Number two seed squeezes home 12-10 in the fifth against qualifier George Parker
By ALAN THATCHER at The Mote Squash Club
Number two seed Charles Sharpes survived a nailbiting tiebreak in the fifth game to win the Select Gaming Kent Open at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent.
His opponent, George Parker, was playing his sixth match in six days after battling his way through the qualifying competition and taking out Adil Maqbool, Jaymie Haycocks and Joel Hinds in the main draw.
In a match that produced a mixture of high-quality squash and some physical exchanges between the players, Sharpes weathered a storming fightback from Parker at the end of a thrilling match.
Sharpes held match ball at 10-7 but Parker won three points in a row to draw level. A penalty stroke took Sharpes to his second match ball and Parker hit the tin in the next rally to end the match after 74 minutes of brutal combat.
Sharpes had begun the match in fine form with a run of seven points in the opening game, but Parker turned the tables in the second, moving ahead from 5-2 to draw level.
The pattern continued as Sharpes won the third and Parker the fourth, with the packed crowd delighted to see the match go the full distance.
By this time both players had become embroiled in discussions with the referee over access issues, mostly in the front left corner.
Some ugly clashes occurred as both players exchanged words with each other and the match officials.
Ultimately, the week was a rewarding one for Sharpes and Parker in terms of ranking points.
It was Sharpes’ fifth and biggest PSA title, and he said: “I am so happy to win the Kent Open and end the season on a high.
“I want to thank George for a great match. We are good friends off court and I look forward to many more battles with him in the future.
“This is a great tournament and all the players appreciate the way we have been looked after here in Kent.”
Immediately after the match, title sponsors Select Gaming announced that they would be continuing their sponsorship of this PSA Challenger 10 event next year.
Host club The Mote have also announced an ambitious development plan that includes an all-glass showcourt.
PSA Challenger 10 Select Gaming Kent Open, The Mote Squash Club, Maidstone, Kent.
Final: (2) Charles Sharpes (England) beat (Q) George Parker (England) 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10 (74 mins)
Pictures by KIM ROBERTS and BRYAN LINTOTT