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Cornwall Open Team 2024

The 2024 edition of the Mens National Squash Intercounty tournament kicked off last weekend (24th Feb 2024).

The Cornish Contingent had the luxury of hitting the road at the leisurely time of 10:30am Saturday morning, with the fixture being held at the newly refurbished Exeter Golf and Country Club.

Confidence was running high as we safely navigated the A30 in good time, with a fair bit of squash banter along the way. On arrival, Cornwall were met with a warm welcome from the hosts and good friends Devon who were quick to point out they meant business when they showed us to their team selection.

First up was Tom “Newbs” Newberry, making his debut for the senior team. Tom slotted in at string 5 and came up against a strong squash & racketball player in local legend Josh. He came through a few nervous points to show the packed crowds behind the court glimpses of what the boy can do on his day. Eventually Josh was too strong and Torn went down 3-0.

Most of you down in this neck of the woods would been familiar with the name Mike Gregory. Yes Mike the extremely talented & gifted squash player who makes the game look all so easy at times. Mark Campen – Howarth was the Cornish challenger. Mark is his words “didn’t have the best of games”, but with Mikes accuracy and pressure he lands on his opponent with every shot, it was always going to be a tough ask. 3-0 to Devon.

Similar story for the “oldest, but best looking” member of the Cornish team, Phil Thomas. Playing at string number 2, he faced off against David Palmer. Not the “Two Time World Champion” David Palmer, but still a very handy player. Phil started slowly, but got himself competitive as the match went on. He couldn’t scrape a game, also losing 3-0 on this occasion.

Owen London was up next. Playing at String 1 for the first time. Some quality squash in this tie. Owen was hitting clean lengths and great short stuff to move his opponent around the court. Things were looking good, the only downside was he was up against Mike Harris, some 17,000 squash levels higher than him at the start of play. Great effort from Owen though, losing 3-0 but getting 7+ points in each game.

Jonny Newts managed to pick up the only points in this fixture. He faced off against long time friend Jim Bristow, who had not long come off court in a thrilling 3-2 win against his Welsh counterpart. Jonny boy took the first game, but couldn’t keep it up, with Jim finding his range and coming out a comfortable 3-1 winner.

Maybe the win was never on the cards, but the Cornish lads put up a dam good effort in defeat.

The local “Beefeater” was the next stop for a bite to eat. Keeping our diets healthy we decided on ordering a mixture of fresh fruit, salads and some protein shakes to get us ready for the second fixture, Wales A.

Wales A narrowly lost 3-2 to Devon in their first fixture, so we knew what we were up against.

Tom Newberry, again first on, put those nerves to one side in this one. He came out the blocks flying, taking a 2 game lead against a very steady Wales player. There were plenty of shots on display. He went 7-1 in the third and also had match ball. However he couldn’t quite get over the line as his gallant opponent ground his way back into the match, with Tom eventually going down 11/7 in the 5th. Still a top effort against someone who was a very solid yardstick.

String Number 4s went on next. Jonny Newts put some cracking rallies together but was up against a teenager who made very few mistakes. Was an entertaining match, however the healthy pre match meal failed to get any points on the board, and he fell victim to a 3-0 loss.

Mark Campen – Howarth had an awesome battle with Archie Turnbull, another youngster who was a solid 8,000 points higher in the rankings. Although this match also finished 3-0 to the welshman, Mark should have closed out the first game where he had numerous game balls. Every rally from both players in this match was hard fought, with no easy points. A great watch for the neutral. Great to see Mark being “more than competitive” in what was a tough ask. Good luck with Mark and his efforts in the upcoming masters events.

Phill Thomas, playing a Welsh lad on 14,000, turned up the heat, taking the first game 12/10 in a hard-hitting encounter. The welsh number 2 got back into the match with some sweet short balls to edge into a 2-1 lead. However Phil, using his experience, snuck the “chicken goujons” into his lunch schedule at the Beefeater, which turned out to be a top shout. He took the welshman to a five setter, eventually losing 11/7 in the fifth.

Owen London, looking to try and gain our only possible win, was another who came out the blocks flying. He took the first game against the Wales A number 1 with some awesome squash. That turned out to be about it, with Owen putting some decent squash together whilst not getting the points his efforts deserved.

Final Results:

Devon vs Cornwall

Mike Harris bt Owen London – 3-0 (11/8 11/8 11/7)

David Palmer bt Phil Thomas – 3-0 (11/1 11/4 11/8)

Mike Gregory bt Mark Campen Howarth – 3-0 (11/4 11/5 11/2)

Jim Bristow bt Jon Newton – 3-1 (9/11 12/10 11/6 11/3)

Josh Smart bt Tom Newberry – 3-0 (11/4 11/6 11/4)

Wales vs Cornwall

Lewis Poole bt Owen London – 3-1 (8/11 11/3 11/2 11/5)

David Haley bt Phil Thomas – 3-2 (10/12 11/5 11/8 5/11 11/7)

Archie Turnbull bt Mark Campen – Howarth – 3-0 (14/12 11/6 11/8)

Evan Davies – Clarke bt Jon Newton – 3-0 (11/3 11/8 11/5)

Alex Rowlands bt Tom Newberry – 3-2 (7/11 4/11 12/10 12/10 11/9)

A big thanks to Neil Counter who came along to support the Cornish.

Beers were consumed back at The Pheasant Inn at Newlyn East where we reflected on a brilliant day of squash. The gang finished the day off with a darts competition where we found out Owen London is our number 1 at that too.

Jon

Cornwall squash
& racketball

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