Wealth Belfast Open 2015
25-30 Aug, Belfast Boat Club,
Hinds wins marathon final in Belfast
The final of the inaugural
Legacy Wealth Belfast Open proved to be a fitting climax to what has
been a fabulous first event, with Joel Hinds of England prevailing
in another 5-set thriller lasting 97 min against the young up and
coming English player Angus Gillams.
a sign of the match to come, the opening first game saw both players
quickly settle into a rhythm of tough demanding rallies, as they
tested each other’s defences and looked for opportunities. Angus in
particular looked very assured, working hard and attacking with pace
to establish a solid 8/5 lead. At this point it looked like Angus
would take the first set but a series of forced errors against the
run of the play, opened the door for Joel. A couple of quick rallies
later, Joel had snatched the first set – undoubtedly to the
frustration of Angus.
Normal service resumed at the start of the second set, with
gruelling rallies as both players moved with great speed and
efficiency about the court. From 7/7, Angus showed another side to
his powerful attacking game, with a series of stunning drops and
volley drops, and was rewarded for his attacking play with the
Often the third set of such a match can be hotly contested and this
proved the case today. After levelling the match, Angus came out in
the third with all guns blazing. Looking much more at ease, he raced
to a 4-0 lead as his attacking front court winners continued to
under pressure, the experienced Joel dug deep to stem the flow of
winners from Angus, extending the rallies and grafting his way back
into the match. With an increasing number of stoppages for lets, and
long rallies as the players competed for dominance around the T,
Joel worked his way back to within 2 points of Angus. Angus
responded - again taking an attacking approach, with a great volley
drop and stunning powerful drive to halt Joel’s recovery and take
the third set.
The fourth set resumed with increasingly physical rallies but
neither player could gain significant dominance. Powerful drives,
incredible retrieving and deft touches to the front kept the large
crowd at the Belfast Boat Club enthralled. As the pressure and
fatigue increased, critical errors crept in the game. From 7/7, a
couple of great drops from Joel closed out the fourth to take the
match to a deciding set.
if the standard of squash was not enough drama for the spectators,
the first rally of the fifth set ended with an accidental clash with
Angus’ racket just catching Joel. A blood injury to Joel’s face
resulted in a 5-10 minute break whilst he was patched up. The fifth
set then resumed from 0-0, and Joel was first to recover his rhythm
from the break, racing to a 5-0 lead. An unsettled Angus managed to
stop the run of points by Joel and exchange some longer rallies.
However, this early lead proved too difficult to close, and Joel
played a number of great drops to finish the match in style.
Although a tough loss for Angus, this young player will no doubt
feature in many future finals.
The rousing performance by these two players was fully appreciated
by the spectators. Joel, having survived an injury scare in the
early rounds, and survived two 5-set matches, said “I was
delighted to come through such a tough match – and would like to
thank the sponsors and organisers for bringing this new event to
Jeff Hearst praised all the PSA players for their effort and great
example throughout the tournament, with several of the players
helping out with coaching local juniors and playing club members.
“I hope this is the first of many great events in Belfast.”
25-30 Aug, Northern Ireland, $5k
 Joel Hinds (Eng)
11/5, 11/6, 5/11, 11/8 (32m)
[Q] James Peach (Eng)
 Joel Hinds
11/8, 11/8, 11/8
 Joel Hinds
8/11, 11/9, 11/5, 10/12, 11/5
 Edmon Lopez Moller
 Joel Hinds
) 11/9, 8/11, 6/11, 11/9, 11/7 (97m)
 Angus Gillams
 Christo Potgieter (Rsa)
11/9, 11/3, 11/9 (33m)
Patrick Rooney (Eng)
Mike Lewis (Usa)
11/6, 13/11, 11/6 (31m)
Phil Nightingale (Eng)
12/10, 11/6, 11/5
 Edmon Lopez Moller
 Edmon Lopez Moller (Esp)
11/4, 8/11, 11/8, 11/8 (55m)
[Q] Brian Byrne (Irl)
[Q] Kyle Finch (Eng)
11/5, 11/6, 11/1 (29m)
 Hugo Varela (Esp)
[Q] Kyle Finch
11/5, 11/3, 11/8
 Jean-Pierre Brits
[Q] Kyle Finch
11/6, 11/6, 11/6
 Angus Gillams
[Q] Josh Taylor (Eng)
11/8, 14/12, 11/4 (39m)
 Jean-Pierre Brits (Rsa)
Nick Mulvey (Eng)
11/5, 8/11, 11/9, 11/2 (38m)
 Jon Geekie (Sco))
11/3, 11/8, 11/2
 Angus Gillams
Kevin Moran (Sco)
11/4, 11/2, 11/2 (24m)
 Angus Gillams (Eng)
26-Aug, Qualifying Finals:
Brian Byrne (Irl) 3-1
Roshan Baros (Ned)
6/11, 11/7, 13/11, 11/4
Kyle Finch (Eng) 3-1
Matt Sidaway (Eng)
11/9, 14/12, 7/11, 11/7
James Peach (Eng) 3-1
Sam Ellis (Eng)
11/8, 10/12, 11/4, 11/7
Josh Taylor (Eng) 3-1 Stuart Hadden (Irl)
6/11, 12/10, 11/7, 11/8
25-Aug, Qualifying Round One:
Roshan Baros (Ned) 3-0 Peter McNeice (Irl)
11/6, 11/4, 11/1 (24m)
Brian Byrne (Irl) 3-1 Owain Taylor (Wal)
8/11, 11/6, 12/10, 11/9 (50m)
Kyle Finch (Eng) 3-1 David Ayerst (Irl)
11/4, 11/6, 9/11, 12/10 (32m)
Matt Sidaway (Eng)
James Peach (Eng) 3-0 Luke Stewart (Eng)
11/4, 11/3, 11/6 (24m)
Sam Ellis (Eng) 3-0 Matthew Cook (Eng)
11/7, 11/7, 11/7 (32m)
Stuart Hadden (Irl) 3-0 Darren Waring (Irl)
11/9, 11/7, 11/6 (34m)
Josh Taylor (Eng)
Top seeds into the final in Belfast
It was down to the last
four, as the semi-finals of the Legacy Wealth Belfast Open produced
a great evening of squash including a 5-set 84 minute thriller
between the number 1 and 3 seeds.
Lopez Miller from Spain was looking to cause an upset against
tournament favourite Joel Hinds and got off to a great start with a
succession of quick points in the first set to open up an early
lead. Joel steadied and found some rhythm, gradually extending the
rallies - but still spent most of the first game trying to catch up,
as Edmon’s fast hitting got him to 10-4 game point. Joel responded
by taking more control of the rallies as he worked his way back to
8-10, before a relieved Edmon clinched the set with a hard forehand
Joel’s form continued to improve in the second set as he established
an early 5-2 lead with a series of tough but controlled rallies,
working Edmon effectively around the court. Edmon dug deep to keep
in touch but eventually Joel secured the set 11/9. The matched
continued to drift in Joel’s favour as he dominated the opening
points of the third set with a series of gruelling rallies that
stretched Edmon, opening up an 8-4 lead. Edmon finally managed to
break Joel’s sequence of winning rallies with another fierce
forehand drive, but could not halt Joel’s march to the third game.
Joel’s accuracy, control and domination of the centre court was
beginning to pay good dividends.
The fourth set brought out some of the most competitive squash of
the tournament so far. Dominated by tough energy sapping rallies,
there was little between the players as they battled through the
points – 6-all, 7-all, 8-all, 9-all. A series of shoe changes by
Edmon added to the tension. At this point the crowd was treated to
an absolutely huge rally that had both players covering every part
of the court – only to end in a let. The drama increased as the
players moved to 10-all and another fantastic rally. As the ball was
sprayed all around the court, Edmon dived full stretch to pick up a
shot, dropped his racket, picked it up and still recovered to keep
the rally going and finally win it and eventually the game 12/10.
Outrageous play by the young Spanish player.
With the crowd fully engaged in the match, the players started the
fifth and final set, Joel managing to establish an early lead. Edmon
continued to battle but Joel steadily stretched his lead to 9/4, his
accurate shot making forcing a series of errors from the young
Spanish player. Despite Edmon’s best efforts, he could not close the
gap and Joel closed out the match 3-2. A really fantastic match for
the large crowd at the Belfast Boat Club.
the buzz of the first semi-final, it was the turn of two of
England’s most promising young players, number 2 seed Angus Gillams
and surprise package of the tournament 16 year old Kyle Finch.
Appearing in his first PSA semi-final Kyle started off brightly,
showing few signs of nerves. However, it was now the turn of Angus
to show his talent. Angus has quietly moved through the early rounds
of the tournament with 3-0 wins and continued this run against Kyle.
With superb movement around the court, accurate shot making and
great control of the rallies, Angus applied relentless pressure.
With Kyle beginning to run out of steam in his fifth hard match in 5
days, Angus clinically pounced on any loose shot to punish his
opponent. Inevitably Angus brought Kyle’s great run to an end with a
The two semi-finals left the large crowd at the Belfast Boat Club
eagerly looking forward to Sunday’s final between the top seeds,
Joel and Angus.
The final is scheduled to begin at 2.00pm on Sunday at the Boat
Finch forces way into the semis
It was Quarter-Finals night
at the Belfast Boat Club for the Legacy Wealth Belfast Open.
number 1 seed Joel Hinds (England), having survived an injury
scare the night before, opened up the quarter-finals against one of
Europe’s leading juniors, Patrick Rooney also of England.
In the first game, both players worked hard to find openings,
sharing points until 8/8. A couple of almost perfect backhand drives
then broke the deadlock in Joel’s favour to win the first game. In
the second game, both players continued to attack with rarely more
than a point separating them until the end of the game. Again, the
more experienced Joel steadied to secure a 2-0 lead.
In the third, an early lead from Joel suggested a simple finish to
the match but Patrick rallied with some outstanding winners to the
front of the court, including a fast-reaction backhand cross court
drop that rolled from the nick. However, the mini-revival stalled
and eventually Joe served out the match for a 3-0 hard fought win.
The second match featured young up and coming Spanish player
Edmon Lopez Moller against English player Phil Nightingale. In a
contrast of styles to the first match, this was a display dominated
by fast hitting and tough physically demanding rallies. There was
nothing between the players in the first game, with Edmon just
edging it 12/10.
The second game continued in the same vein, with some gruelling
rallies, Edmon gradually finding his range with his very effective
boasts to win it 11/6. Edmon raced to a 5-0 lead in the third set,
before a gritty recovery from Phil. Edmon then steadied with some
testing lengths to secure the 3-0 win.
Talking after the match, Edmon said: “The first game was really
tough. Phil played great shots. The next two games were good for me
– my shots improved”. Edmon also said he liked Belfast but was
“missing the weather in Spain”. Understandable.
third quarter-final saw the surprise player of the tournament, 16
year old English junior Kyle Finch, continue his run of great
results, to complete a 3-0 win over Jean-Pierre Brits of South
Africa. In a fast paced contest, Kyle managed to keep his attacking
game going despite of pressure from Jean-Pierre, who was working
hard to extend the match against the younger player. Kyle has now
secured a fantastic semi-final place in his first PSA event.
Number 2 seed Angus Gillams completed the semi-final line-up
with another solid performance against fellow English player Nick
Mulvey, winning 3-0. Angus is looking like a strong contender for
Tomorrow’s semi-finals promise breath-taking squash from some of
Europe’s most exciting young players. Matches are scheduled to begin
at 5.00pm at the Boat Club.
Finch forces way into the semis
26-Aug, round one:
Four Englishmen in round one upsets
The first round of the
Legacy Wealth Belfast Open started early today with the opening
match featuring the last Irish player Brian Byrne left in the Main
Brian was up against the number 3 seed, exciting young Spanish
player Edmon Lopez Moller – runner up a few months ago in the
European U19 Individuals. In a high quality match, Edmon and Brian
shared the opening 2 games, before Edmon edged both the next 2 games
with some high quality fast paced squash.
In the next matches the experienced Phil Nightingale proved too
strong for Mike Lewis of USA, completing a 3-0 win. Jean-Pierre
Brits from South Africa and Josh Taylor from England were evenly
matched for the first two games of their encounter, exchanging
brilliant drops, counter-drops and lobs. Jean-Pierre held on to take
these games, before closing the third game in fine style. The match
was played with great sportsmanship from both players.
the last match of the afternoon session, 16 year qualifier Kyle
Finch from England continued his fine run in the event, with an
emphatic 3-0 win over Hugo Varela of Spain. Kyle: “I am delighted to
be through to this stage in my first PSA tournament”.
The evening session produced great squash and some unexpected drama.
Patrick Rooney, one of the top juniors in Europe, produced a
controlled display against Christo Potgieter of South Africa. In a
very entertaining display, both players used a wide range of shots,
angles and lobs. Christo rallied in the third set to build an 8-2
lead before Patrick steadied and closed out the match 3-0. Patrick:
“It’s good to get that first match under my belt and looking forward
to the quarter-final tomorrow”.
up was Joel Hinds the number 1 seed from England against English
junior James Peach. The match was going to seeding with Joel
establishing a good lead, before an accidental clash between the
players left Joel sprawled on the court with a painful twist to his
After a 20 min break amid uncertainty over whether the match would
continue, Joel returned with his ankle strapped and quickly secured
a 2-0 lead. However, in the next game James put steady pressure on
Joel, winning it comfortably. The fourth was closely contested with
Joel just able to maintain an early lead to close out the match. A
relieved Joel after the match: “That was tough and I am really
pleased to scrape through against James”.
The final matches brought together two England – Scotland contests.
The first was a tough contest between Nick Mulvey of England and Jon
Geekie of Scotland, with Nick eventually securing a hard earned 3-1
win. Number 2 seed Angus Gillams from England then proved too strong
for Kevin Moran with a clinical 3-0 win to round off a great evening
Tomorrow night should see some hotly contested quarter-finals. All
spectators welcome. Matches are scheduled to begin at 5.00pm at the
Qualifying over in Belfast
Jeff Hearst reports
Qualification is a tough environment for up and coming
professionals, and the Legacy Wealth Belfast Open final round of
qualification produced four hotly contested hour-long matches.
The evening kicked off with Irish #2 Brian Byrne taking on
Dutch player Roshan Bharos. This proved a fast hitting match with
neither player quite able to dominate. Roshan came out of the blocks
quickest in the first set taking it 11/6. In the second set Brian
established an early lead and managed to maintain this to take it
11/7, with both players showing some great touches to the front of
The third set turned into a real scrap with little
separating the players in a sequence of fast counter-punching
rallies. Brian eventually took it 13/11 and an early lead in the
fourth helped Brian close the match out 3-1 over Roshan.
The second match was an all-English affair featuring 16 year Kyle
Finch against Matthew Sidaway.
Kyle, in his first PSA event, produced an upset in beating Matthew
3-1, with some excellent quality squash using all corners of the
court. Kyle was delighted with the result: “It was a close match, I
enjoyed it and am very happy to get through to the next round”
Sam Ellis and James Peach, two other young players from
England, continued the trend. Both showed great athleticism and
moved the ball and opponent all around the court. There was little
between them as the first two games were shared – but from the third
on, James managed to maintain pressure and control to take the match
3-1. A very entertaining match with some fantastic rallies to be
admired from these two players.
The final match was between Irish player Stuart Hadden and Josh
Taylor from England. Stuart started very brightly showing great
ball control to dominate the first game and half. However Josh
continued to work hard to stay in the match and eventually in the
second game began to get some reward.
A tense finish saw Josh level
the match 12-10. The next two games proved tough for both players,
with Josh gradually just edging ahead in both to take a highly
competitive match 3-1. A good finish to the evening session, with
the efforts of all players appreciated by the spectators.
Reward for the four qualifiers is to join a truly international
field of professional squash players in the first round of the Main
Draw. English top seeds Joel Hinds and Angus Gillams are joined by
players from South Africa, Spain, USA, Scotland and England. Irish
hopes rest on Brian Byrne who has recently joined the PSA tour on a
full time basis and is looking to secure some solid ranking points.
The PSA World Tour is growing strongly and this is a great
opportunity to watch some fantastic squash and perhaps some of the
stars of the future. Matches are scheduled to begin in the early
Wednesday afternoon at the Boat Club.
Qualifying under way in Belfast
Jeff Hearst reports
In the opening afternoon session, the qualification event began with
local player Peter McNeice putting up a spirited effort against
Dutch player Roshan Bharos before Roshan completed a
comfortable 3-0 winner.
This was followed by a “celtic” clash between Irish #2 Brian
Byrne and Welsh player Owain Taylor. Owain started off strongly
taking the first game 11/8 before Brian worked his way back into the
game and levelled the scores. The next two games proved hard-fought
with Brian edging the games 11/9 and 12/10 to progress to the next
The session finished with an entertaining match between 16 year
Kyle Finch from England and the very experienced local player
David Ayerst. Kyle proved too fast and accurate in the first two
games before David clawed his way back into the match with his
variety of shots, finding some great angles. In the deciding fourth
game, Kyle established a lead only for David again work his way back
to 10-10 before Kyle closed out the game 12-10 and the match 3-1.
In the evening session, the first two matches were all-English
affairs starting with James Peach against Luke Stewart.
Accurate hitting and high work rate from James proved very effective
with James completing a 3-0 win.
In the next match Sam Ellis similarly played a very effective
game against Matthew Cook and also secured a 3-0 win. The final
match of the day was an all-Irish pairing of Stuart Hadden
against Darren Waring. The rallies were hard fought before Stuart
pulled away in the last few points of the games.
Overall a great first day of the inaugural Legacy Wealth Belfast
Open with good support for the players. Looking forward to four
tough Qualification Round 2 matches starting at 5.30 pm Wed at the
Belfast Boat Club.