Mote magic from Portugal’s powerhouse
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
In the nine years of running the Kent Open, we have seen some truly classy players in action, with Jonathan Kemp, Chris Simpson, Tom Ford and fun-loving title sponsor Jonny Powell gracing our courts at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone.
Tonight we were fortunate to witness a display of majestic style, ability and artistry from Portugal’s Rui Soares … and don’t forget we were still in the qualifying competition!
I felt sorry for his opponent, Yorkshire’s Taminder Gata-Aura, who was on the receiving end of a demonstration of intelligent ball placement that included spellbinding, featherlight soft drops, stunning flat kills, tight volleys, dying drives and nicks from all over the court.
The match was over in 21 minutes. Even JP managed to stay on court longer in last night’s match with Miles Jenkins.
Miles also turned on the style tonight, recovering from a first game deficit to beat Belgium’s Joeri Hapers, who had removed qualifying top seed Tristan Eysele the previous evening.
Joeri started strongly but lost control as he held game ball in the first and never managed to regain his composure, his control or his momentum as Miles grew in confidence.
In the end he was striking the ball solidly to all parts of the court as Joeri pressed the self-destruct button.
Ondrej Uherka, from the Czech Republic, clearly has a simple master-plan in squash: Keep the rally going until the other guy makes the mistake.
His opponent, the 6ft 5in tall Mark Broekman, played that role to perfection, contesting and dominating many of the rallies until he worked a winning opening …. and then smacked the ball into the tin.
It was a consistent feature of the early part of the match as Uherka won the opening two games before Broekman tightened up and eliminated the errors.
Big Mark reminded me of legendary Australian Kevin Shawcross, mixing power with sublime touch as he won the third and fourth games to take the match to the fifth.
There Ondrej worked his way back into a controlling position with squash of a solid, intelligent, rhythmical quality. Back came the mistakes from Mark and Ondrej was through to the main draw.
First up this evening, Connor Sheen and Matthew Broadberry had a close first game which Connor just edged 12-10. Then the Scouser took control and played tight, positive squash to win in straight games.
The reward for the four winners was a place in the first round draw.
Sheen meets Jan Van Den Herrewegen, Uherka was drawn against Richie Fallows, Soares meets Danish number one Kristian Frost, and Jenkins plays number two seed Todd Harrity, the US number one.
The first round of the main draw is packed with immense quality.
If you are in the area, do pop down to enjoy the squash, check out some wonderful meals and snacks available in the kitchen, and enjoy the Pimm’s and Prosecco, as well as the Spitfire and Asahi on special offer at the bar.
It promises to be a scorcher, on and off the court.
Select Gaming Kent Open, presented by First Business Finance. The Mote Squash Club, Maidstone, Kent, England
Connor Sheen (Eng) bt Matthew Broadberry (Eng) 3-0: 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 (35m)
Ondrej Uherka (Czech Republic) beat Mark Broekman (England) 3-2: 11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 12-10, 11-3 (58m)
Rui Soares (Portugal) beat Taminder Gata-Aura (England) 3-0: 11-1, 11-4, 11-5 (21m)
Miles Jenkins (England) beat Joeri Hapers (Belgium) 3-0: 14-12, 11-4, 11-8 (39m)
Updated First Round Draw:
(Thursday June 15):
(1) Joel Makin (Wal) v (WC) Daniel Poleshchuk (Isr)
(6) Jan Van Den Herrewegen (Bel) v (Q) Connor Sheen (Eng)
(5) Adam Murrills (Eng) v Asim Khan (Pak)
(3) Richie Fallows (Eng) v (Q) Ondrej Uherka (Cze)
(4) Joshua Masters (Eng) v Edmon Lopez (Spain)
(8) Kristian Frost (Den) v (Q) Rui Soares (Por)
(7) Aqel Rehman (Aust) v Mark Fuller (Eng)
(2) Todd Harrity (USA) v (Q) Miles Jenkins (Eng)
Pictures by KIM ROBERTS