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Marlborough College Open 2015
23-25 Jan, Swindon, England, $5k
Chris Fuller reports

Day three of the inaugural Marlborough College open saw Englishman Tom Ford capture his third PSA title.

He began the day against close friend and training partner Michael Harris in what looked on paper an intriguing match up.

Harris, constantly creative with a real flair, is always dangerous and Ford, who himself enjoys a more structured game, early on looked ready. He managed to negate Harris' attacks, keeping his opponent to the back where his percentages were Never one to shy away when faced with an opponent in fine form Harris kept pushing and at times pulled out a couple of his trademark kills but faced with Ford's relentless pressure his consistency faltered. And after gaining the ascendency  Ford never let up taking the match 3/0 in just under 40 minutes.

In the other semi final fourth seed James Earles looked confident in the early exchanges against yesterday's giant killer Mark Fuller. Fuller, keen to carry on from where he left off yesterday, refused to let him settle for long though and gradually began to drag him into long drawn out rallies which seemed to hurt the younger man.

Bit by bit they started to take their toll and errors eventually came, seeming to galvanise Fuller further. After sharing the first two games Fuller seemed eager to push on in the third chasing down seemingly lost balls and eventually starting to punish Earles when his opportunities came.

Suddenly at 2/1 and up in the fourth his second big win in as many days seemed on the cards and he looked determined to take it. As his eagerness increased again a now tired and mentally weary Earles tinned his final return of serve to give Fuller his final place, only the second of his career and a full five years after his first.

And what a final it was as Ford and Fuller treated the crowd to 62 minutes of exciting, accurate and at times frantic squash.

In the first Ford started the brighter opening up a lead which he never looked likely to relinquish. Fuller came back strongly in the second though in what was the game of the tournament.

Patient play by both players was interspersed with fast exchanges as they desperately searched for a winning position. A tiebreak seemed inevitable and so it proved as Fuller saved two game balls from 10/8. A huge rally at 10/10, possibly the best of the match and certainly it's most important, ended in a fist pump from Ford as he set up game ball which he took at the first time of asking.

Fuller was not to be denied a game though as he started the third with a discipline rarely found in someone a game away from defeat. Ford kept with him though and although he lost that game he regrouped in the fourth opening up a commanding lead before taking the title with his first championship ball.

So Marlborough sees Ford capture a third PSA tour title and a first on English soil. It would be nice to think that he may be back next year to defend his crown but I have a feeling that by then he may have moved on to bigger and better things...

Draw & Results

Marlborough College Open 2015
23-25 Jan, Swindon, England, $5k
Round One
24 Jan
24 Jan
25 Jan
25 Jan
[1] Tom Ford (Eng)
11/4, 11/8, 11/3 (31m)
Steve London (Eng)
[1] Tom Ford
11/6, 11/7, 12/10 (32m)
Rui Soares
[1] Tom Ford

11/6, 11/8, 11/5 (36m)

[3] Mike Harris

[1] Tom Ford


11/7, 12/10, 7/11, 11/6 (62m)


[8] Mark Fuller

[6] Arthur Moineau (Fra)
11/4, 11/5, 11/7 (27m)
Rui Soares (Por)
[7] Reuben Phillips (Eng)
11/6, 13/11, 5/11, 11/8 (59m)
[Q] Ben Ford (Eng)
[Q] Ben Ford
11/3, 3/0 rtd (10m)
[3] Mike Harris
[3] Mike Harris (Eng)
11/9, 13/15, 11/2, 11/6 (47m)
[Q] Julian Tomlinson (Eng)
Connor Sheen (Eng)
11/7, 11/3, 11/6 (30m)
[4] James Earles (Eng)
[4] James Earles
11/9, 11/4, 11/9 (35m)
[Q] Phil Nightingale
[4] James Earles

11/8, 8/11, 11/7, 11/4 (65m)

[8] Mark Fuller

[Q] Phil Nightingale (Eng)
11/9, 11/8, 14/12 (46m)
[5] Patrick Miescher (Sui)
[Q] Patrick Rooney (Eng)
11/7, 7/11, 12/10, 11/8 (51m)
[8] Mark Fuller (Eng)
[8] Mark Fuller
11/6, 11/6, 11/9 (61m)
[2] Adam Murrills
Micah Franklin (Ber)
12/10, 11/7, 11/1 (36m)
[2] Adam Murrills (Eng)
Qualifying Finals:

Julian Tomlinson (Eng) 3-1 Tristan Eysele (Rsa)   11/13, 11/7, 11/8, 11/9 (57m)
Phil Nightingale (Eng) 3-1 Luke Bishop (Eng)         8/11, 11/9, 11/5, 11/2
Ben Ford (Eng) 3-0 Nick Mulvey (Eng)                          11/9, 11/6, 11/8
Patrick Rooney (Eng) 3-0 August Dussourd (Fra)           w/o

Qualifying Round One:

Julian Tomlinson (Eng) 3-0 Jack Martell (Eng)             11/5, 11/6, 11/7 (28m)
Luke Bishop (Eng) 3-0 Jon Geekie (Sco)                   11/8, 11/6, 13/11 (27m)
Phil Nightingale (Eng) 3-0 Sam Ellis (Eng)                   11/3, 11/2, 11/6 (30m)
Ben Ford (Eng) 3-2 Miroslav Celler (Svk)   11/9, 8/11, 8/11, 11/5, 11/5 (62m)
Mark Broekman (Eng) 3-0 Nick Mulvey (Eng)              11/5, 11/9, 11/6 (34m)
Patrick Rooney (Eng) 3-0 Alex Noakes (Eng)                      1/0 rtd
Chris Fuller reports

Day 2 in Marlborough saw the main draw of sixteen players quickly turn into only four.

In the first round there were comfortable wins for three of the top four seeds with only Michael Harris unable to win in three. He was pushed hard by one of the qualifiers from yesterday, Julian Tomlinson who continued his excellent form to share the first two games with the higher ranked Harris before eventually being overrun in the third and fourth.

Ben Ford also seemed to benefit from the extra time on court that qualifying brings as he overcame seventh seed Reuben Phillips again in four. Having admitted beforehand to finding Phillips difficult to read in the front two corners, Ford played a noticeably more controlled game than yesterday which seemed to work well, much to the frustration of his younger opponent.

And Phillips wasn't the only seed to fall as London based Portuguese player Rui Soares played with great discipline to beat sixth seed Arthur Moineau and Phil Nightingale fought doggedly to see off fifth seed Patrick Miescher.

Soares then kicked off the quarter finals against number one seed Tom Ford (WR#82). It must be said that Soares' improvement in recent months has been impressive and he took Ford close particularly in the third game. Ford never panicked though and looks in fine form going into tomorrow.

 Another player looking good is James Earles who put an end to Nightingale's challenge in three well contested games. Earles, who has won two tour titles in recent months looked, as always, very fluid bringing in his clinical short game at every opportunity.

Good friends Adam Murrills and Mark Fuller finished off the day with 61 minutes of old school squash. With neither player wanting to make an error the rallies were long and structured reminiscent of the days gone by when the biggest tournaments in the world were played on traditional courts with 19" tins.

Fuller, more accustomed to this style of play always kept his nose in front taking the Murrills, a counter attacker by trade was being given little to run onto and so tried to up the pace and intensity in the third and crawl his way back. He kept with Fuller and then saved two match points to move to 9/10 before eventually making the error which saw Fuller move into the semi finals.

There he'll face Earles in what is a repeat of their semi final match at Charing Cross just over a month ago which Earles won 3/0.

Ford faces Harris in the other semi with the winners set to meet later in the day. Two matches in a day is always a difficult challenge and it will be interesting to see who copes with it best...

Draw & Results

Day One - Four Englishmen make main draw
Chris Fuller reports

Day one of the Marlborough College Open 2015 saw four English players progress through qualifying to the main draw.

In round one only one match went the distance as veteran campaigner Ben Ford beat the higher ranked Slovakian Miroslav Celler 3/2. At 2/1 down it wasn't looking good for Ford who was beginning to look a little jaded but he used his wealth of experience to pull away in each of the last two games.

Luke Bishop also pulled off a notable win against Jon Geekie. Playing some exciting and at times quite outrageous squash he always kept his nose in front of the Scot who will feel disappointed to have at least not won a game.

The evening's qualifying finals started off with an interesting encounter between Tristan Eysele and Julian Tomlinson. On paper a clash of two players with similar styles but with differing levels of experience - Eysele being four years older than his opponent - most people thought that it would be a long one which Eysele would eventually come through. And after a long and tense first game which he took 13/11 the match seemed to be following the script.

Tomlinson had other ideas though and his dogged determination started to bring him more and more rewards as the match went on. He took the second game 11/7 and then crucially took the third 11/8 after Eysele, who had been leading, seemed to tire.

The fourth was a tense affair similar to that of the first game with Eysele seeming to have found a second wind. Unfortunately for him it wasn't quite enough though and after a few very edgy final points Tomlinson took the win 11/9 after an entertaining and it must be said very fair 57 minutes.

Phil Nightingale fresh from a comfortable first round win then took on Bishop who was hoping to continue riding the wave which he had so successfully found earlier in the day. And so he did for a game and a half, playing with a disguise and finesse that Nightingale seemed unable to read.

All it took was what seemed like a small lapse in concentration though and suddenly the spark had gone. What seemed to be coming easily before Bishop was now having to force and Nightingale's own confidence grew as he came back in the second and then stayed in front throughout the third and fourth games.

Last onto court was Ford up against a considerably fresher Nick Mulvey. Mulvey seemed keen to lapse on any early tiredness that Ford showed as he started brightly opening up a first game lead.

As Ford slowly got back up to full speed it seemed to be just delaying the inevitable though as his determined running struggled to cope with Ford's superior control now that he was moving more freely. After closing out the first 11/9 Ford moved through the gears in the second 11/6 and held on to win the third 11/8 and with it the match.

So four English players join a main draw already inundated with local talent. Twelve of them in total will play tomorrow on a day when we will whittle sixteen down to only four. It remains to be seen how many will remain at that point. ..

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