Stewart and Staples Squash Triumph
Abbie Stewart and Anthony Staples took the honours in the 2019 Ashtead Squash and Tennis Club Tournament.
In the Ladies final, Stewart triumphed 3-1 against her sister Rachel after four close, hard-fought games lasting 21 minutes. She raced into a 6-2 lead in the first game, and though Rachel fought back, kept her nose in front to win 15-12. Rachel led 5-1 in the second, but was pegged back and points were exchanged to 13-all before Abbie closed the game out with two winners in quick succession.
Rachel dominated the third game, taking it comfortably 15-8, but the effort took a lot out of her and Abbie wrapped up the fourth 15-9 to take the Ladies title for the third time in as many years, and her fifth time overall.
The Stewart family was also represented in the Men’s final, with dad Mike up against an opponent 20 years younger in defending champion Anthony Staples. Age initially proved no barrier, however, as Stewart took the game 15-9 as Staples put a backhand drop into the tin.
The second game was a tight affair, characterised by some great retrieving and some even better winners, with Stewart’s trademark boasts keeping the younger player on his toes. But Staples took the game 15-12 with Stewart putting two consecutive returns out of court to hand him the game. The third game was what you might call a game of three halves. Staples edged into a 4-2 lead, before Stewart hit a string of winners to move 8-4 ahead. Staples then pulled it back to 11-all before a combination of winners from him and errors from Stewart saw the younger player take the game 15-11.
From the start of the fourth game, it was clear that neither player was in the mood, or possibly had the legs, for long, drawn-out rallies. Both were going for winners and making them as both players retrieving abilities suffered from their exertions. At 8-1 and then 13-7 up, Stewart must have thought the match was going to a deciding fifth set, but Staples had other ideas and took the next seven points on the run – mainly through winners rather than errors from his opponent, to take the match 3-1 after 32 minutes on court.