Four great finals tonight at The 29th Andy Gill Memorial Championships culminated with Yorkshire’s Shaun Le Roux stealing the show taking a second title to add to his previous win in 2009.
Le Roux secured his second title with a 74 minute win over Derbyshire’s Joel Hinds in a close fought A Final. With the match tied at one set all the crucial breakaway came at four each in the third set with Le Roux turning the screw to win the set in one hand 11-4.
At 2-1 down Hinds found himself on the wrong end of some punishing rallies and only offered token resistance before Le Roux ran out the 11-5 winner to take the title in four sets.
The D final saw a dramatic comeback by Cheshire Ladies Number 5 Kirsty West who fought back from 2-0 down against Rochdale’s Richard Mills to win in five, whilst in a repeat of their 2010 final Steve Cummings took his fourth C title beating East Lancashire player Stuart Wardle 11-9 11-8 4-11 11-8
15 year old Patrick Rooney failed to live up to his billing as he was stunned by James Pickles of Edge in three quality games in the B Final but he will surely return to triumph in the years to come
In the first A semi final Shaun Le Roux produced a quality display to see off Lewis Walters 11-6, 11-2, 11-7 to reach another Andy Gill final and he will be keen to add to his 2009 success in tomorrows final.
The C final will be contested by the top two seeds in a repeat of the 2009 final following wins by East Lancashire’s Stuart Wardle over Bury player Matthew Walker 11-3 5-11 11-9 11-5 and in an all Rochdale battle Steve Cummings outlasted last years finalist and teammate Jon Dawson in four 11-7 9-11 11-6 13-11
Alderley Edge player James Pickles ‘edged’ past Cheetham Hill’s Glen Ragou to reach his first Andy Gill final after 58 minutes winning 4-11 11-9 7-11 11-4 11-8 where he will meet 15 year old sensation Patrick Rooney from St Helens who came past Cheshire’s Alex Pendleton 11-5 14-12 7-11 11-6
The Andy Gill Memorial Squash Championships are unique in a sporting world where commemorative matches or events for sportsmen tragically lost in their prime are quite common, sometimes a second event is staged, but how often does one carry on for 29 years without any sign of waning.
Andy Gill died of cancer at the tragic early age of 23, at a time when he was well known in the North West as a young man who combined entertaining squash and a cheeky smile with the maturity to be Lancashire Team Captain.
The man behind the championships is Tournament Promoter Barry King, who was Lancashire Team Manager at the time of Andy’s death. Barry has encouraged and cajoled sponsors to support the event throughout its 29 years, and many sponsors have like Barry been around since day one.
Perhaps fittingly the first title went to Lancashire team mate, David Pearson, who went on to win the next four. Other early winners were Martin Bodimeade and Neil Harvey, followed by Paul Lord (twice), Simon Parke, Gary Thwaite and Derek Ryan.
Nick Taylor won his first in 1995 and then collected five titles in seven years. Marcus Berrett won in 2000, 2002 and 2004. James Willstrop won in 2003 following runners-up medals in the previous two. Australian Stewart Boswell lifted the trophy in 2005, followed by back to back wins by Cheshire’s Andy Whipp in 2006 & 2007. Daryl Selby of Essex was champion in 2008, with Yorkshire players Shaun Le Roux winning in 2009 and Laurence Delasaux in the 2010 event. The current champion is Guernseys World Number 41 Chris Simpson.
Christies Hospital Manchester, a leading Cancer Research Centre, is the beneficiary from the event that has grown over the years to be regarded as the North’s premier early season, catering for all standards of play from the local league player to some of the games top professionals.
Maple Squash Club, Oldham was the tournament’s original home, but following closure the event was transferred to its adopted home at Rochdale Cricket, Lacrosse and Squash Club in 1996.
Tony Parker ran the event for the first ten years, before passing the reigns to Rob Slater in 1994. Tony retains the role of Tournament Referee.
Contact: Tournament Director – Rob Slater 07768 024300 for more information