JAMES EVANS FIGHTS BACK TO WIN BRITISH UNDER-15 TITLE
Kent junior James Evans became the national under-15 squash champion yesterday (Sunday) after beating the top seed to win a thrilling final in Manchester.
Evans, who plays for The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, fought back after trailing by two games to one to beat number one seed Hamish Falconer of Lincolnshire 7-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8 in a marathon encounter lasting 66 minutes.
The national title was the culmination of an exciting year during which Evans made his debut for England in the Junior Home Internationals and led the Kent under-15 team to the national inter-county championship.
A pupil at Oakwood Park Grammar School, Evans has also made his mark on the Kent senior squash scene in the past few months, recording several notable victories for The Mote first team in the Kent League.
He also beat former Kent champion Duane Harrison in the recent Bexley Open and earlier this year became the youngest player to compete in a PSA world-ranking tournament when he appeared in the Kent Open at The Mote in June.
Seeded two, his triumph in Sunday’s final was his first ever win over his much taller opponent. The victory followed a tough semi-final on Saturday in which he beat George Parker of Leicestershire 11-7, 10-12, 11-2, 9-11, 11-2.
With his 15th birthday on the horizon on November 13, Evans will be expected to be among the favourites for the national under-17 title in two years time.
James has worked so hard this year and thoroughly deserves everything he has achieved. He has fantastic speed around the court, which means he keeps getting the ball back no matter where his opponent puts it. He is also making enormous advances in his attacking game and is continually adding new and exciting shots to his repertoire.
Everyone in the Kent squash community is so proud of James, and especially all the members at The Mote.
It was good that national coach Fiona Geaves was there to see the final in Manchester and she was very impressed by the way James dug in to pull the match round from being 2-1 down. The way he played such a steady fifth game in a real pressure situation, and up against a very fit, very steady and much taller opponent, showed amazing strength of character for such a young man.
He should be very proud of his national title and it’s a wonderful achievement also for his mother, Sharon, who introduced James to squash and has been at his side in tournaments all over the country as he has developed into being a real star in the making. Having said that, he is a very modest young man, a fantastic pupil and a real pleasure to work with.
Another Kent player to do well in Manchester was Amelia Henley from Rodmersham, near Sittingbourne, who lost in the girls under-13 final to Elin Harlow of Wales.
Georgina Kennedy, from the Park Langley club in Beckenham, finished sixth in the girls under-15 tournament.