Top seed Fallows halts Hurricane Harris
By DAVE IRESON – Squash Mad Correspondent in Aberdeen
The first round of the main draw of the TRAC North of Scotland Championships got under way today, with some superb squash on display for the spectators to see. Number one seed Richie Fallows managed to srape through against the ultra-attacking Mike Harris, but not before he had a scare.
Harris caught him off guard in the first two games and took an early lead before eventually Fallows’ class showed and he won in five games.
Although the Number 1 seed progressed to the next round, there were a number of upsets in the draw. The small but very quick Malaysian qualifier Addeen Idrakie used his phenomenal speed to good effect against Lance Beddoes of New Zealand. Although Beddoes was in control for much of the match, the dogged retrieval of the Malaysian earned him a place in the second quarter finals.
Scotland’s Douglas Kempsell also upset the seedings, knocking out fourth seed Chris Binnie of Jamaica. Kempsell was showing some good form ahead of this year’s European Team Championships which is good for the Scottish Team!
Kempsell managed to get through in four games in what became a battle of mental attrition as he tried to concentrate through a match littered with stoppages and interaction with the referees.
Aberdeen home favourite Chris Leiper was also in action. Chris has improved a lot in the last 18 months and it showed tonight. He was moving his higher ranked opponent all over the court and had many opportunities to win rallies. Perhaps a bit of inexperienced showed as his error count was high for this level, but he can take solace from a very competitive game against the #82 in the world.
All other seeded players made the quarter finals. Play continues at 5pm tomorrow at Aberdeen Squash and Racketball Club for the Men’s Quarter Finals, the first round of the PSA Women’s Closed Satellite and the Tony Squash Graded Event!
[Q] Tristan Eysele (Rsa) vs  Malhotra (Ind)
Savage start to the first game from Malhotra, just brutalising any ball that sat up above the tin – and even most of the ones that didn’t! It took a good few points for Eysele to adjust to the pace of the game, and went 4 ponts behind, before some dogged retrieval and some impatience from Malhotra saw him claw his way back into the game and almost draw level. Business end of the game, Malhotra slots a couple of nicks to take the game 11-6.
Second game is another high paced affair – Malhotra just not wanting to let the ball touch the back wall at all! For the first time ever Eysele looks burst! Malhotra takes the second 11-6 in a similar fashion to the second.
Tell you what – Malhotra can play a bit; showed the crowd some really classy stuff in this game – boasts, drop, flicks – constantly sending Eysele the wrong way, and his court coverage is excellent. Wham, bam thank you mam (Tristan) – all over in 32 minutes. Game to Malhotra 11-8.
Malhotra won 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-8, (32 mins)
 Evan Williams (Nzl) vs [WC] Chris Leiper (Sco)
Chris started with a solid game plan of trying to attack the Kiwi’s backhand, and forced a series of weak cross courts, however he failed to capitalise on these as several volley drop attempts clipped the top of the tin. Williams would have had no answer to these shots – right plan, slightly wayward execution. Williams takes the game 11-5.
The second was better from Chris, taking the ball in short without the errors this time taking an early 6-2 lead. However a few tins and some slightly better rallies from Williams saw him pull it back within a point or two. Chris was looking frustrated at not maintaining his early lead, and another couple of errors saw Williams take the game 11-8. The games are there to be won, he just needs to keep the ball out the tin!
Into the third game and Chris is playing better – far fewer tins, and is stretching Williams a lot, forcing him to lift the ball. Chris has started to use his holds at the front and is sending Williams the wrong way, earns himself 4 game balls. And converts on the second attempt – takes the game 11-7!
Tight as a tiger in the fourth! Chris is creating so many opportunities, but once again the errors keep creeping in! Its end to end stuff and the crowd are loving it! Unfortunately not to be for Chris today. Williams does enough in the fourth to take the game 11-6.
Williams won 3-1: 11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6 (43 mins)
Mohd Syafiq Kamal (Mas) vs  Eain Yow Ng (Mas)
And we’re back to free-flowing squash… Yow Ng’s speed was the defining factor in this game. Both players were cautiously working the ball up and down the walls looking for an opportunity to take the ball in short, however neither of them really attacked with much conviction so Yow Ng’s slightly greater speed and retrieval saw him take the game 11-6.
It was pretty close in the second game, both players attacking with short kills and counter drops at the front, and both resetting the rallies with carefully placed lobs. Being doubles partners probably wasn’t a recipe for anything other than a match where both players were able to read their opponent’s play – it was like watching routines. Although Kamal had two game balls, Yow won four straight points to close out the game 12-10.
In the third game Yow definitely looked to increase the tempo and the level of attack, volleying the ball much more than the previous 2 games, using his speed to cover anything slightly loose. Takes the third 11-5. Fun fact of the day: due to a minor hotel admin issue apparently these two are sharing a bed tonight. Tough gig being a squash pro.
Eain Yow Ng won 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (35 mins)
 Chris Binnie (Jam) vs Douglas Kempsell (Sco)
Dougie started the first game positively looking to slightly overhit his length to guarantee that the ball ran through to the back of the court and move Binnie into the back corners of the court, coupled with some lovely fades across the middle to expose the slightly more rangy movements of Binnie, then 2 reckless tins from Binnie handed Dougie 4 games balls, converting on the first attempt. Game to Dougie 11-6.
So, into the second game and the inevitable occurs. I’ll refer you to some of last year’s match reporting… To quote the referee, “Mr Binnie you must clear your shots”…. Yes let; Yes let; Yes let…. Etc. Luckily for the crowd Dougie managed to keep his length and width good enough take the second 11-9.
The game starts with more free-flowing squash, however once we reach the business end of the game, there is comedy gold for the crowd, unfortunately nothing to do with the squash. Dougie slips / dives on the court and slightly grazes his elbow (small blood injury) – nothing major; small break while we patch up the wound right? Wrong…. Binnie demands that we phone PSA to see whether he can be awarded the match… #naechance Binnie closes out the game 11-7.
What’s that classic phrase? “Don’t play a shot you can’t clear”… this one will be a good training video for future referees…. In the end some mental composure from Dougie got him over the line 11-7. Tough match.
Kempsell won 3-1: 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7 (80 mins)
Israr Ahmed (Pak) vs  Mahesh Mangaonkar (Ind)
To be honest the first game was a bit of a tin fest. First off Ahmed made a stack of unforced errors, and then Mangaonkar decided it was his turn to have a go. In the end the slightly steadier style of Mangaoknar saw him through 14-12.
There was a lot more variation from both players in the second game. They hit the ball out as well as down. There were moments where there some good rallies with both players pushing the ball into all four corners of the court, however they were few and far between. Ahmed won this one 14-12.
Finally Mangaonkar has decided to play a bit. No errors. Nice holds. Accurate shots. Ahmed has no answer. Game to Mangaonkar 11-2. Let’s put the first two games down to jetlag…
And Mangaonkar tidies the fourth up with no real drama, taking it 11-4.
Mangaonkar won 3-1: 14-12, 12-14, 11-2, 11-4 (50 mins)
 Jan Van Der Herrewegen (Bel) vs [Q] Sebastian Bonmalais (Fra)
The first game saw some clinical and accurate length from Herrewegen to force either a boast or an error from the racket of Bonmalais. The Frenchman’s length by contrast was over hit and allowed Herrewegen time to set up for shot after shot. Towards the end of the game a few attacks from the Frenchman came off, but the early lead by Herrewegen was too great, and he took the game 11-7.
Into the second game and if Bonmalais is going to make an impression on this match he is going to have to use the front of the court to better effect – i.e. his drives are going to have to put Herrewegen under at least some sort of pressure.
And he did just that. Hitting lower and down on the ball, then stepping up and volleying everytime Herrewegen lifted. Bonmalais is also one mobile player. His reach and retrieval is outstanding – always able to keep himself in rallies. Never looks ragged. That said Herrewegen dug in well and managed to just squeeze the game 12-10 thanks to a couple of tins from Bonmalais.
In the third game Herrewegen used his experience to try and force errors from Bonmalais, using height well and resetting the rally when the ball was put into the front. Bonmalais got impatient and took the ball in short a bit too frequently, but in doing so put a lot of work into the legs of Herrewegen. Unfortunately a bit of inexperience on Bonmalais’ part showed today as a few careless errors at 7-7 gifted the game to Herrewegen 11-7. Herrewegen through in 3, Bonmalais out but definitely one to watch in the future!
Herrewegen won 3-0: 11-7, 12-10, 11-7 (51 mins)
[Q] Addeen Idrakie (Mas) vs  Lance Beddoes (Nzl)
Idrakie started the first game slowly, perhaps tired from the frantic encounter with Moran last night. Beddoes moved the Malaysian around the court with relative ease, hitting with greater accuracy, dominating the mid court. Idrakie got steadily better as the game went on, but Beddoes’ early lead was unassailable and he closed the game out 11-8.
The second game was much physically stronger for Idrakie, moving more like he had in his previous two matches, and getting a huge number of balls back and winning more rallies in the early stages. Although Idrakie earned himself three game balls, Beddoes was still the one dominating the mid court, and sure enough all match balls were saved to take the game to a tie break, but a couple of loose shots from the Kiwi’s racket and Idrakie took the game 12-10.
The third saw Idrakie take and early lead as several shots from Beddoes came off the frame and landed in no man’s land. However some nice touches and holds at the front brought Beddoes make into contention and he levelled at 7-7. Some end to end rallies followed, 2 match balls for Idrakie and he converts on the second attempt taking the game 12-10.
In the fourth Beddoes had Idrakie all over the court doing a massive amount of retrieval, but kept putting easy balls in the tin to hand the Malaysian cheap points. Some fairly harsh no lets towards the end of the game and Idrakie came through to take it 11-7.
Idrakie won 3-1 8-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-7 (51 mins)
 Richie Fallows (Eng) vs [Q] Mike Harris (Eng)
A pretty crisp start for the first match of the day. Right from the word go Fallows’ length and width was impeccable, however this was matched blow for blow by Harris’ desire to attacked the front – some more ridiculous winners from the racket of Harris followed and he takes the first game 11-8.
Into the second and 3 cross court nick rollers from the racket of Harris sees him go 3-0 ahead! Fallows is trying to straighten the play, but the quality of his length is just not good enough to cease the onslaught of winners from Harris. If its bounces in front the short line, Harris is going to punish you. And punish he did, taking the second game 11-6.
In the third game right from the start Fallows’ length was much deeper in the court – much better from the Englishman forcing Harris deep into the corners, and taking a 4-0 lead. This improved length allowed Fallows to get in front, deliver his own style of attack, playing some superb straight drops on the backhand side. Game to Fallows 11-3.
The beginning of the fourth was tit for tat; a combination of solid attack from Harris, and some variable length quality from Fallows. At 5-5 a possibly cheap “yes let” seemed to distract Fallows as he lost the next 3 points, and then a top spin drop winner seemed to ignite Fallows back into life – huge “c’mon” from Fallows.
The referees were now being needed a lot – not for interference though! Simply to work out of the ball was up or down, such was the quality of retrieval from both players. Fallows takes a very tight fourth game 11-9.
A lot of tins from Harris at the start of the fifth. The pace of the first four games maybe beginning to show, as Fallows has him doing court sprints for the first few rallies. More tins from Harris, easy points for Fallows. Game to Fallows 11-2.
Fallows won 3-2: 8-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-2 (53 mins)
Pictures by ASRC