Masters Inter-County Finals -Ladies O 50s

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Once again the Kent o50s trio of Mandy Akin, Candy Wilton and Karen Hume found themselves making their way to Pontefract, for the (re-arranged due to snow) Inter- County Finals.

The event promised to be an exhibition of exciting squash with well over eighty players at the venue including ex professionals, current World, European, British Open and National champions amongst the players representing their respective counties.  Squash wise, the event didn’t disappoint.

Kent’s semi-final was against Herts, their opponents for the last 2 years at this stage. First up was Karen who won comfortably at no.3. She was followed by Mandy, who, playing an inspired Isobel Smith,  did well to take a win 3-1. The final match between the number 2 strings was a thrilling match, going to the wire, with Candy emerging the victor 15-13 in the 5th. Kent was through to the final 3-0.

The final was always going to be a close affair, with the Yorkshire team strengthened by a no.1 who wasn’t old enough to play in the original final back in March. Again Karen was first on court, this time to face a formidable opponent-the current World and European O60s champion, Julie Field. With a poor record against Julie, this was a tall order for Karen, especially playing on Julie’s home courts. However, playing some inspired squash, she was able to take the match 3-1.

Next on, with an equally difficult match was Mandy against ‘the baby’ of the ‘Yorks’ team and a former National Champion, Andrea Santamaria. Unfortunately for Mandy, Andrea, enjoying the luxury of her home courts, was on fine form and took the match 3-0.

So, to the final match and with the match poised at one all, Candy faced yet another former National Champion, Nicky Horne. Fighting all the way, Candy put up a great fight in a high quality game, but went down 1-3, 15/7 14/16 16/18 9/15.

Yorkshire were victorious, reversing last year’s result.


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The ladies over 40’s county team were in Nottingham last weekend and were looking to hold on to the title they won in 2017. The team kicked off their campaign on Saturday in the semi-final against Oxfordshire. We got off to a good start with Mandy Akin and Karen Hume winning at 3 & 5. Next on were Keeley Johnson and Candy wilton at No 1 & No 4. With Keeley taking on the strong Oxfordshire number 1, Sue Martin-Downhill! Keeley had a tough game and was leading 2/1, when Sue made a spirited come back to level the game at 2/2. Meanwhile, on the next court Candy was well on her way and took the match 3/0, securing Kent a place in the final. Keeley went on to a 10/0 lead in the 5th and eventually took the game and won the match. Catherine, in the No. 2 spot went on to also win 3/0, making it a 5/0 win.

Sunday morning we were up and ready to meet our old rivals Surrey, who we’d narrowly beaten in 2017 in a 3/2 thriller. No one could call the match result as at each string either Kent or Surrey could’ve won! First on was Mandy Akin at No. 3 and Karen Hume at No. 5.  Mandy faced Isabelle Tweedle, whose path she had crossed on many occasions. With starkly contrasting games and a history of healthy competition, the audience on Nottingham’s show court settled down for an entertaining battle. They were not disappointed, with games being won in turn by either player. Mandy endeavoured to impose pace on the game which Isabelle skilfully countered with punishing lobs, drops and touch play in general. In the vital fifth game, Mandy developed an early lead which she was able to cling onto to enable Kent to come off court with their first victory. Meanwhile on the other court Karen Hume was battling it out against a relatively young opponent whose speed and shots were giving Karen some trouble and having lost the first two games had a lot to do. Karen dug in and gradually the game began to shift and Karen took control to battle her way through and recover to 2 games each. By this time the rest of the Kent team were shouting (rather loudly) from behind the court to encourage Karen. She didn’t disappoint and played fabulous squash to take the fifth game and put Kent in a great position at two games to nil! We all agreed that Karen was our player of the weekend!

Next on Keeley Johnson against a ‘very strong’ Surrey No. 1, Shayne Bailey and Candy Wilton against the Surrey No. 4, who was relatively unknown to us! Keeley was having a battle and giving everything, but so was Shayne, with Shayne taking the first two games. Keeley continued to battle but Shayne was playing great squash and managed to close the game out 3/0. Candy was doing what she does best on the other court and playing beautiful squash and giving her opponent nothing! she took the first 2 games comfortably. In the third game Candy took an 8/0 lead and basically it was pretty much over for Surrey. Candy took that final game 11/4 to give Kent the victory over Surrey for the second year in a row.

Catherine at No. 2 against the strong Vicky Strange, went on to battle out the dead rubber and the game was played in great spirit and it was great for Kent to be able to watch having already secured the title. Catherine went 2/0 down but managed to take the third game, but Vicky was too strong on the day and took the match 3/1.

Thanks also must go to our reserve Angie White, who played in the early rounds to help us get to the final.

Well done ladies it’s always a pleasure to captain such a great team.

Below are some words that Candy Wilton sent me that she would like me to add to this report (thanks Candy)

‘Mandy has captained the over 40’s Kent county team for 15 years and contributes a superb mix of experience of playing competitively in her own right and as part of a county team. She is relied upon for pen portraits of opponents, their current form and game plan suggestions.’ 










Kent shine at the Masters National Champion for 2018

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The Kent contingent had a good weekend in Manchester at the Masters National Championships. All three ladies got to the finals of their respective age groups, with Mandy Akin winning the over 55s.

Keeley Johnson was out to try and retain her over 40’s national title and was up against her usual rival. It was a tough fought match and Keeley won the 4th to level the match at 2/2, but unfortunately she couldn’t hold on to the final game and lost 3/2.

Karen Hume was out to get the over 60s title having moved into the new age group, but her Welsh opponent had other ideas! It was a close fought match with Karen trying to level the match from 2/1 down, but after a close battle in the 4th, she finally went down 3/1.

Mandy Akin was looking to add the over 55s National title to her list, having also moved up an age group. Her opponent being the runner up in the 2016 World Masters Championships. Mandy had a slow start going 4/0 down in the first game, but she quickly got to grips with her opponents serve and moved ahead to take the first game 15/9. The 2nd game was again quite tight, but Mandy took control and took the 2nd 15/10 and the final game 15/6 to become the over 55s National Champion

Nigel Belle also did well by winning the over 75s plate competition.

All the above have also been selected to play for England in the Home Internationals in their respective age groups!

THE KING’S SQUASH OPEN 2018 – PSA Closed Satellite / Graded Tournament (A-D)

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The King’s Squash Open is back 9-11 March 2018.  It will again be a PSA Closed Satellite/Graded Tournament (A-D)

A Grade Prizes
Winner £800
Runner up £600
Losing Semi Finalists £400
Losing Quarter Finalists £200
Plate Winner £100
Plate Runner up £50

B, C and D Grade Prizes
Winner Tecnifibre Racket and Bag
Runner up Tecnifibre Racket
Plate Winner £60
Plate Runner up £40

A, B and C Grades will start on Friday evening if there is a full 32 draw.  D Grade is Sunday only.

Entry is £20 and that includes a minimum of two matches and a tournament t-shirt.
Entries close Friday 2nd March 2018

Please follow this link to enter.  You need to click on the grade you wish to enter (A, B, C or D) on 9th March under ‘Fitness Classes’.  (You don’t need to fill in the PAR-Q questions)

Or you can ring reception on 01227 812921 and enter over the phone.

Any questions please ask.

Tom May

GU13 Inter-county Finals

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Ella Tunon played @ No1 string for the GU13 Kent team at the 2017-18 Junior Inter-county Finals @ Nottingham University on 13.01.2018.

In her first match Ella played against Amelie Hayworth for Hampshire.

It was a very hard fought match energy and imagination. Ella lost 3-0 but managed to take the first game to 12-10, and kept it very tight in the second and third games, to go down to a visibly rattled and unsettled UK no1. Despite losing 3-0 Ella showed grit and determination as well as more than a few neat combos and winners which forced Amelie to make uncharacteristic mistakes.

In her second match Ella played Francesca Hall. Ella played another hard match, but after giving it all in the first match, struggled with energy levels during some early long rallies and the score line did not reflect how close each point was. Some great plays from both girls saw winners close out rallies early in the second and third games, showing great touch and clarity of thought.

Ella, despite losing came away with food for thought. She pushed herself hard against the top girls in the country and despite losing demonstrated to herself that the gap was not as large as she had expected and that with perseverance and dedication she could put herself in a position to seriously challenge for honours at the next opportunity.

The team lost overall but showed great courage and fighting spirit as well as camaraderie through their support of each other and later the BU11 team, that both they and Kent Squash can be proud of.

Luis Tunon