The Baker Tilly corporate squash league came to a dramatic end with the top two finishers going head to head to see who would claim the title.
In the semifinals last Thursday, league leaders AON Red Tornadoes managed to sneak past KPMG Kobras by just one point to take their place in the grand final, largely due to the performance of their teenage B player Jasun Sairsingh, who took two games off the experienced Patrick McConvey – just enough to tip the balance for AON to go through.
In the other semifinal, DMS made short work of team Undecided, claiming a whitewash victory in all matches, which showed their intention to reclaim this title.
DMS started best in the final with their B string Jorge Vera first one on court against AON’s 14-year-old Sairsingh.
Vera immediately took control and managed to work Sairsingh around the court and squeeze some errors from him, taking the first game 11-7.
The second game was a little closer with the score at 9-all before the possibility of winning the game crept into the youngster’s mind and distracted him just enough to choose the wrong shots and open the court up for Vera to attack and win the next two points.
Vera kept the momentum going to take the third and close out the match 11-5.
Next up were the C players, AON’s Robert Tate against Robert O’Callaghan. While both players are similar in stature, it was O’Callaghan who seemed to be in better shape. This was evident after the first two games, which were split 1-1.
The first was taken by Tate 11-9, and the second by O’Callaghan in a tiebreak 12-10.
Tate decided he needed to have a lie-down to try and recover for the next game. This gave O’Callaghan some confidence. Even though he was hurting from the match himself, he used this to his advantage and kept the pressure on Tate, eventually wearing him down 11-8 and taking the fourth easier, 11-4. DMS was now sitting pretty with six points in the bag and needing nine to secure the win.
The A players AON’s Steve Smith came up against DMS’s captain Neil Stone-Wigg. Stone-Wigg’s unorthodox shot selection gave him the upper hand in game 1 where he was able to twist and turn Smith more than his opponent wished for, and it showed in the 11-8 score.
This, however, spurred on Smith, and he changed his tactics, keeping the ball much closer to the walls and didn’t allow Stone-Wigg to play as many awkward angles, resulting in Smith taking the next two games both 11-7. The fourth game was a last-chance effort for Stone-Wigg to stay in game, and he came out strong, catching Smith off guard and taking the game 11-1.
The fifth game determined the league outcome. Smith took an early shot with a three-point lead. It was then point for point, and Stone-Wigg just couldn’t close the gap, which meant Smith took the fifth game 11-8.
Then it was down to the D string to seal it, and they needed only one game to do so.
Jeff Jones for DMS was up against Ade Doherty of AON. Doherty took the first game 11-6 and started well in the second. Jones started to find his groove and even the score at 5-all.
This proved to be a turning point for Jones, who started playing Doherty into the back corner much more, forcing weaker returns, which he was able to capitalize on.
However, points were traded up to tie-break at 10-10. The teams cheered anything they could to try and give their guy the encouragement they needed.
After another three tense rallies, it was Jones who had the game ball, which he converted with a tremendous shot into the front right corner to win 13-11. That put the match at one game all, but clinched the title for DMS.
This didn’t seem to change the match’s intensity. Doherty bounced back to take the third game to win 11-9, only to then lose the next two games 11-8 and 11-6.
DMS won the doubles game too, which gave them a winning score of 12-6 over AON Red Tornadoes to take the Baker Tilly corporate squash league title. League organizer Mark Chaloner presented Stone-Wigg with the trophy.
The third and fourth playoff matches between Undecided and KPMG Kobras came down to the doubles match to decide the victors, KPMG Kobras took it to finish in third place by one point over Undecided.
The fifth and sixth playoff was a decisive one, with a victory for Baker Tilly over KPMG Kman by winning matches 4-1.
The seventh- and eighth-place battle between RBC Lions and UBS showed UBS had the edge on the night as they closed out RBC Lions 3-2 in matches.