The traditional curtain raiser for the local squash scene took place recently with the Bedfordshire County Championships held at Lewsey Sports Park.
At the end of a frantic weekend it was Luton & Dunstable SC players who took home all the main prizes.
First up were the U11s and despite brave performances by Flitwick’s Sam Pattinson and local Jack Burke, neither could match the experience of Natalie Main who cruised to the title she first won three years ago without dropping a game.
Pattinson showed great composure to see off Burke for second place.
A small field of two meant that the U19 final was contested early and doubled as an adult first round match.
The tie went to form as Sean Davies won with something to spare over Alex Axford to move into the A Grade category, with Axford dropping to B.
Flitwick brought two players with them to contest the U15 division but again it was dominated by LDS players as the very experienced Sophia John, still only 12, saw off all-comers off without dropping a game.
Lily Main, herself only 11, followed John home by beating Tom Pattinson, then Tait Catherall, despite their awkward styles, whilst Connor Seymour pulled up injured without troubling the scorers.
On Sunday, it was the business end of the adult Grades, but first was the U13 final which was the subject of sibling rivalry between the Main sisters.
Last time the pair met every game went to a tie-break.
This time the elder of the two, Lily, showed a greater maturity and tactical awareness taking the pace off the ball and some exquisite height to negate Natalie’s natural power and pace to take the title with a 3-1 scoreline.
In the Men’s B final it was local youngster Axford who faced off against the vastly more experienced John Wixted from Bunyan.
It was a classic match of its type with Wixted trying to use years of experience to outwit his much younger and more athletic opponent.
However, as the game wore on, Wixted tired and Axford triumphed 3-1 to epitomise his improvement this season.
The A final was a repeat of last season’s affair with the holder, Bunyan’s Nathan Derrick, facing home favourite and six times previous winner, Steve Davies, who was determined to reclaim his crown.
Davies showed intent right from the off racing into a five point lead as although Derrick twitched a little it was all too little too late as Davies sealed it 15-8.
The second was a closer affair to start with but the final outcome was little different, Derrick only gaining one more point.
The third game went Derrick’s way, but the speed, and determination of Davies took its toll as he regained the title with a 3-1 victory.
Final Standings, A Grade: 1, Steve Davies; 2, Nathan Derrick; 3, Bruce St Ledger; 4, Will Montgomery; 5, Ivan Schimanskie; 6, Sean Davies; 7, John Blackwell; 8, Jools Cooper.
B Grade: 1, Alex Axford; 2, John Wixted; 3, Stephen Axford; 4, Qaisir Malik; 5, Phil Hales; 6, Paul Main; 7, Will Chambers-Ostler; 8, Lee Sadler.
U11: 1, Natalie Main; 2, Sam Pattinson; 3, Jack Burke.
U13: 1, Lily Main; 2, Natalie Main.
U15: 1, Sophia John; 2, Lily Main; 3, Tom Pattinson; 4, Tait Catherall; 5, Connor Seymour.
U19: 1, Sean Davies; 2, Alex Axford.