The Hyder Trophy, New York Squash’s annual talisman tournament, with ten skill-level draws and a professional draw including club professionals, Squash Doubles Association, and Professional Squash Association players, took place this weekend at Sports Club/LA, Harvard Club, Princeton Club, Yale Club, CityView Racquet Club, Eastern Athletic Club, and New York Sports Club 86th Street in New York City.
Founded by the tournament’s namesake, Dr. Quentin Hyder, the Hyder has been held annually since December 1968, all finals of which Dr. Hyder has attended with his wife. While there is prize money in the professional draw, there is no sanctioning body associated with the tournament and, therefore, no rankings points creating a unique draw of players.
While 163 adults and juniors made up the skill level draws, an elite group of sixteen players took part in the men’s professional draw including Squash Doubles Association (SDA) players Raj Nanda, Chris Callis, Graham Bassett, and Clive Leach, as well as Professional Squash Association (PSA) world No. 38 Ryan Cuskelly, world No. 46 and nine-time U.S. Champion Julian Illingworth, world No. 56 and 2013 U.S. Champion Chris Gordon, and joint world No. 107′s Zac Alexander and Lewis Walters.
The respective top four seeds—Cuskelly, Gordon, Alexander, and Illingworth—comprised Saturday’s semifinals at Sports Club/LA. The top-seeded Kiwi, Cuskelly, appeared to be on his way to the final against Illingworth with an 11-2, 11-8 lead, until Illingworth turned the match on its head to win the next three games and match, concluding with a 14-12 fifth. The ensuing semifinal saw another American come back to reach the final as Gordon recovered from losing the first game to advance in four against Australian Alexander 7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-3.
Gordon entered the final having won only one of his eight career professional encounters against Illingworth, also their most recent encounter—a five-game marathon in October’s Indian Summer Tournament. A visibly-fatigued Illingworth following his five-game semifinal at 9:00 the previous night, succumbed against Gordon in three games, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9.