Squash:Missing Links forced to bow to Horsham Stars

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Hosted by the Jersey Squash Club and sponsored by All Sports, Education, Sport and Culture and Jersey Tourism, the event attracted 300 players who made up 36 teams, among them three from Jersey – the aforementioned Missing Links and the Smashing Balls who played in Division I, and the Dream Team who competed in Division III.

The event attracts ordinary club standard players but Division I included players of National and top County standard, including former world champion Ross Norman and Scotland’s No 1 player Neil Frankland.Matches took place at all Jersey’s squash venues and were played throughout Friday afternoon and evening and all day Saturday, culminating in the finals on Sunday morning.For the first time in several years two Jersey teams – the Missing Links and the Dream Team – reached the finals.Dream Team won their divisional title, beating Young Bucks, on their first appearance at the Jersey festival, 4-1.Although Missing Links, who included Ross Norman and Jersey’s Mike Hopkins, played some high-standard and gripping games, they were beaten by the Horsham side, who had Neil Frankland in their team.He beat Norman 3-0, although the score was flattering and not a true indicator of the quality of the game, for Norman reached game point in sets one and three and was ahead 8-4 at one point in one of the games.

Norman eventually lost all three 10-8.The match between Hopkins and Horsham’s Zimbabwe player Jesse Englebrechtt was neck and neck, but Hopkins had to quit in the fifth when the hip injury which forced his retirement from the World and England tours, reoccurred.In the other divisions, the Division II final was between two regular visitors to the Festival, The Old Flames who are a UK fire service team, and Spams Hols, with the firefighters winning 3-2.In Divsion IV, Chelmsford 1 were too strong for the Riverside B team and won the match in convincing style 5-0.

Their previous success in the final was in 1993 with exactly the same squad.

Division V’s team from Purley put up a battling performance to beat Festival first-timers Old Stags 4-1.

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