Champions are crowned at Rutland’s finals night

Hari Patel and Steve Lockwood
Hari Patel and Steve Lockwood
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Hari Patel and Katharine Gaine were crowned club champions on a busy finals night at Rutland Squash Rackets Club.

Patel won the Willis Cup and Gaine added the Willis Plate to her ladies title with Jeremy Sharman winning the club’s Handicap Cup.

The first encounter of the evening was between two opponents who had also made it through to other finals on the night - Katharine Gaine and Charlie Reading - for what turned out to be a superb tussle for the Willis Plate.

The first game proved to be the closest of the five game match, eventually won by Gaine 10-9 having snatched the advantage from Reading who was serving to win.

Reading responded by winning the next two games Gaine rallied to win game four 10-8 before taking the deciding game 9-2 at a canter.

Next up were Patel - ranked number one in the Peterborough and District League - and former Oakham Squash Club maestro Steve Lockwood in the final of the Willis Cup.

Both players have enjoyed fine form this season and their clash produced squash of the highest calibre.

Despite the significant age difference Patel was constantly stretched by Lockwood, who won eventually game one 9-7.

Games two and three were extremely tight with points won on errors rather than clean winners, and with some great rallies to watch.

Patel managed to get over the line with two strong bursts at the end of each game to take a 2-1 lead.

There was no more than point between the pair in the fourth until Patel found extra reserves to win the game 9-6 and the Willis Cup 3-1.

Gaine returned to court to take on Alex Howe in a competitive final of the Ladies Cup.

Both players rallied extremely well but Gaine proved too strong and won in three straight sets.

Finals night was completed with the Handicap Cup played between Wills Plate finalist Reading and Jeremy Sharman.

Reading had a 16 point deficit to make up and Jeremy Sharman stuck to the job in hand, making few unforced errors to win the best of three clash 2-0.

Reading in game one by winning 7 points

Results: Willis Plate - Katharine Gaine 3-2 Charlie Reading, 10-9, 5-9, 3-9, 10-8, 9-2; Willis Cup - Hari Patel 3-1 Steve Lockwood, 7-9, 9-6, 9-6, 9-6; Ladies Cup - Katharine Gaine 3-0 Alex Howe, 9-2, 9-6, 9-5; Handicap Cup - Jeremy Sharman 2-0 Charlie Reading, 27-27, 37-35.