Lisburn Racquets’ Masters have successfully retained the Ulster Squash Masters League for another year - but only just.
The nine times league champions had a tough season, losing key players to injury, but luckily had sufficient depth of talent and experience in their pool of reserves to capture the title once again.
With just one remaining, the Over 45s squad were five points behind leaders Boat Club, who had already completed their fixtures.
LRSC’s game in hand was away to Lagan Valley Sharks; always a tough fixture against a team of experienced players.
The newly qualifying ‘young’ Master Neil Copeland secured LRSC’s first two points, winning 2-1 in a topsy turvy game against the very nippy Susan McMorrow.
Squash legend Kenneth Moore added a third, losing 1-2 to Sharks’ Jeremy Bowden; the only man in the league with an even more generous handicap than Kenneth himself.
With retention of the league title now looking shaky, the pressure was on Davy McClay to earn another point or two towards title glory.
Davy worked harder than seen for several seasons, but was against the Sharkiest Shark of them all, Lynda Dunlop who, with a 17-point handicap advantage, dropped and boasted her way to a 3-0 win, characteristically apologising for each winner along the way.
Meanwhile, on the adjacent court, Racquets’ Mark Smyth, with his unique whirlwind uncompromising style, had already overwhelmed the Sharks’ Captain Stephen Hanna to go 2-0 up, leaving just one more game required for title glory. Mark ensured that honour fell to no one but himself, putting away the all-important third game 15/5.
So, with the title won and corks popped, the final game was somewhat irrelevant. Nonetheless, the Sharks’ Tracey Walsh and Racquets’ Davy Hamilton fought out the closest battle of the evening, Tracey winning 2-1 to claim the match for Sharks.
So Lisburn Racquets Masters are Ulster Squash Champions for another year, winning the title race by just two points.
Full credit to their inspiring team captain, Michael Graham, and all the other Masters who represented LRSC: Peter Barclay, Paul Moore, Mark Smyth, Davy McClay, David Hamilton, Neil Copeland, Derek Rollins, John Floyd, Ken Moore and John MacBride.