By JOE MAGOR (Squash Mad Correspondent)
World No. 75 Curtis Malik of England produced an incredible comeback, saving two match balls to deny World No.59 Rui Soares of Portugal the title at The TW Canterbury Open 2022 Graded tournament.
Trailing by two games to one and 10-8 down in the fourth game, Malik produced a series of outright winners to take the game 14-12, going on to win the fifth game to take the title and the £1,500 winner’s prize. Soares was rewarded for his efforts with the runners-up £1,200 prize.
Both players had caused an upset in seedings, with Malik beating top seed Declan James by three games to one while Soares sent second seed Joe Lee out of the tournament with the same scoreline to set up a final of the 3/4 seeds!
Lee had earlier beaten Daryl Selby in the quarter-finals, finishing strongly to win 11-2 in the fifth game.
The tournament was attended by 94 players from across the UK, taking part in the five event categories from A Grade to E Grade.
The event was renamed The TW Canterbury Open to honour the memory of club president Tony Whiting, who sadly passed away recently.
The B Grade of the event was also renamed The Sam Rooks Cup to commemorate Maidstone Squash Club’s Sam Rooks, who was ever-present at the B Grade events of many of the tournaments that were run by myself. Sam sadly died during covid lockdown and prizes for The Sam Rooks Cup were presented by Phil Fray of Maidstone Squash Club.
The other winners in the other categories saw Ewan Bowerbank (Cumberland) take The Sam Rooks Cup (B Grade) title after a very long four set match over Charlie Gibson (Crawley). Natasha Burrett (Southbank) came back from two games to one down to deny Simon Ashby (Biddenden) in the C Grade Final, whilst new entry to the graded tournament scene, Jon Ward (Woolwich Waterfront) proved too strong for up and coming junior, Lennon Clarke (Canterbury) in the final of the D Grade. Newly joined member, Simon Olivari (Canterbury) took the E Grade title, with a straight sets win over Richard Penny (Rodmersham).
Thanks go to all the players and pros that took part in the event, to Canterbury Squash Club for hosting the tournament and to Blitz Hire Ltd, JayTee Biosciences, Diva Metalwork, Autoworld South East and Certax Accounting for sponsoring the event.
Extra thanks go to co-organiser of the event, Natasha Burrett for all her help and to the Maidstone Squash Club team for supporting the event en masse and doing Sam Rooks proud with their efforts!
The TW Canterbury Open 2022, Canterbury Squash Club, Kent, Final Results.
A Grade Final:
(3/4) Curtis Malik (England) beat (3/4) Rui Soares (Portugal) 3-2 (12-14, 11-5, 8-11, 14-12, 11-4)
(3/4) Curtis Malik (England) beat (1) Declan James (England) 11-4 7-11 7-11 4-11
(3/4) Rui Soares (Portugal) beat (2) Joe Lee (England) 11-6 11-2 5-11 11-3
(1) Declan James (England) beat (5/8) Miles Jenkins 11-2 11-6 11-7
(3/4) Curtis Malik (England) beat (5/8) Tom Walsh (England) 11-5, 11-5, 11-8
(3/4) Rui Soares (Portugal) beat (5/8) Ben Coleman (England) 11-9 12-10 11-7
(2) Joe Lee (England) beat (5/8) Daryl Selby (England) 11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-2
A Grade Final
A Plate Final:
Bailey Malik (Crawley) beat James Gibbins (Bromley SC) 3-2 (14-12 0-11 7-11 11-8 11-5)
B Grade Final:
(2) Ewan Bowerbank (Cumberland) beat (1) Charlie Gibson (Crawley) 3-1 (11-6, 12-10, 7-11, 11-9)
B Plate Final:
Lara Newton (Lexden) beat James McClean 3-2 (11-7 8-11 11-6 9-11 11-8)
C Grade Final:
(3/4) Natasha Burrett (Southbank) beat (3/4) Simon Ashby (Biddenden) 3-2 (11-7, 10-12, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6)
C Plate Final:
Caspar Bloomfield (Thanet) beat Amber Clarke (Canterbury) 3-2 (6-11 11-7 9-11 11-6 11-6)
D Grade Final:
(5/8) Jon Ward (Woolwich Waterfront) beat (2) Lennon Clarke 3-0 (11-6, 11-4)
D Plate Final:
Ashley Scott (Woolwich Waterfront) beat Keith Ragg (Nuffield St Albans) 2-1 (10-12, 11-4, 11-9)
E Grade Final:
(3/4) Simon Olivari beat Richard Penny 2-0 (11-9, 11-3)
E Plate Final:
Laura Heather beat Kiera Hynes 2-0 (11-5, 12-10)
Full Results can be found at www.kent-tournaments.co.uk
Pictures courtesy of Canterbury Squash Club