Home hero in Fantasy land as he wins Mantis title
By Squash Mad Reporter
Declan James ended a career-long losing run to former fellow England junior international Charles Sharpes when he upset the top seed in the final of the MANTIS Fantasysquash.com Nottingham Open to retain the PSA Challenger 5 title at his home club.
The Nottingham-born 21-year-old had not previously taken a game from Sharpes in four meetings over the past four years – on and off the Tour.
“A final between the two tops seeds always promises a lot and in Nottingham tonight it didn’t disappoint,” said event organiser Mark Fuller. “Both players came into the match as previous champions and were clearly eager to win the title again.”
World No.65 Sharpes, the 2010 champion, took the opening game and built up a 10-7 lead in the second.
“Declan did not lie down though and, in what proved to be the decisive period of the match, won the next five points to level at one-all,” reported Fuller.
James, ranked 13 places behind his opponent, sneaked the third and maintained a lead throughout the fourth before closing out the match 11-13, 12-10, 12-10, 11-7 after 78 minutes.
“I felt more relaxed than I did yesterday,” admitted the two-time champion afterwards. “I wasn’t too worried when I lost the first game.
“I played well in the second but there were too many mistakes. 10-7 down was the turning point of the match for me – I started to feel physically good and control the match.
“Credit to Charles – he stuck with me all the way – but I got there in the end,” added James, now with three PSA World Tour titles to his name, including two back-to-back after picking up the Madeira International Open trophy last month.
“It’s been a great week!”
Words were in short supply from Sharpes: “I’m not up for quoting when I lose,” said the London-born 22-year-old.
PSA Challenger 5 MANTIS Fantasysquash.com Nottingham Open, Nottingham, England
 Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt [WC] Joe Green (ENG) 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (35m)
 James Earles (ENG) bt [Q] Phil Nightingale (ENG) 8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (41m)
[Q] Joshua Masters (ENG) bt  Steven London (ENG) 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 5-11, 11-9 (74m)
 Douglas Kempsell (SCO) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 11-8, 4-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6 (87m)
 Lewis Walters (ENG) bt [Q] David Wardle (ENG) 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7 (53m)
 Mark Fuller (ENG) bt Ashley Davies (ENG) 11-6, 11-2, 11-5 (36m)
Oliver Pett (ENG) bt  Chris Fuller (ENG) 11-8, 11-3 ret. (24m)
 Declan James (ENG) bt [Q] Josh Taylor (ENG) 11-6, 10-12, 11-4, 11-2 (48m)
 Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt  James Earles (ENG) 11-6, 13-11, 11-4 (30m)
 Douglas Kempsell (SCO) bt [Q] Joshua Masters (ENG) 11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9 (52m)
 Lewis Walters (ENG) bt  Mark Fuller (ENG) 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5 (73m)
 Declan James (ENG) bt Oliver Pett (ENG) 14-12, 11-6, 7-11, 2-11, 11-9 (81m)
 Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt  Douglas Kempsell (SCO) 13-11, 11-6, 11-2 (52m)
 Declan James (ENG) bt  Lewis Walters (ENG) 8-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 (62m)
 Declan James (ENG) bt  Charles Sharpes (ENG) 11-13, 12-10, 12-10, 11-7 (78m)
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Picture courtesy of PSA