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SE Leisure Kent Open 2013
07-12 May 2013, Maidstone, Uk, $10k

12-May, Final:
[2] Jon Kemp 3-1 [1] Adrian Waller
             11/5, 4/11, 11/8, 11/9 (48m)


Alan Thatcher reports,
player interviews by Gabby Manvell, photos by Kim Roberts

Jonathan Kemp’s adventurous array of attacking shots proved the decisive factor as he overcame top seed Adrian Waller to win the final of the SE Leisure Kent Open at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, England.

In a battle of two left-handers, Kemp’s ability to control the front half of the court made the difference as he won 11-5, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9 in 48 minutes of fiercely-contested squash.

Against a supremely fit opponent, whose 6ft 3in height enables enormous court coverage, the 32-year-old Kemp needed to produce tight drops and good-length drives to move Waller around.

He achieved those twin objectives for long spells of the match as he clinched his second PSA title in eight days after winning the Ipswich tournament at his home club a week earlier.

Londoner Waller started strongly and built a 4-1 lead in the opening game but Kemp soon found his touch and reeled off 10 of the next 11 points.

His touch deserted him in the second as Waller dominated proceedings, adding plenty of tight drops of his own to some solid driving to the back corners.

The third and fourth games were similar to the first as Waller built early leads only for Kemp to build long runs of points.

In the third he moved to 8-3 ahead before Waller responded, but Kemp was able to close out the game 11-8.

Again Kemp trailed 3-1 in the fourth but this time powered his way towards the finishing line with a succession of superb winners, including nicks and several reverse angles, that put him 9-4 ahead.

Waller launched a solid and determined revival to draw level at 9-9, but Kemp struck a winning volley to reach match ball and clinched the title with a clinging drop shot.

After receiving his trophy from tournament sponsor John Powell, Kemp said: “I played well in patches and was pleased to see Adrian looking tired at times. After a tough semi-final against Joe Lee I knew it was going to be a battle today.

“My tactics worked well for most of the time and I was pleased to catch Adrian with a couple of crosscourts when he came across to cover the straight shot.

“After organising my first tournament in Ipswich last week I now appreciate all the work that goes on behind the scenes so I would like to congratulate the team here at The Mote for running such a superb event.”

The Kent Open is sponsored by SE Leisure, Craft Insure, Shepherd Neame, The Mote Squash Club and Harrow Sports.

Alan & Gabby on Twitter

Draw & Results

SE Leisure Kent Open 2013
07-12 May 2013, Maidstone, Uk, $10k
Round One
09 May
10 May
11 May
12 May
[1] Adrian Waller (Eng)
11-2, 11-4, 11-4
[Q] Reuben Phillips (Eng)
[1] Adrian Waller
14-16, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (76m)
Chris Ryder
[1] Adrian Waller

 11-9, 11-3, 11-2 (40 m

Joel Hinds

[1] Adrian Waller


11-5, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9 (48m)


[2] Jonathan Kemp

Chris Ryder (Eng)
 11-4, 11-2, 11-5
[Q] James Evans (Eng)
Adil Maqbool (Pak)
6-11, 11-4, 11-3, 6-11, 11-7
[Q] James Earles (Eng)
[Q] James Earles
11-4. 15-13, 13-11 (45m)
Joel Hinds
[4] Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
11-9, 13-11, 11-9
Joel Hinds (Eng)
Michael Harris (Eng)
11-8, 11-9, 11-3
[3] Joe Lee (Eng)
[3] Joe Lee
11-5, 11-4, 3-0 rtd (23m)
Yann Perrin
[3] Joe Lee

 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5 (55 m

[2] Jonathan Kemp

Yann Perrin (Fra)
11-2, 11-6, 11-5
Carlos Cornes (Esp)
Declan James (Eng)
14-16, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8
Steve London (Eng)
Declan James
 11-2, 11-9, 11-8 (22m)
[2] Jonathan Kemp
[Q] Ben Ford (Eng)
11-6, 12-10, 11-0
[2] Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
08 May, Qualifying Finals:

Reuben Phillips (Eng) bt Antoine-Camille Petrucci (Fra)                     w/o
James Evans (Eng) bt Jonathan Geekie (Sco)                   11-8, 15-13, 11-8 (41m)
Ben Ford (Eng) bt Charlie Johnson (Eng)           8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-2 (58m)
James Earles (Eng) bt Anthony Brindle (Gib)                     11-1, 11-4, 11-4 (24m)

07 May, Qualifying Round One:

James Earles (Eng) bt Sebastiaan Weenink (Ned) 4-11, 11-8, 11-4, 5-11, 11-6 (50m)
Anthony Brindle (Gib) bt Jakob Dirnberger (Aut)         11-8, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10 (46m)
Charlie Johnson (Eng) bt Shinnosuke Tsukue (Jpn        11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5 (35m)
Ben Ford (Eng) bt Chris Fuller (Eng)                      8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 6-3 retd (46m)
James Evans (Eng) bt Robbie Downer (Eng)                         11-7, 11-4, 11-9 (33m)
Jonathan Geekie (Sco) bt Jonny Powell (Eng)                       11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (20m)
Antoine-Camille Petrucci (Fra) bt Richie Fallowes (Eng)    w/o withdrew due to illness
Reuben Phillips (Eng) bt Ollie Holland (Eng)          11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 5-11, 11-5 (72m)

2012 Event  |  2011 Event  |  2010 Event

12-May, Final:
[2] Jon Kemp 3-1 [1] Adrian Waller
             11/5, 4/11, 11/8, 11/9 (48m)

Top seeds to clash in Maidstone
Alan Thatcher reports,
player interviews by Gabby Manvell, photos by Kim Roberts

(1) Adrian Waller (Eng) beat (WC) Joel Hinds (Eng)
           11-9, 11-3, 11-2 (40 mins)
(2) Jonathan Kemp (Eng) beat (3) Joe Lee (Eng)
            9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5 (55 mins)

Top seeds Adrian Waller and Jonathan Kemp meet in the final of the SE Leisure Kent Open.

Waller powered past wild card Joel Hinds in straight games but Kemp had to battle for almost an hour to subdue a phenomenal challenge from No.3 seed Joe Lee

Londoner Waller withstood a fierce fightback from Hinds in the opening game. Hinds was game ball down at 10-6 but produced a sustained spell of attacking squash to reach 9-10 before Waller clinched it on a flat-nick volley-kill off the serve.

The Birmingham-based Hinds looked a little subdued during the second as a confident Waller powered through for the loss of just three points.

The third was even more one-sided as Hinds was clearly running on empty. After two intensely physical victories in the opening rounds against No.4 seed Henrik Mustonen and Yorkshire qualifier James Earles, his lack of recent match play was clearly evident against a superbly honed athlete like Waller.

Waller said: “I had a good start to the match but Joel found his rhythm, gradually making the game frantic. At 10-9 up, I hit a crosscourt volley nick to win the game. That gave me confidence for the next game.

“In the next two games, I found a better height of the shot to get the ball to the back of the court, pinning Joel into the corners. That gave me more opportunities and I put together a good run of points. I felt I didn’t drop concentration or make many errors, maybe just one or two.

“I’m playing Jonathan in the finals and although we’ve travelled and toured together. I don’t recall us playing a competitive match. I know what to expect. He always give 110 per cent.”
The final promises to provide a fascinating contrast in styles.

The extravagantly talented 32-year-old Kemp had to hit back from two-one down in games to beat rising Surrey star Lee.

From 4-4 in the fifth game, Kemp unleashed a succession of dazzling winners, striking nick after nick to nullify a quality performance from Lee.

Kemp admitted: “At 4-4 I thought I ought to start going for a few winners and it paid off. Believe me, that was Plan Z. Joe played extremely well and didn’t give me the opportunities to attack.

“He is very good at the counter-drops and lobs, which neutralises my game.”

Lee said: “I was just two or three minutes away from a top-30 performance. I felt fairly comfortable throughout the match but Jonathan produced a spell of unplayable shots.

“People say he might not be the fittest player in the game but you’ve got to be incredibly strong to step up the court like he did in the fifth and attack in the fashion.

“He is one of the best players I have ever come across for attacking shots. He is also a very fair player but I lost focus early in the fourth and fifth games.”

Alan & Gabby on Twitter

Draw & Results

Round One in Maidstone
Alan Thatcher reports,
player interviews by Gabby Manvell, photos by Kim Roberts

Could it be the Kemp Open ?

Declan James entered the quarter-finals with one major objective: keeping Jonathan Kemp on court longer than he did in the Ipswich semi-finals at the weekend.

That match was concluded in just 24 minutes, so James failed to reach his that target by a two-minute margin on court at The Mote this evening.

He did, however, manage three more points this time round.

Left-hander Kemp, who won the Ipswich final against Ben Coleman, will be hoping to turn this into the Kemp Open.

After beating Ben Ford in the first round in a similar time, he is certainly racing through the draw with a devastating combination of tight drives and immaculate drops.

"I felt I played really well in the first game, the second game was tight and we both got carried away and were attacking too much. I also wasted 3 game balls!" said Kemp.

"Overall, I'm happy with my performance and looking forward to the semi finals tomorrow".

Lee through as Perrin retires

Joe Lee’s passage into the semi-finals was assisted by an injury to French opponent Yann Perrin, who retired with early in the third game after over-stretching for the ball.

Lee was already leading by two games and was 3-0 up in the third when Perrin lunged for a ball in the back left corner and fell dramatically, screaming in pain.

He had pulled a hamstring and immediately left the court and shook hands with Lee before heading to a side room for treatment.

Lee had dominated the opening two games, playing tighter drives and more accurate drops. He will need to maintain that accuracy against Kemp in the semi-finals.

Hinds halts Earles

Wild card Joel Hinds reached the semi-finals after a ferocious battle with James Earles.

The hard-hitting Hinds dominated the opening game but the second and third were full of brutal rallies as Earles retrieved with incredible speed and shared the spoils at the front of the court.

It was hugely entertaining squash for the packed gallery and even though Hinds is always a popular visitor to The Mote, many were willing Earles to extend the match as long as possible.

Seeing two athletes slug it out in this fashion produces the purest form of sporting combat and Hinds was mightily relieved to leave court with a 3-0 win under his belt.

Ironically, after so many punishing rallies, the match-winning shot was a slightly miscued backhand drop shot that spun down off the front wall and died in the front left corner with Earles stranded.

Waller ends Ryder run in marathon

Top seed Adrian Waller broke Chris Ryder’s unbeaten record at The Mote in a compelling, physical and hugely entertaining quarter-final battle this evening.

Ryder, twice a Kent Open champion at The Mote, winning marathon finals against Aaron Frankcomb and Max Lee, was clearly up for the fight against an opponent nine years his junior.

The opening game lasted 25 minutes and Ryder forced his way back from 6-2 down to take the lead at 10-9. Waller hit back to hold the upper hand and Ryder saved two game balls before clinching the game 16-14.

The effort clearly took its toll as Ryder succumbed 11-4 in a 10-minute second game. Ryder suffered a hand injury at the start of the third game but returned to the court after a three-minute injury break.

Waller managed to stay in front throughout to win it 11-6 and the fourth followed a similar pattern with rallies that demanded an enormous physical investment from both players.

From 8-8 the crowd were willing Ryder to take the match to five, but it was Waller who finished in decisive fashion. Ryder left the court claiming that a Waller winner had hit the tin at a crucial stage of the match.

Alan & Gabby on Twitter

Draw & Results

"Kemp and I played against each other in the semi finals of the Ipswich Open, which I lost 3-0. Tonight I feel I played better and managed to get some extra points. I tried to impose more physically but Kemp was too accurate in the first game. I played better in the second game with my physicality and I'm happy that I was able to keep the pace in the third game".

"Next up is the qualifying rounds for the British Open at Pontefract, Paris at the end of May, then Gibraltar in June when I finish for a summer break and training"

Declan James

"I was feeling really confident throughout the match, especially in the third prior to Perrin retiring with an injury. Perrin seemed to be lacking his sharpness and although he hit the ball tight, he made the errors. Perrin's movement didn't seem to be it's best which made it easier for me".

"Both my matches have been of similar time which is good as I have been tested enough and I'm not fatigued".

"I play Jonathan Kemp in the semi finals who I've done some training with but a PSA event is a lot different so I will aim to do go on court and do my best".

Joe Lee

"After injuring my ankle two weeks ago, I was mentally thinking about it which also resulted in my lack of fitness" "I wasn't strong enough for Lee today".

Yann Perrin

"It was a tough match and even though I thought I had a good chance I still had to work hard to win it.

"The first was comfortable, then I thought James stepped up the court better in the second and was attacking well. It was close at the end of the second and third and I was pleased to come away from the match in three games.

"Tiebreaks seem to have been going my way in this tournament. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Joel Hinds

"I made a slow start, Hinds played fast and my reactions were slow. In the second game I came stronger, playing faster. I was 8-6 up but Hinds came back. I was up again in the third game but Hinds pushed up the court more taking the ball early. I didn't do anything wrong or made any errors. This is the first time I've played this tournament and I'm please with my overall performance".

"I am playing in the British Open Qualifier in Pontefract, then of to Paris before a summer of training. I played in the Australian tour last summer which didn't help my fitness, so it is my plan to stay in the UK and focus hard on the training".

James Earles

09-May, Round One:
Round One in Maidstone
Alan Thatcher reports,
player interviews by Gabby Manvell, photos by Kim Roberts

Kemp Powers through

Number two seed Jonathan Kemp was in fine form as he powered through to the quarter-finals.

In a match featuring two stylish shot-makers, Kemp overcame leading Kent coach Ben Ford.

At 37, Ford came into the match after one of the busiest spells of his entire career, playing three times for Kent over the weekend, three more times on Monday night in the pre-qualifying, then two further matches in the qualifying tournament.

Having driven to Maidstone through rush-hour traffic after coaching at the Charing Cross Club in London, the last thing he fancied was being twisted and turned on court by Kemp's artistry.

The Ipswich-based left-hander won the first game comfortably, but Ford produced a massive effort from 5-7 down in the second to reach game ball at 10-8.However, Kemp tightened up to win the last four points to take it 12-10.

The effort clearly took its toll on Ford as Kemp totally controlled the third game to win 11-0.

James withstands Power of London

Declan James overcame spirited resistance to remove a second Kent player, Steven London, after a phenomenal battle lasting almost an hour.

London led for most of the opening game and maintained his composure to win it 16-14 after both players had saved game balls.

James gained control in the second game and maintained that form in the third to set up a winning platform with a 2-1 lead.

London led 5-3 in the fourth but James won four points in a row to regain the upper hand and stayed in front to close out the match in just under an hour.

Quality stuff from both players in front of national coach Chris Robertson.

Lee halts Harris

Joe Lee is a class act, but Michael Harris made him work hard for a place in the quarter-finals.

The first two games were close, with Harris mounting a fierce comeback at the end of the second from 10-5 down, but Lee weathered the storm to take it 11-9.

The third game was Devon sent as Harris struggled to cope with Lee's pace and precision. Lee won nine points in a row to reach match ball at 10-1 and although Harris made the scoreline slightly more respectable by winning two late rallies, the Surrey man hit one final nick to book a quarter-final clash with Yann Perrin of France.

France beats Spain in Kent

French ace Yann Perrin won this Continental clash to book a place in the last eight tomorrow.

He started positively and powered his way through the opening game 11-2. Carlos Cornes made more headway in the second but too often could not find a way past Perrin's racket.

The Frenchman mixed solid driving with some excellent, imaginative play at the front of the court and was always ahead as he surged through the third game.

Number three seed Joe Lee will provide a tougher test of his credentials tomorrow.

All-Northern quarter

Yorkshire's James Earles meets wild card Joel Hinds in a surprise quarter-final match-up after both players beat higher-ranked players.
Earles had to work hard to beat Pakistan's Dubai-based Adil Maqbool.

The score fluctuated game by game until the deciding moment of 5-5 in the fifth.

Maqbool suddenly lost his line and length and Earles took full advantage, winning six of the next eight points .

Ryder ends home hero's run

Chris Ryder, twice a champion here at The Mote, ended the run of home hero James Evans in ruthless fashion.

Evans, cheered on by a packed gallery for the third day in a row, started brightly with four superb nicks, but once Ryder got into his stride his 17-year-old opponent received a lesson in precision squash.

Ryder won 15 points in a row before Evans got on to the scoresheet again.

Ryder won the second game for two points and was 9-2 up in the third before Evans staged a late, courageous response to make the final scoreline look more respectable.

Ryder now meets top seed Adrian Waller as he aims to maintain his unbeaten record at the club.

As underdog, he will hope the Mote crowd will be back on his side again!

Hinds halts Henrik

Wild card Joel Hinds won a titanic battle with No.4 seed Henrik Mustonen, squeezing home in three fierce games in 46 minutes of brutal squash.

Hinds trailed 7-4 in the opening game but kept digging the ball out and finishing impressively at the front to win it 11-9.

Mustonen was ahead throughout the second game and held game ball at 10-7, but again Hinds refused to give in to win 13-11.

Hinds led 7-5 in the third before the Finn produced a solid run of four points. But the effort took its toll as Hinds hit back to win the final four points against an obviously tiring opponent.

The rallies were long, and both players deserve credit for choosing to play the ball as much as possible instead of asking for lets.

Mustonen was suffering from a heavy cold and chose to play despite advice from his coach to withdraw.

Analysis? Two top blokes, both giving it their all. Both popular visitors to the club and it will be interesting to see what tactics Hinds takes into the quarter-final against James Earles.

Waller floors Phillips

Qualifier Reuben Phillips was given a lesson in control as top seed Adrian Waller marched imperiously into the quarter-finals, clinching victory in just 27 minutes.

Waller's height advantage gives him a phenomenal reach, and his efficient shot production is always going to trouble a less experienced opponent.

Phillips struggled to find a way through as Waller dominated all three games.

Former Kent Open champion Chris Ryder awaits in the quarter-final, in what promises to be a more physical examination of Waller's abilities. It promises to be a great match.

Alan & Gabby on Twitter

Draw & Results

What they said ...
"I tried to drag the games out as long as I could and being 10-8 up in the second, I was disappointed to lose the game and 15 points in a row, losing the third game 11-0.

"I tried to play a different pace at the beginning of the 3rd game but my body was too tired, I couldn't keep the momentum going"

Ben Ford
"I felt scrappy and tense in the first game, Steve is a good athlete!"

"I relaxed more in the 2nd and third games, feeling more comfortable taking the ball short".

"In the next round I'm playing Jonathan Kemp who I lost to in the semi finals of the Ipswich Open last week. I will be looking for a longer match and looking forward to playing again".

Declan James
"I played well in the first game with Declan making the mistakes. I relaxed in the second game and Declan played better, not making any errors. In the third game, I lost my accuracy. Declan played some good shots in the 4th and retrieving well"

" I am playing in Paris at the end of the month, then Gibraltar in June. I'm looking forward to a break and training in the summer"

Steve London
"It was a nice first round match and got pushed enough, feeling just about in control. In the third game, it was tough for Harris as the work he had done previously took it's toll and I felt more comfortable".

I have Yann Perrin in the next round and we have been of similar ranking over the last few years"

Joe Lee
"It was not my best performance tonight and was the first time playing on a court with a solid back wall. I didn't get my distance to the ball nor could I hit a length so Perrin punished every lose shot"

"This is a great tournament and my first visit to Kent, I was made to feel like home"

"I'm going straight home to play in the Spanish National match tomorrow so I'm hoping to play better there"

"I wish Perrin all the best in his match tomorrow"

Carlos Cornes
"I played quite well in the first two games. Joe and I went through Juniors together and always had a good battle but Joe has now stepped up his game".

"I couldn't hit a length in the third game and Joe punished every lose shot. Joe is a very fair player and there was no agro. It ws a good game"

"The Mote is a nice club with good courts that play true. It was also great to see such a good crowd at the early stages of the tournament"

"I'm off to Argentina next week and then looking forward to summer training and a break!".

Michael Harris
"I played well and felt okay tonight after coming back from an injury to my ankle I was trying to feel confident. I kept saying in my head to keep the ball tight.

"I always have a good start in each game, then I relaxed and tried some different shots. It was a good match tonight and good preparation for tomorrow against Joe Lee, which I hope to enjoy and play well".

Yann Perrin
"The rallies were long and hard and short as Maqbool likes to 'chop' the ball. It was mentally tough. I played well but the first game was a bit lose.

"I came back in the second keeping the ball straight and long, the same in the 3rd. In the 4th game, I came out with nothing to lose. In the 5th, I manage to get one or two extra shots back".

"I'm playing Joe Lee in the next round tomorrow so I'm looking forward to a different game and challenge"

James Earles
"I focused well throughout the match, Henrik is really quick so I couldn't allow myself to relax. All the games were tight in the end of each game I came out on the right side. Henrik made errors after some tight drops".

"I'm playing James Earles in the next round who I've not played before".

"I enjoy this tournament and played twice before. This year I was given the wildcard!"

"The season overall, I have gone up the rankings after injury and I'm looking forward to a good summer of recovery and training".

Joel Hinds
"It was an easy match physically and if I had one 1 or 2 games, it would have been a different result. During the 3rd game, Joel was gutsy and confident".

"I have more tournaments this month, the qualifying rounds at the British Open and then Hong Kong which will help to build up and compensate my points".

"This is the 3rd year I've played at the Kent Open, last year losing in the semi finals, so I am determined to come back, schedule permitting to come back to play better and prove I can play to the crowds expectations".

Henrik Mustonen
"Ben is a tricky and skill full player with a tight forehand. I did not focus as much in the second game but lengenthed the rallies in the third game regaining focus and dominating more".

"I will play either Declan James or Steve London in the next round. I played James in the semi's of the Ipswich Open last week and beat him 3-0"

Jon Kemp
"The first 4 points were good as I won them hitting some great nicks! It went down hill from there but I enjoyed the experience and Chris was too good".

"I'm pleased with my achievements in the tournament and will help to increase my points. I'm busy with school exams at the moment so it has been a busy week".

James Evans
"James got off to a flyer start with some great winning nicks and a few gamble of other shots but he was unable to keep the pace and with the warm court conditions, I kept the ball going.

"I used the new Harrow Stealth tonight which I enjoyed and a much lighter racket than the Harrow Fury. I'm pleased with how I played and it will be a big step up to my match tomorrow against Adrian Waller who is a good friend which always makes the matches more competitive and we know each others game"

Chris Ryder
"Adrian is always a difficult guy to play, and it's always hard to get the ball past him.
"This is a great tournament, with so many little extras that you don't get elsewhere, with food and massage provided for the players, plus a hotel room for the qualifiers.
"It's lovely to see a club look after the players so well and I hope to be back next year to do better."

Reuben Phillips
08-May, Qualifying Finals:
Head Boy Evans delights Mote faithful,
and Ben too ...

Alan Thatcher reports, player interviews by Gabby Manvell,
Photos by Kim Roberts ...

Schoolboy James Evans did his homework thoroughly as he prepared for today's SE Leisure Kent Open qualifying final against Jonathan Geekie.

After beating Robbie Downer in straight games last night, James was appointed Head Boy at Invicta Grammar School at 8 o'clock this morning.

He returned to his home club, The Mote, this afternoon, put his exam revision to one side and beat another professional three-love for a second day in succession to reach the main draw.

Like Downer, Geekie is based at Portsmouth. A left-hander, he soon found Evans hitting some superbly-weighted drives into the back right corner.

Evans quickly built a 6-2 lead and managed to stay in front as Geekie worked his way into the match.

After winning the opening game 11-8, Evans fell behind midway through the second,.

Geekie moved from 6-6 to 9-6 and held game ball at 10-8, but Evans fought back to win a fluctuating tiebreak 15-13.

That passage of play showed remarkable maturity for a 17-year-old and he jumped into a 5-2 lead in the third.

Geekie stepped up the pace and and closed the gap to a single point but Evans finished strongly to win it 11-8 and clinch a momentous victory in 41 minutes of abrasive squash.

"I felt scrappy today on court but enjoyed the game. I was nervous before playing but felt positive I could win.

"During thee first game I felt relaxed and in the second saving two game balls, I felt confident I could get it back.

"In the third game, I felt I had Geekie 'riled', not letting him get back into his own game."

James Evans

"I was disappointed with the result and in the 2nd game as I had good leads and trying not to make mistakes" "James had nothing to lose had showed great improvement from last night and back this up tonight.

"Initially, I didn't feel positive after the match but I'm looking forward to getting home to repack for the South American Tour.

"All credit to James and I wish him well for the future."

Jonathan Geekie 

Top qualifying seed James Earles wasted little time in reaching the main draw, powering past Anthony Brindle 11-1, 11-4, 11-4 in just 24 minutes.

Earles displayed stunning accuracy as he took the opening game for the loss of just one point, and he maintained the same discipline and accuracy throughout the second and third games.

Brindle struggled to find a pattern of play that could make much of an impact as Earles dominated play throughout the match.

"I felt the game scores reflected the match, I was dominant throughout, initiating all the attacks not allowing Brindle to play his own game"

"It was an easier match than yesterday which I was pleased about and wanted to get on and off the court quickly to allow me time to be fresh for tomorrow".

James Earles
"It was tough today and Earles was too good with his deception and not allowing me to get in front. I am pleased with my performances here at the Kent Open and I've had a good few weeks.

"I'm now looking to get my head down and focus on training for the Gibraltar Open at the end of June.

"This is the first time I've played in the Kent Open, it is a great tournament and proper English club and hope to be invited back again next year."

Anthony Brindle

Kent stalwart Ben Ford, who played alongside Evans in the Kent team at the weekend in the English inter-counties championship, rolled back the years as he overcame Johnson.

Both players had won through from a three-match pre-qualifying programme on Monday, but it was Ford who finished the stronger.

His artistry with the racket frequently left Johnson flat-footed and he faces an equally talented shot-maker in the main draw with a first round clash with 32-year-old No.2 seed Jonathan Kemp, who arrives in Kent fresh from winning his own tournament in Ipswich at the weekend.

Top seed Adrian Waller meets another talented Londoner, Reuben Phillips, who was awarded a walkover yesterday after his French opponent, Antoine Petrucci, withdrew through injury.

Alan & Gabby on Twitter

Draw & Results

In the final match of the night Ben Ford came from 2-0 down to deny Charlie Johnson ...

"I could not hit a length and had no confidence in taking the ball short. The last 5 days have caught up on me after playing Intercounties prior to this tournament and I struggled with heavy legs.

"I admit I was a little worried after being 2-0 down!

"Tomorrow I have the No.2 seed Jonathan Kemp and I will be lucky to make it last 20 minutes!

"I would rather be spectating than playing as Jonathan is a great player to watch and he likes to finish the rallies early."

Ben Ford

"I felt I had nothing to lose and felt no pressure. I had trouble with my back earlier in the day and I didn't expect to play as well as I did.

"During the first game I found my short game but after the second game, I relaxed too much thinking I could win the match, what I was having for dinner and lost focus on the game. Ben stepped up in the 4th game going up a couple of gears.

"I have had some long matches this week and coming straight from the Intercounties at the weekend but I've had an enjoyable time and would like to thank Alan Thatcher and his team for organising a great tournament and the Sponsors, SE Leisure and Harrow."

Charlie Johnson

07-May, Qualifying Round One:
Evans delights Mote faithful
Alan Thatcher reports

Teenage student James Evans achieved a phenomenal victory over full-time professional Robbie Downer in the qualifying competition of the SE Leisure Kent Open.

Playing on his home courts at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, 17-year-old Evans stuck to an intelligent game-plan to overcome one of the hardest hitters in the sport, winning 11-7, 11-4, 11-9 in 33 minutes.

Two years ago Downer came close to beating the-then world record of 172mph for striking a squash ball, falling just short at 171mph in a radar gun challenge at The Mote, but Evans was undaunted as he soaked up the pressure.

The Invicta Grammar School student played tight, controlled squash to deny Downer the opportunity to unleash his power game and produced plenty of superb winners at the end of some demanding rallies.

A packed gallery at The Mote roared their encouragement as Evans took the attack to his opponent.

Mixing excellent length shots to the back to the court with tight drops at the front, Evans repeated his win at the same stage of the tournament when he beat another full-time pro in this PSA World Tour event.

He said: “It was such an enjoyable match to play in. That certainly some of the best squash I have ever played and without doubt my best victory. I wasn’t expected to win, so I was able to relax and play my own game.

“It felt like all the pressure was on Robbie and it helped when he made a few mistakes.

As number four seed in qualifying, he was probably expecting an easy win. But he obviously got frustrated when I kept getting the ball back.

“It was great to play in front of a packed gallery at my home club, and it was especially nice to have two of my PE teachers from Invicta in the crowd.”

Evans faces Jonathan Geekie in the qualifying finals on Wednesday this evening after the Portsmouth-based Scotsman, a training partner of Downer's, overcame The Mote's title sponsor Jonny Powell.

Further Kent interest in the tournament lies with Ben Ford, whose passage to the qualifying finals was assisted by Nottingham's Chris Fuller withdrawing because of a back injury.

James Earles and Reuben Phillips were both involved in long matches, with Earles beating Dutchman Sebastiaan Weenink and Phillips halting a huge fightback from Ollie Holland before winning in 72 minutes.

Qualifying finals start at 17.00 on Wednesday.

Alan Thatcher

Qualifying Finals Preview

"I didn't give the match the respect that it deserved. With little preparation after returning from Cape Town, I didn't settle until the third game, my mind and body were separate and not working together today.

"The court conditions were warm and I struggled to get a winning shot.

"Now I'll focus on some intense training in preparation for Australia."

Robert Downer

"I felt I played well and was confident in the 1st two games but relaxed in the next two allowing Ollie to pick up the pace and putting on the pressure.

I wiped the slate clean in the 5th taking each point as it came.

Reuben Phillips

I went on court expecting to win but it backfired on me!

I know I was the weaker player tonight and being my first PSA event, this was a different environment for me.

I'll go home to train hard over the next few weeks in preparation for Switzerland.

Olli Holland 

Kent Open TODAY: Issue #1

The world's rising squash stars fly in to Kent this week for a major world-ranking tournament in Maidstone.

The SE Leisure Kent Open takes place at The Mote Squash Club all this week with high hopes of a home winner.

The top three seeds are all English (Adrian Waller, Jon Kemp and Joe Lee) with No.4 seed Henrik Mustonen from Finland keen to get his name on the trophy.

Leading Kent players Ben Ford, James Evans and Jonny Powell, the title sponsor, will be in action this evening in the first round of the qualifying tournament.

English junior international Evans, a 17-year-old Maidstone student, faces the big-hitting Robbie Downer, from Portsmouth.

Last year Downer came close to breaking the world speed record in squash when he was measured striking the ball at a ferocious 171 miles per hour, just one mile an hour behind the record set by Australian John White.

Ford faces Chris Fuller with Powell keen to do well against Scotland's Jonathan Geekie.

Play starts this evening at 5pm with eight matches on the two show courts at the Mote. The club has been fitted out with new tins at the front of the courts.

Club players are used to playing with a 19-inch tin, but the pros have switched to a 17-inch tin to encourage more attacking play - and more big hitting from players like Robbie Downer!

Admission is free all week with the main draw first round on Thursday, the quarter-finals on Friday, the semi-finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday.

Kent Open pre-qualifying

Alan Thatcher reports

Ben Ford and Charlie Johnson won through to the main qualifying competition of the SE Leisure Kent Open after a busy pre-qualifying event at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone.

Ford, now keeping busy as a successful coach in Kent and London, won three matches in a row, taking a thoroughly professional approach as he powered past Jason Goodayle (Mote), Joe and Green (Herts) and Tom May (Kings, Canterbury) without dropping a game.

Johnson faced a more difficult route. After beating Mote pair Adrian Humphries and Ryan Duke, he had to battle all the way against Maidstone's Josh Masters before clinching his place in today's action.

Kent junior Masters, now 6ft 3in tall and still growing, played intelligent squash throughout and it the outcome was impossible to predict as the match went to a fifth game. The rallies were ferocious but Masters tinned a few drops at crucial stages to allow his Herts rival to win 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8 in 61 minutes.

Johnson meets Shinnosuke Tsukue of Japan in the first qualifying round, with Ford facing Nottingham's Chris Fuller.

Mote locals James Evans and title sponsor Jonny Powell face Hampshire's Robbie Downer and Scotland's Jonathan Geekie respectively.

Best ever field for fifth Kent Open
Preview from Alan Thatcher

The SE Leisure Kent Open Squash Championship returns to The Mote in May with the strongest draw in the event's five-year history.

The title has yet to leave British hands and the pattern is set to continue this year with England supplying five of the top six players.

The top seeds are Adrian Waller, from London, and the Ipswich-based Jonathan Kemp. Both left-handers, they are currently joint 33rd in the latest PSA world rankings.

Waller, at 23, is nine years younger than Kemp.

Number three seed is Joe Lee, from Surrey, with Finnish star Henrik Mustonen making a popular return to The Mote as No.4 seed after a great performance in the recent Canary Wharf Classic in London.

Mustonen, aged 22, beat Kent's world No.16 Adrian Grant in the first round and came desperately close to beating Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy, the World Open runner-up, in the quarter-finals.

Former Kent Open champion Chris Ryder returns this year as No.5 seed, which illustrates the depth of quality in the entry list.

Overseas stars competing in the main draw include Yann Perrin (France), Adil Maqbool (Pakistan) and Carlos Cornes (Spain).

The qualifying and pre-qualifying competition includes several local players, including Kent juniors James Evans and Ryan Duke from The Mote, brothers Josh and Bradley Masters from Maidstone, with title sponsor Jonny Powell, a Mote first-team regular, enjoying the opportunity to test himself against the professionals.

Pre-qualifying takes place on Monday, May 6, followed by two days of action in the qualifying rounds.

Four players go through to join the top 12 seeds in the main draw, which runs from May 9-12.

Admission is free all week, with free daily coaching clinics for juniors and school groups every day at 4pm from Tuesday to Friday.
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