BARRY Featherstone is the toast of the LA Fitness Club in Salisbury after the veteran player won a highly coveted national title.
Featherstone won the ultra competitive over 60s title to land the biggest accolade of his career.
Manchester was the setting for this year’s National Squash Championships and after producing two solid performances, Featherstone progressed to the semi-final stage.
However, standing between him and a place in the prestigious final was his nemesis, number one seed Phil Ayton of Sussex.
Featherstone had never previously beaten the former GB number one, but a stunning performance kept his opponent under pressure and the Salisbury player eventually took the fifth game 9-6 to reach the final.
Fellow finalist Bob Robinson, the Yorkshire number one, was no stranger to Featherstone. Each had won once in their two meetings so far this season.
The honours were even after the first two games and then an excruciatingly close third went to Robinson 10-8.
Robinson, despite tiring, continued to find winners and had reached match point at 8-2 in the fourth.
But just when it looked all over, Featherstone slowly fought his way back into the contest, saving four match points before clinching the game.
The fifth proved another tight affair but the Salisbury man’s superior fitness came to the fore late on and a determined display saw him triumph 9-5 to deservedly land the national crown.
The Salisbury club had a number of players at the Manchester event.
Two players entered the main competition – the men’s qualifying event - Wiltshire champion Simon White and fellow county star Jason Pike.
Both lost highly competitive matches to higher ranked opposition.
Meanwhile, in the age group events, womens number one Beverley McKay lost a quarter-final match in the over 35s section, but remains in the frame for an England cap this year.
In the men’s 55s, England captain and number three seed Stuart Hardy, had to withdraw as he had not recovered sufficiently from a knee operation.
There was better news however, for Dorset champion Clive Ewins in the men’s over 35s.
He powered to the final with a series of dynamic wins.
Ewins, who won bronze at the World Championships last year, came up against Jersey-based Nick Taylor, but was unable to make any inroads into the former circuit professional’s game.
Photo: Barry Featherstone with Clive Ewins.