Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Chris Tomlinson so close to dramatic win in Kent Open

Chris Tomlinson in action against Asim Khan
Chris Tomlinson in action against Asim Khan            Picture by KIM ROBERTS

Mote coach Tommo almost takes out No.2 seed in Kent Open qualifying

By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor

The Mote’s Head Coach Chris Tomlinson came desperately close to a stunning victory in the Kent Open Squash Championship.

In front of a packed gallery at The Mote, the 39-year-old Tomlinson led by two games to love against the number two qualifying seed, Asim Khan from Pakistan.

The 19-year-old from Lahore was constantly wrong-footed as Tomlinson stepped up the court and fired in a succession of dazzling winners.

Tomlinson led 7-4 in the third game and was just a handful of points away from victory. But the enormous effort took its toll and Khan forced his way back to hold game ball at 10-9. Tomlinson twice drew level but Khan held his nerve to win the game 14-12. It was a massive turning point.

The scores were level at the mid-point of the fourth and fifth games but each time Khan pulled away to clinch victory, with a scoreline of 8-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-6, 11-7 after 63 minutes of thrilling squash.

Another Kent legend, Bexley’s Ben Ford, earned a place in the qualifying finals when he beat The Mote’s Bradley Masters.

Ford, the British over-35 champion, is now one of the country’s leading coaches and has been working with Masters and his brother, world No.81 Josh, for several years.

The 19-year-old Bradley won the opening game but Ford’s experience and silky racket skills saw him through to face Nick Mulvey from Hertfordshire.

Mulvey fought back from two games down to beat top qualifying seed Joe Green. Green squandered a two-game lead and match-point in the fourth as he lost to Nick Mulvey at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent.

Green, the 21-year-old world No.140 from Watford, looked comfortable as he took the first two games but failed to finish the task off as Mullet battled his way back into the game.

Mulvey, the 23-year-old from Bishop’s Stortford, took the third game and led 7-2 in the fourth before Green strung together a run of points to reach match ball at 10-9.

However, Mulvey finished the game strongly to win it 12-10 and take the match to a fifth. This time Mulvey raced into a 7-3 lead and held his nerve to complete victory in 70 minutes.

The Mote’s James Evans lost in straight games to Brian Byrne of Ireland, and
Bexley’s Gary Nisbet, winner of the pre-qualifying competition for local players, went down to Micah Franklin of Bermuda.

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Qualifying First Round:

Nick Mulvey (Eng) beat (1) Joe Green (Eng) 4-11, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (70 mins)

Ben Ford (Eng) beat (L) Bradley Masters (Eng) 3-1: 9-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-5 (35 mins)

Patrick Rooney (Eng) beat (5) Sean Conroy (Ire) 11-0, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (41 mins)

Ondrej Uherka (Cz Rep) beat (3) Rui Soares (Portugal) 11-6, 1-11, 11-6, 11-8 (60 min)

(4) Youssef Soliman (Egypt) beat Emyr Evans (Wales) 11-8, 11-4, 11-7 (38 mins)

(8) Brian Byrne (Ireland) beat (L) James Evans (Eng) 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 (25 mins)

(7) Micah Franklin (Bermuda) beat (L) Gary Nisbet (Eng) 11-7, 11-4, 11-2 (23 mins)

(2) Asim Khan (Pakistan) beat (L) Chris Tomlinson (Eng) 8-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-6, 11-7 (63 mins)

QUALIFYING FINALS (Wednesday May 25th)

(6) Ben Ford v Nick Mulvey (20.30)

Patrick Rooney v Ondrej Uherka (18.30)

(4) Youssef Soliman v Brian Byrne (17.30)

(2) Asim Khan v Micah Franklin (19.30)

Tournament Schedule:

Wednesday May 25: Qualifying Finals (5.30pm)
Thursday May 26: Main Draw First Round (5.30pm)
Friday May 27: Quarter-Finals (5.30pm)
Saturday May 28: Semi-Finals (5pm). Plus One-Day Graded Tournament, Tournament Party, BBQ and live band
Sunday May 29: Final (4pm) preceded by Junior Challenge Tournament

Pictures by KIM ROBERTS 


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