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.


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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.


















Posted by Alan Thatcher on August 13, 2014


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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

Gina and Amelia in Europe

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Kent’s top two junior squash girls, Georgina (Gina) Kennedy and Amelia Henley have just returned from a two week trip to Germany and Holland where they competed in the Pioneer Junior Open in Cologne and then the Dutch Junior Open in Amsterdam.  In Germany, both girls entered the Under 19 category of the tournament, although Amelia is still 16.  Gina did exceptionally well, ending as runner up, despite her 7 seeding. Amelia was a little more unfortunate, meeting the eventual winner in an earlier round.  The girls then travelled to Amsterdam.  Gina again did the U19s and came third, losing to the eventual winner again but meeting her in the semi-finals this time! This was still a great result as she was seeded 9/12 for the event.  Amelia entered the U17s and did exceptionally well, ending up as runner up in a very closely fought final.

 These two Kent team mates, who have now been playing together for 7 years, will shortly travel to Namibia as they have both been selected by England Squash to represent England in the U19 World Junior Championships.

Both girls were awarded grants of £200 from the Ivy Hawkes Memorial Fund which is administered by the Kent County Playing Fields Association to help with the costs of playing at this level.

Posted by Richard Antcliff on July 15, 2014

Reigning champion makes it the Kemp Open once again

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kempfincups 2

Jonathan Kemp brought the curtain down on a distinguished career in impressive style by winning the Select Gaming Kent Open final 3-1 against Australian top seed Steve Finitsis.

Reigning champion Kemp delighted the packed gallery at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone with a devastating display of skill as he reeled off a succession of winners into the front corners.

Mote members had renamed the front right area of the court Kempy’s Corner in tribute to his cultured backhand drop shots, and had even stuck a sign on the front wall ahead of the final.

However, he was forced to battle hard throughout the match by his tenacious opponent, who frequently matched Kemp’s quality in that very same corner.

The opening rallies were full of intelligent, patient squash as Kemp built a 9-5 lead. Finitsis then enjoyed a purple patch to lead 11-10 before Kemp regained control to nick it 13-11.

Finitsis, the 32-year-old world No.50 who is based in The Hague, began the second game well to lead 5-2. Kemp drew level at 5-5 and 6-6 but Finitsis won four points in a row to hold game ball. Kemp hit back again to make it 10-10 but Finitsis hit two quick winners to level the match.

Kemp surged ahead in the third  to lead 6-2 and then 9-4 and although Finitsis recovered to take four more points, the 33-year-old left hander from Ipswich closed out the game 11-8.

Finitsis won the first three of points of the fourth game constructed a run of six points to move within touching distance of his second Kent Open title. Finitsis fought back to draw level at 8-8 and 9-9, but Kemp won the final two points to end his career on a positive note.

He said: “Once I had made my decision to retire I almost felt like pulling out of the tournament but I am glad I didn’t. It’s great to go out on a high like this, and I’d like to thank Steve for making it such an enjoyable final. I’m glad it didn’t go to five.”

As well as receiving his trophy for a second year, the champion was presented with a special commemorative shirt (right) with the words “The Kemp Open” on the back.

Finitsis said: “I was trying my hardest to win that match but if I had to lose to anybody I’m glad it was Jonathan. He’s a great player and I wish him all the best in his coaching career.

“This is a fantastic tournament and all the players are grateful for the way they are looked after – not just the guys in the main draw, but all of the qualifiers as well.”

After the final Kemp held informal discussions with The Mote about a possible future coaching appointment, with the club planning to add an all-glass showcourt which would allow them to enhance the Kent Open and stage other major events.

The club are planning to make The Mote a major centre of excellence for squash, with a new international academy also being set up.

Earlier in the week, European junior champion Richie Fallows, who is based at Bexley, knocked out No.4 seed Greg Lobban of Scotland to set up a semi-final showdown with Kemp.

With a packed crowd roaring him on, the 18-year-old Fallows did well to take a game but Kemp’s quality and experience sent him through to the final.

Another quarter-final upset saw America’s No.7 seed Todd Harrity beat England’s Charles Sharpes, the British Under-23 champion and No.3 seed. But Harrity could not match Finitsis’ relentless accuracy in all four corners of the court.

The Mote squash chairman Dave Verga said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to host an event like this, which brings so many leading professionals to the club every year.

“The pros held coaching clinics for juniors every day throughout the tournament and this, together with some exceptional play on court all week long, makes for a really inspirational event.

“This year we’ve seen the future of squash with young Richie playing so well and we look forward to welcoming him back again, plus all of the other talented young players who make this tournament so exciting and entertaining.”

Eight days of entertaining squash had begun with local club players taking part in a pre-qualifying tournament.

The Mote’s James Evans entered the draw at the next stage and produced a blistering performance to beat Scotland’s Jonathan Geekie in straight games (above) before falling to Londoner Youssef Abdalla in the qualifying finals.

Maidstone’s Josh Masters fell at the first hurdle in qualifying to fellow England junior squad member George Parker, the European under-19 No.2. It was a tight, tough battle and Josh was very close in each of the games.

Following the final, the tournament’s main sponsors Select Gaming and Shepherd Neame confirmed their commitment to next year’s event.

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

1st round:
[2] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt [Q] James Earles (ENG) 1-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 (37m)
[5] Ben Coleman (ENG) bt [Q] George Parker (ENG) 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 (54m)
Richie Fallows (ENG) bt [8] Khawaja Adil Maqbool (PAK) 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (24m)
[4] Greg Lobban (SCO) bt Tom Ford (ENG) 11-9, 1-11, 11-8, 11-4 (52m)
[3] Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt [WC] Steven London (ENG) 11-9, 11-3, 11-3 (32m)
[7] Todd Harrity (USA) bt [Q] Michael Harris (ENG) 11-4, 11-9, 11-9 (37m)
[6] Declan James (ENG) bt Chris Fuller (ENG) 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-6 (92m)
[1] Steven Finitsis (AUS) bt [Q] Youssef Abdalla (ENG) 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 (44m)
[2] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt [5] Ben Coleman (ENG) 8-11, 11-8, 15-13, 11-3 (48m)
Richie Fallows (ENG) bt [4] Greg Lobban (SCO) 11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3 (89m)
[7] Todd Harrity (USA) bt [3] Charles Sharpes (ENG) 11-13, 11-8, 2-11, 11-5, 11-9 (67m)
[1] Steven Finitsis (AUS) bt [6] Declan James (ENG) 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 (42m)
[2] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt Richie Fallows (ENG) 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7 (41m)
[1] Steven Finitsis (AUS) bt [7] Todd Harrity (USA) 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 (38m)
[2] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt [1] Steven Finitsis (AUS) 13-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9 (60m


Jonathan Kemp made it five out out of five for Harrow as he won the Kent Open for the second time. The tournament celebrated five years as a PSA world-ranking event at The Mote, and each final has been won by a player using the Harrow brand. Previous winners were Alan Clyne, Chris Ryder and Chris Simpson.


A big thank you to all the spectators who travelled from far and wide for the finals weekend party, which involved a World Cup-themed 25-a-side friendly between Team England and Team Italy. Unlike the football, Team England just squeezed home to victory.

This was followed by the two PSA semi-finals, the tournament party with live music, followed by the World Cup match on TV at 11pm. After a sleepover, a Full English breakfast gave everyone a rousing start before the Hangover Doubles, followed by an outstanding main final in the afternoon.

Posted by Alan Thatcher on June 26, 2014 at 23:56 in Squash Chat

Select Gaming Kent Open at The Mote

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Looking forward to welcoming guests from all over the county this week for the Select Gaming Kent Open at The Mote.

This is our fifth year as a PSA world-ranking tournament and we have already seen three great days of squash in the Pre-Qualifying and Qualifying competitions.

Last night Josh Masters lost a tough match against George Parker, but James Evans claimed an outstanding victory against Scotland’s Jonathan Geekie, fighting back from 10-4 down in the third to win 12-10, 11-7, 12-10.

James meets Youssef Abdalla tonight at 7pm.

Park Langley’s Steven London is the wild card in the main draw and he meets No.3 seed Charles Sharpes, the British Under-23, tomorrow at 7pm. That’s followed by Richie Fallows meeting Pakistan’s Adil Maqbool at 7.45.

Tournament sponsor Jonny Powell provided an entertaining interlude as he battled for a handful of points (they were all spectacular) against qualifying top seed Mike Harris.

Full reports and pictures on



Posted by Alan Thatcher on June 11, 2014 at 11:04


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Kent’s top juniors James Evans and Josh Masters will be aiming to make the main draw in the Select Gaming Kent Open at The Mote.

Both are competing in the qualifying competition with Josh’s brother Brad taking part in an expanded Pre-Qualifying tournament.

Park Langley’s Steven London has been awarded the wild card into the first round of the Main Draw and tournament sponsor Jonny Powell will be joining James and Josh in qualifying.

We would love to see a bus-load of PL supporters nipping down the M20 to support Steve in his first round match against British Under-23 champion Charles Sharpes.

This means eight days of top squash at The Mote from June 8-15. As always admission is free and we will be holding free junior clinics every day from the Tuesday to Friday at 4pm, with the pros lending a hand on court.

Reigning champion Jonathan Kemp will be playing his final PSA tournament at The Mote, having announced his retirement this week, and we plan to give him a rousing send-off.

There is loads of social squash and free coaching alongside the pro matches, so if anyone wants to join in, please let me know.

The Saturday night tournament party is growing bigger by the minute, with the England v Italy World Cup match rounding off a long day.

We will be holding a Hangover Doubles Tournament on the Sunday morning, with CASH up for grabs before the main Kent Open final.



Please check out The Mote website:

 Posted by Alan Thatcher on May 29, 2014 at 0:53