Chew Valley Squash Club Player Wins “The Butcombe Race of Champions – Series 3” Whilst The Plate Final Is A Father Versus Son Battle!
Chew Valley Squash Club held their third in a schedule of five open tournaments recently. The Championship final turned out to be an all valley clash and was won by John Thompson, a CVSC player from Ubley. However, the popular interest was in the Plate final which was a father v son clash involving two players from Kingswood.
As in the previous tournaments, the Butcombe Race of Champions attracted entrants from across the South West and the competition was held at the Chew Valley Leisure Centre where spectators were treated to a feast of squash. The knock-out rounds started on the Thursday night and continued into the Friday with the semis and the final being played on the Saturday.
DAY 1: The tournament opened with a match between Andy Fountain and Alan Lade and turned out to be a fairly strange encounter. In the first game Alan went 7-1 ahead and pretty quickly. It was clear that Andy was struggling with some sort of injury that he’d picked up in the first couple of points and was trying to run off. Slowly Andy turned the game around and ended up winning it 9-7. In the second game, history repeated itself. Alan went 6-2 ahead this time before Andy got into gear and won 9-7 again. The third and final game was a straightforward 9-1 win for Andy. There was little more to report on the opening day of the tournament except that, despite winning with the injury, it’s was worse than first thought and Andy took no further part in the tournament. The results of other matches on the first day were Rich Nichol beat Dan Jukes 3-0 and Andy Milbourne beat Brian Pate 3-0 too.
DAY 2: The first match on day 2 stepped things up a gear. Mark Simmons from Chew Valley Squash Club took on Jordan Milbourne from Kingswood Squash and it was a battle of experience versus youth. First game went to Mark, taking it 9-7. Jordan fought back and levelled at 1-1 in a closely fought encounter with Jordan edging a 10-8 win. The next two games were hard fought with some long rallies. Jordan had the momentum and won the third game (now 2-1 to him) with the game score 9-6. Into the fourth game and the match seemed to swing back Mark’s way as he raced to a 7-1 lead. Jordan threw everything at Mark and pulled back to 7-5. Mark then raised his game again and levelled the match at 2-2 by winning the game 9-5. The 5th was a totally different ballgame! Jordan, the younger player, seemed to be drained by this physical match and didn’t trouble the scorer as Mark went through to the next round by winning it 9-0. Jordan went through to the Plate.
Next up was the quarter final clash between Rich Nichol and Jamie Watson which was a repeat of the quarter final clash in the previous tournament. Last time spectators were treated to an awesome display of squash as this pair battled out an exhausting 5-setter. History however, didn’t repeat itself. Rich took control from the very start giving Jamie no chance to get into the game and Rich cruised into the semis 9-1, 9-3 and 9-3. John Thompson also made it into the semi-finals with only a small scare. He was up against Andy Milbourne from Kingswood. It was a fairly easy first game for John with a 9-2 win. The second was a bit of a shock as John found himself 3-7 down. After a bit of “self-coaching” John got his act together and pulled it back with a 9-7 win. John was on top for most of the third game which he won 9-5.
DAY 3: Onto the semis & finals in both the Championship and Plate tournaments.
The Championship tournament semis were Joey Williams v Mark Simmons (a repeat of the Series 2 semi-final) and Rich Nichol v John Thompson.
The first Championship semi-final was a bit of a see-saw event. In the opening game Mark seemed to have a problem getting his head around the task and Joey easily went 1-0 up by taking the game 9-3. This seemed to spur Mark on and he quickly levelled the match at 1-1 by winning the second game 9-2. More see-saw as Joey took the 3rd game 9-3. The fourth game followed a similar pattern. Joey went 8-3 up and served for the match 4 times only to be pulled back by Mark. Sheers determination and effort was on display as Mark fought back to 8-7. Finally though, Joey took one of his match points and moved into the final winning 9-7 in the game and 3-1 overall in the match. So, Joey Williams was into his 3rd Butcombe Race of Champions Final!
The second Championship semi-final started neck and neck. Both players exchanged serves for the first few points. John edged ahead and got himself 6-2 up. Rich then took control and didn’t drop serve as he won seven points in a row to take the first game 9-6. That’s when it all went wrong for Rich. John was clearly wound up by losing the first game and produced a dominant performance for the next 3 sets as he won them 9-1, 9-1 and 9-3 to book himself a place in the final against reigning Champion, Joey Williams.
The Plate tournament semis were Jamie Watson v Andy Milbourne and Brian Pate v Jordan Milbourne. No surprises here as Andy and Jordan played their way into the Plate final to set up a father and son battle between two entrants from Kingswood Squash Club.
THE BUTCOMBE RACE OF CHAMPIONS FINALS:
The Plate Final: Andy v Jordan Milbourne – father v son - was the first off and it proved to be the more exciting. It was a close first game and, with serve going back and forward, Jordan was eventually 8-5, then 8-6, then 8-7 ahead. He finally sealed it with a 9-7 win in the first game. The second game was almost a carbon copy; same scoring pattern and identical score with Jordan going 2-0 up. Game 3 had to be seen to be believed. Jordan was 6-3 up in the third game and seemed to be cruising to the Plate title but his Dad had other ideas. “Old-man” Milbourne won the serve at 3-6 down and didn’t look back in this game. Without dropping serve Andy went from 3-6 down to win the 3rd game 9-6. Now just a 2-1 lead for son Jordan. Into took the fourth game and Andy continued his winning streak. He played his way to a 5-0 lead and a comeback seemed well and truly on the cards. Things couldn’t get much closer! Andy now had the upper hand. The serve went back and forward until the score reached 8-4 to Dad-Andy. Seven times Andy served for the game, a game point that would have levelled the match at 2-2. Seven times, however, Son-Jordan fought back until Jordan eventually brought the game to a tie at 8-8. At this stage, with Jordan now on top and Andy looking drained, Jordan just needed 2 points to take The Butcombe Race of Champions Plate Trophy - well done Jordan.
The Championship Final: Joey Williams v John Thompson. This was Joey’s 3rd appearance in The Butcombe Race of Champions Final and was the current champion looking to retain his crown. The opening few points were all a bit cagey as the two finalists were sussing each other out. At 4-4 in the first game the tide changed and John swept to a 9-4 win. After that it was downhill for Joey as John took command. John won the second game 9-3 and the third game 9-0 to take the match and the title 3-0.
Chairman, Brian Pate said “It was great to see so many quality players entering Series 3 of the tournament. It was great to see another CVSC take the title on home ground and just as pleasing is the growing numbers of entrants from other clubs across the region. Thanks go out to all who entered, the organisers and the sponsors Butcombe Brewing Co, Valentino Kitchens and The Pelly, Chew Magna.”
Series 4, which takes place on Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th May, is the last open tournament before the Series Finale, the battle of the Champions, which is scheduled for the Summer.
The Champion - John Thompson
The Plate Winner - Jordan Milbourne
Presentation By Sam Whitty, Owner of Valentino Kitchens, T-Shirt Sponsors of The Butcombe Race of Champions 3 with Brian Pate, Chair of CVSC
Action Shots from The Butcombe Race of Champions - Series 3.
John Thompson (In Black) on his way to the title against Joey Williams.
Joey Williams and John Thompson - The Finalists.
The Millbournes - Father v Son Plate Finalists
That's Series 3 - Watch Out For Series 4 In May