Finals day for the TRAC North of Scotland Open Championships and play opened with the final of the Division 1 Tony Squash Graded Competition. The final was between Al Prott who played in one of the local spots in the Main PSA draw earlier in the week against fellow Invernetian Martin Ross who now trains full time in Edinburgh. Both players are known for their shot making ability and played in their usual attacking way, attacking off any loose ball. Al takes the match after 5 tight attacking games of squash.
Up next was the Women’s PSA Closed Satellite Final. The final was between Lisa Aitken of Montrose and Robyn Young of the Peter Nicol Centre. The match was high paced throughout with both players attacking the front and hitting solid length. In the end Lisa’s greater mobility around the front of the court was the deciding factor today and she got through in four tough games.
And we are down to the last match of the TRAC North of Scotland Championships 2017. It’s the number three seed Mahesh Mangaonkar of India against number two seed Vikram Malhotra also of India. It turns out we are making a bit of history today. This is the first PSA all Indian final out with India – thanks to Mahesh for providing the stat and to Squash Info for confirming!
The first game was possibly the first time that we have seen Malhotra tested by a player of Mangaonkar’s class, who looked to take away the fast paced style of Malhotra by playing tight and accurate squash. Malhotra seemed unable to impose his attacking style on the game, and quickly took an early lead closing out the first game 11-3 in 5 minutes.
Malhotra came out of the blocks firing in the second game, pumping the ball into the nick either on a drive or cross court volley. Mangaonkar was there to play the ball but it just didn’t bounce! Mangaonkar now looking to straighten the ball and keep Malhotra deep in the court, then counter at the front off a loose attack; claws his way back to 6-6. Mangaonkar can’t afford to put anything loose into the front – Malhotra’s soft hands and deception are too good. The pace of the game has gone up now! Tin from Mangaonkar and Malhotra takes the game 11-8.
This game starts with the same tempo they ended the first with. Brutal faced paced rallies, both players covering all corners of the court in every rally. Mangaonkar is trying to find his tight game again in this one, just not wanting to give Malhotra anything to work with. Malhotra fails to get back several straight drops – they are just too tight to scrape up off the side wall and goes 10-3 up. Malhotra makes a spirited come back for a few points, but Mangaonkar closes out the game 11-6.
At 2-2 in the fourth game Malhotra gets a “no let” decision – the crowd think its close to a stroke! However this seems to ignite the Indian’s play, and he starts the next rally with some more of the attacking variety that has served him well so far this tournament. These boy are getting so much back! The retrieval is outstanding. But if you leave it loose, Malhotra is going to strike! Takes a 9-7 lead with a cross court nick roller! Malhotra earns a game ball with a volley drop winner… Mangaonkar saves one with a drop winner. Then another after Malhotra calls his own ball down. Malhotra gets a no let, then pumps the return of serve into the nick. Not happy with that call! Stroke to Malhotra and he takes the game 13-11! It’s going to five!
Malhotra starts the game by sending Mangaonkar on a massive taxi – Mangaonkar is nowhere. More flare from Malhotra and Mangaonkar is doing multiple court sprints. A few stoppages creeping in now, both players tiring and struggling to get through and play the ball. Referees having none of it – no let every time! More end to end stuff. Malhotra on fire now! Mangaonkar is doing so much work. Malhotra is just showing too much class here. Magaonkar is just struggling to get the ball back, everything on the last string of his racket. Vikram Malhotra is the new TRAC Oil and Gas North of Scotland Open Champion 2017! Taking the fifth game 11-4. Brilliant quality all match, superb final.
Malhotra won 3-2: 3-11, 11-8, 6-11, 13-11, 11-4 (66mins)
Semi – final day at the TRAC North of Scotland Open Championships here at Aberdeen Squash and Racketball Club, and we were treated to some superb squash from all players. Up first was no 1 seed Richie Fallows against Indian No 3 seed Mahesh Mangaonkar. Top seeds have a habit of being toppled on ASRC’s show court and today was no exception. Fallows was unable to keep his composure at the key moments, and really struggled to avoid clipping the top of the tin. His high error count coupled with some excellent retrieval from Mangaonkar saw him take the first match of the day 3 games to 1.
The second match of the day saw the young Malaysian Eain Yow Ng who had a marathon match with Scot Douglas Kempsell last night take on the talented Indian Vikram Malhotra who plays at a frantic pace! Malhotra tried to use his pacey game to quickly tire Eain Yow. Despite a spirited comeback which saw the Malaysian take the third game, Malhotra ran away with the fourth game; Eain Yow having no answers to the Indian’s fast style of play.
We are informed by Mahesh that this is the first all Indian Men’s PSA final! Both players to seem to be excited to be part of an hostori final - Indian squash must be on the up! Play Starts at 1pm tomorrow where we have the final of the Tony Squash Graded Event, the final of the PSA Women’s Closed Satellite (1.30pm) and then lastly the final of the main PSA Event at 3pm at Aberdeen Squash and Racketball Club. Spectators are welcome, and viewing is free!
Eain Yow looks a bit lost in the first game. The tempo that Malhotra is playing at is just too much for the young Malaysia to deal with, barely getting in front of the Indian. A couple of nicks and flicks from Malhotra and its all over in less than 10 minutes. First game to Malhotra 11-4.
Even when Malhotra is driving the ball he’s hitting nicks! Several cross court lengths just roll. Not much Eain Yow can do when your opponent is slotting ball slike this. The young Malaysia already looks burst and we’ve only been playing for 15 minutes! Eain Yow is starting to slow the pace of the game down to cope with the frantic pace that is being imposed by the Indian. Malhotra getting onto the ball so early. Quote from the crowd “not mush you can do about that” as he hammers another cross court straight pass Eain Yow. Game to Malhotra 11-7.
In the third game the young Malaysian came out with a do or die attitude, going for a series of drop winners from the back of the court – all coming off and taking a 6-2 lead in the game. But anytime the ball came loose Malhotra pounced! Some ridiculous retrieval from the Malyasian, landing the balls so tight, Malhotra can’t scrape it off the wall. Game to Eain Yow 11-6.
In the fourth, Malhotra is all over Eain Yow, takes a 9-0 lead! His attack is ferocious! Takes the game 11-2. A class display in this one. Looking forward to a high quality, all Indian final!
Malhotra won 3-1: 11-4, 11-7, 6-11, 11-2 (58mins)
The start of the first is very cagey. Normally both of these players are known for their consistency, but both players hit the tin on several occasions. Fallows is hitting better length than Mangaonkar in the first game, applying some outright driver winners to take an early lead. Mangaonkar then starts to find is range at the front of the court, taking the ball in short straight wins four points in a row to edge ahead. Now its Fallow’s turn to slot some winners playing 3 drop winners to earn 3 game balls. Mangaonkar saves then all, hurting about the court to stay in the rallies – pace has gone up now! Two more drop winners from Fallows and he takes the game 12-10.
Cheeky extended break at the end of the first game to hoover the court – the players failing to agree on the levels of “slippiness”… Anyway, poor start from Fallows at the start of the first game making several errors to take an early leak lead. Fallows’ short game deserted has deserted him, Mangaonkar goes 9-5 ahead. Fallows really starting to concentrate on his game now, claws his way back into it, but a stray drop into the tins hands Mangaonkar the game 11-8.
Both players beginning to slots some balls now, a good few winners going into the front of the court rather than the peppering of tins that took place in the last game. Mangaonkar seems to be trying to drag the referees into the game, but the referees are having none of it. “No further discussion” seems to be the phrase of the moment. Fallows starting to dominate most of the rallies – Mangaonkar just hanging in through some ragged retrieval. At game ball up Richie has a nasty fall onto his wrist and needs to take a 3 minute injury time out. Comes back on, and makes 3 errors to give the game to Mangaonkar 13-11.
The fourth game was a patchy game, there were several stoppages for court cleaning (big shout out to court cleaner supreme Arthur Jacobsen aka “ASBO”), but despite Fallows controlling a lot of the play, the Englishman just couldn’t keep his final ball out of the tin. Mangaonkar is just more consistent, and closes out the game 11-3.
Mangaonkar won 3-1: 10-12, 11-8, 13-11, 11-3 (70mins)
The semi-finalists were decided today at the TRAC North of Scotland Open Championships with some high class squash on show. The first match of the day had No 1 seed Richie Fallows against Malaysian qualifier Addeen Idrakie. The ridiculous speed and retrieval of Idrakie caused problems for Fallows, but in the end Fallows solid base game was enough to overcome the Malaysian.
Mangaonkar started faster today, and play only got quicker the more the match went on. The tempo was high throughout and the ball was being played into every corner of the court. It was also great to see some real sportsmanship from both players – calling their own double bounces and tins throughout the match.
The third match of the evening saw the last remaining Scot Douglas Kempsell against the taltent young Malaysian Eain Yow Ng. An absolutely brutal encounter. 92 minutes of end to end stuff, so much so that Dougie played half of the last game with cramp! Dougie went 2-0 up, and was playing some of his best squash, but the steady Eain dug deep and eventually ground out the match in 5 tough games.
Finally on ASRC’s show court was No 2 seed Vikram Malhotra from India, playing Kiwi Evan Williams, ikram plays at a ridiculous pace and tonight was no exception. Williams retrieved well, but didn’t really seem to have an answer for the relentless onslaught. Vikram will be tough to beat if he keeps playing like this.
Play continues at 3pm tomorrow at Aberdeen Squash and Racketball Club for the Men’s Semi Finals, the second round of the PSA Women’s Closed Satellite and the Tony Squash Graded Event!
Malhotra started where he left off last night. High tempo, spanking the ball with low kills, ridiculous volleying. Williams really struggling with the pace of this game. 11-5 to Malhotra.
The second was no different; it didn’t matter what Williams tried, Malhotra had all the answers, ridiculous pace, and some deft touches at the front sending Williams the wrong way. Game to Malhotra 11-5.
Williams does a bit better in this one in containing the onslaught from Malhotra, but basically it was all over in minutes. Game to Malhotra 11-8. He’s going to be tough to beat this week playing like that.
Malhotra won 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 (27 mins)
Up next was the last remaining Scot in the draw Douglas Kempsell against youngster Eain Yow Ng from Malaysia. Dougie played well yesterday to upset the seedings and knock out Chris Binnie (finalist from last year), let’s see if he can continue his form today. Dougie started well playing some tight straight attacks at the front that the yong Malaysian couldn’t scrape up onto the front wall, taking an early lead, going 6-2 ahead. In the middle of the game Dougie’s holds are working well, but a few loose cross courts are giving the Malaysian a few cheap points. His early lead is enough to earn him 5 game balls. Straight volley winner, and Dougie takes the game 11-5.
Massive tempo increase from Dougie in the second game, really looking to stretch Eain deep into the backhand then move him around, looking to expose the slightly weaker backhand side of the Malaysian. The almost robot like arm of Eain is highly accurate at a somber pace, but his lack of wrist strength and dexterity really shows under time pressure. The Malyasian looked to switch play to the forehand several times and lobbed the ball straight out of court. Dougie goes 8-5 up but then seems to loose focus and Eain wins a string of points to take the game to 9-9. Two standard blood injury stoppages for Dougie, and when he comes back on he seems to have lost focus. Game to Eain 12-10.
Dougie is back playing more like he did in the first half of the second. Good tempo, and looking to exploit the weaker parts of the Malaysian’s game, and once again goes a few points ahead. Will he be able to maintain focus in this game? Much better than last game. Earns 3 game balls. Converts on second attempt!
Dougie has the Malaysian on a string at the start of the second game, moving him all over the court and in places looks like he is deliberately extending the rallies to put some work into his opponent. Eain is hanging in the rallies though. Some monumental rallies now, end to end stuff; diving; court cleaning. It’s all happening. A few errors from Dougie and a few winners from Eain are the difference in this one – its going five… game to Eain 11-6.
Dougie starts well in the last game, but then gets cramp at about 3-3. Eain sense blood and starts hitting to the front with every shot. Dougie is hobbling with every movement, but still hanging in the game looking to just hit winners. More dives, more court cleaning, however the inevitable follows. Eain takes the fifth game 11-5.
Eain won 3-2: 5-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5 (92 mins)
First game was a display of player honesty. Each player was calling double bounces / scoops and there was nice determination to just play every ball. Mangaonkar opened an early lead thanks to some solid driving. Herrewegen got back into the game thanks to some similarly well placed length. Mangaonkar seems to get very frustrated that the referee’s refusal to call balls down and not up etc, losing several points in a row after a discussion with the referees. However, finally gets himself back into the game and a few holds towards the end of the first and he closes out the game 11-6.
Tempo goes up from Mangaonkar in the second game, volleying loads and taking the ball as early as possible if he didn’t volley. Herrewegen looks ragged and is struggling to play at this tempo. Mangaonkar on bit of a mission here. End to end stuff, Herrewegen looks burst. Game to Mangaonkar 11-3.
The social media team overheard Herrewegen’s self motivating chat between the second and third games, and whilst we can’t publish what he actually said in the match report it seems he has taken his own advice, taking advantage of some loose play by Mangaonkar and goes 5-0 up. Some much greater variation from Herrewegen is making Mangaonkar do a lot of work. Mangaonkar gives this one up. Game to Herrewegen 11-4.
So into the fourth, and we think we’ve invented a new phrase… Mangaonkar sends Herrewegen on not just a “taxi”, but a “pre-paid Uber”. Herrewegen went so far the wrong way he almost ended up on the court next door. Mangaonkar keeps looking to play faster and faster. Herrewegen is basically now totally burst. “Play should be continuous” notes the referee. At match ball up Mangaonkar plays a winning drop, the referees think it’s up, the crowd think it’s up, but fair play, Mangaonkar calls it down. Anyway damage is done, Herrewegen burst. Magaonkar through to the next round 11-6.
Mangaonkar won 3-1: 11-6, 11-3, 4-11,11-6 (58 mins)
There’s always a bit of nervous tension in the air for the first match of the evening from the both crowd and players, and as such there was a typically nervy start. Fallows length and width was very good at the start of the match, forcing his (much smaller) opponent deep into the back corners of the court. This allowed Fallows to get on the ball early, but made a few errors that kept Idrakie in the first game, the Malaysian’s retrieval once again was on point to keep the ball alive. However at the mid-stages of the game Fallows showed some class by hitting a series of winners to gain three match balls, however the agile Malaysian would not go away! His never say die attitude not only saved all three match balls but helped him win 5 rallies outright to take the game 12-10!
The second game started much the same way the first game had ended, it was difficult to know what Fallows needed to do to win a rally. Idrakie was getting every single shot back that Fallows could throw at him; some absolutely unreal gets! Fallows manages to hit some dead length towards the mid stages of the game to take the lead and closes out the game at the second times of asking 11-7.
When Fallows’ length is working he is causing all sorts of trouble for Idrakie, but every so often a careless loose shot down the middle and the occasional tin is keeping Idrakie in this one! Fallows starts to hot straighter in this game, and this more patient style allows him to get up on the volley and keep his opponent pinned in the back. Some tight work down the backhand forces several errors from Idrakie and Fallows closes out the game 11-6.
More tight stuff from Fallows in the fourth. Starting to dominate his opponent now. There is an occasional tin from Fallows that keeps Idrakie in touch score wise. Then at 7-4 up a cheap stroke to Idrakie, seems to unsettle Fallows and he hits several tins in a row to let the Malaysian back in the game. A brief stoppage to clean the court seems to reset Fallows and he goes back to dominating again. And a lovely hold drop winner to take the game 11-7.
Fallows won 3-1: 10-12, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (55 mins)
The first round of the main draw of the TRAC North of Scotland Championships got under way today, with some superb squash on display for the spectators to see. Number one seed Richie Fallows managed to srape through against the ultra-attacking Mike Harris, but not before he had a scare. Harris caught him off guard in the first two games and took an early lead before eventually Fallows’ class showed and he won in 5 games.
Although the Number 1 seed progressed to the next round, there were a number of upsets in the draw. The small but very quick Malaysian qualifier Addeen Idrakie used his phenomenal speed to good effect against Lance Beddoes (Nzl) today. Although Beddoes was in control for much of the match, the dogged retrieval of the Malaysia earned him a place in the second quarter finals.
Scotland’s Douglas Kempsell also upset the seedings today, knocking out fourth seed Chris Binnie of Jamaica. Kempsell was showing some good form ahead of this year’s European Team Championships which is good for the Scottish Team! Kempsell managed to get through in 4 games in what became a battle of mental attrition as he tried to concentrate through a match littered with stoppages and interaction with the referees.
Aberdeen home favourite Chris Leiper was also in action tonight. Chris has improved a lot in the last 18 months and it showed tonight. He was moving his higher ranked opponent all over the court and had many opportunities to win rallies. Perhaps a bit of inexperienced showed as his error count was high for this level, but he can take solace from a very competitive game against the #82 in the world.
All other seeded players made the quarter finals. Play continues at 5pm tomorrow at Aberdeen Squash and Racketball Club for the Men’s Quarter Finals, the first round of the PSA Women’s Closed Satellite and the Tony Squash Graded Event!
Savage start to the first game from Malhotra, just brutalising any ball that sat up above the tin – and even most of the ones that didn’t! It took a good few points for Eysele to adjust to the pace of the game, and went 4 ponts behind, before some dogged retrieval and some impatience from Malhotra saw him claw his way back into the game and almost draw level. Business end of the game, Malhotra slots a couple of nicks to take the game 11-6.
Second game is another high paced affair – Malhotra just not wanting to let the ball touch the back wall at all! For the first time ever Eysele looks burst! Malhotra takes the second 11-6 in a similar fashion to the second.
Tell you what – Malhotra can play a bit; showed the crowd some really classy stuff in this game – boasts, drop, flicks – constantly sending Eysele the wrong way, and his court coverage is excellent. Wham, bam thank you mam (Tristan) – all over in 32 minutes. Game to Malhotra 11-8.
Malhotra won 3-0 11-6 11-6 11-8 (32 mins)
Chris started with a solid game plan of trying to attack the Kiwi’s backhand, and forced a series of weak cross courts, however he failed to capitalise on these as several volley drop attempts clipped the top of the tin. Williams would have had no answer to these shots – right plan, slightly wayward execution. Williams takes the game 11-5.
The second was better from Chris, taking the ball in short without the errors this time taking an early 6-2 lead. However a few tins and some slightly better rallies from Williams saw him pull it back within a point or two. Chris was looking frustrated at not maintaining his early lead, and another couple of errors saw Williams take the game 11-8. The games are there to be won, he just needs to keep the ball out the tin!
Into the third game and Chris is playing better – far fewer tins, and is stretching Williams a lot, forcing him to lift the ball. Chris has started to use his holds at the front and is sending Williams the wrong way, earns himself 4 game balls. And converts on the second attempt – takes the game 11-7!
Tight as a tiger in the fourth! Chris is creating so many opportunities, but once again the errors keep creeping in! Its end to end stuff and the crowd are loving it! Unfortunately not to be for Chris today. Williams does enough in the fourth to take the game 11-6.
Williams won 3-1 11-5 11-8 7-11 11-6 (43 mins)
And we’re back to free-flowing squash… 😊 Yow Ng’s speed was the defining factor in this game. Both players were cautiously working the ball up and down the walls looking for an opportunity to take the ball in short, however neither of them really attacked with much conviction so Yow Ng’s slightly greater speed and retrieval saw him take the game 11-6.
It was pretty close in the second game, both players attacking with short kills and counter drops at the front, and both resetting the rallies with carefully placed lobs. Being doubles partners probably wasn’t a recipe for anything other than a match where both players were able to read their opponent’s play – it was like watching routines. Although Kamal had 2 game balls, Yow Ng won 4 straight points to close out the game 12-10.
In the third game Yow Ng definitely looked to increase the tempo and the level of attack, volleying the ball much more than the previous 2 games, using his speed to cover anything slightly loose. Takes the third 11-5. Fun fact of the day: due to a minor hotel admin issue apparently these two are sharing a bed tonight. Tough gig being a squash pro.
Eain Yow Ng won 3-0 11-6 12-10 11-5 (35 mins)
Dougie started the first game positively looking to slightly overhit his length to guarantee that the ball ran through to the back of the court and move Binnie into the back corners of the court, coupled with some lovely fades across the middle to expose the slightly more rangy movements of Binnie, then 2 reckless tins from Binnie handed Dougie 4 games balls, converting on the first attempt. Game to Dougie 11-6.
So… into the second game and the inevitable occurs. I’ll refer you to some of last year’s match reporting... To quote the referee, “Mr Binnie you must clear your shots”…. Yes let; Yes let; Yes let…. Etc. Luckily for the crowd Dougie managed to keep his length and width good enough take the second 11-9.
The game starts with more free-flowing squash, however once we reach the business end of the game, there is comedy gold for the crowd, unfortunately nothing to do with the squash. Dougie slips / dives on the court and slightly grazes his elbow (small blood injury) – nothing major; small break while we patch up the wound right? Wrong…. Binnie demands that we phone PSA to see whether he can be awarded the match… #naechance Binnie closes out the game 11-7.
What’s that classic phrase? “Don’t play a shot you can’t clear”… this one will be a good training video for future referees…. In the end some mental composure from Dougie got him over the line 11-7. Tough match.
Kempsell won 3-1 11-6 11-9 7-11 11-7 (80 mins)
To be honest the first game was a bit of a tin fest. First off Ahmed made a stack of unforced errors, and then Mangaonkar decided it was his turn to have a go. In the end the slightly steadier style of Mangaoknar saw him through 14-12.
There was a lot more variation from both players in the second game. They hit the ball out as well as down. There were moments where there some good rallies with both players pushing the ball into all four corners of the court, however they were few and far between. Ahmed won this one 14-12.
Finally Mangaonkar has decided to play a bit. No errors. Nice holds. Accurate shots. Ahmed has no answer. Game to Mangaonkar 11-2. Let’s put the first two games down to jetlag…
And Mangaonkar tidies the fourth up with no real drama, taking it 11-4.
Mangaonkar won 3-1 14-12 12-14 11-2 11-4 (50 mins)
The first game saw some clinical and accurate length from Herrewegen force either a boast or an error from the racket of Bonmalais. The Frenchman’s length by contrast was over hit and allowed Herrewegen time to set up for shot after shot. Towards the end of the game a few attacks from the Frenchman came off, but the early lead by Herrewegen was too great, and he took the game 11-7.
Into the second game and if Bonmalais is going to make an impression on this match he is going to have to use the front of the court to better effect – i.e. his drives are going to have to put Herrewegen under at least some sort of pressure. And he did just that. Hitting lower and down on the ball, then stepping up and volleying everytime Herrewegen lifted. Bonmalais is also one mobile player. His reach and retrieval is outstanding – always able to keep himself in rallies. Never looks ragged. That said Herrewegen dug in well and managed to just squeeze the game 12-10 thanks to a couple of tins from Bonmalais.
In the third game Herrewegen used his experience to try and force errors from Bonmalais, using height well and resetting the rally when the ball was put into the front. Bonmalais got impatient and took the ball in short a bit too frequently, but in doing so put a lot of work into the legs of Herrewegen. Unfortunately a bit of inexperience on Bonmalais’ part showed today as a few careless errors at 7-7 gifted the game to Herrewegen 11-7. Herrewegen through in 3, Bonmalais out but definitely one to watch in the future!
Herrewegen won 3-0 11-7 12-10 11-7 (51 mins)
Idrakie started the first game slowly, perhaps tired from the frantic encounter with Moran last night. Beddoes moved the Malaysian around the court with relative ease, hitting with greater accuracy, dominating the mid court. Idrakie got steadily better as the game went on, but Beddoes’ early lead was unassailable and he closed the game out 11-8.
The second game was much physically stronger for Idrakie, moving more like he had in his previous two matches, and getting a huge number of balls back and winning more rallies in the early stages. Although Idrakie earned himself three game balls, Beddoes was still the one dominating the mid court, and sure enough all match balls were saved to take the game to a tie break, but a couple of loose shots from the Kiwi’s racket and Idrakie took the game 12-10.
The third saw Idrakie take and early lead as several shots from Beddoes came off the frame and landed in no man’s land. However some nice touches and holds at the front brought Beddoes make into contention and he levelled at 7-7. Some end to end rallies followed, 2 match balls for Idrakie and he converts on the second attempt taking the game 12-10.
In the fourth Beddoes had Idrakie all over the court doing a massive amount of retrieval, but kept putting easy balls in the tin to hand the Malaysian cheap points. Some fairly harsh no lets towards the end of the game and Idrakie came through to take it 11-7.
Idrakie won 3-1 8-11 12-10 12-10 11-7 (51 mins)
A pretty crisp start for the first match of the day. Right from the word go Fallows’ length and width was impeccable, however this was matched blow for blow by Harris’ desire to attacked the front – some more ridiculous winners from the racket of Harris followed and he takes the first game 11-8.
Into the second and 3 cross court nick rollers from the racket of Harris sees him go 3-0 ahead! Fallows is trying to straighten the play, but the quality of his length is just not good enough to cease the onslaught of winners from Harris. If its bounces in front the short line, Harris is going to punish you. And punish he did, taking the second game 11-6.
In the third game right from the start Fallows’ length was much deeper in the court – much better from the Englishman forcing Harris deep into the corners, and taking a 4-0 lead. This improved length allowed Fallows to get in front deliver his own style of attack, playing some superb straight drops on the backhand side. Game to Fallows 11-3.
The beginning of the fourth was tit for tat; a combination of solid attack from Harris, and some variable length quality from Fallows. At 5-5 a possibly cheap “yes let” seemed to distract Fallows as he lost the next 3 points, and then a top spin drop winner seemed to ignite Fallows back into life – huge “c’mon” from Fallows. The referees were now being needed a lot – not for interference though! Simply to work out of the ball was up or down, such was the quality of retrieval from both players. Fallows takes a very tight fourth game 11-9.
A lot of tins from Harris at the start of the fifth. The pace of the first four games maybe beginning to show, as Fallows has him doing court sprints for the first few rallies. More tins from Harris, easy points for Fallows. Game to Fallows 11-2.
Fallows won 3-2 8-11 6-11 11-3 11-9 11-2 (53 mins)
Joke rallies from the word go. Kev looking to step up and volley everything, moving Idrakie back to front, and side to side, holding and flicking his smaller opponent all over the court. Idrakie doesn’t have many answers at the moment. Hugely entertaining to watch. A sublime backhand volley drop winner and Kev takes the game 11-8.
In this game it looked like Kev was trying to move the ball from side to side, twisting and turning his opponent, however perhaps he was opening the court up a little bit too much giving Idrakie a chance to hit into space and put him under some pressure. Idrakie taking an early lead. Kev fought his way back into the game and we ended up in a tie break, but opening up the court this much was always going to be a risky strategy and the straighter Malaysian took the game 13-11.
It looked like Idrakie was tiring. There was a lot more interference in the front corners, the Malaysian not quite clearing and providing a line to Kev as he looked to get on the ball early. In the early stages the Malaysian did just enough to not be penalised with a stroke, however in the latter stages the rub of the green went to Kev and he was awarded several strokes. Some more reckless cross court play from Kev gave Idrakie game balls and he converted on the first attempt taking the third 11/8.
Patchy game from Kev on the fourth. There were a lot of loose cross courts and high drives that sat up of the back wall. He played some good stuff at the front but ultimately it was the Malaysian who was more consistent today coming through in the fourth 11/8.
Idrakie won 3-1 8/11 13/11 11/8 11/8 (58 mins)
The first game was fairly nip and tuck. Bonmalais’ quick fast paced attacking style contrasted by Uherka’s more conservative style. Some excellent retrieval into all four corners from both players, but in the end Bomalais’ ability to use the front half of the court was the deciding factor in this game, hitting a series of winners to take the game 11-8.
The second game saw a bit of a role reversal, with Uherka hitting a barrage of forehand kill winners to take an early lead. Bonmalais tried to respond with his own attack, but made several unforced errors in search of a winner. 11-5 to Uherka.
Bonmalais chose some bizarre tactics in the third. Despite Uherka clearly being stronger on his forehand side, Bonmalais consistently switched the play to that side of the court, and went 4-0 behind. Bonmalais then seemed to realise that he maybe needs to use the other side of the court a bit more, and started to slowly claw his way back into the game, using good variation to get in front and take away Uherka’s strengths. This frustrated Uherka and he made several uncharacteristic errors. Bonmalais recovers from 4-0 down to take the game 11/6.
Bonmalais didn’t really look back in the fourth, playing at a tempo that Uherka just couldn’t cope with; stepping up the court and taking the ball super early . Impressive stuff from the 18 year old French lad. Well deserved spot in the main draw. Takes the game 11/4.
Bonmalais won 3-1 11/8 5/11 11/6 11/4 (45 mins)
There was a cagey start from both players in the first game, both looking to use the front of the court in the early stages, however neither player was really finding their usual length, and there were some messy exchanges around the middle. 8-8 and some much more patient and testing rallies from both players. Eysele retrieval is just slightly better than Byrne’s in this game and manages to covert his fourth match ball to take the game 14-12 in 20 minutes.
Eysele starts the second game with some attacking flare that we haven’t seen from him so far. Holding and flicking and moving the ball around at the front and had Byrne on the ropes taking an early 4-1 lead. Eysele continued with this attacking style throughout the second, and although Byrne tried to contain him, the early lead earned Eysele 4 game balls, converting on the third attempt, taking the game 11-7.
The third didn’t start with the same attacking squash from Eysele, and Byrne took advantage using all corners of the court and forcing Eysele to lift, hunting the volley. However Eysele sensed that he needed to attack more and midway through the game reverted to the same plan that had served him well in the first two games. Then 2 tins from Byrne gifted Eysele a match balls; saved by Byrne – huge “c’mon” from the Irishman. Some end to end stuff, but Eysele converts on his third match ball. Taking the game 13-11.
Eysele won 3-0 14/12 11/7 13/11 (55 mins)
The first game start with Harris playing attacking length mixed with some short kills, looking to force Khan to lift the ball and then looking to attack short or hold when he got the chance. Khan’s retrieval was much more consistent than yesterday’s match and he kept in touch with Harris throughout the game, always staying within one point. At 9-9, a super tight drive and a drop winner was the difference. Game to Harris 11-9.
Harris looked to increase his attack to drive ratio in the second game, more kills, more flicks, more boasts, more drops…. You get the idea. All over pretty quickly. Quick fire squash!
Harris’ attack was slightly off at the start of the third; whereas in the first 2 games, he was slotting the short balls, in this game he was hitting the ball with slightly less accurate, and it was giving Khan scope to counter off these loose shots at the front and take an early lead. At 5-2 down Harris’ attack started to come off again, and he reeled off a series of winners to get himself 9-6 ahead. Predictably a cross court nick earned Harris a match ball. And somewhat predictably several nick attempts landed in the tin to hand Khan the game 12-10….
The fourth was scrappier than the first 3 games, as both players started to tire. The attacks were becoming less accurate and the length and width was becoming loose and the referees were required to sort out the traffic problems. At 9-9 two outrageous rallies: frame boast winner from Khan, ridiculous straight hold from Harris, Harris gets a match ball, tin from Khan and its all over. Game 12-10 to Harris.
Harris won 3-1 11/9 11/7 10/12 12/10 (61 mins)
Day 1 from qualifying of the TRAC North of Scotland Championships treated the local crowd to some excellent squash. There were four Scottish players in qualifying. First match of the day saw home favourite Mike Black take on the No 1 qualifier from Pakistan Asim Khan. Mike was unlucky not to get a game, but eventually the movement of Khan saw him through.
Al Prott was the next Scot in action. The talent youngster from Inverness is definitely one of the most promising rising stars of squash in Scotland and it was easy to see why. For such a young head, Al looked at home on the court throughout the match despite playing the much more experience Brian Byrne from Ireland. Eventually Byrne’s experience won the day, but not before Prott gave him a bit of a scare.
Third Scot in action was Stuart George from Glasgow. Stuart was playing the very solid Ondrej Uherka from the Czech Republic. Stuart struggled to get into the match, and unfortunately lost out in 3 straight games to his opponent.
Last Scot in action was Kevin Moran who has recently returned to the PSA circuit. Kevin was up against rising French star Victor Crouin. In a highly entertaining fast paced encounter Kevin volleyed well and kept the tempo high, stretching the movement of the young Frenchman. Finally the Scots get a win, Kevin winning in 4 games.
The final rounds of qualifying start at 5pm tomorrow (Wednesday), with the first main round matches starting at 12pm on Thursday.
Idrakie started the game slowly gradually finding his length and width, and although was pretty steady gave Mulvey an early lead, however once Idrakie had found his range, he made Mulvey do a lot of retrieval, and eventually managed to finish off every rally with a well-constructed length followed by a simple drop or boast to end the rally. Eventually taking the game 11/5.
The second game was quite erratic from Mulvey. He was either hitting sublime winners, and sending Idrakie the wrong way, or he was burying the ball into the top of the tin. This pattern continued all through the game, and the outcome was always going to be decided by Mulvey’s tin to winner ratio… Predictably the steadier Malaysian managed to squeeze the game 14-12.
Start of the third and another cluster of errors from the racket of Mulvey, going 5-1 down. Then Idrakie made several errors – maybe trying to finish off the points too quickly rather than build the rally. Mulvey back in it 6-6. Then more errors from Idrakie, and Mulvey edges ahead and takes the game 11-8.
The fourth was nip and tuck with both players trading good length and tight drops, but towards the mid stages of the game some nice holds by Idrakie and again a few errors from Mulvey gave Idrakie a small lead – always 1 point ahead. Eventually closing out the game 11-9
Idrakie won 3-1 11/5 14/12 8/11 11/9 (51 mins)
By contrast to the previous match this one started at a frantic pace with both players looking to get up the court and volley. Kev always seems to look comfortable playing at a higher tempo and sure enough forced a couple of errors from the racket of Crouin and give himself the “2 point cushion” by the mid stages of the first game. A “tiiight” forehand drop / stroke combo earns Kev 2 game balls, but doesn’t manage to convert. Another tight drive earns another game ball. Volley drop winner and takes the first 12-10.
A scrappy start to the second game with a lot of nothing balls chipped into the front with Kev seemingly distracted by a couple of calls by the referees. However at 6-5 down Kev put together a series of well-constructed rallies to take himself to 8-6 up, it was nip and tuck between the two of them with some errors creeping in once again, but Ken came out on top earning himself 2 game balls, converting on the second attempt, 11/9.
Kev looked to have tired his opponent, with Crouin looking slightly off the pace at the start of the third game, however a few delicately placed drops from the back saw Crouin draw level at 5-5. However the pace that Kev was playing at was starting to be the undoing of the young Frenchman; Crouin becoming more and more stretched with every rally but thanks to a couple of errors fromKev, manages to get himself back in the game and finds himself 10-9 up! Takes the game 11-9!
Diaster, Kev has a shocker of a start to the fourth game going 4-0 down! Then finally manages to find away to get the ball past the racket of Crouin, and claws his way back into the game slowly but surely. A 9-7 up Kev hits a lucky nick and the ball bounces away from the racket of Crouin – match ball! Match to Kev!
Moran won 3-1 12/10 11/9 11/9 11/7 (50 mins)
Uherka started the first game in his trade mark grinding style. No errors, solid length and width, and a very occasional drop. Stuart seemed to struggle with this style of play going 6 points behind very quickly. At 8-2 down Stuart seemed to get into the game more and the rallies extended , however damage done. Uherka takes first game 11/2.
Once again Stuart struggled in the second, (partly due to having to borrow someone else’s racket as his only one had broken), however he was in more of the rallies and was slowly starting to find his range at the back and the front of the court, but still found himself 8-3 down quite quickly, and Uherka closed out the game 11/4.
Much better start from Stuart in this game, hitting more aggressive length and getting the ball deep into the back of the court, however some cheap tins and strokes allowed Uherka to creep ahead to 6-3. Stuart manages to get it back to 5-6, but then another couple of cheap errors, and Uherka’s gets 4 match balls. Converts on the second attempt.
Uherka won 3-0 11/2 11/4 11/7 (30 mins)
Into the evening session, and the first match saw a much more attacking style of squash from both players, both looking to take the ball into the front given half a chance. Conroy’s length and width was slightly more attacking in the early part of the game and in the end resulted some opportunities to use his holds and he took an early lead. Although Bonmalais retrieved well he just couldn’t match Conroy’s accuracy and gave away several strokes in the latter stages. Conroy took the game 11/6.
The start of the second saw a several with Bonmalais looking to hit down on the ball and make his length die and he took an early lead. Conroy responded with a flurry of short kills to try and force Bonmalais to lift the ball, however if it wasn’t perfect Bonmalais looked to quickly counter. A few mistakes towards the end of the game saw Conroy just edge it 11/8.
Again at the start of the third it was Bonmalais that started better, hitting more solid length and width and getting more opportunities to take the ball in short, forcing Conroy into all four corners of the court. However a few wild errors at the mid stages of the game saw Conroy draw level. At 7-7 Bonmalais cut the errors out from his game and following some dogged retrieval pulled ahead and converted the game on his first match ball taking the game 11/7.
Another positive start from Bonmalais hitting a series of winners to take a 4-0 lead, and wheras in the previous games, Conroy’s use of height got him “out of trouble”, his trusty lob let him down in this game; the ball touching just above the out line several times. Bonmalais ran away with the fourth 11/2.
Tense stuff in the fifth. Both players trying to play it tighter, wider, shorter, longer. Some excellent retrieval from both players, and some great variation. The game went to and froe as each player managed to get a few short runs of points. Massive rallies from 8-8, Bonmalais earns a match ball, Conroy saves it! 10-10! Straight drive taxi and another match ball for Bonmalais, takes the game 12-10 and match! Massive comeback!
Bonmalais won 3-2 6/11 8/11 11/7 11/2 12/10 (75 mins)
This match started in a much more traditional fashion. Up and down the walls play with only the occasional ball sent to the front, to then inevitably to be sent straight to the back again. As the game went on the T position of each player edged further and further back, yet still neither player was willing to try and take the ball in short! Eysele just had slightly more consistency in his back court game and took the first 11/9.
Game 2… Will someone please use the front half of the court?! Yes… Both players have completely switched their games. Downer seemingly suffering with some sort of injury looked to be trying to be finish the rallies off early, while Eysele looked looked to expose the slightly ropey movement of Downer. Then just when it looked like both players had realised there is a front half to the court….. back to length game again…. Then 3 drops from Eysele and he takes the second 11/9.
The third game was more attacking from both players and this seemed to suit Downer as he led for most of the game, however at 7-7 3 errors from Downer handed match balls to Eysele, and he converted on the third attempt.
Eysele won 3-0 11/9 11/9 11/9 (43 mins)
Inverness’ talented youngster Al Prott takes on the experienced Brian Byrne from Ireland. The first started quickly with Al looking to attack the front. A few mistakes from the youngsters racket early on saw Byrne take and early lead, however Al was in every rally and managed to get back to within 1 point of Byrne. Some testing rallies followed and a bit of impatience from Al resulted in a couple of errors that was the difference between both players in this game. First to Byrne 11/8.
The second game was much more composed from the Inverness youngster. Some excellent length, retrieval and front court play, and far fewer errors from his racket. Although Al was hitting some outrageous winners Byrne managed to pick up a few too many balls for Al. Taking the second game 11/7.
Into the third and Al looked to be tiring, however despite this his attacking style was still hugely pleasing to watch, making Byrne do a huge amount of work to stay in some of the rallies. At 10-5 up it looked to be all over, but a spirited come saw him get back to 10-9 before a forehand drop shot tin handed the match to Byrne.
Byrne won 3-0 11/8 11/7 11/9 (34 mins)
In contrast to the last match the opening exchanges of this match were slightly longer with both players looking to play to the back before taking the ball short. There were passages of tight play paired with some very loose exchanges down the middle which resulted in some cheap strokes. Harris managed to keep the ball consistently tighter and took the first game 11/7.
Into the second and Harris started well using holds to send Farhan the wrong way, however Farhan was starting to make much more of his length pushing the ball deep into the back corners, and counter dropping at the front to extend the court, forcing Harris to do a lot of retrieval. However, towards the end of the game a couple of lucky shots from the racket of Harris saw him take the game 11/8.
In the third the tempo increase from both players, who were hitting the ball much more crisply, however a slight lack of control at this tempo meant that there was a lot more traffic in the middle of the court, and a lot more decisions required from the referees. However, in the end Harris managed to keep his length and width good enought to take the match 3-0.
Harris won 3-0 11/7 11/8 11/8 (31 mins)
Following the birth of his first child Mike “scrapper” Black has recently taken a bit of a sabbatical for the last 6 months and this showed in the first game, looking a bit off the pace in the first game, with some sluggish movement, and the sprightlier Khan took advantage using the front of the court to good effect. Scrapper started the second more positively looking to hit more solid length and use his deft touch at the front. This paid dividend as the score was level pegging through much of the second, but unfortunately Khan pulled away at the end of the game to take it 11/6. A “Coach Leiper” intervention at the end of the second called for “the ball to be put away from his opponent…”; maybe an obvious strategy, but saw scrapper take an early lead. However the 6 month sabbatical proved costly, and ultimately a slightly fitter Khan capitalised and won in 3.
Khan won 3-0 11/4 11/6 13/11 (26 mins)
Qualifying Draw Now Released!
Kicking off the tournament is Pakistan’s Asim Khan, ranked 121 in the world vs ASRC’s home hero Mike ‘Scrapper’ Black. Mike will enjoy full home support and will be hoping to upset the seedings.
Called up only the day before the tournament begins, WR 236 Muhammad Farhan will face Newland’s Scottish National League regular Mike Harris. Known for his hard hitting length and width, WR169 Mike will see this as an opportunity to grab a points boost to his average.
Irish WR 166 Brian Byrne plays the up and coming Scottish U17 no1 Alasdair Prott. No doubt the crowd will be excited to cheer on Al against an experienced professional.
Blade Squash’s hard hitting WR178 plays the brutal South African WR 148 Tristan Eyesele in one of the closest matches on paper. Definitely one to keep an eye out for!
The second Irishman in the draw, WR168 Sean Conroy vs the young French talent Sebastien Bonmalais. WR194 Sebastien actually won their last meeting, so this could be a very exciting match to watch.
Giffnock’s resident squash pro Stuart George plays Czech WR163 Ondrej Uherka. Ondrej is a new face to the Aberdeen SRC crowd and will no doubt draw interest as he faces a strong challenge from the in-form Stuart.
Scottish no4 Kevin Moran faces off against the pint-sized French bullet Victor Crouin, WR171 in another hugely exciting match on paper.
Young Englishman Nick Mulvey WR201 will play Malaysian WR125 Addeen Idrakie. Nick is playing in form beyond his ranking and will be hoping to claim a scalp over the experienced Malaysian
The TRAC Oil & Gas North of Scotland Open returns for the 4th year running. Looking back, it’s gratifying to see how far the tournament has come in terms of strength in depth of entry, in reputation on the PSA World Tour and in terms of engagement with the community. Boasting a magical one million confirmed media outreach in 2016, the stage is set for us to go bigger and better still.
The TRAC Oil & Gas North of Scotland Open PSA M10 will run from Tuesday 28th March to Sunday 2nd April 2017 with two rounds of qualifying before the main draw commences as published further below.
Danny Hawthorn, MD of TRAC Oil & Gas during the 2016 presentations.
This year in 2017, the main draw field is the most international we have yet had. Up and coming Englishman Richie Fallows heads the main draw with India, Jamaica, Spain, New Zealand, Belgium, Malaysia and Pakistan all represented.
Richie Fallows, WR62, has been enjoying a recent run of very good form. He reached the quarter finals of the British Grand Prix, making Daryl Selby, a near-permanent figure in the world’s top 20, fight hard for 4 games. Richie also recently won the PSA Toulouse M10 outright.
Second seed is India’s Vikram Malhotra, WR69. 28 year old Vikram is a late starter on the PSA world tour having joined in 2015. He quickly rose through the rankings winning the Florida Open M10 from qualifying after only 8 months on the tour. Vikram achieved a career high of WR55 in December 2016.
3rd and 4th seeded Indian Mahesh Managaonkar and Jamaican no1 Chris Binnie both return to the TRAC Oil & Gas North of Scotland Open for the second year running. Mahesh ended the hopes of Scotland’s Dougie Kempsell in 5 brutal games at last year’s tournament. Chris came through a controversial encounter last year with Richie Fallows and then lost in the final to Youssef Soliman.
Scotland’s Dougie Kempsell vs 3rd seed Mahesh Mangaonkar
4th seed Chris Binnie in action
5th seed is Carlos Cornes of Spain. Carlos contested the 2015 edition of the tournament, losing to Scotland’s eventual winner Greg Lobban in the semi-final. He delighted squash fans with his on court humour and flair.
6th seed is relatively unknown New Zealander Evan Williams. A seasoned campaigner with 10 years of professional experience on tour, Evan will no doubt have fans curious to watch him.
The top 8 is rounded off by Belgian no1 Jan Van Den Herrewegen and current World Junior Champion Eain Yow Ng of Malaysia.
Scottish interest in the Main Draw is represented by Edinburgh Sports Club’s Scottish no3 Dougie Kempsell and Aberdeen’s top player Chris Leiper. Occupying the wildcard space, Chris Leiper faces Evan Williams first round in what is bound to be the most anticipated match of the day.
Qualifying is equally international, with 3 English players, 2 Malaysian, 2 Irish, 2 French as well as Pakistan, South Africa and the Czech Republic all represented.
Joe ‘The Green Machine’ umm.. Green
Young English left hander Joe Green is top qualifier and will be looking to go one better than his result at last year’s tournament where he toppled Dutch kebab-flinging Iceman Piedro Schweertman (sadly not returning) to reach the quarter finals.
Other players to watch in qualifying include Newlands’ National League no1 Mike Harris, the brutal South African Tristan Eyesele, French pocket rocket Victor Crouin and Blade Squash’s ball-melting Englishman Robbie Downer.
Scottish interest in qualifying will be headed up by Aberdeen’s Mike ‘Scrapper’ Black. Giffnock’s Stuart George and Scottish no4 Kevin Moran are in the mix, as is Inverness’ top Scottish Junior Alasdair Prott.
Blade Squash and TonySquash are sponsoring this year’s graded tournament which will see club players from around Scotland competing for top honours and goodies from the new Blade Squash range, while watching how it should done by the pros.
Scotland’s Elspeth Young, left, and Katriona Allen face off on the TRAC Oil & Gas show court
In 2017, for the first time in Aberdeen, we are launching a Ladies PSA Closed Satellite tournament thanks to TRAC Oil & Gas! This will showcase top talent both locally from around Scotland and further afield and give valuable PSA points, some prize money and match practice ahead of the European Team Championships in April.
Both the Graded and the Ladies Tournaments will run from Friday 31st March to Sunday 2nd April.
Thanks to the sponsorship of TRAC Oil & Gas, viewing for all rounds of all competitions is free to everyone. Please see www.asrc.co.uk for entry forms, hotel info and more.
Draws and information on the Graded Event will be published on Wednesday!
TRAC Oil & Gas is once again pleased to sponsor The North Of Scotland PSA Open, which brings world class squash to the region. We sponsored the event last year which was a great success, and we see it as an excellent opportunity to continue to raise awareness of the sport within the local community and Scotland as a whole.
Despite the current difficult economic conditions that all companies are experiencing in the Oil & Gas industry, we’re delighted to announce that we have committed to sponsoring the event for a further 3 years up to 2018. Since last year, we have seen an increase in high ranking competitors registering. In support of this growth, we are pleased to provide the $10k prize money for this year’s winner.
Our aim is to provide a longer term focus and foundation for the growth and development of the sport in and around Aberdeen, which will in turn benefit all abilities. As part of the sponsorship package, we’re also pleased to contribute to the upgrade of the facilities at the Aberdeen Squash & Racquetball Club where the tournament will be held, starting with a refurbishment of the Exhibition Court.
The fast-paced nature of squash where strategy, precision, agility and stamina are combined in order to rise above the competition is reflected in the values that TRAC bring to the working environment. We encourage our employees to lead active and healthy lifestyles outside of their place of work. Squash is a sport close to the hearts of, and enjoyed by, many colleagues so this is a wonderful opportunity to see a high quality competition right on our doorstep.
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.