World Deaf Squash Champion Matthew Hewitt claimed his fifth EDSA National title with a straight-games win over young rival Noah Duckworth …
Today’s final, on the Glass Court at the National Squash Centre, was between the defending champion from Sussex Matthew Hewitt, at 43 years old the reigning World Champion, and first-time finalist Noah Duckworth, the 19-year-old reigning World Junior Champion – both titles won last year in Durban, South Africa.
It was Noah’s first outing on a glass court, and despite a morning practice it showed in the opening games as Matthew, who has played on glass many times, dominated proceedings as he took a two game lead 11-4, 11-4 with Noah making several unforced errors.
The Nottingham youngster started to settle in the third, and led for most of the game earning himself two game balls at 10-8. Matthew looked determined to close the match out in three though, and he duly saved both with winners at the end of long rallies, and went on to take his fifth National title 13-11 on his second match ball to collect the Rebecca Macree trophy.
“He got two game balls, I had to save them, I didn’t want a fourth or fifth game, I was so glad to get that stroke on match ball.
“Very happy to retain my title for a fifth win, and I’m really looking forward to going to Toronto in October to defend my world title.”
The EDSA Nationals Championships started in 2000, the early events held alongside the British Open (the first two won by current EDSA Chairman Brian Rawlinson) before becoming part of the Nationals in 2004. Internationally deaf sports began as the ‘Silent Games’ in 1924, and currently we have the Deaf Olympics.
The National Champion is awarded the Rebecca Macree Trophy, named after the deaf England international who reached world number seven and competed in 18 Nationals from ’87 to ’05, reaching ten quarter-finals and one final, finishing runner-up in ’03.
Qualification for all DISF world events is that you have to have a level of 55db or worse in your better ear (0=perfect hearing, 100=completely deaf) and you are not allowed to wear your hearing aids on court – apparently Brian once won the European title by default when his opponent was caught using his aids!