Entertainer Harris draws top seed Fallows in Aberdeen
By DAVE IRESON in Aberdeen
Tension was high for the qualifying finals at the TRAC North of Scotland Championships, where four places were up for grabs in the main draw of the competition.
In the first match of the day the crowds were in for a treat as the attacking Mike Harris took on the No 1 seeded qualifier Asim Khan.
Harris’ shot making and all-out attack is highly entertaining, and today was on point as he beat the No 1 seed in four games.
The second match featured South African Trsitan Eysele against Brian Byrne of Ireland. This match saw a more traditional style of play with less attacking and more patient rally building before looking to attack at the front of the court. The slightly quicker and more mobile Eysele won this more attractional battle.
The talented young French star Sebastian Bonmalais was next on against seeded qualifier Ondrej Uherka from the Czech Republic. The Frenchman impressed yesterday with his super quick and agile movement as well as his attacking style. Once again he didn’t disappoint, moving fluidly and pushing the ball into all corners of the court, beating Uherka in four entertaining games.
Last up was the remaining Scot in the qualifying draw, Kevin Moran. Kevin was up against the higher seeded Malaysian Addeen Idrakie. Probably a frustrating day at the office for Kevin.
He had the game to beat Idrakie, but just couldn’t executed it consistently enough to convert the key points, eventually losing out in 4 tight games.
The first round of the main draw gets under way today with local Chris Leiper playing alongside fellow Scot Douglas Kempsell. Matches start at 12 noon and spectators are welcome.
[L] Kevin Moran (Sco) vs  Addeen Idrakie (Mas)
Joke rallies from the word go, with Moran looking to step up and volley everything, moving his smaller opponent all over the court. It was hugely entertaining to watch and a sublime backhand volley drop winner gave Moran Kev the game 11-8.
In the second game, Moran was opening the court up a little bit too much giving Idrakie a chance to hit into space and put him under some pressure. Idrakie took an early lead but Moran fought back to force the tiebreak, which the Malaysian took 13-11.
It looked like Idrakie was tiring. There was a lot more interference in the front corners, the Malaysian not quite clearing and Moran was awarded several strokes. But some more reckless cross court play from Moran gave Idrakie the third 11-8.
Patchy game from Moran in the fourth. There were a lot of loose cross courts and high drives that sat up of the back wall. He played some good stuff at the front but ultimately it was the Malaysian who was more consistent to win through.
Idrakie won 3-1: 8-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8 (58 mins)
Sebastian Bonmalais (Fra) vs  Ondrej Uherka (Cze)
In the first game, Bonmalais’ fast-paced attacking style contrasted with Uherka’s more conservative style. In the end Bomalais’ ability to use the front half of the court was the deciding factor.
The second game saw a bit of a role reversal, with Uherka hitting a barrage of forehand kill winners to take an early lead. Bonmalais tried to respond with his own attack, but made several unforced errors as it went 11-5 to Uherka.
Bonmalais chose some bizarre tactics in the third. Despite Uherka clearly being stronger on his forehand side, Bonmalais consistently switched the play to that side of the court, and went 4-0 behind.
Bonmalais then seemed to realise that he maybe needs to use the other side of the court a bit more, and started to claw his way back into the game, using good variation to get in front and take away Uherka’s strengths. This frustrated Uherka and he made several errors. Bonmalais recovered to take the game 11-6.
Bonmalais didn’t really look back in the fourth, playing at a tempo that Uherka just couldn’t cope with, stepping up the court and taking the ball super early. Impressive stuff from the 18 year old French lad. Well deserved spot in the main draw.
Bonmalais won 3-1: 11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 11-4 (45 mins)
 Brian Byrne (Irl) vs  Tristan Eysele (Rsa)
There was a cagey start from both players in the first game before Eysele’s superior retrieval helped him to convert his fourth game ball to take the opener 14-12 in 20 minutes.
Eysele started the second game with some attacking flair, holding and flicking and moving the ball around at the front. He had Byrne on the ropes and continued with this attacking style to take the game 11-7.
The third didn’t start with the same attacking squash from Eysele, and Byrne took advantage using all corners of the court and forcing Eysele to lift, hunting the volley.
Eysele began to attack more and two tins from Byrne gifted Eysele a match ball. After a brave fightback by Byrne, and some end to end stuff, Eysele converted his third match ball to take it 13-11.
Eysele won 3-0: 14-12, 11-7, 13-11 (55 mins)
 Asim Khan (Pak) vs  Mike Harris (Eng)
The first game start with Harris playing attacking length mixed with some short kills, looking to force Khan to lift the ball and then looking to attack short or hold when he got the chance.
Khan’s retrieval was much more consistent today and he kept in touch with Harris throughout the game. At 9-9, a super tight drive and a drop winner was the difference. Game to Harris 11-9.
Harris increased his attack in the second game, more kills, more flicks, more boasts, more drops…you get the idea. All over pretty quickly. Quick fire squash!
Harris’ attack was slightly off in the third; but at 5-2 down he reeled off a series of winners to get 9-6 ahead. Predictably a crosscourt nick earned Harris a match ball. And somewhat predictably several nick attempts landed in the tin to hand Khan the game 12-10.
The fourth was scrappier as both players started to tire, and the referees were required to sort out the traffic problems. At 9-9 two outrageous rallies: frame boast winner from Khan, ridiculous straight hold from Harris, Harris gets a match ball, tin from Khan and its all over. Game 12-10 to Harris.
Harris won 3-1: 11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 12-10 (61 mins).
PSA M10 TRAC Oil and Gas North of Scotland Open 2017, Aberdeen Squash and Racketball Club, Aberdeen, Scotland.
First round draw:
 Richie Fallows (ENG) v [Q] Michael Harris (ENG)
 Lance Beddoes (NZL) v [Q] Addeen Idrakie (MAS)
 Jan van den Herrewegen (BEL) v [Q] Sébastien Bonmalais (FRA)
 Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) v Israr Ahmed (PAK)
 Christopher Binnie (JAM) v Douglas Kempsell (SCO)
 Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v Mohd Syafiq Kamal (MAS)
 Evan Williams (NZL) v [WC] Chris Leiper (SCO)
 Vikram Malhotra (IND) v [Q] Tristan Eysele (RSA)
Michael Harris (ENG) bt Asim Khan (PAK) 11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 12-10 (61m)
Tristan Eysele (RSA) bt Brian Byrne (IRL) 14-12, 11-7, 13-11 (55m)
Sébastien Bonmalais (FRA) bt Ondrej Uherka (CZE) 11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 11-4 (45m)
Addeen Idrakie (MAS) bt Kevin Moran (SCO) 8-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8 (58m)
1st qualifying round:
Asim Khan (PAK) bt Mike Black (SCO) 11-4, 11-6, 13-11 (26m)
Michael Harris (ENG) bt Muhammad Farhan (PAK) 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (31m)
Brian Byrne (IRL) bt Alasdair Prott (SCO) 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 (34m)
Tristan Eysele (RSA) bt Robert Downer (ENG) 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 (43m)
Sébastien Bonmalais (FRA) bt Sean Conroy (IRL) 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2, 12-10 (75m)
Ondrej Uherka (CZE) bt Stuart George (SCO) 11-2, 11-4, 11-7 (30m)
Kevin Moran (SCO) bt Victor Crouin (FRA) 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 (50m)
Addeen Idrakie (MAS) bt Nick Mulvey (ENG) 11-5, 14-12, 8-11, 11-9 (51m)
Pictures by ASRC