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!