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Select Gaming Kent Open 2015
02-07 Jun, Maidstone, England, $10k

[2] Charles Sharpes
(Eng) 3-2 [Q] George Parker (Eng)
           11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10 (74m)

Charles is too sharp for George Parker
Alan Thatcher reports  

Number two seed Charles Sharpes survived a nailbiting tiebreak in the fifth game to win the Select Gaming Kent Open at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent.

His opponent, George Parker, was playing his sixth match in six days after battling his way through the qualifying competition and taking out Adil Maqbool, Jaymie Haycocks and Joel Hinds in the main draw.

In a match that produced a mixture of high-quality squash and some physical exchanges between the players, Sharpes weathered a storming fightback from Parker at the end of a thrilling match.

Sharpes held match ball at 10-7 but Parker won three points in a row to draw level. A penalty stroke took Sharpes to his second match ball and Parker hit the tin in the next rally to end the match after 74 minutes of brutal combat.

Sharpes had begun the match in fine form with a run of seven points in the opening game, but Parker turned the tables in the second, moving ahead from 5-2 to draw level.

The pattern continued as Sharpes won the third and Parker the fourth, with the packed crowd delighted to see the match go the full distance.

By this time both players had become embroiled in discussions with the referee over access issues, mostly in the front left corner.

Some ugly clashes occurred as both players exchanged words with each other and the match officials.

Ultimately, the week was a rewarding one for Sharpes and Parker in terms of ranking points.

It was Sharpes’ fifth and biggest PSA title, and he said: “I am so happy to win the Kent Open and end the season on a high.

“I want to thank George for a great match. We are good friends off court and I look forward to many more battles with him in the future.

“This is a great tournament and all the players appreciate the way we have been looked after here in Kent.”

Immediately after the match, title sponsors Select Gaming announced that they would be continuing their sponsorship of this PSA Challenger 10 event next year.

Host club The Mote have also announced an ambitious development plan that includes an all-glass showcourt.

Kent Open 2015
02-07 Jun, Maidstone, England, $10k
Round One
04 Jun
05 Jun
06 Jun
07 Jun
[1] Jens Schoor (Ger)
2-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 (46m)
[wc] Josh Masters (Eng)
[wc] Josh Masters
9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-3 (62m)
[6] Joel Hinds
[6] Joel Hinds

11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 (48 m)

[Q] George Parker

[Q] George Parker


11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10 (74m)


[2] Charles Sharpes

[6] Joel Hinds (Eng)
11-9, 10-12, 11-5, 7-11, 11-4 (76m)
Chris Fuller (Eng)
[8] Adil Maqbool (Pak)
11-4, 12-10, 11-9 (29m)
[Q] George Parker (Eng)
[Q] George Parker
1-6, 11-6, 17-15 (39
[3] Jaymie Haycocks
[3] Jaymie Haycocks (Eng)
11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9 (63m)
Nathan Lake (Eng)
[Q] Ashley Davies (Eng)
11-9, 11-6, 11-8 (38m)
[4] Richie Fallows (Eng)
[4] Richie Fallows
11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (21m)
[Q] Ben Ford
[4] Richie Fallows

 11-4, 5-11, 11-6, 11-9 (59m)

[2] Charles Sharpes

[Q] Ben Ford (Eng)
6-11, 11-2, 11-5, 3-11, 15-13 (55m)
[7] James Earles (Eng)
Reuben Phillips (Eng)
11-7, 11-8, 2-11, 11-3 (46m)
[5] Kristian Frost (Den)
[5] Kristian Frost
11-5 9-11 11-7 11-1 (58m)
[2] Charles Sharpes
[Q] Mike Harris (Eng)
11-3, 7-11, 10-12, 11-2, 11-7 (56m)
[2] Charles Sharpes (Eng)
02-Jun, Qualifying Finals:

Mike Harris (Eng) 3-0 Eain Yow Ng (Mas)             11-5, 11-6, 7-3 rtd (23m)
Ashley Davies (Eng) 3-1 Rui Soares (Por)      11-3, 7-11, 11-3, 11-7 (37m)
Ben Ford (Eng) 3-2 Kevin Moran (Sco) 10-12, 11-5, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6 (64m)
George Parker (Eng) 3-1 Jaako Vahamaa (Fin)     11-5, 11-8, 13-11 (37m)

02-Jun, Qualifying Round One:

Mike Harris (Eng) 3-1 Phil Nightingale (Eng)              6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 (42m)
Eain Yow Ng (Mas) 3-0 Micah Franklin (Ber)                        11-5 11-6 11-5 (27m)
Rui Soares (Por) 3-2 James Evans (Eng)       7-11, 11-8, 13-15, 11-7, 11-7 (61m)
Ashley Davies (Eng) 3-0 Jonny Powell (Eng)                   11-7, 11-4, 12-10 (22m)

Kevin Moran (Sco) 3-0 Steve London (Eng)                    11-5, 13-11, 11-9 (31m)
Ben Ford (Eng) 3-1 Joe Green (Eng)                     5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 13-11 (58m)
Jaako Vahamaa (Fin) 3-2 Emyr Evans (Wal)   8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4 (55m)
George Parker (Eng) 3-0 Sam Ellis (Eng)                      11-4, 15-13, 11-9 (28m)


Top seed Jens Schoor was runner-up to world No.9 Simon Rosner in the final of the German National Championships last week.

Regular visitor Adil Maqbool, a Pakistani based in Dubai, recently won the Abu Dhabi Open for the 10th time.

The unseeded Nathan Lake, from Gloucestershire, followed a recent success in South Africa by winning the Jersey Classic, beating Maidstone’s Josh Masters (the Kent Open wild card) in the quarter-finals.

He then beat No.1 seed Joel Makin in the semi-finals and No.4 seed Ashley Davies in the final.

Davies will be driving down from Chesterfield to compete in the qualifiers alongside The Mote’s James Evans and tournament sponsor Jonny Powell, plus two winners from this weekend’s pre-qualifying competition.

06-Jun, Semis: 
Parker qualifies for final
Alan Thatcher reports    photos by Kim Roberts

Qualifier George Parker meets No.2 seed Charles Sharpes in the final of the PSA Challenger 10 Kent Open at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent.

The 19-year-old Parker powered past No.6 seed Joel Hinds, producing another high-quality performance to beat a much higher-ranked opponent 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 in 48 minutes..

The final will be his sixth match in consecutive days but this young man possesses an extraordinary physique and appears to be taking every match confidently in his stride.

Parker, the world No.135, beat an opponent 48 places above him in the PSA rankings with his blistering pace around the court impressing the packed gallery at The Mote.

Parker, cheered on by a group of travelling fans from Leicester, opened up an early lead in the first game and maintained his advantage all the way through.

Hinds, playing a more methodical game, moved ahead in the middle phase of the second game to draw level.

Parker started strongly in the third game, and enjoyed his most impressive spell of the match as he delivered a succession of dazzling winners.

He maintained that attacking intent at the start of the fourth game and, although Hinds fought hard, Parker displayed impressive maturity to close out the match in style.

It promises to be a phenomenal final with Sharpes also in top form.

He and Richie Fallows have had some awkward battles in the past but both showed total commitment to play the ball and some superb rallies ensued.

The key factor in the match was Sharpes’ domination of the left-hand wall. His precision backhand driving kept the ball glued to the sidewall and restricted Fallows’ attacking opportunities.

Sharpes won nine points in a row to win the opening game but Fallows hit back to take the second, dropping just one point from 4-4.

In the third game, Sharpes engineered another eight-point run to move 2-1 ahead.

The fourth game was a titanic battle, and the packed crowd were willing the match to go to a fifth game. Fallows led 9-8, but Sharpes was the more disciplined athlete on the court as he won the final three points.

Sharpes said: “That was a very pleasing victory. It’s always a tough match against Richie and in the past we have had a few messy matches.

“But I thought today was the most free-flowing game we have had ever had. I’m really happy to be in the final.

“We played most of the match on the backhand wall and I felt I did not want to switch because I was having a lot of success there. That frustrated him.

“I am a good length hitter and I was pleased to get the ball in the back corners to reduce his attacking options.”

Fallows’ response was succinct: “ Tin, man.”

05-Jun, Quarters: 


Teenage qualifier George Parker overcame No.3 seed Jaymie Haycocks to become part of an all-English quartet in the semi-finals of the Select Gaming Kent Open at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent.

Parker produced a mature display of fast, attacking squash to defeat a below-par Haycocks 11-6, 11-6, 17-15.

After dominating the opening two games he withstood a fierce fightback by Haycocks in the third, finally clinching victory in an extended tiebreak.

It was the second major upset of the tournament after wild card Josh Masters beat No.1 seed Jens Schoor of Germany the previous evening.

Despite a blazing start and a fourth game fightback, Masters was unable to repeat the same level of consistency and accuracy against No.6 seed Joel Hinds.

Masters, the 20-year-old from nearby Walderslade, has improved enormously after his first year in Bristol, attending the University of the West of England and training at the Vivo Academy with Mohamed Elshorbagy under the guidance of leading coach Hadrian Stiff.

Encouraged by a raucous home gallery, he opened up a big lead in the first game, moving from 5-0 to 10-4 and withstanding a determined spell of pressure from Hinds to win it 11-9.

Hinds patiently stuck to his disciplined game plan to open up a 7-4 lead in the second game but Masters drew close at 8-9 and 9-10 before the 27-year-old from Derby edged home 11-9.

Hinds looked in control as he led 5-1 at the start of the third game. Masters put in another solid spell to reach 5-6, but Hinds finished strongly to take it 11-5.

Masters loves attacking the front corners, always looking for the angles to hit nicks, and Hinds continued to play the straighter lines in an attempt to reduce his opponent’s attacking options.

With huge encouragement from the crowd, Masters led 5-2, and although Hinds drew level at 5-5, Masters then won four points in a row to lead 9-5. In a tense and exciting period of play, Hinds hit back to 8-9 before Masters won three points in a row to make it two games all.

After winning the first two points of the fifth game, Masters began to wilt and Hinds won seven points in a row as he dominated the fifth. Masters won just one more point as Hinds wrapped it up 11-3 after 62 minutes of hugely entertaining squash.

Masters’ exit was followed by that of his former coach, Ben Ford, who was in some discomfort from an injury sustained the previous night against James Earles. Ford was unable to withstand the pace and precision of his star pupil at his Bexley academy, as No.4 seed Richie Fallows eased to victory in just 21 minutes.

Number two seed Charles Sharpes made sure of four home representatives in the semi-finals after a hard-fought battle with Denmarks’ Kristian Frost.

Sharpes worked his way through some physical and often ill-tempered incidents to clinch the match with a comfortable 11-1 win in the fourth game.

He now faces a formidable battle with England rival Richie Fallows, while Parker will be aiming to grab another major scalp when he takes on Hinds.

04-Jun, Round One:


Fans cheered to the rafters as Silver Fox Ben Ford and youngster Josh Masters made it a Kent double on home soil in the first round of the Select Gaming Kent Open at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone.

The 39-year-old Ford produced an astonishing performance, defying a leg injury at the end of the second game to beat Yorkshire’s James Earles 15-13 in the fifth game.

And the 20-year-old wild card Masters, who has been coached by Ford for much of his career, delivered a stunning result by toppling the top seed, Germany’s Jens Schoor, with a blistering array of winners.

There was no hint of the shock that was to follow as world No.63 Schoor won the opening game 11-2, but Masters came out with more attacking intent in the second.

The rallies were brutal, but world No.215 Masters was rewarded for his attacking intentions as he squeezed home in the second and third.

He maintained the pressure in the fourth as a major contrast in fortunes became apparent. Masters buried a succession of nicks as Schoor’s backhand volleys and drops found the tin.

Masters moved from 3-3 to 8-3 ahead and he held his nerve to clinch victory 11-5 as a packed gallery at The Mote roared the Maidstone boy home.

Sadly for Josh, his mum Jacquie was not there to see the most momentous victory of his career. She chose to attend a Take That concert at the O2 Arena instead.

Ahead of the quarter-finals, Josh might be telling his mum “I Want You Back For Good.”

For Ben Ford, he might be singing another Take That hit, “When We Were Young” as he approaches his quarter-final with Richie Fallows, a young man he has coached for several years.

Ben showed “You Never Forget” the technique and style that he is currently passing on to his young charges, many of whom were in the crowd admitting how he performed under pressure in a PSA environment.

“We Can Rule The World” might be taking it a bit too far, but he and Masters certainly ruled this corner of Kent last night.

Ford’s result followed another five-setter in the qualifying finals the previous evening, when he overcame Joe Green in their third match in the space of nine days.

He still had plenty in the tank against the 22-year-old Hull-based Earles. The Yorkshireman won the opening game but Ford found his length and blitzed through the second game 11-2.

He strained a muscle in the top of his leg but still won the third game, but Earles fought back to win the fourth.

Ford found a new lease of life to power 7-2 ahead in the fifth but Earles fought back to level at 8-8. The score seesawed as Ford was first to match ball at 10-9 and, in an incredible finale, both held two more each before Ford closed out the match 15-13.

Fallows overcame another rising star of domestic squash, Ashley Davies, in a match of high quality that suggests that Egypt will not have it all their own way when England’s big five of Nick Matthew, James Willstrop, Peter Barker, Daryl Selby and Adrian Grant, all in their 30s, decide to call it a day.

On a night of high drama and long matches, No.2 seed Charles Sharpes almost followed Schoor out the door in a thrilling clash with qualifier Mike Harris, who attacked both front nicks with venom. Sharpes will be mightily relieved to escape with a narrow five-game victory in a match of phenomenal commitment and quality.

Sharpes now meets Denmark’s Kristian Frost, who overcame Londoner Reuben Phillips in four games.

The opening match on Court One featured No.5 seed Joel Hinds and Chris Fuller, who took the game to five before Hinds dominated the final passage, clinching victory after 76 minutes.

However, he will not be relishing his appointment with the fired-up Masters, who will be seeking to make his attacking the flair the decisive factor in another possible giant-killing attempt.

In one of the most astonishing comebacks since the PSA switched to the PAR 11 scoring system, George Parker fought back from 10-3 down in his second game against Pakistan’s Adil Maqbool to win it 12-10.

The 19-year-old qualifier from Leicester won in straight games to set up a quarter-final with experienced No.3 seed Jaymie Haycocks, who overcome Nathan Lake in four tight games lasting 63 minutes.


Qualifying complete -

Ben Ford, one of the country’s finest coaches, is still capable of playing outstanding squash.

At the age of 39, he outmanoeuvred Scotland’s Kevin Moran to win a dramatic qualifying final in the Select Gaming Kent Open at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone.

Ford, who coaches 25 miles up the road at Bexley, strikes a squash ball with superb quality. His coaching skills have helped Peter Barker improve his front-court game and he is also assisting Kent Open No.4 seed Richie Fallows.

Fortunately, the two avoided each other in the draw for the first round. While Ford goes through to play Yorkshire left-hander James Earles, Fallows was drawn against another emerging England professional, the left-hander Ashley Davies, who powered past Portugal’s Rui Soares in four games.

George Parker overcame Finland’s Jaakko Vahamaa in straight games and meets Pakistan’s Dubai-based Adil Maqbool.

Qualifying top seed Mike Harris will arrive in the main draw against Charles Sharpes feeling fresh after his opponent, Eain Yow, withdrew suffering from shin splints with Harris leading by two games and 7-3 in the third.

Admission to the Select Gaming Kent Open is free all week.

All set at The Mote
Preview from Alan Thatcher:

Maidstone’s Josh Masters, who has been awarded the wild card in the forthcoming Select Gaming Kent Open, has been handed the toughest draw possible, facing top seed Jens Schoor from Germany in the first round.

The event takes place at The Mote Squash Club from May 31 to June 7 and is now firmly established as one of the top world-ranking tournaments in England after six years on the PSA calendar.

The 20-year-old Masters has been training hard in Bristol with Egyptian world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy, who recently claimed his first British Open title in Hull.

Masters, a student at the University of the West of England, has been gaining valuable practice playing for Bristol in the English Premier League. His coach Hadrian Stiff said: “Josh has been doing well. We do two or three sessions a eek together and he trains with Mohamed when he is here.”

Masters meets Schoor in the first round on Thursday June 4, after four days of qualifying competition involving local players and aspiring professionals.

So far, the winners of the Kent Open have all been British, but Schoor aims to be the first to take the trophy overseas.

The German No.2, who won three PSA tournaments in 2014, said: “I am really looking forward to the tournament. I reached the final of the German Nationals on Monday and hope to go one better in Kent.”

The draw also includes a strong English contingent, with the British Under-23 champion Charles Sharpes seeded two, followed by experienced tour pro Jaymie Haycocks and the 2014 European junior champion Richie Fallows, from London, at four. 

The current European junior champion, George Parker, who was born in Margate, is in the qualifying competition alongside England junior team-mate James Evans, who is back at The Mote after a successful first year at Trinity College in America.

Both Evans and Masters are sponsored by Harrow Rackets, whose UK distributor Simon Scott is a first team player at The Mote.

Admission to the Select Gaming Kent Open is free all week.

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