Kent success at the European Squash Masters 2017 Wroclow, Poland

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The Kent ladies manage to pick up three medals at the Hasta La Vista Squash club in Wroclaw, Poland in the 2017 European Masters Championships last week. Keeley Johnson, Karen Hume and Mandy Akin travelled to Poland with high hopes and weren’t disappointed.

Keeley Johnson, current National and British Open over 40’s Champion was seeded No. 1 and played some tough games to get to the final, but came through them all 3/0 to set up an all English final against her recent British Open opponent Rachel Calver. After a tight first game, Keeley took control and continued the great form she has shown this season to take the European Over 40’s title 3/0 and the Gold medal. What a great season Keeley has had.

Mandy Akin was hoping to hold on to her current over 50’s European title from Malmo, Sweden in 2015 and was seeded at No.1 having just moved up to a new age group. She won the first three matches 3/0, to reach the semi-final, which proved to be a tough contest against Sian Johnson from Wales. Sian was playing some great squash and took the lead 2/1 and took a 9/3 lead in the fourth! Mandy staged a great come back to take the fourth game 12/10. The final game was closely contested, but Mandy manged to hang on and take the final game 11/9 to take her through to the final. The final was always going to be an epic match, particularly if it followed the form of the many previous meeting between this England / Scotland rivalry, with Fiona McClean ‘just’ winning their last meeting in the British Open final, taking the fifth game 19/17! As expected the match was closely contested throughout, with Fiona finally managing to pull away in the fifth and final game taking it 11/7, to secure herself the Gold medal in the over 55’s, leaving Mandy picking up the Silver!

Karen Hume, current World Masters over 55 Champion, had high hopes having just moved in to a new age group. She continued her recent good form and took control in her first four matches not dropping a game. This took her through to the final to meet her nemesis Julie Field, also current World Masters Champion in the over 60’s category. With many previous meetings under their belts and with each of them winning one of their last two meetings. Karen beating Julie 3/0 in a recent county match and then the last meeting, Julie beating Karen 23/21 in the fifth! Let the battle commence. The first two game saw both players showing some nerves, with Julie just managing to take the first two, but Karen settled and played some great squash to level the match at 2/2, so down to the fifth and final game, Julie played some great squash in this final game and edged away to take the match 3/2 and the Gold medal, leaving Karen to pick up the Silver.

One Gold and two Silver European Masters medals for Kent. A massive achievement and great that we’re keeping Kent on the map in 2017, as this follows on from the earlier success for Kent this year when these same three people were part of the ladies Kent County teams who took both the over 40’s and over 50’s county finals!

Mandy Akin

O60 Inter Counties Championships

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SATURDAY, 8 OCTOBER 2016
TROJANS SQUASH CLUB, EASTLEIGH

HAMPSHIRE V KENT

1. Paul Reader (H) Lost to Keith Hibberd (K) 0-3 9/10 5/9 5/9
2. Iain Nicholson (H) Beat Arthur Harvey (K) 3-2 8/10 9/10 9/5 9/0 9/5
3. Dave Harris W/O 3/0

First match off was Arthur and as we only had two players Kent was 1-0 down to start! Arthur started well going two games up winning key points taking the ball early. The Hampshire player played steady throughout the match.

Winning the third game was key to him winning the match – forcing errors and winning the key points thereafter!

One point in the middle of the third game I believe changed the match. I was given a let which I think warranted a point. All players have had this experience!!

A good enjoyable match even though a loss after travelling so far.

Keith took to the stage knowing Kent had already lost the match to Hampshire! Keith was very sharp from the start & that sharpness never slowed during the games ahead. He kept the pressure on his opponent in all three games.

A very well deserved win by Keith restored some pride in the score line.

A big thank, Keith, for travelling and playing, from me as team capt of the Kent O60 team.

Arthur

Ladies O 50 show class

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The Kent Ladies O 50 team are The Inter County Champions for the second time in three years following their victory in Leicester this weekend

The semi – final against Avon was a tense affair- the match was poised at one tie all when number 2 string Candy Wilton went on court. She went 2- nil down before imposing her superior court craft on her Avon opponent and took the next three games for the loss of a handful of points. An audible sigh of Kent relief reverberated around the balcony!

The Sunday morning final saw Captain Karen Hume on first to face Yorkshire’s Julie Field- holder of numerous squash titles. Never having beaten Julie, Karen faced a difficult task. Playing ‘her best squash ever’ (quote from her husband and team Guru Robert Smith), Karen astounded the onlookers – and herself- by taking the match 9-2, 9-2, 9-4.

This match was followed by Mandy Akin achieving a hard fought 3-1 victory against Yorkshire’s number one Kate Fisher, giving Kent an unassailable lead. Candy, relieved not to have the outcome resting on her once again, proceeded to emulate Mandy’s performance winning another tense match 3-1. Referee, Linda Davie, commented that she felt privileged to have presided over such a highly competitive and skilful final.

Congratulations to the team and our thanks to Sue Giles who played in an earlier round to help Kent reach the final.

Men’s O55 Inter-County: Southern Promotion Box 2016

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Kent did an excellent job of beating Berkshire, Oxford & Somerset this weekend!

Results attached.

Kent v Berks win 4-1
Clive, Gordon won all matches 3-0 & Mark won two 3-0 & one 3-1
Trevor had a very hard first match & won 3-2 having been two down against Berks.
Nick Peel new to the 55s team injured in the first match & lost 3-0.

Kent v Oxford win 3-2
Arthur came in at 5 for the second match against Oxford & lost 3-2
Trevor found it difficult after his five game win earlier & lost 3-0
Mark Hobday moved to No 3 & won 3-0.

Kent v Somerset
Somerset could only field four players on Sunday.
Clive & Gordon winning 3-0 in their matches secured a win as I had a W/O at 5!
But Mark Hobday having come back off holiday also secured victory with a 3-1 win!

I now call Clive, Gordon & Mark the three Amigos😀

Many thanks to the O55s team for a great win over the week end & their continued support of Kent squash in the inter counties.

Arthur
Team manager

Download (XLS, 37KB)

Ben Ford and Gina Kennedy win National titles

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Congratulations to Ben Ford and Gina Kennedy for winning their finals in the British National Championships in Manchester yesterday.

Ben gained his first Over-35 title in his fourth appearance in the final, fighting back from 2-1 down to beat Darren Lewis (Leicestershire) in a repeat of the 2015 final. The match was a real marathon, lasting 76 minutes, as Ben squeezed home 11-6, 10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9.

In the inaugural Under-21s Nationals finals, Georgina Kennedy (Kent) proved to have too much for Alison Thomson (Surrey) as she took the title in straight games, winning 11-6, 11-4, 11-2.

Earlier in the week, Gina had won through the qualifying competition and was rewarded with the prize of facing world number one Laura Massaro in the first round. Gina equipped herself well, and her match lasted just one minute less than yesterday’s main final as Laura beat Alison Waters.

In the surprise of the day, Rose Bamber (Avon) upset proceedings by defeating Kent’s three-times Women’s Over-50s champion Mandy Akin in straight games 9-4, 9-7, 9-4 to claim her maiden National title.

Alan Thatcher

Select Gaming Kent Open 2015 Final

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PSA Challenger 10 Select Gaming Kent Open 2015, The Mote Squash Club, Maidstone, Kent.

By AlanThatcher

Final: (2) Charles Sharpes (England) beat (Q) George Parker (England) 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10 (74 mins)

Number two seed Charles Sharpes survived a nailbiting tiebreak in the fifth game to win the Select Gaming Kent Open at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent.

His opponent, George Parker, was playing his sixth match in six days after battling his way through the qualifying competition and taking out Adil Maqbool, Jaymie Haycocks and Joel Hinds in the main draw.

In a match that produced a mixture of high-quality squash and some physical exchanges between the players, Sharpes weathered a storming fightback from Parker at the end of a thrilling match.

Sharpes held match ball at 10-7 but Parker won three points in a row to draw level. A penalty stroke took Sharpes to his second match ball and Parker hit the tin in the next rally to end the match after 74 minutes of brutal combat.

Sharpes had begun the match in fine form with a run of seven points in the opening game, but Parker turned the tables in the second, moving ahead from 5-2 to draw level.

The pattern continued as Sharpes won the third and Parker the fourth, with the packed crowd delighted to see the match go the full distance.

By this time both players had become embroiled in discussions with the referee over access issues, mostly in the front left corner.

Some ugly clashes occurred as both players exchanged words with each other and the match officials.

Ultimately, the week was a rewarding one for Sharpes and Parker in terms of ranking points.

It was Sharpes’ fifth and biggest PSA title, and he said: “I am so happy to win the Kent Open and end the season on a high.

“I want to thank George for a great match. We are good friends off court and I look forward to many more battles with him in the future.

“This is a great tournament and all the players appreciate the way we have been looked after here in Kent.”

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Charles Sharpes receives his Kent Open trophy from John Powell of Select Gaming

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Charles Sharpes and George Parker get tangled up in mid-court

TAKE THAT! KENT HEROES MAKE IT DOUBLE DELIGHT AT THE MOTE

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By ALAN THATCHER

Fans cheered to the rafters as Silver Fox Ben Ford and youngster Josh Masters made it a Kent double on home soil in the first round of the Select Gaming Kent Open at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone.

The 39-year-old Ford produced an astonishing performance, defying a leg injury at the end of the second game to beat Yorkshire’s James Earles 15-13 in the fifth game.

And the 20-year-old wild card Masters, who has been coached by Ford for much of his career, delivered a stunning result by toppling the top seed, Germany’s Jens Schoor, with a blistering array of winners.

There was no hint of the shock that was to follow as world No.63 Schoor won the opening game 11-2, but Masters came out with more attacking intent in the second.

The rallies were brutal, but world No.215 Masters was rewarded for his attacking intentions as he squeezed home in the second and third.

He maintained the pressure in the fourth as a major contrast in fortunes became apparent. Masters buried a succession of nicks as Schoor’s backhand volleys and drops found the tin.

Masters moved from 3-3 to 8-3 ahead and he held his nerve to clinch victory 11-5 as a packed gallery at The Mote roared the Maidstone boy home.

Sadly for Josh, his mum Jacquie was not there to see the most momentous victory of his career. She chose to attend a Take That concert at the O2 Arena instead.

Ahead of the quarter-finals, Josh might be telling his mum “I Want You Back For Good.”

For Ben Ford, he might be singing another Take That hit, “When We Were Young” as he approaches his quarter-final with Richie Fallows, a young man he has coached for several years.

Ben showed “You Never Forget” the technique and style that he is currently passing on to his young charges, many of whom were in the crowd admitting how he performed under pressure in a PSA environment.

“We Can Rule The World” might be taking it a bit too far, but he and Masters certainly ruled this corner of Kent last night.

Ford’s result followed another five-setter in the qualifying finals the previous evening, when he overcame Joe Green in their third match in the space of nine days.

He still had plenty in the tank against the 22-year-old Hull-based Earles. The Yorkshireman won the opening game but Ford found his length and blitzed through the second game 11-2.

He strained a muscle in the top of his leg but still won the third game, but Earles fought back to win the fourth.

Ford found a new lease of life to power 7-2 ahead in the fifth but Earles fought back to level at 8-8. The score seesawed as Ford was first to match ball at 10-9 and, in an incredible finale, both held two more each before Ford closed out the match 15-13.

Fallows overcame another rising star of domestic squash, Ashley Davies, in a match of high quality that suggests that Egypt will not have it all their own way when England’s big five of Nick Matthew, James Willstrop, Peter Barker, Daryl Selby and Adrian Grant, all in their 30s, decide to call it a day.

On a night of high drama and long matches, No.2 seed Charles Sharpes almost followed Schoor out the door in a thrilling clash with qualifier Mike Harris, who attacked both front nicks with venom. Sharpes will be mightily relieved to escape with a narrow five-game victory in a match of phenomenal commitment and quality.

Sharpes now meets Denmark’s Kristian Frost, who overcame Londoner Reuben Phillips in four games.

The opening match on Court One featured No.5 seed Joel Hinds and Chris Fuller, who took the game to five before Hinds dominated the final passage, clinching victory after 76 minutes.

However, he will not be relishing his appointment with the fired-up Masters, who will be seeking to make his attacking the flair the decisive factor in another possible giant-killing attempt.

In one of the most astonishing comebacks since the PSA switched to the PAR 11 scoring system, George Parker fought back from 10-3 down in his second game against Pakistan’s Adil Maqbool to win it 12-10.

The 19-year-old qualifier from Leicester won in straight games to set up a quarter-final with experienced No.3 seed Jaymie Haycocks, who overcome Nathan Lake in four tight games lasting 63 minutes.

RESULTS

Select Gaming Kent Open, PSA Challenger 10 Tournament, The Mote Squash Club, Maidstone, Kent, England.

First Round:
(WC) Josh Masters (Eng) beat (1) Jens Schoor (Ger) 2-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 (46 mins)
(6) Joel Hinds (Eng) beat Chris Fuller (Eng) 11-9, 10-12, 11-5, 7-11, 11-4 (76 mins)
(3) Jaymie Haycocks (Eng) beat Nathan Lake (Eng) 11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9 (63 mins)
(Q) George Parker (Eng) bt (8) Adil Maqbool (Pak) 11-4, 12-10, 11-9 (29 mins)
(4) Richie Fallows (Eng) beat (Q) Ashley Davies (Eng) 11-9, 11-6, 11-8 (38 mins)
(Q) Ben Ford (Eng) beat James Earles (Eng) 6-11, 11-2, 11-5, 3-11, 15-13 (55 mins)
(5) Kristian Frost (Eng) beat Reuben Phillips (Eng) 11-7, 11-8, 2-11, 11-3 (46 mins)
(2) Charles Sharpes (Eng) beat (Q) Mike Harris (Eng) 11-3, 7-11, 10-12, 11-2, 11-7 (56 mins)

Quarter-Finals:
6.45pm: (6) Joel Hinds (Eng) v (WC) Josh Masters (Eng)
6pm: (3) Jaymie Haycocks (Eng) v (Q) George Parker (Eng)
7.45pm: (4) Richie Fallows (Eng) v Ben Ford (Eng)
8.30pm: (2) Charles Sharpes (Eng) v (5) Kristian Frost (Denmark)

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