2018 will be the 5th anniversary of the TRAC Oil & Gas North of Scotland Open. This year it’s extra, extra special as for the first time we’ve been able to add a Ladies PSA W5 to our program alongside the Men’s PSA M10.
The Ladies draw is headed up by Scottish no1 and Aberdeen local Lisa Aitken. Known as one of the best movers on the ladies tour, the former world no 38 is making a charge back up the rankings and will be keen to win on home soil ahead of representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia in April.
Hot on Lisa’s heels is world no 66 Lucy Turmel of Ipswich, England. Lucy is just starting out in her professional career after becoming British Junior Champion and placing 3rd at the prestigious British Junior Open. Widely tipped to be a world-beater in the very near future, Lucy is mentored by and trains with former World Champion Laura Massaro.
Scottish interest in the draw is further represented by the Edinburgh pairing of Elspeth Young and Georgia Adderley. Both Scottish Internationalists, Elspeth’s attacking flair and Georgia’s explosive movement and at times spectacular dives on court will definitely entertain the home crowd.
Others to watch in the draw are wildcard Pilar Etchechoury, the Argentinian no1 who is making her PSA debut, and Olga Kolarova of Hungary. Olga made it to world no 44 before taking a break from the PSA world tour and is now making a comeback.
The men’s draw is very strong indeed, with the majority of the main draw players ranked inside the world’s top 100. The added bonus is that only 3 of the 11 main draw players have competed in the tournament previously which only adds to the buzz around the matches.
Top seed is one of the few returning players and one we’re very glad has entered, the world no 57 from Kent, Josh Masters. Ranked 119 in the world in 2016, Josh came through qualifying to play the top seed and then world no 43 Karim Ali Fathi. Josh ripped in nick after nick to take Fathi to a very nervous 5th game before eventually bowing out to the Egyptian’s relentless pace. In the 2 years since that match Josh has halved his world ranking and will be back looking to take down the whole tournament.
2nd seed is Peter Creed of Wales who is making his Aberdeen debut. Known for his outrageous speed, athleticism and commitment levels on court, Peter is one of the most entertaining players on the PSA World Tour. Ranked only 1 place behind Masters at world no 58, should they contest the final it’s sure to be a classic.
England’s George Parker won’t let Masters and Creed have it all their way though. The talented world no 76 from Leicester only this week won the Bankers Hall PSA M10 in Canada. He also took former World Champion Nick Matthew to 5 hard fought games in the World Championships in December.
George faces his sternest test to date however as he is drawn to face Aberdeen wildcard Chris Leiper in the first round. Chris is arguably in the form of his life after a solid season of training and competing on the PSA world tour. Chris will be spurred on by the home crowd and will be looking to sneak a win against a top professional.
Scottish interest in the men’s draw is led by Crieff’s Rory Stewart, who only just lost to Daryl Selby 10-12 in the 5th at the BSPA Edinburgh Open. Other Scots in the draw include Inverness’ Alasdair Prott, the recurring Scottish Junior Open Champion, Thurso’s Jamie Henderson who will be no doubt refreshed after recently ‘retiring’ from the game, and Aberdeen local Jamie ‘Farmer’ Jacobsen.
TRAC Oil & Gas is once again pleased to sponsor The North Of Scotland PSA Open, which brings world class squash to the region. We sponsored the event last year which was a great success, and we see it as an excellent opportunity to continue to raise awareness of the sport within the local community and Scotland as a whole.
Despite the current difficult economic conditions that all companies are experiencing in the Oil & Gas industry, we’re delighted to announce that we have committed to sponsoring the event for a further 3 years up to 2018. Since last year, we have seen an increase in high ranking competitors registering. In support of this growth, we are pleased to provide the $10k prize money for this year’s winner.
Our aim is to provide a longer term focus and foundation for the growth and development of the sport in and around Aberdeen, which will in turn benefit all abilities. As part of the sponsorship package, we’re also pleased to contribute to the upgrade of the facilities at the Aberdeen Squash & Racquetball Club where the tournament will be held, starting with a refurbishment of the Exhibition Court.
The fast-paced nature of squash where strategy, precision, agility and stamina are combined in order to rise above the competition is reflected in the values that TRAC bring to the working environment. We encourage our employees to lead active and healthy lifestyles outside of their place of work. Squash is a sport close to the hearts of, and enjoyed by, many colleagues so this is a wonderful opportunity to see a high quality competition right on our doorstep.
Now entering its second year, the 2015 Trac Oil & Gas North of Scotland Open has grown from a Challenger 5 to a Challenger 10 event and will see top athletes from around the world descent on our court 7 for a week of spectacular competition.
The main draw and qualification list is looking strong all the way through. With a host of Scots and Aberdeen’s top local players in the mix it should hopefully make for thrilling matches from the get-go.
Better still, Aberdeen Squash & Racketball Club have just signed a partnership agreement with Trac Oil & Gas which will see our show court refurbished and rebranded, and the North of Scotland Open return in at least Challenger 10 form until April 2018. This news is even more phenomenal given the current downturn in the Oil & Gas Industry upon which Aberdeen relies.
We are privileged to be partnering Trac Oil & Gas in this endeavour, which will boost not only the club but squash and sport in general among the community.
We wish all competitors the best of luck, and hope that their stay at our club and city is as welcoming and enjoyable as we find it ourselves.