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Joel Makin wins Kent Open title as Josh Masters runs out of steam

Alan Thatcher
Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad, the Kent Open and co-promoter of the Canary Wharf Classic. Launched the Squash 200 Partnership to build clubs of the future. Talks a bit.

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Kent Open champion Joel Makin raises the trophy

Packed crowd can’t lift home hero
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor at The Mote Squash Club


Runner-up last year, Joel Makin claimed the Select Gaming Kent Open PSA M10 title by overpowering local hero Josh Masters in straight games.

In front of a packed gallery at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent, Makin dominated the match as a tired Masters looked to win points in a hurry.

On the hottest day of the year, with temperatures approaching 30 degrees, the ball flew around the court as both players struggled to adapt to the conditions.

Makin settled into a comfortable rhythm early on and quickly built an 8-1 lead before Masters got a few more points on the board.

Makin closed out the game 11-5 and soon led 5-1 in the second. Masters pulled it back to 3-5 but Makin powered through to close out the game 11-4.

Masters produced his best squash in the third game, leading 5-4 and then 8-6, but Makin soaked up the pressure and won five points in a row to win the title.

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A delighted Makin said: “Josh had some hard games this week and was obviously feeling the effects but I felt good all week and I felt I was moving well.

“I have had a good season and it’s great to end the season on a winning note.

“It’s been a superb tournament and the players all appreciate the way they are looked after here at The Mote.”

Masters revealed: “It was one match too many, I guess. There wasn’t much left in the tank after some hard matches this week and I was disappointed that I didn’t give Joel a better game. It was great to have so much support from the crowd and they have been behind me all week.”

Kent Open, presented by First Business Finance
The Mote Squash Club, Maidstone, Kent, England

FINAL (Sunday June 18):
(1) Joel Makin (Wales) beat (4) Joshua Masters (Eng) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (37 mins) 


Josh Masters, runner-up

How do you feel about today?
I am quite disappointed with my performance today, but I know that I have had a tough week, and I wasn’t expected to get here. Joel played very well, and made it very hard for me, this afternoon. I didn’t have much left to offer due to other previously hard matches, and I think I have used up everything left in the tank in the match today. Joel deserved to win today, and as much as I would have liked to, he played very well, and he deserves the victory after his hard efforts. Once I got tired, I started to make more mistakes, which made me frustrated so I lost a bit of concentration.

What would you do next time to improve?
Hopefully I would feel a bit better, especially if I hadn’t had such a tough time getting there. I would definitely make sure that I was more patient, instead of rushing the winners, which sometimes didn’t come off. I would take all opportunities given to me, making sure I punish the looser balls.

What have you got lined up for next season?
I don’t really know what I have got up for next season, however I am looking forward to having a holiday and a rest before it. Hopefully I will gain more fitness, and improve my shots. I hope to play more PSA tournaments, to try and gain a higher ranking.

Have you enjoyed you time here at the Kent Open?
Yes, it has been a greta week. Obviously, I am really happy I reached the final, especially when my seeding wasn’t expecting me to get here, so it is great to exceed my seeding. Yesterday was a really good result for me, so I am really happy with how that went, even if the final wasn’t how I wanted it to be.

How have your family helped you this week?
They have been lovely, and really supportive of me. I know for sure, that, without them, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today. Mum has just started racketball, and even though she supports me, I still won’t give her a game- she needs to improve a bit first!!! Dad is really good, especially as it is fathers’ day, as he comes down in between games, helping me, by giving me advice on how to play.

Joel Makin- Kent Open champion

How do you feel about today?
Obviously, I am really happy to have won the final today. It is a really nice way to end the season. I feel I played really well, and my movement was good around the court. I had the confidence to do what I wanted to do, and these shots were paying off. I know how hard it was for Josh, however I feel he played well, and gave me a good match. I just want to say a big well done to him.

What have you got lined up for next season?
Next season I hope to keep on improving, after a bit of a break over the summer. In September, I am starting the season off with two tournaments, both with prize money of 25K. One of these will be played in France, and the other will be in the Netherlands. Hopefully I will start the season off to a good start, by doing well in these, but of course it depends on who enters, and how I improve over the summer. Throughout next season, I hope to compete in some of the bigger tournaments, to try and raise my ranking as high as possible.

Have you enjoyed your time here at the Kent Open?
Of course. This tournament is always great, last year and this year, I have had a really good week here. Alan is amazing, making sure everything is well organized, the hotel, transport and everything else. It is really nice because it is stress free, because everything is sorted out for us. The crowds here are good, with a nice turn out every night to watch the matches. The food is great, which means we have a lot of energy for the matches, and t is prepared for when we are finished. Everyone in the club is friendly, which makes the overall atmosphere nice to play in.

How did you feel about the marking?
To be honest, there were very few decisions that had to be made by the markers this afternoon, which is good, because it means that there is less friction between the players, as it isn’t reliant on anyone’s decision.

How was the heat today?
Today is definitely the hottest it has been all week, which made it even tougher for the two of us. This is due to the fact that the rallies are longer, as you cannot kill the ball, and balls ping out of the back. I know this made it harder for Josh, due to his previous time on court, and he wanted it to be over, so he didn’t get tired.

How supportive have your family been?
For the rest of the week, they were back home in Wales, however, last night they told me they were coming down for the final. I know that today will be a good father’s day present for him.


Pictures by KIM ROBERTS


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