Norman clinches 23rd Isle of Man squash title
The Utmost Wealth Solutions-sponsored Isle of Man Squash Championships were held at the NSC recently.
Round one saw the ever-improving Shaun Wyllie secure a 3-0 win against Oliver Wait, while Christian Webster managed to take the first game of close encounter with James Ramsey.
But the latter managed to see out the match 3-1 and Fraser Dorling nearly caused the upset of the round against Thomas Whiteway before losing narrowly 2-3.
In the quarter-finals, David Norman - searching for what is believed would be a world record-equaling 23rd national title - Oscar Hill and Ashley Sandy-Sykes all recorded 3-0 victories, while Whiteway snuck a 3-2 victory against Malcolm Levy.
The bowl semi-finals both produced close five-set matches, with Dasa Brynjolffssen and Mark Grace claiming victories against Les Callow and Ian Barnes respectively.
The plate semi-final saw junior academy prospects Christian Webster and Harvey Douglas earn wins against David Freer and Richard Haley.
Wyllie put in a determined performance against Levy, sealing the first game but eventually succumbing 1-3, while Chloe Corrigan claimed victory against squash veteran Shaw.
In the semi-finals, Sandyford-Sykes flew out of the blocks against Hill taking the first game 11-6, before the latter imposed his style of play by stretching his opponent and took the second game 11-5.
The third saw Sandyford-Sykes start quick again and led the game but was unable to convert as Hill extended the rallies to tire his opponent out and win it 12-10. Hill secured his spot in the final after taking the final game 11-4.
In a repeat of the 2021 semi-final, Norman took on Whiteway and a close opener was won by Norman 11-8 before taking the second 11-2.
The third game appeared to be following suit as Norman led 10-5 before Whiteway claimed the next six points as a fightback appeared to be on the cards, but the experience of Norman shone through and he saw out the game 14-12.
The bowl final saw Grace beat Brynjolffssen 3-0 in a closer match than the scoreline suggests, while in the plate final, Christian Webster also earned a 3-0 win with some controlled and tight squash against Harvey Douglas. In the third place play-off, Whiteway took two close first games 15-13 and 14-12 both on tie-breaks against Sandyford-Sykes before taking the last 11-4.
The final between Norman and Hill started with some lengthy rallies between the pair, exchanging blows before Norman punched in some quick-fire winners to take the first 11-5.
The second started in similar fashion to the first with some extended rallies being played up and down the walls. The game was in the balance at 8-8 but Norman was able to find the winners to take it 11-8.
The third game saw Norman come out strong, pushing Hill round the court which proved too much, taking the game 11-2 to seal his 23rd national title.
Sophie Barraclough of Utmost presented the trophies and prizes to all the winners, before Isle of Man Squash Rackets Association president Les Callow congratulated all players and winner Norman.
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