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Guilfoyle Financial PSA Classic 2015
23-28 Feb, Toronto, Canada, $5k

28-Feb, Final:

And it's James in Toronto
Robin Clarke reports

[1] Declan James 3-2 [2] Abdulla Al Tamimi
                        7-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 11-2

The climax to the end of the Guilfoyle Financial PSA classic didn’t disappoint. The crowd was large and ready for an entertaining match pitting two contrasting styles, and boy were they ever.

The first game both players were nervous and trading points and errors, until Abdulla at 7-7 went on a 4 point streak to take the game 11-7. The second started well for Abdulla, leading 3-1 and it looked as though his game plan was coming into effect. He has an uncanny ability to read his opponents and never give up the T position.

Even under extreme pressure he tends to anticipate the volley and even when put under pressure manages to compensate with his incredible racket hands. Unfortunately this puts him under extreme pressure when his shots aren’t as accurate as he would like and Declan punishes his shots that aren’t perfect.

At 5-4 for Abdulla in the second Declan as usual never seems to be under any duress, he sticks with his exceptional strength which is his basic straight length and dominating the T and eventually Abdulla would make a mistake. Declan wins the second 11-7.

The third was more of what we all were expecting of Abdulla, he came out volleying and using his deception well but also his racket skills were slotting in nicks. When on he can move Declan around the court very well and his shots were definitely on, running away with the game 11-5 to take a 2-1 lead.

The momentum was clearly on Abdulla’s side going into the 4th, and up 3-1 looked to be cruising both physically and mentally.

But then the theme for the next two games came alive. Abdulla working Declan all around the court, Declan relying on his height and speed to pick up some fantastic retrieving and then eventually Abdulla would make the unforced error. Declan was patient and looked to be waiting on his opponent to make the mistake which Adbulla gladly gave him too many times.

From the start of the 4th when Declan was down 4-3, to the end of the 5th Declan won a unimaginable 19 of 22 points and I’m pretty sure Abdulla made 8-9 unforced errors in the 5th.

Declan won with a small fist pump and both players were gracious and very complementary to the tournament and the local crowd who showed up and enjoyed the squash immensely.


GF PSA Classic 2015
23-28 Feb, Toronto, Canada, $5k
Round One
25 Feb  17.00-19.15
26 Feb
27 Feb
28 Feb
[1] Declan James (Eng)
11-9, 11-5, 11-4
David Clegg (Aus)
[1] Declan James
11-7, 11-7, 11-1
[Q] Nick Sachvie
[1] Declan James

12-10, 12-10, 14-12

Anthony Graham

[1] Declan James


7-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 11-2


[2] Abdulla Al Tamimi

[6] Ashley Davies (Eng)
8-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4
[Q] Nick Sachvie (Can)
[7] Josue Enriquez (Gua)
11-7, 11-3, 11-9
Anthony Graham (Eng)
Anthony Graham
11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9
[4] Mike McCue
[4] Mike McCue (Can)
 12-10, 11-6, 11-4
[Q] Albert Shoihet (Can)
[Q] Jesus Camacho (Mex)
11-6, 11-8, 11-8
[3] Dane Sharp (Can)
[3] Dane Sharp
6-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-5
Cameron Stafford
[3] Dane Sharp

6-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7

[2] Abdulla Al Tamimi

Cameron Stafford (Cay)
 11-4, 11-5, 11-9
[8] Kale Wilson (Tri)
[Q] Stefan Houbtchev (Can)
11-9, 11-4, 11-3
[5] Sunil Seth (Guy)
[5] Sunil Seth
11-7, 16-14, 7-11, 13-11
[2] Abdulla Al Tamimi
[wc] Rahul Sehrawat (Can)
11-6, 11-6, 11-6
[2] Abdulla Al Tamimi (Qat)
24-Feb, Qualifying Finals:

Albert Shoihet (Can) w/o Ahad Raza (Can)                              raza sick
Stefan Houbtchev (Can) 3-1 Francisco Mendez (Mex)   11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10
Jesus Camacho (Mex) 3-0 Alkasham Rajagopaul (Can)          11-8, 11-6, 11-7
Nick Sachvie (Can) 3-0 Graeme Williams (Can)                     11-8, 11-6, 11-5

23-Feb, Qualifying Round One:

Ahad Raza (Can) 3-0 Thjomas Manley (Can)                       11-9, 11-1, 11-9
Stefan Houbtchev (Can) 3-0 Adam Vanwyngaarden (Can)    11-5, 11-6, 11-9
Francisco Mendez (Mex) 3-0 William Kuhn (Can)                  11-0, 11-3, 11-6
Alkasham Rajagopaul (Can) 3-0 Alex Riedelsheimer (Can)  11-6, 11-4, 13-11
27-Feb, Semis:
Top seeds through to final in Toronto
Robin Clarke reports

Declan James 3-0 Anthony Graham  12-10, 12-10, 14-12

What a match.

It’s hard to break down this match accurately because it was 3-0 for Declan but it really could have gone 5. Anthony had leads in both games 2 and 3 but Declan is so calm and collected. Nothing seems to rattle him and under extreme pressure he is cool as a cucumber.

In the first Declan was up 10-9, Anthony fought back to 10-10 and some huge rallies ensued but Declan claimed the game 12-10. Same In the second, both players were moving around the court so well and putting in really nice straight drops but the retrieving from both never really allowed the other to really 2 or 3 really good opportunities to put the ball away.

Again at 10-10 Declan played the last 2 points a little more solid. In the third Anthony held a 8-5 lead and a 10-9 lead and it looked to be going to a 3rd but Anthony didn’t lose the game, he could have won it on a number of fantastic shots but Declan hung in to win 14-12 and win 3-0. The crowd enjoyed this match.

Abdulla Al Tamimi 3-1 Dane Sharp 6-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7

Abdulla is one relaxed individual, even in the heat of battle he is able to crack a smile after a tough call or a funny bounce. He also tends to go in and out of his focus at times and allows his opponents back into games which is what happened in the first game.

Dane played some fantastic squash but it was Abdulla’s errors that allowed Dane to sneak the first. The second Abdulla started to crack some nicks at will and ran away with the second game.

Although the match was competitive throughout the games it always seemed that Dane was on the back foot of most of the rallies and as such was losing a bit of momentum. Abdulla wins the next 2 games and is on to the finals. I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of Abdulla up until this point.

The final will be one awesome match with contrasting styles. The members are excited as am I. I hope I can find a ref so I can enjoy the squash and not have to become the “villain”.

Robin Clarke

26-Feb, Quarters:
Top seeds through to semis in Toronto
Robin Clarke reports

Declan James 3-0 Nick Sachvie

This was a case of experience vs inexperience. The first two games were close the entire way but Declan’s ball striking was pure and much more precise than Nick’s. The big man can move around the court nicely and when under pressure has an incredible lob to get himself back into position.

With his wingspan he was able to take control of the T and move Nick around. Not to say Nick didn’t have his chances, but Declan was pure and wasn’t giving anything away. The third started well but fell apart, and around 5-1 in the 3rd Declan’s confidence grew and he started to shoot and really put on a show. Declan through to the Semi-Finals with lots of energy in the tank left

Anthony Graham 3-2 Mike McCue

Going into the match the word on the street was a “pick em” game, and it started out that way. The first was long and hard, only difference was Mike’s 3 unforced errors towards the end of the game.

The crowd knew however this was not going to be a quick 3-0, and Mike came back roaring after a few words from the 7 time Cricket Club champion Jamie Nicholls. His length improved and his attacking game was on. At 8-3 up in the 2nd it looked over but a few errors and some timely winner from Anthony has him only down 9-8. Mike hung in and won the game on a beautiful backhand drop.

That’s when the game changed. Anthony unfortunately felt he needed to take more space than necessary when taking the ball short, and this resulted in let after let as there was no clear path to the ball for Mike. Nick Sachvie did an excellent job as ref and made the big calls when needed, which were all correct by the way.

The squash was played at a very high level and as predicted going into the match, it could have gone either way but Anthony came out on top 11-9 in the fifth. What a match.

Dane Sharp 3-1 Cameron Stafford

I think Dane underestimated the skill level of Cameron going into the first. 8 nicks later and Cameron wins the first game 11-…… and Dane is muttering to himself as he comes off court.

The second however proved to be the way Dane should have played from the start, moving the big man around the court and countering Cameron’s attacks which were going in too frequent. The start of the 3rd you would think Dane would continue to dominate, but after 3 minutes he found himself down 6-1 and 7-2.

But Dane hung in and won the next 7 points in a row and that took the steam out of the engine of Cameron. Dane wins 3-1 in a highly enjoyable match to watch.

Abdulla Al Tamimi 3-1 Sunil Seth

Sunil is an athlete, plain and simple. He is a strong boy and a physical presence on the court. Abdulla on the other hand is such a smooth mover and the skills to match the top players that this became an entertaining match to watch.

The result was 3-1 to Abdulla but was highly entertaining and the crowd after a long night of squash enjoyed it immensely.

25-Feb, First Round:
Sachvie shines in Toronto
Robin Clarke reports

The top four seeds all won their first round matches to advance to the quarter-finals, but three of the lower seeds were beaten, including:

Match of the night!

Canada's Nick Sachvie came back from 2-0 down to move into the quarters. The first two games Ashley Davies was crushing HUGE forehands and really moving the ball around the court.

Nick was moving well but when given the opportunity he wasn’t taking the ball in short. His holds were working well but he kept playing the ball deep and allowing Ashley to recover in the rallies. The second came saw Nick make 7 unforced errors and Ashley quickly ran away with the game to take a 2-0 lead.

The third was the crucial game in the match, nothing seemed to change but at 9-9 Nick hung in well and squeaked out the last 2 points to win the 3. From that point on Nick grew in confidence and started to finally take the ball short when given the opportunity.

Ashley can pick up many balls but the errors started to creep in and Nick continued to apply pressure when needed. He won the 5th 11-4 to move into the quarters. He should be happy with this result.

24-Feb, Qualifying Finals:
Qualifying complete in Toronto
Robin Clarke reports

Albert Shoihet bt Ahad Raza – Walkover (Ahad sick)

Stefan Houbtchev bt Francisco Mendez 11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10

The tall junior from Windsor started strong against the attritional Mexican. Some long rallies but Francisco did not put Stefan under enough pressure when he had the openings, he just continued to play length. His game plan looked to be to tired his opponent out but early in this match this strategy didn’t work.

Stefan raced to a 2-0 lead and looked to be cruising until mid-way through the 3rd when you could see him starting to tire. Similar to Francisco, Stefan wasn’t putting his opponent under enough pressure when given the opportunity and this sucked too much energy from him.

Midway through the 4th it almost seemed to be an equal battle until Stefan decided to step up, attack short with some brilliant straight drop and then use his length to volley and move his opponent around until the unforced error crept in.

The 4th was close but Stefan hit 2 great winners to end the match and advance to his first PSA main draw.

Jesus Camacho 3-0 Akasham Rajagopaul 11-8, 11-6, 11-7.

The battle of the young guns, I believe Akasham is 15 years old and Jesus is 16 but both looked far more experienced than their ages suggest. Both move beautifully around the court and can move the ball with great accuracy.

Jesus has some exceptional straight drops and holds from the front and when given the opportunity put a lot of pressure on the young Canadian.

In each game the scores were close but around the 5-5 mark Akasham made too many mistakes to put his opponent up a few points. That really was the difference in the match, Akasham’s errors were just a few more than Jesus and the Mexican moves on in the main draw.

Nick Sachvie 3-0 Graeme Williams 11-8, 11-6, 11-5.

This pitted experience vs youth, and youth came out on top. Both players have great techniques and can move the ball around the court but it was the fast pace game of Sachvie that really started to wear down Graeme.

All games were competitive but the result was never in doubt. At 5-5 in the 3rd they had a 50 shot rally, with Graeme being on the wrong end of most of it. After the rally I’m sure I heard Graeme mutter to Nick.

"Not sure why I decided to put myself through this again”! Nick smiled and promptly finished the game off and Graeme 1 minute after the match was seen with a large pint of beer in his hand. Awesome.
24-Feb, Qualifying Round One:
Locals try their luck in qualifying
Robin Clarke reports

Francisco Mendez 3-0 William Kuhn 11-0, 11-3, 11-6

The top ranked junior and local player from the Cricket had his hands full with the speedy Mexican. From the start Francisco never let William get comfortable – the pace was faster and more precise then the 15 year old junior is used to playing and the first game was definitely a quick one: 11-0!

William started to find his rhythm a little more in the second and third but he could never establish his length and Francisco kept the T and won comfortably.

Akasham Rajagopaul 3-0 Alex Riedelsheimer: 11-6, 11-4, 13-11

The top ranked junior in Canada for U15 just stepped up into the U17 division and is playing some fantastic squash. Alex is a very tough opponent but Akasham’s speed and ball control is very impressive for a 15 year old and he continually had Alex moving around the court.

Akasham has an uncanny ability to move onto the ball quickly when sensing an opportunity the attack and he did so time and again. The third was competitive and could have gone either way but a couple unforced errors late in the game gave Akasham the 3-0 victory.

Stefan Houbtchev 3-0 Adam Vanwyngaarden 11-5, 11-6, 11-9

Very competitive match from the word go. Adam is a player who is very unassuming warming up but once the game begins his energy and ball control are impressive. He was playing an older and more experienced player but he held his own and even though the match was won 3-0 by Stefan the scores don’t indicate how closely fought this match was.

Stefan has nice movement and a few more shots to put the rally away, and with his wing span was able to volley and move Adam around the court without giving up the T. Stefan was breathing pretty hard towards the end of game 3 and will be satisfied by finishing out the match when he did.

Ahad Raza 3-0 Thomas Manley 11-9, 11-1, 11-9

Thomas is a player to watch. Clean hitter of the ball and nice movement around the court he held his own against the older and more experienced player. The first game was long, long rallies with neither player really looking to take it short too often.

Ahad has a beautiful backhand and able to hit nice height and width under pressure which was one of the keys to him winning the match – Thomas had him under pressure constantly but his smooth stroke allowed him to get out of trouble and onto the T quickly. The second Ahad found his short game and really used the 17” tin to his advantage.

Not to be outdone Thomas stepped back up the pressure in the third but no go, Ahad did not want to have to continue to play. Thomas should be happy with the outcome, a few points here and there and this match could have gone to five.


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