On Friday 2nd December, Newcastle University Squash Club sent its largest team yet down to Nottingham to compete in the annual BUCS Individual Championships.
The team was made up of Chris Wiggins, Mike Mackay, Dave Daly, Martin Jolley, Sophie Noble and Steph Highwood, all hopeful for a good performance at the newly opened David Ross Sports Centre.
The competition kicked off early on the Friday morning with tough first round matches in the Women’s C draw for Steph Highwood and Sophie Noble. Both lost, however they still had hopes of success in the plate competition the next day.
Next up was Dave Daly, who faced a demanding opponent in the first round of the Men’s C competition. Daly persisted and it was a tense match at 2 games all. However his opponent proved too strong and he too progressed into the plate.
"Both players challenged the opposition with excellent strategic play, executing perfect shots around the court and playing winners with undeniable finesse"
Chris Wiggins and Mike Mackay comfortably advanced into the second round of the Men’s B, and Martin Jolley into the D also. All played with great skill, dominating the court with tight shots down the wall and precise drops.
Continuing this momentum, both Mackay and Wiggins secured a place in the quarter finals of their category with convincing 3-0 wins. These would be challenging matches as Wiggins faced the number 1 seed in the draw, and Mackay the number 2, however both were excited with the prospect of playing on the all glass show court alongside the likes of highly world ranked professional players such as Marwan El Shorbagy and Hannah Ramadan.
Unfortunately, Jolley was confronted with a difficult opponent, despite his best efforts and some first-rate squash, he was knocked out of the competition.
Noble and Highwood swiftly beat their opponents in the first round of the Women’s plate on the Saturday morning, both showing a cool exterior and expert squash to go with. Highwood, again had no trouble in the quarter final against her opponent, moving her around the court with ease.
Noble however had a tougher match, she was quickly a game down but stepped up the pace narrowly losing in the second game and continuing on to win the third and fourth. But tensions were high in the final game and Noble's opponent took the edge, ending her run in the tournament.
Highwood began her semi-final match well taking the first two games, but with a place in the final at stake her opponent upped her game and took the final three games.
Wiggins and Mackay both played outstanding squash in the quarter finals of the Men’s B. With extremely tough competition, neither cracked under the pressure of the numerous spectators and took their opponents to five games.
"But tensions were high in the final game and Noble's opponent took the edge, ending her run in the tournament"
Both players challenged the opposition with excellent strategic play, executing perfect shots around the court and playing winners with undeniable finesse. This being said, their rivals applied equalling pressure and secured the final game, ending both Mackay’s and Wiggins’ runs in the tournament.
Daly, after making consecutive superb performances on the Saturday, was the only member of the team to make it to a final on the ultimate day of the tournament. After a long weekend, he gave his all and asserted himself well on court however he came away the runner up of the men’s C plate.
Overall this was the most successful BUCS Individuals weekend yet for the club, who hope to return next year to better their performance. Thanks go to Martin Jolley for organising the weekend, Ryan Doran for entering the participants, Mike Mackay for driving and Newcastle University Squash Club and the AU for funding the weekend.