Ellis and Evans march on at The Mote
By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor
Sam Ellis from Bristol and Welsh junior Emyr Evans powered through the Select Gaming Kent Open Pre-Qualifying tournament before a packed gallery at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent.
It was an excellent night of squash, with the top players from The Mote and other Kent and Surrey clubs finally biting the dust in the quest for a coveted place in a tough-looking qualifying draw.
There was a change of personnel in the first match following the withdrawal of Ollie Pett from the qualifying competition.
As first reserve, Phil Nightingale moved into that spot which meant he no longer needed to compete in the pre-qualifying. A lucky losers draw was held, which resulted in The Mote’s 16-year-old Ben Goodayle being given another chance to shine on the big stage.
Having narrowly lost in the fifth the night before to Surrey junior Matt Cook, he was eager to impress against James Hall, from Sevenoaks club Knole Park. Hall’s superior experience and quality of shot proved decisive as he won in straight games.
Hany Taleb, nephew of three-times British Open champion About Taleb, and one of the Mote coaches, enjoyed his match against Ellis. He would have enjoyed it even more if he had collected a few more points as Ellis moved the ball effortlessly around the court.
Cook, from Croydon, battled hard against Robert Dadds, from Colchester, who is one of the fairest young players I have ever seen, almost always electing to play the ball even when a simple stroke is on offer. He also possesses a great lob and good touch in the front corners.
Welsh junior international Emyr Evans opted to play a high-paced game against Canterbury’s Joe Magor, who withstood some punishing pressure to prolong a succession of hugely entertaining rallies, winning an impressive number points after finding some gaps on the court.
in the Pre-Qualifying Finals, with Ellis beating a tired-looking Hall 11-6, 11-3, 11-2 and Evans produced a quality performance after a short rest between matches to overcome Dadds 11-7, 11-6, 11-5.
In the Qualifying competition today, Sam meets number two qualifying seed George Parker and Emyr plays Jaakko Vahamaa, the No.7 seed from Finland.
Select Gaming 2015 Kent Open, The Mote Squash Club, Maidstone, Kent.
James Hall beat Ben Goodayle (lucky loser) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8
Sam Ellis beat Hany Taleb 11-3, 11-3, 11-4
Robert Dadds beat Matt Cook 11-7, 11-3, 11-5
Emyr Evans beat Joe Magor 11-6, 11-5, 11-4
Finals: Ellis beat Hall 11-6, 11-3, 11-2
Evans beat Dadds 11-7, 11-6, 11-5.
6pm Court 1: (2) George Parker (England) v (Q) Sam Ellis (England)
6pm Court 2: (7) Jaakko Vahamaa (Finland) v Emyr Evans (Wales)
6.45pm Court 1: (1) Michael Harris (England) v Phil Nightingale (England)
6.45pm Court 2: (8) Eain Yow Ng (Malaysia) v Micah Franklin (Bermuda)
7.30pm Court 1: (5) Rui Soares (Portugal) v James Evans (The Mote)
7.30pm Court 2: (4) Kevin Moran (Scotland) v Steven London (England)
8.15pm Court 1: (3) Ashley Davies (England) v Jonny Powell (The Mote)
8.50pm: (6) Joe Green (England) v Ben Ford (England)
Pictures by BRYAN LINTOTT