The Inter-county championships events calendars for Juniors, Seniors and Masters players are available via ES’s website here.
Select Gaming Kent Open, presented by First Business Finance
The Mote Squash Club, Maidstone, Kent, England
Report by Alan Thatcher
Local favourite Josh Masters recovered from 2-1 down in games to beat US number one Todd Harrity to reach the final of the Select Gaming Kent Open, presented by First Business Finance.
A boisterous, partisan crowd at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, the county town of Kent, roared their encouragement as Masters fought back against his higher-ranked opponent.
Harrity, the world No.49, is seven places above Masters in the PSA world rankings. The two train together in Bristol and, despite being good friends, there was certainly no lack of competitiveness.
Harrity settled quickly and from 5-1 up he picked off the first game 11-4. Masters responded solidly in the second and from 7-7 he finished strongly to make it one game all.
After an even start to the third game, Harrity powered through to win it 11-6. The physical investment on a hot court began to take its toll as Harrity’s control faded in the fourth. Masters dominated to win it 11-4 and set up an intriguing battle in the fifth.
From 2-1 down, Masters constructed his best spell of the match to win seven points in a row. He hit some devastating nicks, tight drops and forced a tiring opponent into errors.
At 9-3 up, Masters tinned a volley that was too high even for his 6ft 3in tall frame, and then mis-timed a drop shot. His fans began to chew their nails as they feared a Harrity comeback, but Masters clinched victory with two outstanding winners as the crowd roared with a mixture of joy and relief.
“I was a bit slow to start,” he admitted. “I knew the match was going to be hard and I was relieved that Todd started to get a bit tired. I have been happy to hit a good patch of form when I needed it most in the fifth game twice this week.”
No.4 seed Harrity admitted: “I felt that although I was 2-1 up that Josh was controlling most of the match and I was certainly tired in the fourth and fifth games. I had put in a lot of work and he wasn’t making many mistakes. He played exceptionally well.”
Top seed Joel Makin eased past Richie Fallows in straight games, winning 11-4, 11-9, 11-8 with the No.3 seed from London losing the match on a penalty stroke issued for arguing.
It was not the way he would have wanted to celebrate his 22nd birthday, and even though the Mote members sang “Happy Birthday” to him at the tournament party he knew he should have done better.
Makin was solid, positive and playing controlled, error-free squash. He said: “I was happy with the way I played but Richie always seems to engineer breaks in the play, whether it’s a shoelace or wanting the court cleaned. It gets very irritating.
“This is a physical game based on continuous play and you don’t want these hold-ups.
“I am looking forward to the final very much. Josh is a talented player. He likes to go for winners and we have very contrasting styles, which should make it a great match.“
(Saturday June 17):
(1) Joel Makin (Wales) beat (3) Richie Fallows (Eng) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-8 (50m)
(4) Joshua Masters (Eng) beat (2) Todd Harrity (USA) 3-2: 4-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4, 11-6 (63m)
(Sunday June 18): 3.30pm: (1) Joel Makin (Wal) v (4) Joshua Masters (Eng)
A reminder that Annual General Meeting of the Kent Squash & Racketball Association will be held on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 at Bexley Park Sports & Social Club, Calvert Drive, Dartford DA2 7GA starting at 7.30pm.
Each club and organisation in membership of the Association is entitled to send two representatives to the AGM with each representative present at the AGM being entitled to one vote.
Secretary, Kent SRA
Dylan beat the first seed, Harry Bloomfield, 3-0 in the last 16, the 8th seed, Matthew Barkley, 3-2 in last 8 and the 4th seed, Sim-Basker, 3-1 in the semi-final. Dylan lost, in the end, to the 2nd seed, Alex Broadbridge, 3-0 in the final.
Jude lost in the 1/4 final to Jake before going on on to finish 9th.
Report by Paul Roberts