Boston’s Mark Hildred, pictured third from the right, made his debut for the England over 45 team over the weekend May 9 – 10 2014 in the Home International Championships held in Nottingham.
Playing in his last year of the over 45 category, Mark had been selected back in March and had had several weeks to anticipate the International weekend. In fact Mark opened the weekend’s proceedings being the first match on court against Scotland, Mark being paired with his fellow fifth string, Mark Beaumont. With a tense start to the match a potentially hard battle looked set to follow, but from 4-4 in the first game Mark was able to take control of the match winning out a 9-4 9-3 9-0 winner to give England a 1-0 lead. The rest of the team followed with four more victories with only one game being dropped as England ran out 5-0 winners.
Again Mark opened the proceedings on the Saturday being the first match on court against the Welsh number 5, playing his first match of the weekend, Richard Williams was playing for Wales in his first year in the category. Richard started with all guns blazing, quickly running in to a 5-2 lead much to the delight of the substantial travelling Welsh support. However Mark won an excruciatingly long rally at 5-2 down in the first game to come back to hand in at a run of seven consecutive points saw Mark home in the first game 9-5. This seemed to break the back of his Welsh opponent with Mark winning the second and third games relatively comfortably 9-2 9-0. Once again the team ran out 5-0 winners dropping one game in the process.
Having then played his two matches for the weekend, Mark was able to sit back and relax and watch the team record another 5-0 victory against Ireland in the Saturday afternoon session. This meant that England had retained the Home International Championship without dropping a match. Mark commented that it had been an honour to represent England over 45 team, so many years after representing England under 19 and under 23 competitions, Mark said squash in England is thriving and the over 45’s is a very competitive section, coming from an era when squash is booming so I feel very happy to have got into the team in the last year of my category.