A RECORD number of entrants took part in the finals of the Stratford Squash Club Championships as the best players battled it out for the top honours.
The accolade of club champion went to Richard Rosenthal after he got the better of Freddie Milles.
Milles knew he had to be on good form and came out fighting for every point and in the first game the points were traded back and forth right up to 8-8.
Rosenthal then took advantage of a couple of mistakes to take the game.
Milles kept the pressure on in the second and his movement around the court as well as his tight hitting saw him take the game 11-6.
In the third and fourth games respectively, Rosenthal showed the spectators some excellent squash.
Using his experience of controlling the court, Rosenthal took the third game 11-6 before securing the fourth 11-4 to secure the title of Club Champion.
The honour of ladies champion went to nine-year-old Lucy Mayers as she got the better of her mother Helen in a pulsating contest.
In the first game, Lucy looked very determined and showed great length on her shots which kept Helen firmly at the back of the court.
She won every shot to secure an 11-7 victory in the first game.
This was the same scoreline in the second game, with Lucy gliding around the court and forcing her mother to run around much more than she’d have liked to.
Helen was clearly not going down without a fight, though, and despite having to play left-handed as her handicap, she took the third game 11-9.
Lucy came out in the fourth and quickly took a 5-1 lead before Helen composed herself to bring it back to 7-6.
The points were then traded back and forth but Lucy hit the winning stroke to take the championship at 11-9.
Spectators were treated to a really good match in the over-55s final where Mike Andrews edged out Andy Hill.
With similar styles of play it was clearly going to be a nip and tuck affair but in the first game Hill took a lead of five points, which he held on to for an 11-6 win.
In the second, the hard-hitting Andrews powered his way to an 11-4 win and Hill might have thought it was all over when he lost the third 11-7.
Nothing could have been further from the truth, though, as the next two games were fantastically close.
With some long and hard rallies, Hill levelled the score at 14-12 to force the match into a fifth and deciding game.
The final game was close as the scoreline remained level all the way to 15-15 until Andrews found some extra stamina to eventual win 17-15 and 3-2 in games.
Racket ball is the least played sport at the squash club but the final between Dan Loton and Jon Brazenall showed just how good the sport is.
Loton took an early lead in the first and kept on the pressure to win the game 11-8. The second was much more even, with the points shared right up to 10-10 before Loton hit two nicks on the trot to take the game.
Brazenall was determined to not go without a fight and played exceptional racket ball in the third, finally getting the better of Loton off the tee and taking the game 11-9.
With both players now showing the effects of the fast-paced game, it was Loton who remained composed and hit the hard shots.
Brazeman’s effort and speed was only able to recover shots rather than win points, though, and it was Loton who took the championship with a 3-1 victory on games won.
Meanwhile, Jim McCarthy was crowned lengths champion following his hard-fought victory over Callum Pettigrew.
The match lasted one hour and 20 minutes, with some rallies taking 30 or more shots before a winner was found.
McCarthy and Pettigrew showed differing tactics, with the former taking a lot of balls off the back while the latter preferred to volley.
The first game was tight, with Pettigrew taking it 12-10 before easing up too much to allow McCarthy to take the second.
A hard-fought third game had both players scrambling to keep the ball in play and Pettigrew must have thought he had worn McCarthy out after winning 13-11.
However, McCarthy had other ideas and kept up the pressure with accurate hitting to the backhand corner.
This game went to 9-9 before McCarthy took the last two points to square the match.
The decider saw both players pushing their fitness levels to the limit and Pettigrew would have been disappointed to lose 11-8 after leading 8-7.