Fiery finals at Hunts County
By COLIN GRIGGS – Squash Mad Correspondent
The two favourites, Joel Makin and Elise Lazarus, claimed their first British Under-23 titles in two great battles in front of packed crowds at Hunts County SC.
The 16-year-old Lazarus (Essex) fought back from 0-1 and 1-2 down against second seed Kace Bartley (Surrey) in the 44-minute women’s final. Bartley snatched the first having been well down and took full advantage of Lazarus’ casual unforced errors that crept in.
A more consistent second game from the number one seed brought it back to 1-1, only for Bartley to respond positively in a close third game and forge another lead closing out the game 11-9.
Bartley lost her advantage and all the momentum she had built in a disjointed fourth game, with the referee’s becoming increasingly involved in the contest.
At 2-2 a poor start from Bartley handed Lazarus a great platform at 5-0 up, and she closed out the game 11-5 to become the youngest British Under 23 Champion in the nine-year history of the event at Hunts County SC.
Joel Makin (Wales) weathered a spirited Richie Fallows (Essex) fight back from 0-2 down, and clinched the National title on extra points in a dramatic and tense fourth game of a wonderful last match of the Championships.
Two close games both went to #1 seed Makin, with the Welshman producing mature and disciplined squash in the key points at the end of both games to close out both 11-7, and leave Fallows facing a massive mental and physical challenge.
The second seed responded with more assertive and positive squash, to take the third game 11-8 as the tension built dramatically.
Nothing separated the players in the fourth, with the increasing physicality (and debate on ‘lines’ to/from the ball) testing the referee and players relationship to the point of “Conduct Warnings” being given to both players………only ramping up the pressure and tension on court and in the crowd!
Fallows lost the chance to take it to a decider with a game ball at 10-9, and when presented with two opportunities to isolate and shut out Fallows, Makin converted both to claim the Under 23 title in his last opportunity to do so.
Congratulations and thanks to everyone who contributed to creating another great BU23 Championships, with everyone already looking forward to the 10th Anniversary Championships in 2018.
BU23 Tournament Director and Head Coach at The Sports Academy CIC, Hunts County SC.
British Under-23 Championships, Hunts County Squash Club, Huntingdon, England.
(1) Joel Makin (Wales) beat (2) Richie Fallows (Essex) 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10 (69 mins).
 Joel Makin (Wales) bt [5/8] Joe Brooke (Oxon) 11-4, 11-6, 11-4
 Richie Fallows (Essex) bt [3/4] Ashley Davies (Derbyshire) 11-6, 11-7, 11-5
 Joel Makin (Wales) bt [5/8] Adam Corcoran (Hants) 11-8, 11-3, 11-8
[5/8] Joe Brooke (Oxon) bt [3/4] Harry Falconer (Lincs) 11-4, 11-4, 12-10
[3/4] Ashley Davies (Derbyshire) bt Angus Beecroft (Suffolk) 11-4, 11-5, 11-5
 Richie Fallows (Essex) bt [5/8] Nicholas Wall (Yorks) 13-11, 11-7, 12-10
(1) Elise Lazarus (Essex) beat (2) Kace Bartley (Surrey) 10-12, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3, 11-5 (44 mins)
 Elise Lazarus (Essex) bt [3/4] Alicia Mead (Warwicks) 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-4
 Kace Bartley (Surrey) bt [3/4] Jasmine Hutton (Sussex) 14-12, 6-11, 12-10, 11-3
 Elise Lazarus (Essex) bt [5/8] Lily Taylor (Leics) 12-10, 11-7, 5-11, 11-2
[3/4] Alicia Mead (Warwicks) bt [5/8] Charlotte Jagger (Yorks) 9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-7
[3/4] Jasmine Hutton (Sussex) bt [5/8] Mari Taylor (Leics) 1-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6
 Kace Bartley (Surrey) bt [5/8] Alice Green (Essex) 11-4, 11-7, 11-2
Full results: visit www.squashinfo.com
Pictures courtesy of England Squash