Kent Open 2019 

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Select Gaming Colin Payne Kent Open 2019
10-12 Jan, Tunbridge Wells, $5k

12-Jan, Final:
Jan the Man in Kent final

Alan Thatcher reports

Jan Van Den Herrewegen won the Colin Payne Kent Open after a punishing, pulsating final against top seed Rui Soares.

The Birmingham-based Belgian won a massively entertaining five-setter 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5 after 76 minutes of high-quality squash in front of a packed crowd at Tunbridge Wells Squash Club.

The score see-sawed throughout the match, with the ascendancy switching from player to player.

That was clearly evident in the opening game as Van Den Herrewegen surrendered an 8-3 lead. Soares put together a run of points but when he reached 10-9 he noticed blood pouring from his left thumb after scraping his hand on the court floor.

After a 14-minute break for treatment, he returned to wrap up the opening game.

Van Den Herrewegen began strongly again the second game and advanced to a 9-4 lead before Soares began his customary recovery process. The Portuguese clawed his way back to 8-9 but the Belgian managed to clinch the game 11-9.

The third began in a similar pattern, but this time Soares failed to make any inroads as Van Den Herrewegen powered through 11-4.

Soares did respond in the fourth, however, battling back from 7-4 down to win 11-9 and take the game to a fifth.

This time Van Den Herrewegen imposed himself firmly on proceedings and, having built a 9-2 lead, withstood a brief recovery from Soares to close out the match 11-5.

In a poignant presentation ceremony, Colin Payne’s daughters Alice and Charlotte handed the runners-up trophy to Soares before Van Den Herrewegen received the winner’s trophy from Councillor Jane March, head of Culture, Leisure and Tourism at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

Van Den Herrewegen, who is studying for a PhD at Birmingham University, was delighted to win his first PSA title for more than a year.

He said: “It was a great match, very fair, and we were both trying to play the ball at every opportunity.

“There were some odd dynamics going on because I feel Rui plays his best squash when he is behind and he proved that with the two games he won. But I am very pleased with how I played. There were a few passive spells but I was confident going forward to attack.

“This is a great tournament and it has a lovely feel to it with all the club members getting involved. They were absolutely hanging from the rafters upstairs and I love playing in tournaments like this.”

Soares said: “I keep coming back and maybe one day I will this tournament. As Jan said, this is a great event with so many people working hard in the club to make it happen.”

Before the final, Jasmine Hutton of Sussex won a highly entertaining Collins Jewel Women’s Challenge against Elise Lazarus of Essex 11-9, 13-11, 11-7.


Colin Payne Kent Open 2019
10-12 Jan, Tunbridge Wells, $5k
Round One
10 Jan
10 Jan
11 Jan
12 Jan
[2] Jan Van Den Herrewegen (Bel)
11/6, 11/6, 11/7 (28m)
Nick Mulvey (Eng)
[2] Jan Van Den Herrewegen

11/5, 11/7, 11/6 (22m)

[6] Ben Coates
[2] Jan Van Den Herrewegen

 11/3, 11/3, 11/8 (24m)

[4] Stuart Macgregor

[2] Jan Van Den Herrewegen


9/11, 11/9, 11/4, 9/11, 11/5 (76m)


[1] Rui Soares

[6] Ben Coates (Eng)
7/11, 11/8, 11/9, 13/15, 11/6 (50m)
Rohan Toole (Aus)
[5] Mark Fuller (Eng)
11/6, 11/9, 10/12, 11/8 (44m)
Nick Wall (Eng)
Nick Wall

11/9, 6/11, 8/11, 11/6, 11/7 (51m)

[4] Stuart Macgregor
[4] Stuart Macgregor (Eng)
11/5, 11/9, 8/11, 4/11, 11/3 (49m)
[wc] Ben Ford (Eng)
[3] Leonel Cardenas (Mex)
11/3, 11/6, 11/9 (26m)
Charlie Cowie (Eng)
[3] Leonel Cardenas

11/8, 11/5, 11/6 (29m)

[8] Connor Sheen
[3] Leonel Cardenas

11/5, 15/13, 1/11, 11/8 (45m)

[1] Rui Soares

Viktor Byrtus (Cze)
7/11, 6/11, 11/6, 11/6, 11/8 (57m)
[8] Connor Sheen (Eng)
Harry Falconer (Eng)
7/11, 5/11, 11/6, 11/6, 11/8 (57m)
[7] Miles Jenkins (Eng)
[7] Miles Jenkins

11/6, 11/0, 11/7 (19m)

[1] Rui Soares
Mike Harris (Eng)
11/9, 11/7, 11/3 (26m)
[1] Rui Soares (Por)
11-Jan, Semis:
Top seeds through to Kent final

Alan Thatcher reports

Top seeds Rui Soares and Jan Van Den Herrewegen will contest the final of the Colin Payne Kent Open, sponsored by Select Gaming, after two contrasting semi-final encounters.

Soares was made to battle hard by the tenacious talents of young Mexican Leonel Cardenas, but Van Den Herrewegen enjoyed a comfortable passage courtesy of tired opponent Stuart Macgregor.

In front of a packed gallery at Tunbridge Wells Squash Club, Portuguese ace Soares began strongly against Cardenas but the 18-year-old was furious at being denied a stroke when game ball down.

He began the second in furious fashion and went 8-2 up with a succession of stunning winners. However, Soares weathered the storm and gradually regained control to hold game ball at 10-9.

Cardenas was annoyed by more controversial decisions that went against him and Soares squeezed home 15-13.

The third game saw a complete turn-around as Cardenas dominated throughout and Soares offered only token resistance in many rallies as the Mexican raced through 11-1.

Soares found himself behind again the fourth as the crowd got behind the Mexican, who led 7-3 and seemed destined to take the match to five.

However, from that point on he was only to score one more point as Soares regained control to win 11-8 and complete victory in 45 minutes.

The 20-year-old Macgregor admitted to feeling exhausted after two brutal five-setters the day before.

He tried his hardest against Van Den Herrewegen but admitted: “I was shattered after those two matches yesterday. It would have been nice had one of them been an easy three-love, but that wasn’t the case. I had my ankle strapped up for support but that wasn’t an issue. I was simply exhausted.”


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