No, not the Olympics – the V2 World Cup! VX is a British-born innovative sport. It has its team (VX) World Cup every 4 years and singles (V2) every year. This year’s event was the biggest and best yet!
V2 is the singles version of the fast-paced and fast-growing sport of VX. Played in a squash court with 3 balls, points are scored by the players hitting their opponent with the ball or catching an opponent’s throw.
This year’s event moved to Sheffield, to the Hallamshire Squash and Tennis Centre where all four of the championship courts were to be used. As numbers had grown in all three age groups (youth, senior and masters) the World Cup was now to be run in group and finals stages for all categories. With the Ugandan team all having been refused visas (despite having competed in the UK before) and the German representative being on exercise with the army, it was down to India, Denmark and the USA to represent the rest of the world.
The group stages took place on the Saturday and sorted out who would progress to the World Cup finals and who would compete in the Craig Buttery trophies. With the best players in the world competing the finals were set to be very exciting. Former champions Tom Hildreth and Carl Alsop were bidding to become the first player to regain the title, and Tom Brown was keen to be the first Youth Champion to take the title at senior level, too. Reigning Champions Scott Snowdon (Senior) and Paul Hildreth (Masters) were keen to hold on to their titles.
Once the group matches were out of the way, the truly exciting VX came to the fore. In the quarter finals word quickly spread about the exciting match between Matty Horsfield and Tom Brown. All square at full time they played an extra period of 1 minute. Still all square they played another period of a minute after which Tom emerged the winner by a single point 122-121 to go through to the semi-finals where he met former champion Tom Hildreth. A tense, fast battle ensued with Tom Brown going into half time two points ahead. Tom H redoubled his efforts in the second half and the pace got faster still. At the end of the match Tom Hildreth had taken the match by three points 103-100 to go through to the Final where reigning Champion Scott Snowdon was waiting for him. These are two of the very top players and always put on an exciting show. The battle raged at a furious pace and Scott went in at half time leading 39-25. Again, Tom redoubled his efforts and took the second half but it wasn’t enough to overturn the deficit and Scott retained his title.
Over in the Masters, reigning Champion Paul Hildreth, was systematically working his way through all his opponents to find Andrew Foster waiting for him. Andrew has been getting closer and closer but today still wasn’t going to be his day and Paul coolly disposed of him 57-43 to retain his title.
Meanwhile, in the youth tournament Jess Porter was proving to be the surprise package of the event. Competing in her first World Cup she found herself in a tough group but made everyone sit up and take notice by winning her group with 100% record. She disposed of Jack Wells in the Quarter Finals and then met reigning Junior V2 National Champion Ollie Stocks in the Semis. Jess by now was brimming with confidence and took no chances to clinch her place in the final 55-36. Waiting for her was pre-tournament favourites Kane Duncan. Not at al over-awed Jess took the fight to her opponent, keen to become the second female Youth World Champion and at half time the match was all square 25-25. Again the pace picked up in the second half and Kane’s catches proved to be the difference as he took the match by a mere six points. Jess didn’t go home empty-handed however. As well as her runner-up medal she was also awarded the coveted Cornerstones Award, given to the player who most exemplifies the four cornerstones of the sport: Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship and Respect. The roar as she went to collect her runner-up medal showed how many admirers she had won.
Event Manager Dan Raper, said: “That was an awesome event. I am so proud of every single one of the players and delighted to see so many here from abroad. The standard gets higher and higher and the whole event was played in a wonderful atmosphere. Now we look forward to next year in Italy!”
Perhaps the last word should go to spectator John Beckett who posted online: ” This was the best of the 3 world cups I’ve seen. The skills of some of these players now are unreal.”