Kent junior puts homework aside to claim another scalp at The Mote
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
The Mote’s James Evans repeated his victory over Scotland’s James Geekie to reach the qualifying finals of the Select Gaming Kent Open.
Playing on his favourite home court, Evans claimed another straight-games victory but it required a monumental fightback in the third after trailing 10-4 to his much taller opponent.
Evans won 12-10, 11-7, 12-10 in 43 minutes of entertaining squash that had the packed gallery roaring their support and groaning in despair as the score see-sawed one way then the other.
Fresh from an exam at Invicta Grammar School, where he is head boy, Evans raced into a 5-1 lead in the opening game before falling off the pace and allowing Geekie to hit back to lead 7-5.
Evans hit back to lead 10-9 and despite Geekie levelling the scores he closed out the game 12-10.
Evans was much tighter in the second game, building another 5-1 lead and surviving another mid-game wobble.
Geekie dominated the opening stages of the third game to lead 9-3 and he reached game ball at 10-4.
However, Evans showed great resilience and tenacity to win eight points in a row to win the match as the home crowd cheered him home.
He faces talented Egyptian-born Londoner Youssef Abdalla in the qualifying finals. Abdalla took just 24 minutes to overcome Nick Mulvey 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 with a devastating display of attacking squash.
Evans’ Kent team-mate Josh Masters was an early casualty, going down in a high-paced encounter with George Parker. Masters led 9-5 in the third but tinned a drop shot which led to Parker mounting a determined recovery to close out the match 11-6, 11-5, 13-11 in 43 minutes.
The longest match of the night saw Phil Nightingale beat Phil Bull in five games to claim a place in the finals against top qualifying seed Mike Harris, who had enjoyed the shortest encounter of the evening, an entertaining stroll with title sponsor Jonny Powell.
Parker meets Londoner Reuben Phillips, who withstood a third-game fightback from Pakistani Suleman Khan to win 11-5, 11-4, 12-10.
Sam Ellis meets number two seed James Earles after both enjoyed straight-games victories against Anthony Brindle and Joel Makin.
Select Gaming Kent Open, at The Mote Squash Club, Maidstone, England.
Qualifying First Round:
(1) Michael Harris (ENG) bt Jonny Powell (ENG) 11-2, 11-4, 11-2 (18 mins)
Phil Nightingale (ENG) bt (7) Phil Bull (ENG) 11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 7-11, 11-4 (50 mins)
George Parker (ENG) bt (8) Josh Masters (ENG) 11-6, 11-5, 13-11 (43 mins)
(3) Reuben Phillips (ENG) bt Suleman Khan (PAK) 11-5, 11-4, 12-10 (25 mins)
(4) Youssef Abdalla (ENG) bt Nick Mulvey (ENG) 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 (24 mins)
James Evans (ENG) bt Jonathan Geekie (SCO) 12-10, 11-7, 12-10 (43 mins)
Sam Ellis (ENG) bt (6) Anthony Brindle (GIB) 11-3, 11-9, 11-5 (23 mins)
(2) James Earles (ENG) bt Joel Makin (ENG) 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (29 mins)
Harris v Nightingale (6pm)
Parker v Phillips (8pm)
Abdalla v Evans (7pm)
Earles v Ellis (9pm)
Picture by KIM ROBERTS The Mote Squash Club