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Inter-County Racketball/Squash57 Masters 2024

The weekend of 11th & 12th May saw Essex competing in the UK Racketball Masters Intercounty Team Championships 2024 at the Berkhamsted Lawn Tennis & Squash Rackets Club. Essex competed in two age categories, O50s and 60s, and was represented by players from 3 of Essex’s top racketball (aka Squash57) clubs: Connaught, Kingswood and Woodford Wells. Each fixture was comprised of 4 matches, 3 singles and 1 doubles, and in the case of a draw there would be game and if necessary point countbacks.

The Essex O50s team (O50 for men, O45 for women) was Jason Friend, Pascual Dibattista and Stacy Thickbroom (captain) focusing on singles and the doubles pairing initially being Zoe Fennell and Marc Thornley, Marc being replaced by Jason after Marc withdrew. At the end of the two days, Zoe remained undefeated and Essex had secured a creditable bronze medal, narrowly losing to Surrey (eventual winners) on points count back in their semi-final.

The O60s team were one of the favourites with a strong line up of 4 Woodford Wells and 1 Connaught player. Patrick Osborn, Matthew Hibberd and Steve Banks played the singles matches and Akhtar Khokhar and Patrick the doubles (individual players in the O60’s being allowed to play both a singles and a doubles in the same fixture). Both Essex and Surrey had won all of their pool matches prior to the ‘final’ fixture of the weekend which witnessed another solid performance allowing Essex to win the O60 title. Matt and Steve held their own in positions 2 and 3 winning roughly half of their matches but the honours must fall to Patrick and Akhtar as both finished the weekend undefeated.

Overall, a splendid weekend of racketball at a superb venue supported by the main sponsor, Karakal.

Well done to all those who took part, congratulations to the O60s winning side and a big thank you to Essex’s team captains, Stacy Thickbroom and Paul Fennell.

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