The Memorial Centre, East Common, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, SL9 7AD
|Gerrards Cross Squash Club|
|Summer Handicap Champion|
|Presented by R H J Milliner|
|2017||R Fisher||J Kennedy|
|2016||Z Minhas||M Lilley|
|2015||R Fisher||T Loran|
|2014||S Free||I Swallow|
|2013||S Free||C Hockin|
|2012||R Rickman||D Scott|
|2011||R Fisher||K Dewe|
|2010||T Ryan||M Jacobs|
|2009||M Burnett||R Gulati|
|2008||C Hockin||K Popely|
|2007||R Gulati||V Paul|
|2006||T Francis||A Morris|
|2005||K Popely||C Hockin|
|2004||C Sawyer||D Redmond|
|2004||C Sawyer||D Redmond|
|2002||C Sawyer||R Gulati|
|2001||J Luddy||R Gulati|
|2000||A Rolfe||A Morris|
|1999||A Rolfe||S Coteman|
|1997||V Paul||T Erskine|
Zaif Minhas won the 2016 Rob Milliner Summer Handicap Tournament by beating Mark Lilley by the magic golden point in a terrific final on Sunday 2 October.
Zaif, who recently returned to the club after a brief time away, started on 80 whilst Mark, a previous winner of the Plate in this competition started on 70. The rallies were close throughout with the early exchanges shared between the pair which favoured Zaif who reached 90 whilst Mark was still in the late 70s.
After the first break, a concerted effort by Mark saw him score something like 10 unanswered points which allowed him to almost draw level before Zaif troubled the scorer once more.
Following the second break, Mark took the lead for the first time and at that point looked favourite to take the title but Zaif battled back once more to tie the scores on 99 and set up the deciding point which gave the spoils to him.
Rory Fisher took the prize in a dramatic climax to the 2015 Rob Milliner Summer Handicap Tournament by beating Trevor Loran on Sunday night. The match ended on a double match point after Trevor had painstakingly clawed his way back from the 50 - 85 starting point only to be denied by a slip of the racket as he went around the angles from deep in the back forehand corner. It was the slightest of margins in a very tight match that kept the small crowd enthralled from start to finish.
It is notoriously difficult to find a handicap for first team players without the aid of complex mathematical tools, Trevor especially. Hard work from Rory always managed to keep him just ahead of the game until late into the nighties when Trevor caught up at the 97 all mark. A fortuitous stroke followed by a relatively easy point gave Rory two match points which Trevor was able to nullify with two hard fought points. Queue the final point and the fateful boast from the back of the court which Trevor had used several times to good effect throughout the match.
So, the spoils went to Rory as he took his second Summer Handicap title and few would begrudge it for the hard work he was forced to put in; his resolve no doubt fired in the forge of hard-won early round victories.
Simon Free maintained his grip on the gxsquash Handicap Tournament titles by taking his third in succession against his fellow league 1 opponent, Ian Swallow on Sunday 5th October. The crowd was treated to a second enthralling final of the night which also ended on the dream scoreline of 100 - 99 as Simon retained his Summer Handicap title sandwiching the Winter title he won in February.
Starting level on 75 points each, the pair went almost point for point but with Simon edging ahead slightly until they reached the early 90s. At that point, Ian caught up and looked like taking the spoils before hitting into the tin on 99 - 99.
It was a fantastic conclusion to the tournament and to have two 100 - 99 finals went some way towards alleviating the disappointment of such a lowly turnout.
Simon Free won the Rob Milliner Summer Handicap Tournament on Sunday 6 October after beating Chris Hockin in the final with a score of 100 – 97. Both finalists are regular league 2 players and the starting score was 75 – 80. Chris, a seasoned campaigner at finals night struggled to get going as Simon overcame the handicap fairly quickly. He rallied to make things difficult for Simon in the later stages but Simon held on for a well deserved victory.
The absolute gold standard in these handicap matches is a 100 - 99 scoreline but in reality, any match that sees the victor win by 5 points or less can be considered to have been handicapped correctly. That is what the crowd got tonight in two contrasting and enjoyable finals but with some spectators leaving after the Plate final, it is clear what they saw as the main event of the evening.
Tim Ryan won the 2010 Rob Milliner Summer Handicap Tournament on Sunday 3rd October beating Michael Jacobs in the final. The final score was 100 - 79 after a starting point of 80 - 45. Whilst the match was frequently entertaining, Michael never really got going and was unable to reproduce the form which saw him limit Vince Paul to just seven points in the semi-final.
This led some observers to question the handicap but that would proably be unfair.
The handicap was certainly not in question in the plate final where David Sledge narrowly beat newcomer Peter Bano in an energetic match. David won the match by the close margin of 100 - 98 after starting at 70 - 75. David currently holds the plate for both the Summer and the Winter Handicap Tournaments.
The 2009 Rob Milliner Summer Handicap Tournament reached a fitting climax on Sunday 4th October with two terrific finals.
In the main competition, Mike Burnett overcame a 50 - 80 point handicap to beat Rakesh Gulati 100 - 96. Rakesh adopted the tactic of going for winners at every opportunity. This tactic had got him safely past Stewart Hefferman in the semi-final and looked like securing him the victory here when, with the score standing at 73 - 94, he was tempted into playing a game of squash. This was his undoing and he rapidly tired scoring only one more point before Mike made up the deficit. He managed one further point before the end.
This was an entertaining clash between two stalwarts of the handicap tournaments, Mike has now notched up 5 victories overall (3 in the summer competition and 2 in the winter one) whilst Rakesh has won each one once and been the beaten finalist in the summer tournament three times.
Rakesh Gulati won the Rob Milliner Summer Handicap Trophy on Sunday by beating Vince Paul 100 - 79 in the final. Starting from an opening handicap of 75 - 60, Rakesh matched Vince more or less point for point. Tough matches against Kevin Popely and Robert Rickman in the quarter and semi-finals may have cost Vince the final as he never really got into his stride. Rakesh, a finalist on two previous occasions, now adds the Summer Handicap Trophy to the Winter Trophy he won in 2000.
The trophy was presented by Rob Milliner, the former committee member who instigated the handicap tournament formula back in 1985. Rob was returning to the club for the first time since leaving in 1992 having made contact earlier in the year. The trophy bears his name and the tournament was renamed the Rob Milliner Summer Handicap a few years ago.
In the plate competition, Clifford Fox took the honours beating Deidre Pope 100 - 92 from a starting score of 70 points apiece.
The Rob Milliner Summer Handicap Tournament came to a dramatic conclusion on Sunday 1st October with Toby Francis taking the honours in a breath-taking final against Andy Morris. Starting from 70 points to Andy's 65, Toby took a little while to find his touch but having done so was able to recover the deficit and then trade point for point despite furious industry from Andy.
Andy has been a regular on recent finals nights having won the tournament in 2003 and been runner-up in both this and the winter tournament. The crowd were familiar with his prodigious work-rate and passion which saw him recovering from polishing the floor with the seat of his pants to continue rallies on several occasions and twice within the same rally at least once. (Perhaps he should get the contract to clean the courts.)
Toby, who has recently returned to the club after several years, previously won the Summer Handicap in 1995 whilst a junior. Having regained his original points advantage, he eventually won the match by 100 - 94.
In the plate final, Akshay Gulati kept his head to beat Keith Marsh whilst managing to maintain the starting handicap points difference. Starting from a position of 75 - 60, the final score was 100 - 85.
Congratulations to both Akshay and Toby!
Sunday October 2nd saw the culmination of the ever popular Summer Handicap Tournament with a top of the table clash between Kevin Popely and Chris Hockin.
I must admit that I didn't get to see any of the squash but I was there to soak up the atmosphere and there certainly seemed to be a lot of it about.
A good crowd packed three deep on the balcony saw KP triumph by 100 to 97 with Chris breaking his racquet to end the final rally.
Paul Sutcliffe beat John Woodford by 100 to 94 to win the Plate competition (I believe).
Kerrie Sample was belatedly awarded the trophy for the Ladies' Tournament which was held earlier in the year.
Congratulations to all concerned and thanks once more to Richard and Anita for giving up their time to organise the event.
Of course, KP was lucky to get past the first round if you ask me!
Colin Ward was lucky. I saw this game
Congratulations to Colin Sawyer who won this year's Summer Handicap Tournament defeating Dominic Redmond in a thrilling final watched by several people.
Yes it was standing room only on the balcony of Gerrards Cross Squash Club as these two gladiators of the court tussled in a front-to-back and side-to-side battle of wits and sweat. The thrilled spectators many of whom had their own stories of desperate rallies and tough handicaps to tell oohed and aahed from their vantage point near the makeshift bar. Many were even inspired to renew their membership for another year (Reasonable rates, everyone welcome - see the membership section).
Congratulations also go to Colin Ward who triumphed over David Scott in the final of the Plate competition.