GINA KENNEDY REACHES LAST EIGHT IN WORLD JUNIORS

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Kent’s Georgina Kennedy claimed an unexpected place in the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Junior Championship in Namibia after an impressive win in the third round.

Playing at the Wanderers Sports Club in the country’s capital Windhoek, Gina (right) achieved the biggest result of her career.gina 2

A month after losing to Nele Gilis in the final of the Pioneer Cup in Germany, Gina earned her revenge in the third round in Windhoek in fine style, upsetting the European Junior Champion from Belgium 6-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8 in 42 minutes to reach the last eight.

Kennedy, a 17-year-old from Bexley in Kent, will now face 3/4 seed Mariam Metwally for a place in the last four. Metwally, one of five Egyptians to make the quarter-finals, defeated USA’s Reeham Sedky 11-3, 11-5, 11-8.

The luck of the draw paired Kent’s James Evans and Amelia Henley with the top seeds in Namibia.

James fought hard against Diego Elias of Peru in the men’s event, and Amelia found herself up against the formidable Nour El Sherbini, who was runner-up to Laura Massaro earlier this year in the senior Women’s World Open Championship in Malaysia.

The 17-year-old Lily Taylor from Leicester will now meet Nour in the quarter-finals.

Pictured below: James Evans in action against Diego Elias and Amelia Kennedy gets in front against Nour El Sherbini.

 

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Posted by Alan Thatcher on August 13, 2014

ADRIAN GRANT WINS COMMONWEALTH GAMES SILVER MEDAL

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Kent’s Adrian Grant won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games men’s doubles after partnering world champion Nick Matthew in Glasgow.

They had reached the final by overwhelming Scotland’s home favourites Alan Clyne and Harry Leitch in front of the noisiest crowd ever heard in squash, with a full-house audience at the Scotstoun venue creating an incredible atmosphere throughout the singles and doubles.

From 7-5 down in the opening game, Grant and Matthew took control to win 17 of the next 19 points to win 11-7, 11-2 to book a place in the final against the experienced Australian combo of Cam Pilley and four-times world champion David Palmer.

Palmer came out of retirement at the age of 38 to go for a gold medal but it was Pilley who struck the decisive blows. With the score locked at one game all and 9-9 in the third, the hardest hitter in world squash nailed two straight forehands that caught Matthew slightly out of position. That gave Australia the title with a scoreline of 10-11, 11-7, 11-9 in 80 minutes of absorbing combat.

The squash tournaments were an outstanding success in Glasgow, with superb daily coverage from the BBC and more than 35,000 spectators visiting Scotstoun, many of them seeing top-class squash for the first time.

Nick Matthew’s triumph in the men’s singles final against James Willstrop was a pulsating match lasting one hour 40 minutes, and was watched by a TV audience  of more than one million.

Later that evening, Nick was joined on the BBC sofa by fellow England medal winners James, Laura Massaro and Peter Barker as they chatted to Gary Lineker on prime-time TV. All made a solid case for squash being part of the Olympic Games, and Gary agreed.

Another major success was the new format for the doubles, with a wider court and a lower tin set at 13 inches. This encouraged more attacking play and produced some dramatic matches.

Discussions have already begun with court manufacturers about producing new doubles courts using these dimensions and I would be very keen to hear some feedback from Kent clubs.

In the USA, nearly every squash club has a bigger (hardball) doubles court.

Is it time we started introducing full-sized doubles courts here in the UK?

Posted by Alan Thatcher on August 7, 2014

ADRIAN GRANT PARTNERS NICK MATTHEW IN QUEST FOR COMMONWEALTH GAMES GOLD

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Kent’s Adrian Grant is partnering Nick Matthew in the Commonwealth Games Men’s Doubles competition in Glasgow.

Adrian and Nick are the defending champions, following their win in Delhi four years ago. They began their quest for gold by beating Malta’s Brad Hindle and Daniel Zammit-Lewis in their opening match today.

The crowds in Glasgow have been amazing for the squash, with more than 2,000 every day for the singles and over 1,000 in today for the opening session of the doubles.

Last night was a very special moment for squash with England’s gold medal men’s singles champion Nick Matthew joining runner-up James Willstrop, bronze medal winner Peter Barker and women’s silver medalist Laura Massaro on the sofa with Gary Lineker live on prime time TV on the BBC.

Most of England’s national newspapers also provided outstanding coverage of the squash today.

The wider doubles court looks great and the lower tin (13 inches) is certainly generating more attacking squash.

The atmosphere at the Scotstoun campus is absolutely fantastic and the BBC Red Button coverage has been superb.

I’ll be more than happy to give a shout-out to any fans coming up from Kent!

 

 

Posted by Alan Thatcher on July 29, 2014