Monday, May 28, 2018

Club Championships


     Matches continued Thursday evening, although it was a little quieter than previously nights.  In the Junior draw semi-finals, Ryan Guthrie and Amin Khan went back an forth for a good 45 min.  Despite having 4 match balls in the fifth game, Ryan couldn't pull it out giving Amin a 12-10 victory.  On the other side of that draw, Jagroop and Aaron were battling it out.  Unfortunately, Nagy had to withdraw due to injury.  This sets up a Jagroop vs. Amin final Saturday at 3:15.
     The B semi-finals is set for Friday as Steve Allen dispatched Arthur Nagy.  One half of the 40+ semi-finals is set as Dave Guthrie defeated Mike Wilbur.  In B doubles, the team of Usman Khan and Jagroop Bhangoo took on the "experience" of Herb and Ron Funkenhauser.  Game 1 game down the the final point and an unfortunate error by Jagroop gave Funkenhauser squared the game.  Game 2 also came down to the final point.  This time is was the Funkenhauser's who made the mistake.  It was looking like this match was going to back up the doubles courts for the evening.  As the match progressed the Funkenhausers began to fade allowing Khan/Bhangoo to take the match.
     The final match of the evening was an A doubles semi-finals of Guthrie(C)/Williams vs. Guthrie(D)/Lansens.  The match consisted of many uncharacteristic errors by Guthrie/Lansens which allowed Guthrie/Williams to cruise to victory and earn a spot in the finals Saturday at 4.


     What a night for squash!  No matter what court you were watching, there was a great match being played.  Starting off the evening was a tough, gut-it-out match between Doug Fields and Anis Khan.  Rallies left both players gasping for air.  Doug hit a couple of key winners that gave him game 5, earning him a trip to the B finals.   On the other side of the draw, Hannah Guthrie had her hands full with Stevie Allen and his speed.  This match too went down to the 5th game.  Steve blew a very big lead and hit a costly tin at 9-9 that led to him losing the match.
     In the A draw, Ryan Guthrie was trying to play the role of giant slayer and take down Paul Gebrael.  The rallies were long and neither player was giving an inch.  However, Paul proved to be to strong on this day taking down Ryan 3-1.  On the other side of that draw, Jagroop Bhangoo was hoping his strong play would carry him past Amin Khan.  While he played Amin very tough, Amin had too many shots tonight for Jagroop.  A Final is set for Saturday!
     In the 40+, playing partners Al Valente and Craig Guthrie took each other one.  What do you know?  Another game 5.  Valente made a couple of crucial errors down the stretch that cost him the match, setting up brother vs. brother final on Saturday.
    In the remaining A doubles semi it was Allen/Fields taking on top seed Eugeni/Gebrael.  Eugeni/Gebrael showed why they are the top seed, dispatching Allen/Fields 3-1.


     Finals day!  First match of the day was the UK racquetball final between Paul Gebrael and Chris Greig.  On a hot day with an already bouncy ball, the rallies were long.  However, Paul had too many shots for Chris and took the title 3-0.
     Onto the mixed doubles draw.  Usually a high competitive draw, this year it saw only two teams entered.  The experienced team of Doug Fields and Janice Funkenhauser versus the inexperienced team of Hannah Guthrie and Kabir Bhangoo.  In the first 2 games, Fields/Funkenhauser moved Guthrie/Bhangoo all around the court, forcing them into many, many, many errors.  However, the tables were turned in the next two games as Guthrie/Bhangoo started hitting tighter shots.  In game 5 Guthrie/Bhangoo continued this strong play and defeated Fields/Funkenhauser.
     In the other doubles matches of the day, upstarts Jagroop Bhangoo and Usman Khan took on Carlyle D'Souza and fill-in Jay Patel.  Bhangoo/Khan were looking like doubles veterans as they worked D'Souza/Patel all around the court as they cruised to victory.  In the A doubles, two players that were partnerless a week ago (Guthrie/Williams) took on the favourites of Eugeni/Gebrael.  Eugeni/Gebrael chased down the best shots Guthrie/Williams could throw at them and threw in a few good shots of their own.  Stymied at every turn, Guthrie/Williams lost 3-1, giving Paul his second title of the day.
     In the 40+ draw the Guthrie brothers took each other on.  I think next year you will have to submit government-issued ID to confirm your age in this draw.  Neither player looked anywhere near their true ages.  As was every match in this event, it was a tough one.  Players alternated games and then in game 5, points.  In the end, the older brother (Dave) took the 40+ title.
     Straight off the doubles court and onto the singles it was for Dougie Fields and Hannah Guthrie.  Doug was looking to exact revenge for his doubles loss.  Their styles couldn't have been more opposite with Hannah relying on her speed and court coverage to overcome Doug's hard drives and reverse winners.  Despite being exhausted, Doug did not relent, consistently hitting winners at every opportunity and winning the B draw.
     And for the match that the crowd showed up for, Amin vs Paul in the A final.  Could Paul go 3 for 3 on Saturday?  Or was Amin going to add to his just-won junior title?  It looked that way early as Amin played mistake-free squash with a lot of winners.  However, a slight let-up in game 3 opened the door for Paul and he took advantage, stealing games 3 and 4.  And why wouldn't the last match of the tournament be a tough game 5?  Both players badly wanted to win but it was youth that prevailed and Amin won both the junior title and the A title.  Well done Amin!
      Those of you that came out Saturday afternoon/evening not only got to see some great squash but got to experience the BBQing skills of Dave and Graeme as they fed the crowd hot dogs, sausages and burgers.  A couple things to note about this week.  People seemed to like this format very much.  The club was busy every night with a lot of matches going on.  For next year, we will stick with the same format, the Tuesday after Victoria Day.  Also, it was much talked about the quality of matches.  Everyone was going that extra mile and not willing to give an inch, which at times led to some testy exchanges.  In the end, the quality of squash was much higher than a typical league night as can be attested by the number of matches that went 5 games.
     Complete draws can be found here.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Club Championships- Early Rounds

      It is that time of year when we determine who the Club Champions will be.  This year the Club Championships are running over the course of this week.  Matches started on Tuesday and continue through to the finals on Saturday, which wraps up with a BBQ.   This year there were a lot of divisions to be decided and many juniors were scattered throughout the divisions, forcing the "old-timers" to step up their game.


     A busy night as most people that entered were playing.  In the A draw, Jagroop Bhangoo made a statement by defeating Brian Porter in the first round 3-0.  In the B draw, all the seeds moved on but the highlight match of the night was Jay Patel vs. Steve Allen.  Jay hyped the match early by declaring Steve would have a tough match ahead of him.  By end of the evening however, all seeded players prevailed and Steve Allen survived to play another day.
     In the 40+, the big match of the night was Wilbur v. Lansens.  A match that could go either way.  On this night, Wilbur brought his A game and defeated Lansens in a tight match.  Other than that, all the seeds moved on.
     Moving on to doubles, which featured many entertaining matches on this night.  In B doubles the team of D'Souza/Charles rode Charles' frame winners to victory over DeMarco/Brousseau.  In A doubles, up and coming team of Khan/Guthrie (Amin/Ryan) took on veterans Guthrie/Lansens.  At first glance it appeared that the veteran experience was more valuable than youth energy.  However, as the match went on and headed into game 5, it was anyone's match.  Veteran experience eventually won out in a tight game 5.


     Matches on this night proved to be much closer than the previous night.  The A draw saw a great match between #1 seed Paul Gebreal and upstart Jagroop Bhangoo.  Bhangoo took Paul to a fifth game but couldn't defeat Paul in the end.  Paul is the lone adult in the A semi finals.  Jagroop, however,  was not done this night.  He continued his strong play and took down Usman Khan to earn a spot in the junior semi-final draw.
      In the 40+ draw all the seeds moved on leading to some great Friday night matches.  Without a doubt though was the match of the night.  Young vs. Old(er) (sorry Anis but as you put it "40 years of experience needs to get going").  And get going it did.  Anis was down 2-0 to Aparna but somehow found the fountain of youth and made an incredible comeback to win in an amazing game 5.   Chalk one up for the older guys.

     Matches continue every evening right through until Saturday at 4 when Graeme and Dave will be BBQing some food for everyone.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Ontario High School Squash Championships

     This weekend saw the last tournament of the year at Executive Squash and Fitness with the Ontario High School Championships.  130 players made up 13 different schools, most from the Toronto and Niagara area.  Windsor had 3 teams representing, Vista, Massey and Sandwich.  The format of this tournament is a true team format.  You rank your player from 1-7 and play against another school.  Number #1 from each school play, #2's and so on.  First team to win 4 matches moves on.  There are 3 divisions, ranked, semi-ranked and unranked.  Vista entered a team in the ranked and semi-ranked divisions while, Massey entered a ranked team and Sandwich entered a team in the unranked division.
     This was Sandwich's first time in this tournament and even though they were missing a player on their team, they finished 4th out of 12 teams.  Vista's semi-ranked team played all their opponents very tough and lost a close match in the semis.  In the end, they finished 4th out of 13 teams.
     On paper it appeared that Massey and Vista had the strongest teams and the seedings worked out as Massey and Vista ended up in the finals against one another.  Vista proved to much for Massey to handle as Vista cruised to a 5-2 victory, earning them the title as the best team in Ontario.  This marks the 2nd time that Vista has won this tournament.
     It was clear at the tournament that many of the players and coaches acknowledged strength of Windsor's junior program and all players demonstrated excellent sportsmanship on the court and great citizenship off the court.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

World Squash Masters

This summer the World Squash Master (see link) is coming to beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia, a short drive from Windsor.  Some members of the Windsor Squash community are planning on attending (some have even signed up already).  The events runs from Sunday, July 29- Saturday, Aug 4.   We are looking at renting a house.  If you are interested in this event, see Dave Morrish. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Final Gary Waite Tournament

    As if Windsor juniors weren't busy enough this weekend, this was also the very last stop of the Gary Waite Tour.  All season, each weekend that a Gary Waite event is on, there has been and East and a West division.  For this event, both divisions met up for the final.  Many Windsor players took part, trying to win the final event and it was a Windsor domination.
     In the U10 division, both Iris Williams and Sebastien Stojanov got 2nd place, both losing a very close match in the finals.  Dawoud Pirzada, who is getting better every time he steps on the court won the consolation at only 7 years old.
  In the U13 division, Olivia Bhatti also got 2nd place while Christian Lindo won the consolation.  Courtney Furmanek won the O14 consolation.   Her brother, Carter, lost in a very tough final to take 2nd place.
     The beauty of the Gary Waite Tour is that it rewards participation and decides a year end winner based on their participation and performance over the course of the season.   Carter Furmanek took 1st in the O14 division, while Mehrab Pirzada took 2nd.  Jacob Bhatti took 1st in the 11-13 division and Maisie took 1st in the U10 Girls division.   Sebastian Stojanov took 1st in the Boys U10 division.  Well done for all the participants and parents that played and supported this event the course of the season.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Provincial Championships

   This weekend wrapped up the Ontario Gold season.  The provincial championships brought the best players to WhiteOaks for the weekend and 11 Windsor players competed in this event.  The highlight of the weekend was the Saturday night banquet in which players and parents listened to an inspirational speech by Olympic swimmer Martha McCabe.  Her dedication to her sport and dealing with failure was a great message to Ontario squash players that success cannot be achieved without perseverance, total dedication and hard work.
     But the highlight of the night was Dave Morrish winning Coach of the Year.  This is an amazing honour, especially since Graeme won this same award last year.  It really speaks to the dedication of these two and the fact that they have put Windsor on the map as the place to be for squash.  Dave was recognized for his dedication to the sport and for the development of Windsor's players.  Dave had no clue that he had even been nominated.  When put on the spot to give a speech, something that Dave dreads, he came through.  He gave a very emotional speech about how after years of traveling around, he has finally found a home in Windsor and in Canada.  Dave, you did such a great job you have been nominated as official MC at all future Windsor events.  If you want to hear Dave's speech, you can find it here.
     Windsor wasn't done with the honours though.  Hannah Guthrie won the girls Most Improved Player of the Year.  Hannah has shown much dedication to squash by working hard with her coaches and training on and off the court.  This resulted in numerous wins this year over players with a higher ranking.  Hannah has proven to be a tough match for whoever she gets on the court with.
     As for the tournament, Ananya completed her domination of the girls U13 draw this year, by winning the U13 draw.  Ananya went through the entire season losing only a few matches.  Well done Ananya!
     The other highlight of the weekend was the stellar play of Jagroop Bhangoo.  Jagroop lost his first round in a very tough match but he went on to play great in the consolation draw and eventually winning that draw.  Well done Jagroop!
     All in all this has been a very successful season.  Windsor players are always tough to contend with and while they may not win their respective draws, their play and behaviour on the court leaves a lasting impression with their opponents.  As the season progresses many players who may have been dominate in their age group age out of that division and suddenly become the youngest player in their new division, playing players that may be 2 years older than them.  Congratulation to Graeme and Dave and all the players from Windsor that competed this year in the highest level of squash.  Great things still to come.
     Pictures can be found here.  Draws can be found here.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Busy Weekend for WSF

    If you came by the club Friday night you might have wondered why it was so quiet.  Many adults members took part in the very popular Toledo tournament.  Some of the juniors were taking part in the Ontario Winter Games in Barrie and others were playing in the Silver tournament at Mayfair Lakeshore.  I will spare you the details of the Toledo tournament as no one advanced far in the draws and the real action at Toledo is off the court and, well, this blog might not be the place to talk about it :)

Ontario Winter Games

     The province of Ontario is broken up into different regions (we are southwest, Windsor to London) and each region has their best player at each age level compete.  7 of here
the 8 players were from Windsor this year.    The girls team consisted of Aparna, Ananya, Sara and Hannah, while the boys team was Vishaal, Usman, Amin and Jayden (London).  We got off to a great start by upsetting one of the Toronto teams.   Usman and Hannah pulled off upsets to contribute to the win.    The next round we dominated Ottawa.  We barely lost in the next round to another Toronto team, leaving us 2 in our pool.   We drew yet another Toronto team in the playoffs only to lose 5-3.   We then played off for the bronze medal and again lost 5-3.  However, Windsor brings home a 4th place and was very close to winning their matches.  Well played Southwest!  Complete draws can be found

Silver Tournament at Mayfair Lakeshore

     3 of our players headed up to this tournament.  Dylan Charles, Mehrab Pirazzi and Gabe Van Morsel (ok, an adopted Windsor player).  Dylan was coming off his first gold and was looking to capitalize on what he learned.  He cruised through his first round only to draw the 2nd seed in the second round.  Despite losing, Dylan played him very tough and tired him out for the next round.  Luckily for Gabe, he drew the second seed next and easily defeated him.  Gabe continued his strong play and went on the win the U13 draw.  Well done Gabe!  In the end, Dylan won the bronze division.  Mehrab competed in the tough U15 division.  He played strong but lost in the quarters of the consolation division.  Draws can be found here