Drama on court delights packed galleries at The Mote
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Reporter
The Mote’s James Evans and Jonny Powell made an early exit from the Select Gaming Kent Open after entertaining battles in the qualifying competition.
Evans, back home in Maidstone after a successful first year at Trinity College in America, lost a marathon match against Portugal No.1 Rui Soares.
The 20-year-old Evans won a hugely physical tiebreak 15-13 in the third game to open up a 2-1 lead. But he could not sustain the pressure as his opponent stepped up the pace to dominate the fourth and fifth.
The Mote gallery was packed to the rafters as the crowd tried to raise their home hero with cheers that echoed round the glass-backed show-court, but to no avail.
The tension and drama of this match was followed by sheer entertainment as tournament sponsor Jonny Powell took to the court for his match with rising England star Ashley Davies.
The 20-year-old from Chorley warmed up by recording a speed of 162 miles an hour during an earlier radar gun challenge but Powell was more than happy to engage in a hard-hitting duel.
He struck several outrageous winners as Davies sportingly eased off the pace as he sensed his 30-year-old opponent beginning to wilt.
Some passages of play were sheer slapstick as Davies had Powell running from corner to corner in desperate pursuit of the ball.
Powell’s lungs were bursting as he somehow managed to force a tiebreak in the third game. Minutes later he looked hugely relieved to stagger off court with a cool pint of lager waiting for him in the bar.
Bexley’s Ben Ford, still playing aggressive squash at 39, met Joe Green for the third time in nine days and won an ill-tempered match 3-1.
Two 17-year-olds impressed the Mote gallery. Welsh junior number one Emyr Evans lost to Finland’s Yaakko Vahamaa, but Malaysia’s Eain Yow powered past Bermuda’s Micah Franklin, showing the speed and flair that took him to the British Junior Under-17 title earlier this year.
Select Gaming Kent Open, The Mote Squash Club, Maidstone, Kent, England.
PSA Challenger 10 Tournament.
Qualifying First Round:
(1) Michael Harris (England) beat Phil Nightingale (England) 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 (42 mins)
(8) Eain Yow Ng (Malaysia) beat Micah Franklin (Bermuda ) 11-5 11-6 11-5 (27 mins)
(5) Rui Soares (Portugal) beat (L) James Evans (England) 7-11, 11-8, 13-15, 11-7, 11-7 (61 mins)
(3) Ashley Davies (England) beat (L) Jonny Powell (England Society of Court Jesters) 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 (22 mins)
(4) Kevin Moran (Scotland) beat Steven London (England) 11-5, 13-11, 11-9 (31 mins)
Ben Ford (England) beat (6) Joe Green (England) 5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 13-11 (58 mins)
(7) Yaakko Vahamaa (Finland) beat (L) Emyr Evans (Wales) 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4 (55 mins)
(2) George Parker (England) beat (L) Sam Ellis (England) 11-4, 15-13, 11-9 (28 mins)
6pm: George Parker v Jaakko Vahamaa
6.45pm: Kevin Moran v Ben Ford
7.30pm: Ashley Davies v Rui Soares
8.15pm: Michael Harris v Eain Yow Ng
Select Gaming Kent Open Qualifying title (i.e. First Round):
Excellent night of squash in the Pre-Qualifying Finals, with Sam Ellis (Bristol) beating James Hall (Knole Park 11-6, 11-3, 11-2 and Emyr Evans (Wales) beating Robbie Dadds (Colchester) 11-7, 11-6, 11-5.
In the Qualifying competition tomorrow, Sam meets George Parker and Emyr plays Jaakko Vahamaa (Finland)
Earlier results: James Hall beat Ben Goodayle (lucky loser) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8
Sam Ellis beat Hany Taleb 11-3, 11-3, 1-4
Robert Dadds beat Matt Cook 11-7, 11-3, 11-5
Emyr Evans beat Joe Magor 11-6, 11-5, 11-4
Pictures by SIMON SCOTT and BRYAN LINTOTT