Swindon Advertiser – Squash Championship begins today

Swindon Advertiser reports of Wiltshires Squash Championship which is taking place at South Marston Hotel today:

FRESH snow on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning has once again thrown the sporting schedule for the coming days into chaos.

But while the likes of football and rugby are expected to be badly affected, indoor sports are still going ahead and suddenly find themselves in the spotlight.

The cold conditions should not prevent this weekend’s Wiltshire Closed Squash Championships at South Marston Hotel and Leisure Club from taking place.

In fact, despite entrants coming from all over Wiltshire, the weather has done little to deter applications for the tournament.

Some 34 players will battle it out for the honour of becoming the county’s best player.

That figure reflects the increased interest in the tournament in recent years, and event organiser Dean Watkins, who will take part himself, told the Advertiser that the number is “the largest entry in living memory”.

And it would appear that competition for the title is fiercer than ever. Swindon’s Paul Clark, a two-time winner of the tournament, will return for a third crack at glory.

Clark is a professional coach at South Marston and will fancy his chances of another title on his home courts.

His fellow Swindonian and former champion, Julian Beckett, will also return, while other Swindon entrants are the likes of Ed Crane, Neil Marshman, Dave Ridgeway, Justin Cox and Simon Williams.

Nigel Rowe, a multiple runner-up in the championships who has won the over 35 championships a number of times, will come back for another tilt at the senior title.

“It’s a brilliant standard of squash and we have players from all over Wiltshire competing,” added Watkins, who is a member of Wessex Squash Club.

Although the tournament officially starts on Saturday, a preliminary round for an unlucky few will take place on Friday.

This has been brought about so the field can be brought down to 32 competitors, ensuring that a simple knockout tournament can take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Matches will be played over the best of five sets, with the first to nine points winning a single game.

Players who lose in the first and second rounds of the tournament proper will be entered into a Plate competition.

The main tournament starts at 10am on Saturday morning and is expected to finish midway through Sunday afternoon.

Sports-mad members of the public desperate to get their fix are encouraged to come and watch the action for free.

The original article is available here.

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