KENT OPEN ATTRACTS STAR-STUDDED FIELD
By ALAN THATCHER
Joey Barrington, son of squash legend Jonah, is top seed in the forthcoming Kent Open.
The world No.36 from Somerset heads a strong international field as the PSA World Tour event returns to The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone from May 24-29.
Chris Ryder, the world No.38 from Leamington, who won the Mote Classic two years ago before the event became a world-ranking tournament, is seeded to meet Barrington in the final.
Rising squash powerhouse Hong Kong provides two of the leading seeds, Max Lee and Dick Lau at three and six, with Finland’s Henrik Mustonen at four.
Fabien Verseille from France is seeded eight, followed by talented Egyptian Wael Farag, who will be making a popular return to The Mote.
He faces a tough draw against No.2 seed Ryder in the first round on May 26.
The tournament also gives an opportunity for young English professionals to earn valuable ranking points and prize money, with world student champion Joel Hinds seeded at five.
The Mote’s British Under-15 champion James Evans joins clubmate Jonny Powell and Rodmersham’s Neil Baker in the qualifying competition which runs from May 24-25.
Kent veteran Ben Ford, from Bexley, has been awarded the wild card and he faces young Frenchman Verseille in the opening round of the main draw.
The tournament is the focal point of the Kent Squash Festival, which will be introducing more than 300 school children to the sport all over the county. Many of the youngsters will be visiting the tournament during the week and as well as watching some top-class action they will also get the opportunity to go on court with some of the leading players.
The Kent Open continues to grow and this year includes one of the UK Racketball Series events on Saturday May 28.
That will be a very busy day at The Mote, with two PSA semi-finals, the tournament party and Bar-B-Q, and the Champions League final live on Sky, followed by a live band.
Thanks to Joe Magor, from Canterbury, who will be setting up the big screen in the bar so that spectators can still see the action on Court One when they are overcome by the need to maintain their fluid levels.