The 2022 Dave Karran Memorial Squash Tournament took place last week, sponsored as ever by Manx Telecom.

This year the organisers decided to run it as a graded tournament in an attempt to boost entrants. This was successful as 21 entered, allocated to pools dependent on ability.

The five in the Grade A tournament were all local top 10-ranked players, namely Ashley Sandyford-Sykes, Thom Whiteway, Pat Fitzpatrick, Hamish Thornton and Jason Crease.

They played a round-robin over the four nights of competition to produce a final league table.

On night one (Tuesday) all matches went to four or five games, testament to how evenly-matched the group was. Whiteway, Fitzpatrick and Thornton each played two matches, with Whiteway and Fitzpatrick both managing 3-2 wins, Whiteway beating Crease and Fitzpatrick defeating Thornton.

The latter also lost 1-3 to No.1 seed Sandyford-Sykes.

To end the night Fitzpatrick got the better of Whiteway, coming back from 0-1 down to win the next three games and secure a 3-1 victory.

On Thursday Sandyford-Sykes beat Crease 3-0 and narrowly overcame Fitzpatrick 11-6 in the final game of a five-game thriller. Whiteway beat Thornton 3-0 in the other match.

This left three matches to be played on the final night of competition. Fitzpatrick beat Crease 3-1, while Whiteway achieved the same scoreline against Sandyford-Sykes. Crease also managed a 3-2 win over Thornton coming back from 0-2 down.

This meant that Whiteway, Fitzpatrick and Sandyford-Sykes had all won three matches, so to determine the order of the final league table games, then points had to be taken into account.

This resulted in Fitzpatrick claiming the top spot, Whiteway was second and Sandyford-Sykes third, with Crease and Thornton completing the table.

The Grade B tournament was played between Ben Peach, Dafydd Lewis, James Ramsey and Chris Walton. These players all exceeded 2,000 points on the Squash Levels ranking system was used to determine which graded tournament the players were entered into.

This too was played as a round robin, but with only four players each only had to play one match per evening.

Peach defeated Walton, a player new to Isle of Man squash; Ramsey defeated the higher-seeded Lewis also by a 3-0 scoreline.

Night two brought the two winners and two losers together. Lewis defeated new boy Walton 3-1, while the match between Peach and Ramsey turned out to be the highlight of the evening.

In a real see-saw event, Ramsey won the first game then Peach equalised. Ramsey made it 2-1, then Peach fought back to make it 2-2.

In the fifth and deciding game they took it in turns to lead but it was still undecided at 10-10, so they set and Peach eventually took the final game 13-11 to claim the match 3-2.

On the final night of competition Ramsey beat Walton 3-0, and Peach beat Lewis by the same score.

This left Peach top of the Grade B table followed by Ramsey, Lewis and finally Walton.

The next eight players according to the Isle of Man rankings were entered into the Grade C tournament. Top seed in this was Lance Wyllie, going down the rankings he was followed by Harvey Douglas, David Freer, Richard Haley, Michael Fernandes, Richard Cretney, Peter Ferguson and Phil Butler.

These players used a Monrad system to compete against each other, using this system the players end up ranked from one to eight depending on the results from their matches.

The first night saw top seeds Wyllie and Douglas progress with 3-0 scorelines, No.3 seed Freer had a great contest with Cretney overcoming him in five games.

The experienced Haley went down 0-3 to the younger fifth seed Fernandes for the only upset of the round.

Wyllie and Douglas both won their semi-final matches, although Douglas dropped a game to the energetic Freer on his way to a win. In the lower half of the draw, the first round losers, the higher seeds took the wins so Haley and Cretney progressed to the fifth/sixth play-off match.

The final night decided the finishing places. Butler defeated Ferguson 3-1 to claim seventh spot, Cretney had yet another five game match before eventually beating Haley, coming back from 1-2 down, to get the fifth spot. Freer versus Fernandes resulted in a 3-0 win to Freer so he claimed third.

The final between Wyllie and Douglas was close and exciting, reflected in the final scores of 11-8 11-13 11-9 and 14-12. It was a real nip-and-tuck affair between two constantly improving players, with Wyllie getting the better on this occasion to become the Grade C winner.

The D Grade tournament was for players with Squash Levels ranking points of 600 and less. This was also played using a Monrad system.

This involved some who have played squash for a good number of years and others relatively new to the competitive game.

Top seed Les Callow fell into the first category, along with Phil Shaw, Brian Cowley, Stephen Pitts and Andy McLarney. Whereas Adam Jones, Mark Goodall and junior player Harrison Callow fell into the second category.

Top seed’s Callow, Pitts and McLarney all won their first round matches, although the first two both dropped games.

Island Exhaust Vets’ players Cowley and Shaw provided the fourth first round winner and on this occasion Shaw’s tenacity and fitness brought him the 3-1 result as Cowley tired.

In the second round of matches in the bottom half of the draw, between the first round losers, Jones and H. Callow gained victories over Cowley and Goodall.

The semi-final matches saw Les Callow play his regular sparring partner Shaw and win in straight games. Pitts against McLarney was a close contest with McLarney, despite being 0-2 down, taking the third 12-10, but Pitts clinched the match and a place in the final with a 11-4 victory in the fourth game.

The final round brought Cowley’s first victory to end up seventh overall. Harrison Callow beat Jones 3-0 to wrestle the fifth spot off him; McLarney came back from 0-2 down to seal a 3-2 victory and third spot from Shaw.

The final between experienced C League players Les Callow and Pitts went to five games with Pitts eventually claiming the Grade D competition 11-9 in the fifth.

The tournament prizes were presented by Bill Karran, brother of the late Dave Karran who was a very active squash player, well liked and remembered by older squash players. He worked for Manx Telecom which is why the Karran family and Manx Telecom continue to support this tournament.

IoM Squash Rackets Association is very grateful for their ongoing and faithful support.

Congratulations go to champions Pat Fitzpatrick (Grade A), Ben Peach (Grade B), Lance Wyllie (Grade C) and Stephen Pitts (Grade D).