Sport16th February 2014
National Deaf Squash Championships
Fiercely fought the Deaf Squash Champion's Crowns went to Jamie Mathews and Heather Thomas
The National Deaf Squash Championships organised by the England Deaf Squash Association took place at the National Squash Centre in Manchester on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th February 2014. Competing for the Rebecca Macree Trophy, the competition attracts the best deaf squash players from across the UK.
The Sportcity venue in Manchester is an impressive facility providing the competitors with an opportunity to use the same facilities as the best squash players in the world. From a spectator perspective, the glass courts provide a fantastic insight into the game. Reaching a career high world ranking of 7 in 2003, the venue would have suited Rebecca Macree down to the ground and is the ideal location to do justice for the competition named after her.
Retiring in 2005, Rebecca brought to an end a career that makes her one of the most successful deaf sports-stars in history, a career that spanned 17 years and one that saw her compete all over the world. From Barking in Essex, Rebecca took up squash aged 14 and turned professional aged 22. She went on to claim 8 titles on the professional circuit and made 24 finals. With a reputation of being a fierce competitor, Rebecca remains a keen supporter of deaf squash.
There were ten competitors in the men's competitions and four ladies competing for the label of National Champion. The competitors were placed into pools, with each player in the pool playing every other player in a Round Robin format. Phillip Thomas was top seed in Pool A, Jamie Mathews top seed in Pool B, and Heather Thomas was top seed in the ladies competition.
Playing three and four matches respectively in quick succession, the format of the competition tested both technique and stamina. With a good level of support games were fiercely contested with the odd show of frustration evident throughout the day. The details of each game have been set out on the SLFirst Deaf Sports Result page at slfirst.co.uk/results
Following the first round in the ladies competition, Heather Thomas was matched against Donna Cross for the title of Ladies Champion. A GB football player and excellent golfer, Donna had been playing squash for only three years but she came out of the blocks more quickly taking the first set 11-5. From that point on, Heather took control of the game, taking the next three games 11-4 11-7 11-4 to lift the trophy.
\The men's competition saw some tight and well fought games, but ultimately the final saw the pre-competition favourites Jamie Mathews and Phillip Thomas going head to head for the Champions Crown. Showing great spirit, Phillip did all he could to challenge the number 1 seed, but the higher ranked and previous six time winner, Jamie picked up the crown with a 11-5 12-10 11-2 victory.
Squash matches videoclip credits by DSPY
Throughout the day I was given the opportunity to do some BSL interviews with some of the people involved in organising and competing in the competition. The interviews are available below.
Article by Sarah Lawrence
posted in Deaf Sport / Sport
16th February 2014