The first game was littered with lets, the referees seemingly unwilling to penalise players for standing on the ball. Some excellent retrieval from Ben saw him take the lead 7-4, but as Ben increasingly got frustrated with the number of lets being called he let Declan creep back to 8-8 and then 2 controversial decisions later Dec had the game 11-8.
In the second game Ben seemed to have decided to not get involved with the referee and instead try and play to his strengths. He managed to get himself in front more of the time, playing much steadier length, sometimes slowing the game down to try and avoid the game getting messy in the middle. This strategy seemed to work as he went 4-1 up, then finally a no-let from the referees against Dec!! Dec clearly frustrated by this put two easy balls into the tin. This game Ben seven match balls – converting on the third – game to Ben 11/5.
The third game was a much better display of free flowing squash – far fewer lets, which was much more pleasing for the crowd. The game had entreating front court play, nicks, and some impressive retrieval from both players. However Ben took an early lead in this game again going 6-2 up, however once again the referees were increasingly needed towards the middle part of the game as it got increasingly scrappy. A crowd source said “I don’t think they have quite got this 3 man referee system sussed”. Thanks to a couple of lucky nicks and a tin from Dec’s racket Ben manages to edge the second game 11-9.
At the start of the fourth game it was clear that Ben wanted to win in 4 – the boy certainly was retrieving well, lunging all over the court. This constant retrieval, making Dec play one more ball ultimately led to a flurry or errors from Dec’s racket, allowing Ben to once again get ahead at the start of the game leading 5-2. This time Ben didn’t allow Dec to get back into the game pushing right through to 10-4 with some gutsy retrieval and some much more controlled length and front court play. A big rally with some intense volleying, Ben plays a drop into the front forehand, Dec just reaches it and tries to push straight – stroke to Ben and game 11-4. Ben wins 3-1 8/11 11/5 11/9 11/4.
Now entering its second year, the 2015 Trac Oil & Gas North of Scotland Open has grown from a Challenger 5 to a Challenger 10 event and will see top athletes from around the world descent on our court 7 for a week of spectacular competition.
The main draw and qualification list is looking strong all the way through. With a host of Scots and Aberdeen’s top local players in the mix it should hopefully make for thrilling matches from the get-go.
Better still, Aberdeen Squash & Racketball Club have just signed a partnership agreement with Trac Oil & Gas which will see our show court refurbished and rebranded, and the North of Scotland Open return in at least Challenger 10 form until April 2018. This news is even more phenomenal given the current downturn in the Oil & Gas Industry upon which Aberdeen relies.
We are privileged to be partnering Trac Oil & Gas in this endeavour, which will boost not only the club but squash and sport in general among the community.
We wish all competitors the best of luck, and hope that their stay at our club and city is as welcoming and enjoyable as we find it ourselves.
 Declan James (Eng) bt  Joel Hinds (Eng) 3-0
What was quite surprising from the off was that despite the size of both players, and the potential for both to get in each other’s way in the early rallies both players were looking to get to and play every ball, however towards the business end of the game the let count increased and increasingly the referees were called on to make decisions. It was nip and tuck until the end of the game where Dec seemed the more comfortable of the two to play winners at the front, eventually winning the game 11/9.
The second games was littered with lets, neither players clearing that well, and the referees not seeming to want to penalise either player standing on the ball too long – perhaps the disadvantage of the 3 man referee system?? Joel seemed to be wanting to only play Dec on the backhand side of the court, and while the purpose may have been to contain, in reality it meant that Dec was finding it easier to work an opportunity. At 7-9 in the second the referees decided to throw in a few well needed ‘no let’s’ unfortunately sill not too consistent. Once again very close Dec closing out 13/11.
In the first few points of the game Joel slipped on the court and seemed to have injured his ankle, He lost the next 5 points in a row, and despite a couple of spirited rallies, it was clear that Joel wasn’t right in the remainder of the third. Multiple tins followed from Joel’s racket, handing Dec the game 11/2. Dec wins 3-0 11/8 13/11 11/2.
 Ben Coleman (Eng) bt  James Earles (Eng) 3-0
In a contrast to the first match of the evening the squash was much more free flowing with the referees a lot less involved in play. Ben’s speed around the court and retrieving ability was forcing James to play the ball closer and closer to the tin, clipping the top on too many occasions. Ben winning the game 11/4.
James played much more solid squash in the 2nd game, stepping up the court and trying to play at a faster pace, and seemed to be able to hold his length and width at this tempo. However Ben’s ability to retrieve the balls again came into play, saving him a number of times. Towards the end of the game some incomprehensible picks ups from Ben once again saw a few errors creep in from James. Ben takes the second 11/8.
In the third game James seemed to have found a formula to cause Ben some problems, attacking the front or floating the ball into the back of the court. This strategy saw him lead 7-4, and he was making Ben work hard in every rally and for every point. However in the latter stages James length and width just started to slip results in a few strokes against, and some lobs lifted out of court. Ben wins 3-0 11/4 11/8 11/9.
 Joel Hinds (Eng) bt Stuart Crawford (Sco) 3-1
It looked like Stuart was suffering a bit from his tough match with Kevin yesterday, as he started really slowly in the first game, not really hitting with purpose, and let Joel get in front. In fact in the first game Stuart boasted multiple return of serves. First game to Joel 11/9. The second game was much better from Stuart with tighter more positive drives stopping Joel volleying as much, however Joel was able to close out the game 11/9. The third saw a role reversal with Crawford stepping up the court and volleying the ball, forcing Joel into the back corners, taking the game 11/9. Perhaps the exertions of yesterday’s brutal match was taking its toll, as a series of uncharacteristic errors from Stuart gifted Joel the game and match. Joel wins 3-1 11/3 11/9 9/11 11/3.
 Declan James (Eng) bt  Dougie Kempsell (Sco) 3-0
The first game saw a series of errors and winners fron Dec’s racket – the ball was either in the tin or was being fired into the nick. It was even up until the last when 2 nick winners saw Dec take the first 11/9. IN the second game Dougie use of height at the wrong times allowed Dec to start cutting down on the ball and produce a series of winners to take the game 11/6. The third game saw Dougie better vary the height of the ball, but a couple of careless errors towards the end of the game saw Dec go from 8-9 down through to 11/9. Dec wins 3-0 11/9 11/6 11/9.
 James Earles (Eng) bt Tim Weber 3-2
Watching Tim play is always entertaining. He plays at fast tempo and enjoys firing the ball into the front. He did this well in the first as Earles tried to contain him. In the second Earles showed more discipline and played more down Tim’s backhand. This strategy paid dividend as he managed to squeeze the game 11/9. The third saw a change from Tim as he started to hold the ball more than the first 2 games, constantly sending James the wrong way. He held 5 games balls and converted on the third attempt. In the fourth Tim sustained a small back injury after a collision, and needed a small injury break. James closed out the game when he returned to court – Tim looking to be in some discomfort. In the fifth Tim was clearly still struggling but despite this managed to reel off a series of winners to go 6-4 ahead. James was content to just extend the rallies, but the ball in the air and make Tim do a lot of running. Inevitably James closed out the game and the match 3-2 9/11 11/9 6/11 11/8 11/8.
 Ben Coleman (Sco) vs Jamie Henderson (Sco)
A very entertaining high tempo match with loads of fast reactive volleying, explosive retrieval, combined with excellent touch and holds at the front from both players. Ben seemed to be the slightly more comfortable at this pace, and just seemed to be able to play the ball slightly tighter at this tempo. Ben won in 3 games 11/7 11/3 11/6.
 Joel Hinds (Eng) bt Will John (Wal) 3-0
Joel’s brightly coloured top clearly seemed to put Will off his stride in the first game quickly taking it 11/3. The second game was much more competitive, with Will starting to use his holds to good effect, makling Joel to do more retrieval. At 6-6 it was noticeable that Joel straightened up his game earning himself 2 game balls, converting on the second – 11/9 Joel. Joel continued this into the third leading all the way taking it 11/6.
Stuart Crawford (Sco) bt  Kevin Moran (Sco) 3-1
There’s only one word to describe this match ‘BRUTAL’. Both players were clearly aware of the importance of this match to decide how many caps they get at the Euro’s in 2 weeks’ time. The first gave lasted over 30 mins. The second saw much of the same, long rallies and high class retrieval. Kevin edged this game because according to a crowd source ‘he hit a few good nicks’. Such was the quality of the retrieving from both players that something had to change, Stuart started to vary his length with good length mixed with short low kills. This variation saw him creep into the lead and close out the game 11-6. By the fourth game it was clear that Kevin was rattled, he started arguing more with the referee over small things. Stuart could taste victory and used all of his experience to frustrate his younger opponent. Only one match ball required. 3-1 to Stuart.
 Dougie Kempsell (Sco) bt Rui Soares (Por) 3-0
The first game was all about the front backhand. Dougie terrorised Rui with ridiculously tight and short drops that Rui just couldn’t get back. The second game saw Dougie slightly lose his way, making uncharacteristic errors by playing unnecessary shots, and at 9-7 down it didn’t look good, however Dougie’s grit and determination saw him tighten up coming through to take the game 12/10. Rui decided to take the 3rd game to Dougie, hitting several nick winners and going 7-4 up, but once again Dougie came back strong eventually closing out the third 11/9.
 Declan James (Eng) bt Pablo Rawden (Eng) 3-0
The first game was all about the quality of Declan’s length – simply standing on the corner of the service box and pushing Pablo into the corners of the court. The second game was much more even – Pablo now firing the ball into the front of the court causing Dec to do much more work. At 9-7 to Pablo there was a ‘late’ refereeing decision – which seemed to annoy Pablo, the crowd called a Dec comeback… Dec leads 2-0. The 3rd game was clinical. Dec not giving and inch and closed out the game 11/4 and the match 3-0.
Tim Weber (Ger) bt  Nathan Lake (Eng) 3-2
This match was a see-saw match from the start with some unbelievable retrieving from both players right from the word go. Weber was constantly firing in winners from nowhere particularly from the forehand side of the court, in places this regular opening up of the court made play erratic and scrappy, and resulted in the referee being worked hard. In the end the match could have gone either way, but ended in Weber’s favour.
 James Earles (Eng) bt Claudio Pinto (Por) 3-0
James’ slightly greater experience was always going to be beneficial with Claudio newly trying to make the step up to senior squash. From the start James looked the more solid of the players, playing steady controlled squash, and forcing errors from his younger opponent. Earles won in 3 straight games comfortably.
Jamie Henderson (Sco) bt  Micah Franklin (Ber) 3-2
Probably the patchiest match of the evening – Jamie playing some sublime squash often backed up by frustrating cheap errors. A series of well controlled rallies played with purpose and precision was followed by several rallies where the ball was thrown into the front handing the court to his opponent. Every time he did this Micah would hold him at the front and make him work. Only Jamie’s speed and retrieving keeping him in the rallies. Inevitably the match went to 2-2. In the 5th Jamie, realising that his fate was more in his hands than his opponents, avoided the cheap squash displayed in the first 4 games and earned himself 5 match balls, converting on the third.
 Ben Coleman (Eng) bt Nick Mulvey (Eng) 3-0
Quite simply a volley-fest. Both players wanting to dominate the middle of the court. Ultimately Ben’s slightly better ability to hit straight when doing this resulted in him being able to command the T position far more of the time. Ben won in 3 comfortable games.
Jamie Henderson (Sco) bt Taminder Gata-Aura (Eng) 3-2
Taminder started the first exactly the same way he finished his first round qualifying match, playing accurate, tight drop shots into the front backhand side of the court. Jamie just managed to sneak the first, but in the second Jamie just couldn’t get the drops back. In the third games Jamie began to read the drop shot, and started covering the front left using his speed advantage to apply pressure and hold the ball at the front. The fourth game saw a flurry of errors from both players, followed by a series of outrageous frame / behind back winners. Into the decider. In the fifth game Jamie clearly looked to expose Taminder’s slightly slower movement, counter dropping at the front. Jamie’s tactics worked eventually winning 11/9 3/11 11/4 9/11 11/7.
Will John (Wal) bt Robert Dadds (Eng) 3-0
The second match of the evening was a fairly one sided affair. Robert made every effort to retrieve the ball and attack straight to limit Will’s options, however Will’s ability to take the ball into the front of the court, would make Robert do too much work. Will won in 3, 11/4 11/4 11/5.
Stuart Crawford (Sco) bt Chris Shinnie (Sco) 3-2
The third match of the evening saw Stuart Crawford take on Chris Shinnie. Their last 2 encounters were one sided with Stuart winning 3-0 and 3-1 and it looked to be going the same way when Stuart went 9-3 up in the first, however Chris battled back to 10-10 and had 2 game balls before Stuart closed the game out 14-12. Chris continued this sweep of points in the second taking the next 2 games 11-4 and 11-8. Stuart managed to dig deep and call on all of his experience to win the next 2 games 11-5 , 11-8, and commented afterwards “it was a struggle”.
Nick Mulvey (Eng) bt Joe Green (Eng) 3-0
In the last match of the evening Nick Mulvey played Joe Green. Joe had a tough qualifying match earlier in the day with Mick having a relatively straightforward win. Inevitably Nick looked to extend the rallies and put some work into the legs of Joe. Nick just managed to pull away from Joe towards the end of every game winning 11/6 11/7 11/6.
Taminder Gata-Aura bt Allan Tasker 3-2
The opening match of the day saw Scotland’s Allan Tasker take on Taminder Gata-Aura (Eng). From the off it always looked to be a tight match Allan taking every opportunity to hit hard and increase the pace of the game, and Taminda looking to drop the ball every time Allan’s pace dropped off. Allan managed to hold off the drop onslaught as long as possible but in the final game Taminder surged ahead through some outrageous drop winners from the back. Taminder through to qualifying finals 11/7 6/11 11/8 11/13 11/7.
Jamie Henderson (Sco) bt Chris Leiper (Sco) 3-0
The second match of the day was a deja vu affair. Chris Leiper (ASRC) taking on rival Scot Jamie Henderson, seems to getting quite a regular occurrence in the last few months. The opening game saw a slightly nervous start from both players, with both playing tentative length and erratic when going short. The second and third games saw much better squash from both players. Chris controlled most of the play, stood in front and volleyed, and forced Jamie to retrieve, but in the end slight impatience got the better of Chris and towards the mid stage of both games made several unforced errors to let Jamie take the lead. Jamie won 11/7 11/7 11/6.
Will John (Wal) bt Keith Simpson (Sco) 3-1
The third match of the day saw ASRC veteran and over 40s Scottish National Champion take on Will John. Keith is the oldest man to compete in the event and needed all of that experience to try and match the younger (and possibly fitter!) opponent. Keith usually erratic and exciting style of play was surprisingly controlled and earned him the 3rd game, however in the end youth won out. Keith was quoted as saying afterwards “I’m too old for this s*&t”. Will wins 11/7 11/3 10/12 11/3.
Robert Dadds (Eng) bt Mike Black (Sco) 3-1
Next up was ASRC’s Mike ‘Scrapper’ Black taking on Robert Dadds (Eng). In the first 2 games Mike tried to increase the pace and tire his opponent out, but Robert was steady and comfortable at this pace and ultimately it was he who was slightly better suited to this higher tempo. The 3rd game saw Mike slow the pace down, which allowed him to open up the court in a more controlled way, and make good use of his racket skills at the front of the court – this earned Mike the 3rd game. Robert came out firing in the fourth and there was nothing Mike could do. Robert winning 11/9 11/2 10/12 11/3.
Chris Shinnie (Sco) bt Richard Hollins (Sco) 3-0
The next match saw and all ASRC affair with club Coach Chris Shinnie taking on up and coming junior Richard Hollins. On paper this should have been an easy match for Chris, however Clearly relishing the challenge of playing in his first PSA event was not keen to give Chris an easy time, leading in both of the first games 9/5 and 5/1. In the end however it was Chris’ physical maturity that saw him through all 3 games eventually winning 11/9 11/8 11/8.
Stuart Crawford (Sco) bt Kush Kumar (ind) 3-0
Stuart Crawford having had an unfortunate start to the day after his car got impounded was lucky to make it the venue at all to play India’s Kush Kumar. In the first it looked like Crawford had not had much time to do a proper warm up (given his late arrival) as he wasn’t moving with his usual fluidity around the court however despite this a nervous looking Kush helped Crawford win the first 11/3. After this Crawford’s experience showed winning the next 11/9 and 11/6 – always staying in front.
Nick Mulvey (Eng) bt Calum Johnston (Sco) 3-0
Into the last 2 matches of the morning and local Calum Johnston was up against Nick Mulvey. In the first two games it was blow for blow up until the end of each game, where Nick’s slightly greater experience just allowed him to squeeze past Calum. By the third Calum eemed to have tired slightly from the pace of the first 2 games, and Nick closed the game out comfortably. Nick wins 3-0 11/6 14/12 11/6.
Joe Green (Eng) bt Graham Melvin (Sco) 3-1
The final match of the morning session was local player and former TRAC team player Graham Melvin, up against Joe Green from England. Graham played very controlled precise squash using his holds at the front with great effect and at times tormenting Joe with his boast from the back. However in the end Joe’s retrieval was a match for this and Joe ended up winning 11/7 11/7 9/11 11/8.
There are 3 graded events running alongside the PSA Challenger Event. There is a £700 prize fund as well as a variety of prizes for the event. Drwas and start times for the event will be available shortly.