Vail serves up gr-eight display to retain trophy

Tim Vail continued his remarkable racketball domination with an eighth national title last month before warning his rivals: I'm not stopping any time soon.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 5th August 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:41 pm
Tim Vail, left, celebrates his eight national racketball title win last month
Tim Vail, left, celebrates his eight national racketball title win last month

The 38-year-old, who became the most decorated player in the sport with his seventh tournament win last year, returned to Edgbaston in Birmingham to retain the Ian Wright Memorial Trophy with the minimum of fuss.

Such was Vail’s superiority at the prestigious event, the Lee-on-the-Solent squash and racketball coach failed to lose a single game over the course of the weekend.

It was an emphatic victory which Vail conceded was all too easy.

He said: ‘This may sound rubbish but I actually wanted a bit more of stronger competition than what it was.

‘I want the harder games. I am 38 now and while I still think that I am young enough and good enough to win I will keep trying to win – I’m not stopping any time soon.

‘I am not going to play in any age-group stuff as I am still really keen to try to win the men’s event as many times as I can.’

For Vail, the tournament turned into a procession as he cruised past all comers to set up a rematch of last year’s final with Ted Jeal.

And while 2015’s showpiece event was fought out over five games, it was a far more one-sided contest this time out.

Having won his first contest 11-1, 11-1, 11-2 in under 20 minutes, Vail booked a semi-final spot with a 12-10, 11-5, 11-2 last-eight victory.

Lee Bishop stood between him and another final appearance but was swiftly dealt with in an 11-9, 11-2, 11-3 scoreline.

Jeal, though, was locked in an energy-sapping semi-final showdown, making him an easy opponent in a final which faliled to live up to its billing.

Vail said: ‘I knew Ted would be tired so I just got stuck in from the start and didn’t give him a chance really.

‘Last year he was tired as well but dug in a hell of a lot better than this time. I won 11-1, 11-5, 11-3.

‘I had never lost to anyone in the draw before this year’s tournament, so I was fairly confident going in that if I was fit and played my best I would come back with the trophy.

‘And that’s what proved to be the case.’

There has been no rest for Vail since his national title success, however – not that he needed it.

That’s because he has spent the last three weeks at the annual Since ’86 Universal Squash Camp, which started 30 years ago at Portsmouth Squash Club.

He added: ‘This year is the 30th 
anniversary of the camp at Portsmouth Squash Club – with no fallow years.

‘I don’t think any other camp has run consecutively for this long!

‘I actually went on the camp, which was started by Bryan Patterson, as a player at the age of nine in 1987 and have been coaching on the camps since 2000.

‘We have players from all over the world coming to train with us at Lee-on-the-Solent.’