For SA Masters.