By ANDY PILLING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Two outstanding finals are in prospect at the AJ Bell England Squash Super 8, with Sarah-Jane Perry meeting Georgina Kennedy and Declan James facing Patrick Rooney. All four finalists won all three of their group matches.
Following an intense morning session at Manchester’s National Centre, there was still plenty to play for across both men’s and women’s draws in the evening matches.
Sarah-Jane Perry and Georgina Kennedy had almost guaranteed their place in Friday’s final with their second wins of the tournament but needed to be on their guard approaching the final matches of their groups.
Over in the men’s draw, Declan James and George Parker were set to take centre stage in the deciding match of group A.
In Group B, Patrick Rooney was on course to reach Friday’s final following an impressive win over Nick Wall however a final group match against Daryl Selby presents a difficult challenge.
James looked unstoppable as he beat Parker in straight games to reach Friday’s final. James managed to control the pace of the game to keep Parker at bay and will now face the winner of Group B in tomorrow’s final while Parker will play-off for 3rd and 4th position.
Declan James bt George Parker 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 (42m)
In the final match of group A, Charlie Lee secured his first victory of the tournament following a retirement by Richie Fallows at the end of the second match. Lee had already taken the first two matches before the retirement and will now compete in 5/6 play-off tomorrow.
Charlie Lee bt Richie Fallows 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 3-0 rtd (23m)
In the women’s draw, Sarah-Jane Perry secured her place in tomorrow’s final with a comprehensive three game win over Lucy Beecroft. Beecroft made it difficult at times for Perry in the first game before Perry confidently took control to see off the other players in the group. She faced a short wait before discovering that she will play Georgina Kennedy in a repeat of the AJ Bell England Squash Championships final.
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Lucy Beecroft 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-2 (22m)
In the other group match between Julianne Courtice and Jasmine Hutton, it was Courtice who secured 2nd position and a place in the 3rd and 4th play-off tomorrow with a straight games victory over Hutton.
Julianne Courtice bt Jasmine Hutton 3-0: 11-3, 12-10, 11-7 (31m)
Patrick Rooney made it a clean sweep of victories in group B to secure his place in tomorrow’s final against Declan James. In an entertaining match with Daryl Selby, Rooney prevailed in straight matches to round up what has been an impressive group stage for him and will be full confidence heading into tomorrow’s final.
Patrick Rooney bt Daryl Selby 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 (30m)
In the final match of group B, Nick Wall was on course for victory over Joshua Masters before an injury forced him to retire in the third game. Wall was 4-7 up in third and heading to victory having already won the first and second before an awkward turn caused an ankle injury from which he was unable to recover. The game was awarded to Masters following the retirement.
Joshua Masters bt Nick Wall 3-2: 4-11, 2-11, 4-7 retired (45m)
In the deciding matches of the women’s group B draw, Georgina Kennedy overcame an early scare against Lucy Turmel in the first match to secure her place in tomorrow’s final against Sarah-Jane Perry. Turmel proved a tough opponent getting to game point in the first before Kennedy brought it back. Kennedy took control in the latter games to finish top of group B.
Georgina Kennedy bt Lucy Turmel 3-0: 13-11, 11-1, 11-2 (28m)
Alison Waters secured second place in group B with a confident display against Anna Kimberley. Waters won in straight matches and will now play Julianne Courtice in the 3rd & 4th play-off tomorrow.
Alison Waters bt Anna Kimberley 3-0: 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 (26m)
Day 2 of the AJ Bell England Squash Super 8 got underway in Manchester this morning with the men’s and women’s groups set to be decided by the end of play.
The day started with the men’s group A where Declan James was looking to retain his place at the top of the group with George Parker hot on his heels. James overcame a tough encounter with Richie Fallows, winning the match in three games. It was a tight contest, but James prevailed to remain top of group A.
Declan James bt Richie Fallows 3-0: 11-6, 15-13, 12-10 (54m)
George Parker set up an enticing group decider later today with Declan James by beating Charlie Lee three games to one. After a strong start from Parker, Lee had a resurgence in the third before Parker closed out the game in the fourth. The winner of todays match between Parker and James will now decide who makes the final.
George Parker bt Charlie Lee 3-1: 11-9, 11-1, 6-11, 11-7 (50m)
In the first women’s matches of the day, Sarah-Jane Perry was looking to secure her passage through to the final, while Lucy Beecroft was looking to keep up the pressure on her in group A.
After yesterday’s impressive win over Jasmine Hutton, Lucy Beecroft was unable to pick up where she left off, losing to Julianne Courtice in straight matches. Courtice dominated the game winning in just under 30 minutes, offering her an outside chance of making Friday’s final.
Julianne Courtice bt Lucy Beecroft 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (30m)
Sarah-Jane Perry recovered from a slow start against Jasmine Hutton to win her match three games to one. The win leaves SJ top of the group and requiring only a better result that Courtice in the final group game to secure her place in Fridays final.
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Jasmine Hutton 3-1: 5-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-8 (37m)
In group B of the men’s draw it was all to play for after the first day with Patrick Rooney leading the way. Nick Walls impressive display in his first game had set up a crucial first match between him and Rooney.
Patrick Rooney put himself in pole position to qualify for Fridays final after grinding out an impressive win over Nick Wall. It was Wall who started the brighter of the two taking the first game but Rooney came storming back winning a close second game 15-13, before dominating the fourth and fifth games.
Patrick Rooney bt Nick Wall 3-1: 6-11, 15-13, 11-1, 11-3 (50m)
In the other group B game, Daryl Selby brought himself back into contention for Fridays final with a comprehensive win over Joshua Masters. He won the match in straight games setting up a grandstand final match against Patrick Rooney.
Daryl Selby bt Joshua Masters 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (36m)
The morning session finished with the women’s group B matches. Georgina Kennedy made it two wins out of two, seeing off Anna Kimberley in straight sets to put herself in a strong position to reach Friday’s final.
Georgina Kennedy bt Anna Kimberley 3-0: 11-2, 11-2, 11-2 (23m)
In the other group B game, Alison Waters kept herself in contention with a win over Lucy Turmel. After losing the first game, Alison recovered in impressive fashion, imposing herself in the later games to take the match three games to one.
Alison Waters bt Lucy Turmel 3-1: 8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 (42m)
Pictures courtesy of England Squash