Top seeds stumble at season opening squash tourney

Top seeded birds left without the worm over the weekend. All four divisions went to lower seeded players at the Early Bird Squash Tournament at Better Bodies Whitehorse on Saturday.

Top seeded birds left without the worm over the weekend.

All four divisions went to lower seeded players at the Early Bird Squash Tournament at Better Bodies Whitehorse on Saturday.

“It was good, lots of fun,” said Whitehorse’s Peter Mather. “We didn’t have all the tough players in town playing, so it made my path to the final a little bit more straightforward. It was still lots of fun.”

Mather pocketed his first tournament win at the season opener that saw 33 participants compete, the most in about five years.

The 42-year-old, who was the No. 2 seed, defeated top seed Jane Bell 3-2, coming back from down two games in the mixed A division final.

“Jane and I play regularly and I very, very rarely beat her. This year I hadn’t beat her yet,” said Mather. “Normally what happens is she’ll beat me pretty good in the first two games — every time I go to hit the ball she knows where I’m going and is already there waiting, reading me very well. In the third game sometimes her intensity lets down.”

“So she whipped me in the first two games of the tournament and her intensity dropped in the third game, so I was able to get the third one, and then my game started to come together.”

Third seed Sam Penner took third place with a 3-0 win over Squash Yukon president Stephen Buckler. Mather reached the final with a win over Buckler in the semi.

“Stephen and I hadn’t played forever,” said Mather. “He’s been going crazy with squash the last year and he’s improved; he’s probably twice as good as a year ago at this time. It was fun to play him and see how improved he is. And of course it’s great to beat him.”

Seventh seed Paul Nelson defeated sixth seed Tony Radford 3-1 in the mixed B final. Serge-Andre Comeau topped Glenn Rudman 3-1 for third.

Fourth seed Mackenzie Cameron shutout Jamie McAllister 3-0 in the mixed C final. Division top seed Matt Johnson took third with a tight 3-2 win over John Williams.

Eighth seed Oshea Jephson won the mixed D division with a 3-0 win over Brenna MacPhail in the final. Jim McGeragle picked up third with a 3-2 win over Arielle Meynen.

Squash Yukon will welcome Ben Uliana, a National Coaching Certification Program Level 4 coach, from Victoria this weekend. Uliana will work with local coaches and players in a series of sessions Saturday and Sunday. More information can be found at squashyukon.yk.ca. Registration is still open for the clinics with Uliana.

“Our coaches just got back from Watson Lake last weekend where they taught about 15 adults and 35 school kids,” said Buckler. “It’s good that we can do some outreach to the communities and spread squash in the Yukon, not just in Whitehorse. It’s not brand new but we’ve been lacking in sending people out and getting the communities involved. That’s something I really wanted to stress this year … to get Faro and Watson Lake involved. They’re the only communities that have courts.”

Squash Yukon’s Tuesday and Thursday night leagues begin next week and will run until April.

“The squash community has been growing the last couple years, things are really fun and hopefully we see some new players out,” said Mather.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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