Northumbria 2016

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Northumbria Open 2016
01-06 Mar, Northumberland Club, Newcastle, UK, $5k

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06-Mar, Final:
[1] George Parker
(Eng) 3-1 [5] Joe Green (Eng)
             11/5, 11/7, 7/11, 11/7 (56m)

Top seed Parker takes the title
Dylan Younger reports

One of the UK’s most promising young players took the honours at the Northumbria Open.

Top seed George Parker played immaculate squash to take the final 3-1 in the climax of this blistering $5000 pro tournament.

The Birmingham-based player - now ranked 76 in the world - had dropped only one game on his way to the final, and he looked odds-on for a whitewash as he took the first 11-5 and the second 11-7 without seeming to break sweat.

But Hertfordshire’s Joe Green - benefitting from an unexpected day off at the semi-final stage when London veteran Ben Ford was forced to withdraw injured, produced a Herculean effort to pull a game back in the third.

The 21-year-old had played high energy squash all week, but some of his retrieval was off the scale as he battled his way to an impressive 11-7 win to make things interesting.

Green kept the pressure on and left nobody in any doubt that he was in it to win it - but in the end, Parker’s slightly tighter line and length proved crucial as he dominated the T, took the ball early and finished clinically when he had the chance.

Both players - but Parker in particular - got side-tracked into questioning some contentious decisions, but nobody could argue that the 19-year-old wasn't a deserved winner of the richest event on the North East squash calendar.

Thanks go out to key sponsors True Potential - the North East-based financial services firm - and to fellow sponsors The Lakeside Distillery, and Harrow, who provided rackets and bags for all the graded events.

Finals Day Photo Gallery

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Northumbria Open 2016
01-06 Mar, Newcastle, UK, $5k
Round One
03 Mar
04 Mar
05 Mar
06 Mar
[1] George Parker (Eng)
11/7, 8/11, 11/5, 11/8
Patrick Rooney (Eng)
[1] George Parker

11/8, 11/13, 11/3, 11/9 (52m)

[7] Mike Harris
[1] George Parker

 11/9, 11/6, 11/8

Tristan Eysele


[1] George Parker


11/5, 11/7, 7/11, 11/7 (56m) 


[5] Joe Green

[7] Mike Harris (Eng)
11/3, 11/4, 9/11, 11/9
[Q] David Barnett (Eng)
[8] Adrian Ostbyte (Nor)
12/10, 4/11, 11/6, 11/5
Nick Mulvey (Eng)
Nick Mulvey

11/9 11/6 11/9 (36m)

Tristan Eysele
[4] Jaako Vahamaa (Fin)
6/11, 12/10, 11/8, 11/6
Tristan Eysele (Rsa)
[wc] Cai Younger (Eng)
11/5, 11/5, 11/2
[3] Dougie Kempsell (Sco)
[3] Dougie Kempsell

 12/10, 8/11, 11/9, 11/9 (68m)

[5] Joe Green
[5] Joe Green


[6] Ben Ford

[Q] Jakob Dirnberger (Aut)
11/3, 9/11, 11/5, 14/12
[5] Joe Green (Eng)
[Q] Julian Tomlinson (Eng)
12/10, 9/11, 11/6, 11/6
[6] Ben Ford (Eng)
[6] Ben Ford

11/3, 11/3, 11/7

[Q] Emyr Evans
[Q] Emyr Evans (Wal)
11/6, 9/11, 11/6, 11/7
[2] Joel Hinds (Eng)

02-Mar, Qualifying Finals:

Emyr Evans (Wal) 3-0 Kyle Finch (Eng)                              11-8, 11-5, 11-7
David Barnett 3-0 Liam Gutcher                                       11-5, 11-4, 11-4
Jakob Dirnberger (Aut) 3-0 Miles Jenkins (Eng)                   11-9, 11-7, 11-9
Julian Tomlinson (Eng) 3-2 Ben Coates (Eng)   8-11, 11-13, 11-3, 11-2, 11-4

01-Mar, Qualifying Round One:

Emyr Evans (Wal) 3-0 Sean Millington                 11-5, 11-4, 11-5
Kyle Finch (Eng) 3-0 Michael Collins                    11-7, 11-2, 11-5
Liam Gutcher 3-0 Xavi Blasco (Esp)                     11-3, 11-7, 11-2
David Barnett 3-0 Elliot Selby (Eng)                     11-3, 11-6, 11-5
Jakob Dirnberger (Aut) 3-0 Sam Broughton            11-8, 11-3, 11-8
Miles Jenkins (Eng) 3-0 Chris Wiggins                   11-2, 11-5, 11-7
Ben Coates (Eng) 3-1 Michael Mattimore   11-9, 10-12, 14-12, 11-6
Julian Tomlinson (Eng) 3-0 Jamie Todd                  11-5, 11-9, 11-9

05-Mar, Semis:
Parker to meet Green in final

Dylan Younger reports

After a week of upsets, normal service resumed on Day Five of the Northumbria Open, top seed George Parker living up to his billing despite an excellent effort from Tristan Eysele.

South African Eysele has arguably been the surprise package of the week and he kept his standards high as he nearly sneaked the first game, going down 11-9.

British Under 21 Parker stayed focussed to take the second more comfortably at 11-6, but Eysele’s movement and unpredictable shots kept him in the third until Parker took it 11-8.

Hertfordshire’s Joe Green must have been delighted when 39-year-old shot-maker Ben Ford was forced to pull out of their semi-final injured. Ford had taken less than 30 minutes to see off Emyr Evans the night before.

Green will be delighted with the extra time off - but he will need to be at his very best to threaten top seed Parker in Sunday’s final.

04-Mar, Quarters:
Night of upsets in quarters

Dylan Younger reports

NLY one of the top four seeds remains going into the penultimate day of a pulsating Northumbria Open.

Shock of the day came in the game of the day on court one, as third seed Dougie Kempsell was edged out 3-1 by a fast and furious Joe Green after 68 minutes of tenacious squash.

And with Joel Hinds and Jaako Vahamaa already having been toppled by Emyr Evans and Tristan Eysele respectively in the first round, it leaves top seed George Parker as clear favourite going into Saturday’s semi-finals.

Parker had lost a tight second game against Mike Harris, to leave their quarter-final tied at 1-1, but he won a comfortable third (11-3) and kept his nerve at the business end of the fourth to take it 11-9 and register a solid 3-1 win.

After that it was a case of here come the upsetters on Court 1, with two players going head-to-head who had both defied the odds to knock out seeded opponents in Round One.

Hertfordshire’s Nick Mulvey - conqueror of Norwegian champ Adrian Ostbye - lost 11-9 in the first to Eysele - and the South African stayed on top form to take a more comfortable second (11-6) and close out the third (11-9) for a 3-0 win which was a lot more competitive than that scoreline suggests.

Still, Eysele was on top form and played some clinical winners, making a few less errors than his opponent as he booked a semi slot against Parker.

The second semi will be contested by Hertfordshire’s Green and Londoner Ben Ford- the fifth and sixth seeds respectively. Ford - three months short of his 40th birthday - showed his customary court craft as he saw off young Welshman Emyr Evans 3-0 in under half an hour.

The Bexley Club coach will surely face a tougher challenge against Green in the last four, though. The determined 21-year-old kept his nerve thoughout a competitive and occasional contentious encounter with Scottish No 3 Kempsell on the glassback, taking all three of his winning games by just two points to eke out an impressive 3-1 win.

03-Mar, Round One:
Eysele and Evans surprise in round one

Dylan Younger reports

SOUTH African giantkiller Tristan Eysele provided the shock on Day Three of an action-packed Northumbria Open.

The World No 197 lost the first 11-6 to fourth seed Jaakko Vahamaa, but he adjusted to a frenetic pace, edged the second 12-10, then took the last two with a little to spare as he forced the fancied Finn into some uncharacteristic errors.

Eysele will face reigning Northern Open champion Nick Mulvey in the quarters, after the Hertfordshire player toppled a seed of his own - Norwegian Chamions Adrian Ostbye.

Mulvey edged the opener by two clear points only to produce a few errors in the second, going down 11-4. But No 8 seed Ostbye looked to be off the pace just a touch by the end of the third, as Mulvey took it 11-6. And the fourth also went the way of the flame-haired tornado, as his quick reactions and speed around court helped him to an 11-5 win.

No 1 seed George Parker looked solid against England U19 international Patrick Rooney - in nearly 50 minutes of their first-round clash.

Parker - the reigning British Under 21 champion - took the first, but Merseysider Rooney levelled the match (11-8 in the second) before the World No 80 reasserted his dominance to win 3-1.

Qualifier Dave Barnett - the tournament director - had the toughest of starts against seventh seed Mike Harris, who started like a steam train and played error-free squash in stretching into a seemingly-comfortable 2-0 lead.

Barnett, though - a former top-100 player - changed his game and went on the front foot in the third. Rallied by a strong home support behind the glassback, he took a superb game 11-9 and seemed set to take a compelling match to the fifth when he established an 8-5 lead.

Harris himself, though, showed what a fighter he is; the Bristol-based player stuck to a patient game to take the next five points, and although Barnett saved one match ball at 10-8 down, he couldn’t save the second.

The second North East player in the main event was wild card Cai Younger. Ranked 337 in the world - 235 places behind his third seed opponent - the 19-year-old from Northern knew he faced a massive challenge.

The unlikeliest of upsets looked possible at 4-4 in the first - but Scottish No 3 Dougie Kempsell kept the pace high and pounced on anything even semi-loose. He took the first two games 11-5 and the third 11-2 as he forced errors out of a player who was trying all he knew to reward some strong home support.

Match of the night was a humdinger on Court Two between Joe Green and Jakob Dirnberger - which included a rally which lasted four days. Five seed Green looked a class apart as he took the first 11-2. But the experienced Austrian battled back superbly to edge the second. Green went ahead again at 2-1, but a marvellous fourth game, including some mind-boggling retrieval at the business end, could have gone either way before Green took it 14-12 and two exhausted players walked off to deserved applause.

It was hard to pick a winner pre-match in an all-England clash between sixth seed Ben Ford and fast-improving qualifier Julian Tomlinson. The first two games where shared then Ford edged the second - his slightly more attacking approach eventually paying dividends.

Tomlinson’s relentless retrieval was keeping him in the rallies, but Ford’s locker was chockful of shots on the night, and he kept his patient approach to ease home 11-6 in the fourth.

Second seed Joel Hinds went down 3-1 to a very solid Emyr Evans - but it was perhaps not the shock it might have been, with Hinds just feeling his way back into tournament squash after a five-month injury break.

Fair play to Evans though, as he kept his focus to rack up a notable win against an opponent who is always dangerous, even when not quite at his sharpest.

02-Mar, Qualifying Finals:
Four favourites through to main draw
Dylan Younger reports

The bookmakers would have taken a bashing on Day Two of the Northumbria Open - if they’d been taking bets, that is - as all four favourites came through to reach the main tournament.

What a day for a whitewash it was as three of the four came through with convincing 3-0 wins.

Welshman Emyr Evans - No 1 seed in the qualifying competition - was first to book his spot in the main section of this $5000 PSA tournament, clocking up a 3-0 victory over Kyle Finch which was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests.

Evans had to work hard in a high-paced match, with the players’ similar hard-hitting, hard-running styles making for a high-class tussle. Finch, the England Under 19 No 1, had his share of moments but Evans - ranked 198 in the world - was a touch more attacking and he found the nick several times with some tight drops on his way to an impressive victory.

Next up there was a big crowd for the Northumbria derby as the county’s top two players squared up against each other. Dave Barnett, on home turf at Jesmond went into the match slight favourite, and lived up to his billing as he edged into an early lead over Liam Gutcher in the first game.

The county No 1 was rock solid, taking the ball early, and getting good length on his drives. Every more consistent as the match progressed, and looking hungry on every single point, he found his rival out-of-sorts on the night and he racked up a convincing 3-0 win.

Austrian Jakob Dirnberger had the third highest ranking of the qualifiers, but he was given a tough task against England’s ever-improving Miles Jenkins.

Bandana-ed and bearded, Dirnberger brought a touch of pirate glamour to the Northumberland Club, and his freestyle frenetic squash soon had Jenkins walking the plank (no apologies).

Taking everything early, the Austrian never gave his opponent time to settle and he forced some uncharacteristic errors out of the 20-year-old on his way to competitive 3-0 win.

Nightwatchmen Julian Tomlinson and Ben Coates went into late-night battle for the prized scraps of the last slot in the main event.

Lancashire’s Tomlinson, No 2 seed in the qualifiying tournament, was the fancied winner here, but his odds lengthened when he lost close finishes in both of the opening two games - 11-9, 13-11.

However Tomlinson - a losing finalist on his last PSA appearance in the North East - the Northern Open last October - was not finished yet. Known for his athletic style and consistent hitting, he noticeably upped the pace and increased the length of his shots, to quickly get back on level terms 11-3, 11-2.

Surrey’s Coates was under more pressure now, and the clinical kills which had helped him carve out a 2-0 lead were turning into tins as the pace increased - Tomlinson (WR204) winning the decider to four, and book a main event draw against sixth-seed Ben Ford.

Barnett earned a tie against England’s Michael Harris (WR176), while Emyr Evans drew second seed Joel Hinds and Dirnberger is pitted against 5 seed Joe Green.

01-Mar, Qualifying Round One:
Local heroes upset the odds

Dylan Younger reports

Two local heroes upset the odds to reach the qualifying finals of the Northumbria Open.

Liam Gutcher of Northern and Dave Barnett, on home turf at Jesmond's Northumberland Club, both hit top form to see off Xavi Blanco and Elliott Selby (younger brother of former top 10 player Darryl) respectively.

The top two players in Northumbria both won 3-0 and their prize is a clash against each other on Day Two.

Elsewhere Tynemouth’s Sean Millington found Welshman Emyr Evans too strong, the top seed among the qualifiers, winning 3-0.

Qualifying second seed Julian Tomlinson was given a challenge against Jamie Todd, who celebrated his 18th birthday by finding his form on the glassback, only to lose 3-0 - the second two going right to the wire at 11-9. If the birthday boy could learn to stop serving out after crash-nicking his opponent’s serve, he could have given Tomlinson a real scare.

England youth international Kyle Finch prevailed 3-0 against Newcastle University’s super-fit Michael Collins, while Austrian Jakob Dirnberger also won 3-0, against Northern junior Sam Broughton.

Arguably the tie of the first qualifying round was between Ben Coates and and local junior, Michael Mattimore. Surrey’s Coates edged the first 11-9 but the underdog hit back 12-10 to level. The third game was a real tussle until World No 195 Coates prevailed 14-12, and his consistent game held together from him to finish off a hard-fought 3-1 win.

Northumbria Open back with a bang

Dylan Younger reports

The richest event on the North East squash calendar is back with a bang this March ...

The Northumbria Open – now in its fifth year – attracts professionals from around the country and beyond – and with a prize fund worth $5000 (FIVE times last year’s total), the entry list is jam-packed with talent.

Sanctioned by the PSA there will be precious world ranking points up for grabs at Jesmond’s Northumberland Club between March 4 and March 6, in a tournament supported by main sponsor, North East financial services firm True Potential.
Entry is free so North East squash fans are in for a treat with no fewer than 11 top-200 players on display in the main draw.

Top seed is former England Under 19 No 1 George Parker (World Ranking 78).

The Leicestershire firebrand – an England youth international – is starting to make a real impact on the senior tour, and recently took a game from former World No 1 James Willstrop at the National Championshps in Manchester.

Reigning Northumbria Open champ Joel Hinds is two seed – the 28-year-old from Derbyshire is currently ranked 84 in the world and earned many fans with his upbeat approach and stylish play at Jesmond last year.

Other players to watch out for are 22-year-old Scottish No 3 Dougie Kempsell, and upcoming English youngsters Joe Green and Patrick Rooney. International flavour is provided by Finnish world No 135 Jaakko Vahamaa and Tristan Eysele from South Africa.

Flying the flag for the North East will be 13-time County Champion Dave Barnett, Tynemouth and Northern club champion Cai Younger, Liam Gutcher, Sean Millington, and stars of the region’s junior circuit Chris Wiggins, Jamie Todd, Michael Mattimore and Sam Broughton.

Main event qualifiers start on Tuesday March 1st, with the main tournament and the graded events for other North East players kicking off Friday March 4th.

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