Leicestershire's first squashlevels handicapped invitational tournament

The Inaugural Dan Willets Cup Invitational Tournament:
On the final Sunday in September, 2015, the Leicestershire Tennis and Squash Club played host to the very first staging of what will hopefully become a regular fixture on the Leicestershire Squash calendar.  The idea behind the Tournament is to gather like-minded squash fanatics together to enjoy an afternoon of fun and friendly play, 
with a bit of feigned pomp and ceremony thrown in, and a shiny little trophy to boot.
The Dan Willets Cup Invitational Tournament is a round-robin tournament that can be enjoyed by any player of any standard.  The scoring system is based on the individual ratings taken from www.SquashLevels.com, and the stated handicap calculated by comparing the rating of any two players.  This means that based on par scoring to 15, the starting position can range from anywhere between ‘0,0’ to ‘+7, -7’ in favour of the lower ranked player. 
The six combatants that took to the court were; Dave New, Chris Trafford, Matt Williams, Jason Gollaglee (graciously stepping in at short notice to replace the stricken Ollie Wood), Rob Wynne, and the man himself, Dan Willets.  With Groups, handicaps and running order decided, play got underway.  The group stages saw (on paper) some close match-ups, and some not so close, but with the impressively accurate handicap system doing it’s job, each match was a relatively close run thing and some excellent squash ensued in the best-of-three encounters.
Group Stage Results:
Group A – Handicap in ():  
Gollaglee             (0)          2              12           15           15
Wynne                 (0)          1              15           8              12
Trafford               (+4)        2              15           15
Gollaglee             (-4)         0              8              8
Trafford               (+5)        2              15           13           15
Wynne                 (-5)         1              11           15           4
Group B:
Willets                  (+2)        2              15           13           15
Williams               (-2)         1              2              15           4
New                      (-7)         2              15           15
Willets                  (+7)        0              10           10
New                      (-6)         2              17           15
Williams               (+6)        0              15           12
Those results meant a final showdown between Dave New and Chris Trafford, with the scores starting; Chris +7, Dave -7.
Both men had played exemplary squash to get to the final, but it was Chris who continued his high standard of play to take the opening game, displaying both patient accuracy and impressive power (shot of the day was a smashed forehand nick return of serve that rolled out dead as a Dodo).  However, despite having to win almost 3 times as many points as anyone else throughout the day, it was Dave who looked the more sprightly of the two, and his brand of quick-fire, energetic and hard-hitting squash was too much in the end for his visibly tired opponent (no surprise as Chris had to play 3 matches back to back whilst Dave was able to enjoy an extended break – as he was keen to point out from the balcony as he marked Chris’ second match).  Despite a valiant effort from Chris and some of his best squash,  it was an imperious display of hitting from Dave and he took the remaining two games to win the Final, 2-1.


official scorecard from the final                                                                       the two finalists

All in all it was a great event and an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Mr New was the deserving winner on the day and took home the spoils, but in the end the real success was the spirit and attitude shown by all, as well as the bespoke tournament Programmes and marking sheets (of course).  That said, the real mark of success has to be the fact that anticipation is already growing at the prospect of the next instalment of what is already being talked about as a potential future mainstay on the PSA World Tour.
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