We kicked off the 2016 ‘over 70 nationals’ here in Chicago today. Outside it was a balmy 55 degrees, but inside it was a perfect 72. The match was Delray Beach – Chicago Vs Newport. Although the score was 6/0 6/0, it doesn’t indicate how competitive this match was from the beginning. Tim Merrill, Chicago’s only competitive player, teamed up with crafty veteran Russell Corey; both played well in spurts but it wasn’t enough to overcome the fine team from Newport. Alex Walsh and Jonathan Pardee showed why they are one of the best teams in the land. Both used a variety of serves and a balanced attack to keep their opponents on the defense the entire match, and in the end, age prevailed.
The Sunday final between Alex Walsh and Jonathan Pardee started before the early morning Rackets and Squash players arrived at the club house. Both players dressed in traditional whites looking fit and ready to play with beautifully coiffed hair. You could detect the look of jealousy on the markers face as both players warmed up. Walsh had an easier journey through to the final as Russell Corey, after a hard fought doubles match the day prior, fell ill with a temperature of over 100 degrees. Tim Merrill fought hard but to no avail as Jonathan played well from the start and didn’t let up until the final ball, game set match 6/0 6/1. The final was a hard fought battle between two of the greats of the over 70 division displaying rare athleticism seen in men of this vintage. They galloped around the court, manes flowing, making unbelievable gets especially Jonathan Pardee on the hazard end after retrieving seemingly unbeatable balls from Alex Walsh. Alex was bringing out the best in him with some solid hitting and masterful stroke play. 6-3 6-3 Walsh was the final score in a match the patrons did not want to end.