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2010/11 West Closed

 What a match in the 2011 West Closed final and the quality between the 2 local lads was as good as you’d see between any two Scots anywhere in the country. Peter O’Hara was certainly the favourite going into the tie, but you underestimate Barry Sutherland at your peril!

The first game saw Peter take a good early lead and Barry was taking time to get used to the pace and (bizarre) angles Peter played. The early lead ‘Pistol Pete’ took was never surrendered and it wasn’t long before he sealed the 1st game, but Barry was just showing signs of adapting to the power.

In the 2nd game Barry was able to deal with the early exchanges and he didn’t let Peter get a lead and in the mid part of the game Barry was able to establish his own style. Dying length and very hard to read shots put Barry into a winning position and although Peter was hitting cross court nics of every other serve, Barry managed to keep the momentum and he took the 2nd game.

The 3rd game was a real spectacle and I’m delighted to say I witnessed it. Both players were trying to impose their game and their will on the other. The speed of the volleys exchanges was wonderful to watch as both men vied for the ‘T’; but it was Barry who once again won the early exchanges and built the points. The crowd couldn’t but applaud every point they saw as yet another nic or fantastic shot was played. Barry lobbed everything to within a centimeter of perfection and Peter continued to rocket the ball into the nic. At 8-4 down it was hard to see how Peter was going to get back into the game, but just at this point he began dominating the pace to the back of the court, which gave Barry fewer opportunities. Barry was now on the back foot, but none the less managed to get 2 points (even though Peter got 4) and so went 10-8 game ball up. Just one great shot would have given him a 2 games to 1 lead, but a stroke and a winner later and Peter was back on level terms at 10-10. Peter went on to take the game and even more importantly the momentum at this point and at 2-1 down Barry seemed to lose some belief.

The 4th game was hard-fought, but always with Peter in the ascendency and he eventually closed out this excellent final 3 games to 1 to take his 13th West Closed title.

It’s wonderful (for me and others!) to see two of the ‘Masters’ fraternity still setting the standards in West Squash Tournaments and both men deserve a lot of credit to the dedication they’ve put into their squash over the years.

Picture above: left to right – “C Event” runner-up Paul Paton of SSRC – “B Event” runner-up Norman Paterson of Wishaw – “C Event” winner Paul Geri of Giffnock – “A Plate Final” winner Graham McAinsh of Giffnock – “West Closed Winner” Peter O’Hara of Newlands – “West Closed runner-up” Barry Sutherland (now in Kuwait) – “B Event” winner Ross Andrew of Newlands – Tournament co-organiser Kieran O’Neill – “B Plate” winner John Devitt of Hamilton

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