TODAY at the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic
Mon 10th March,
Round One, Part One:
 Alex Gough (Wal) bt [Q] Mohammed El Shorbagy (Egy)
11/5, 11/8, 4/11, 3/11, 11/5 (67m)
 James Willstrop (Eng) bt [Q] Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
11/6, 11/7, 11/9 (30m)
 Lee Beachill (Eng) bt [Q] Chris Ryder (Eng)
11/8, 11/5, 11/4 (37m)
Joey Barrington (Eng) bt  Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11/6, 6/11, 12/10, 11/8 (68m)
Day One Roundup from Alan Thatcher
Day One at Canary Wharf
An exciting qualifying competition concluded at Wimbledon Rackets &
Fitness Club yesterday, with four players booking their place in the
main draw, and three of them were on show tonight.
First up was Egypt’s newest teenage sensation, British Junior Open
Champion Mohammed El Shorbagy, taking on wily Welshman
Alex Gough, at 37 the oldest player on the PSA tour. A brave
fightback from 2/0 down and the Egyptian looked favourite, but
Gough's experience finally told.
Next up was Hungarian champion Mark Krajcsak, making his
first appearance here, against the defending champion and second
seed James Willstrop, the Yorkshireman who is in a rich vein
of form having won four major tournaments in the past two months.
Krajcsak led in all three games, but it was Willstrop who took them
Willstrop’s Pontefract clubmate Lee Beachill, seeded three,
faced our third qualifier in Chris Ryder, the World
University Champion, and Beachill demonstrated that he's back to
near his best after his recent hernia operation.
To round off the evening “Flying Finn” Olli Tuominen became
the first seed to fall as Joey Barrington put in a determined
performance, coming out on top in the longest match of the night.
getting ready ..
Alex Gough (Wal) bt [Q] Mohammed El Shorbagy(Egy)
11/5, 11/8, 4/11, 3/11, 11/5
Gough overcomes age gap
There's 20 years separating them, and it took a lot of that
accumulated experience for Alex Gough to overcome Egypt's latest
The Welshman kept his young pretender on a tight leash for the first
two games, limiting Shorbagy to the odd flashing attack as he took a
two game lead.
Egyptian's winners started to pay dividends in the third though, as
Shorbagy went out to a quick 5/1 lead. Half the court lights went
out at 8/3, and although Gough took the first point on the
resumption that was his lot for that game.
It was the same story in the fourth - confidence high, Shorbagy was
getting the better of some well-crafted rallies and he usually had a
winner to finish it off.
But Gough made sure the fifth was tougher, keeping the ball deeper
and the rallies longer, and slowly but surely he drew Shorbagy's
sting, drawing away in the second half of the game as the Egyptian
found the tin much more often than the nick.
Shorbagy will learn from this, that's for sure ... and Alex will pay
for it - "I need you, but I've got so many problems I don't know
where to start!" he said to Sylvan the physio straight after the
controlled him well at the start, but then I stopped hitting the
ball to the back and he got more confidence - his forehand is just
lethal, although he made quite a few errors on the backhand.
"The break for the lights didn't do me any good at all, I was so
stiff when I went back on, I lost my focus and you get a bit all
panicky, not knowing what to do when that happens.
"Beach was good, helping me get it back in between games and getting
stuck in to win the fifth.
"He's good though, so strong at just 17, a future world champ for
was very nervous at the start, my first match on a glass court in a
professional event ...
"I started playing better in the middle, but he's so experienced, in
the fifth I knew he was very tired, but I still couldn't win because
he was hitting shots that I just couldn't read.
"But it's a great experience for me, I'll go back and work on a few
things with Jonah now ..."
James Willstrop (Eng) bt [Q] Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
11/6, 11/7, 11/9 (30m)
James settles in
It was just about the sort of match the defending champion would
have wanted - testing, plenty of questions to answer, but not a
gruelling first-rounder that takes it out of you for the rest of the
Krajcsak started well, taking a 5/1 lead in the first, but once
Willstop found his mark (no pun intended) he reeled the Hungarian in
fairly quickly. Same in the second - 4/1 for Mark before James found
his range again. The rallies throughout were fairly short, bot
making a few errors and going or relatively early winners.
It was an even start to the third, Mark making his run from 6-all
this time, forcing James to up the pace again from 6/9 down. He did,
a despairing dive from the Hungarian couldn't prevent James from
reaching match ball 10/9, and one more rally and it was all over.
feel great, I love coming to play here in London, I always feel
pretty comfortable out there.
"My concentration maybe wasn't there at the start of the games, but
he came out pretty quickly, especially in the first, and I had to
push hard to make him hurt a bit before I could take the lead.
"It was concentration again in the third, and I did well to come
back, I didn't want to spend any longer on court than I had to.
"I felt pretty good, I just hope I can keep that going for a few
more days ..."
"He played very quickly, he made a few errors too but he played well
when he had to.
"I wanted to keep the rallies short as I was feeling the effects of
my long qualifying match, but I really enjoyed it, it was a great
experience to play someone like James in a venue like this."
Lee Beachill (Eng) bt [Q] Chris Ryder (Eng)
11/8, 11/5, 11/4 (37m)
Beachill still the Master
may not be quite the veteran that Alex Gough is - "there's no way
I'm playing until I'm 37, that's just stupid" - but although Lee
Beachill has just hit 30 he is still, in his own words, tough to
beat on his day.
He wasn't at his smooth, deceptive peak today, but he was near
enough to keep Chris Ryder on a tight enough leash for pretty much
three full games.
Chris was in there - 6/5 in the first, 6/5 again in the second, but
when he needed to Lee tightened up and pulled away, plenty of
well-contested rallies, but generally one winner.
playing well at the moment, but the transition from two hard
qualifying games on plaster courts to taking on a world class player
on glass is just too much.
"My length wasn't good enough, and I wasn't pleased with my short
game either. I've played him a few times in Yorkshire league and got
closer than that, so I'm disappointed not to do a little better
"That backhand of his you don't know if it's going short or
long, and then all of a sudden it's gone and you've had it.
"I enjoyed it though, and it was nice to have a bit of support from
Hertfordshire here ..."
been getting better more quickly than I would have expected after my
operation, I did well at the nationals which gave me a lot of
"I'm moving much better and that part of my game felt good out there
"I'm enjoying my squash these days, and I'm looking forward to
having a go at some more of the younger players coming up the
Joey Barrington (Eng) bt  Olli
11/6, 6/11, 12/10, 11/8 (68m)
Joey toughs it out
This always promised to be a tough match, and so it proved. Compere
Alan Thatcher prepared the crowd for a late night as he introduced
the players, and if the first two games were somewhat shorter than
you might expect, the last two certainly lived up to the billing.
This match featured the tough, long rallies that had been somewhat
missing from earlier matches, and in the end it was Joey's extra
determination that won the day ....
quite a physical match, not a Lee Beachill precise game, but Olli
plays at such a high pace, you have to try to to neutralise him.
"So not the prettiest match, I was rushing a bit at the start but
thought I played well and I'm very pleased to win."
"I should have started better, I just
wasn't doing anything. I've been playing well and I felt good going
into the match but it just didn't work out today ..."
Barrington Bursts Into
Canary Wharf Classic Quarters
Roundup from Alan Thatcher & Howard Harding
Unseeded Englishman Joey Barrington produced the first upset
on the opening day of action in the ISS Canary Wharf Classic
when he despatched Finland's fifth seed Olli Tuominen in a
brutal first round battle in the 5-star PSA Tour squash event
in its fifth year at the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, London.
28-year-old from Glastonbury in Somerset played a solid tactical
game against the world No16 from Helsinki, concentrating on keeping
the ball tight down the backhand wall of the all-glass court at East
Wintergarden. A simmering contest was littered with stoppages caused
by bodily contact and both players seemed constantly on the brink of
stepping across the boundaries of acceptable physical behaviour.
Ultimately, the quality and accuracy of Barrington’s disciplined
approach paid dividends as the son of squash legend Jonah
Barrington clinched his 11-6, 6-11, 12-10, 11-8 victory in 68
minutes to book a place in the last eight against fellow countryman
Yorkshireman Beachill, the third seed, overcame some fierce
resistance from fellow Englishman Chris Ryder in an earlier
first round clash. Qualifier Ryder, the Herts No1 who is based at
Wolverhampton, gave as good as he got for much of the match but
Beachill’s quality shone through when it mattered most.
first game was level pegging until Beachill turned the screw and
stepped up his game. Ryder competed willingly in some long and
punishing rallies during the second game but it was usually Beachill
who had the final say. The pattern continued in the third and former
world No1 Beachill concluded a comfortable 11-8, 11-4, 11-5 victory
in 37 minutes.
Ryder admitted the transition from club courts to the glass court at
Canary Wharf was a tough one to make. "It’s a big step up from
playing on traditional plaster courts for two days in qualifying to
playing on the glass court," said the reigning World University
champion. "It takes a while to get your line and length and
someone like Lee is one of the best in the world in that
Beachill said: “I am happy to be back on court so soon after my
recent operation and making the final of the National Championships
in Manchester was a real bonus. My long-term plan is to keep the
body in good shape and to continue challenging the younger guys for
as long as I can. I’m not worried about being world No1 again but as
long as I’m playing well and competing then I shall be more than
happy. But I shall definitely not be playing when I’m 37 years old
like Goughy. That’s just crazy!”
the opening match of the day, teenage squash sensation Mohamed El
Shorbagy produced an electric performance to rattle sixth seed
Alex Gough. The 17-year-old Egyptian fought back from two
games down to take the game to a fifth - but the Welsh veteran
regained control to clinch victory after 67 minutes.
Shorbagy began in nervous fashion and the 20-year age-gap was
evident as the vastly experienced Welshman forced his young opponent
into a string of errors.
Shorbagy suddenly shed his nerves and began to find a rhythm. He
maintained his composure to win the third game despite a brief
hold-up when the court lighting failed. The Egyptian’s confidence
was soaring and he powered his way through the fourth game with a
succession of dazzling winners.
crowd were willing him to continue in that vein but the lights went
out on his bid to cause a shock result as Gough regained control in
the fifth game, wrapping it up 11-5 as a tired looking Shorbagy
struck the tin too many times.
relieved Gough said: "He is a future world champion for sure. I
have played him before, so I knew what to expect. e's got
phenomenal talent and he's also got a lot of guts, and that's the
Shorbagy, a student at Millfield School in Somerset, revealed that
his coach, squash legend Jonah Barrington, had offered him some
sound advice earlier in the day. He said: "He told me not to play
junior squash and I was very happy with how I played against such a
very experienced opponent as Alex. He is a fine player and I am very
happy with how I played on the glass court. This is a fantastic
experience for me and I am sure I can learn a lot from it."
Canary Wharf champion James Willstrop played with all the
flair, composure and confidence of a man on top of his game. The
second-seeded Englishman looked relaxed and enjoying his work as he
dealt solidly with the challenge posed by determined Hungarian
qualifier Mark Krajcsak to win in straight games.
Krajcsak started strongly and led 5-1 in the opening game before the
Yorkshireman began to impose his authority and won 10 of the next 11
points. Krajcsak again led 4-2 in the second before Willstrop took
England number one's flair and love of the adventurous was evident
as he delighted the crowd with his shot-making in the third game,
but Krajcsak refused to roll over and put together a run of five
points to lead 9-5. However, he was not allowed another entry into
the scorebook as Willstrop tightened up, regained control and reeled
off six points in a row, winning several points with outrageous
flicks and feints that were beyond the reach of the diving,
Willstrop said: “I am very happy with the way I am playing at the
moment. Winning four important tournaments in such a short space of
time is a wonderful feeling.
“This is certainly the best phase of my career and I hope it
continues for the next few days.”
Krajcsak said: “It is always a pleasure to play guys like James. He
is such a fantastic player. I had a tough match yesterday in the
qualifying final and someone like James makes you work incredibly
hard to try to stay in the game.”