• Artemis Edinburgh Open 2010  •  BSPA Grand Prix • 

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Thu 28th, Day ONE                                                               Steve Cubbins in Scotland

Seven Scots progress in Edinburgh

The first day's action at Edinburgh Sports Club saw ten qualifying matches - each of them featuring a Scottish player.

Roger FlynnI asked Tournament Director Simon Boughton and National Coach Roger Flynn how many they were expecting to make it through. Simon went for five - including himself as an adopted Scot - while Roger thought five or six. In the event they were both underestimates as seven Scots came through to tomorrow's main draw.

In the first set of matches Andrew Birks eased past Greg Lobban in straight games, and Dominic Hughes came from a game down to beat Kevin Moran in four before Chris Gray put the Scots on the board with a five-game win over Manchester youngster Tom Dwyer.

It wasn't looking good for Chris as, after taking the first quite comfortably, he slumped into deficit, losing the third 11/2. He managed to pick up his form though, and despite finishing looking decidedly the more tired of the two, he advanced to a meeting with 5/8 seed Andy Whipp - he'll enjoy that.

"Concentration was key," said Chris. "I switched off for long periods then got it back. I actually felt better in the fifth than at any time in the match, not bad considering what an age difference there is."

The next set of matches brought a trio of Scottish success as Lyall Patterson, Simon Boughton and Scotland's top junior Chris Ferguson all won in fairly comfortable straight games. Simon now meets Joel Hinds, but Lyall and Chris face tough tasks as they take on Saurav Ghosal and Ong Beng Hee respectively.

"That wasn't too bad," said Ferguson, "it was reasonably tough. I tensed up a bit in the second and third games but I was moving well. I'm really looking forward to playing Beng Hee tomorrow, it should be a great experience.

"I played Alister Walker in Ilkley, and although I lost 3/0 I played well and scored good points in every game, so I'm hoping for that type of performance or better tomorrow."

The third set of matches saw youngster Euan Urquhart fall to Alex Phillips, but Iain Tennent and Jamie Jacobsen upped the Scottish tally by two. Tennant closed out his match with Nick Murrils impressively, coming from behind to clinch the third, while Jacobsen did it the other way round, edging the first 13/11 over Matt Pearson before taking the next two quite comfortably.

"I stopped playing squash for 13 years," admitted Jacobsen, now 38. "I quit when Peter Nicol moved South and went up to 19 stone.

"Then four years ago I had a game with someone, lost, and thought I'm not having this. I went out bought a racket, two weeks later I played him again and won, and I've played virtually every day since, I've not had a day off since 24th September last year!"

Jacobsen's reward is a clash with Simon Parke. "I'm playing a legend tomorrow," he beamed, clearly determined to enjoy it.

Last up was another member of the Scottish squad, Jamie McAuley. Roger and Simon had probably pencilled this one in as a 'banker', but Jamie was made to work really hard by Dean Russell, flinging himself about the court and saving two game balls in the second before making it a lucky seven for Scotland.
So, it's all set up for tomorrow, as ever with BSPA events a hectic day with two rounds to play in each of the draws, but at least the courts are in a straight line ...

Qualifying Results:

Q1  Andrew Birks bt Greg Lobban                  11/7, 11/5, 11/6
Q2  Chris Gray bt Tom Dwyer       11/5, 6/11, 2/11, 11/9, 11/7
Q3  Dom Hamilton bt Kevin Morann        8/11, 11/4, 11/9, 11/9
Q4  Simon Boughton bt Sean Hunter               11/4, 11/2, 11/7
Q5  Chris Ferguson bt Jamie Matthews            11/3, 11/5, 11/7
Q6  Lyall Paterson bt Lee Brownson                11/1, 11/5, 11/3
Q7  James Jacobsen bt Matt Pearson             13/11, 11/5, 11/3
Q8  Alex Phillips bt Euan Urquahart                 11/4, 11/2, 11/8
Q9  Iain Tennant bt Nick Murrils                      11/5, 11/8, 11/9
Q10 Jamie MacAuley bt Dean Russell              11/5, 12/10, 11/8

Back to Edinburgh

It's been a while since we covered a BSPA event, but if there's one that deserves it, it's the Artemis Open.

Now in its tenth year, the event offers by far the biggest prize fund of any BSPA event, thanks to the generosity of sponsors Artemis, takes place at one of the UK's top venues, Edinburgh Sports Club, and usually coincides with the Burns Night celebrations in the Scottish capital - which at ESC translates into Haggis, Neeps, Tatties and tournament director Simon Boughton doing the Highland Fling.

What more could you ask for?

The players certainly appreciate it, the entry is always strong and this year is no exception with England team-mates Adrian Grant and Daryl Selby topping the seedings in the men's event and former world number one Vanessa Atkinson at the top of the Women's draw (although with James Willstrop making the ToC final it's to be hoped she's on her vway back from New York already ...)

Tonight sees the qualifying round as twenty players look to claim one of ten available slots in the main draw.

Matches start at 17.30, so as they say up in these parts,
stay tuned the noo ...

Ticket information
0131 332 0088

Strong entry for Artemis 2010

Adrian Grant, World No 10, tops the seedings at this year’s Artemis Edinburgh Open Squash Championships to be held at the Edinburgh Sports Club on 28 - 31 January. Also appearing are the 2008 champion Daryl Selby, World No 13, and Ong Beng Hee, Malaysia’s World No 19, making his first appearance in the Championships.

Local interest in the mens event will be supplied by Stuart Crawford, Scotland’s No 2, and Waverley’s Chris Ferguson.

Vanessa Atkinson, World No 11, will be favourite to win the Ladies event. Guyana’s Nicolette Fernandes is the second seed. Edinburgh’s own Senga Macfie, a former Scottish internationalist, will be well supported at her home venue but faces a tough first round tie against local rival Lisa Aitken.

Artemis, the Edinburgh based investment management company, are sponsoring the event for the tenth consecutive year. The event remains the richest on the BSPA Grand Prix with a total prize fund of £10,000.

Mark Tyndall, Chief Executive of Artemis, says “Artemis is delighted to continue to support the Edinburgh Open Squash Championships. Since its inaugural event in 2001 the championship has become a firm fixture on the international squash calendar. It is also a great opportunity to showcase local talent permitting young players, perhaps for the first time, to gain invaluable experience by competing at the top level”.

Ian Williams, Manager at Edinburgh Sports Club, is delighted with this year’s record entry:

“The event continues to attract some of the world’s highest ranked professional players to give spectators a wonderful opportunity to watch squash of the highest quality being played over a four-day period.

"We remain hugely grateful to Artemis for their sponsorship which has raised the event to its present status.”

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