Day ONE

Canary Wharf Squash Classic  7th to 11th March 2016  London  

 TODAY at the Canary Wharf Squash Classic 2016

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Sat 5th Mar, Day ONE
Qualifying Begins ...


Qualifying gets under way today at the Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club with 16 players all desperate to get into the main draw on the glass court at the East Wintergarden.

Play started at 3pm and, as with the main draw, all tickets had been sold.

It was a good day for the English players with six home winners, culminating with a tremendous win for Richie Fallows over top seeded Dutchman LJ Anjema. 

Qualifying Round One:

[4] Mohamed Reda (Egy) 3-1 Mazen Gamal (Egy)
            11-5, 7-11, 11-3, 12-10 (54m)
Robbie Temple (Eng) 3-2 [7] Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
             3-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-5 (53m)
[6] Charles Sharpes (Eng) 3-1 Eddie Charlton (Eng)
             11-5, 11-7, 11-5 (44m)
[3] Olli Tuominen (Fin) 3-1 Sean Conroy (Irl)
             11-3, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9 (44m)
[2] Declan James (Eng) 3-0 Chris Fuller (Eng)
             11-8, 18-16, 11-5 (53m)
Joshua Masters (Eng) 3-0 [8] Jens Schoor (Ger)
             11-4, 11-7, 1-0 rtd (31m)
[5] Joe Lee (Eng) 3-0 Lyell Fuller (Eng)
             11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (40m)
Richie Fallows (Eng) 3-2 [1] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
             11-9, 2-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-7 (71m)

Temple comeback stops Mustonen
By ALAN THATCHER  photos by Patrick Lauson

Robbie Temple is an occasional player these days. He stepped in to the qualifying competition at short notice after a couple of withdrawals and instantly had to rearrange his plans for the weekend.

First of all, he had to tell his football manager (he is a flying left winger for Chessington in the Combined Counties League) that he couldn't play for them today.

So, instead of a 3 o'clock kick-off, he was starting a squash match at the same time against Henrik Mustonen at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club.

He was on the verge of a quick exit, too, facing match ball in the third game. However, he rescued the point and then won some quick points to win the game 12-10.

Suddenly the momentum changed and Temple took control against a rapidly fading Mustonen.

After 53 minutes he had completed a stirring victory, winning 3-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-5 to win through to the qualifying finals tomorrow against Mohamed Reda.

Reda looked sharp against fellow Egyptian Mazen Gamal, winning comfortably in four games. Gamal fired in some impressive boasts and reverse angles, pacing his shots perfectly to match the cool conditions on court.

However, his head dropped when he began needlessly arguing with decisions in the fourth game and his challenge soon evaporated as Reda floated some beautiful lobs to the back corners which his opponent declined to chase.

Tuominen and Sharpes in four

Squash can be a cruel game. Just ask young Irishman Sean Conroy.

Trailing 2-0 to the vastly experienced Finnish player Olli Tuominen, he won the third to work himself bak into the match, and then seemed to be in a strong position in the fourth.

At the midway point he slammed two crosscourt volleys into the nick, and even tried some trickery and fakery in the front left corner. But then he tinned his third volley-nick attempt, was unlucky to float a backhand out of court, and was left down and out on the floor as a very relieved Tuominen won through to the qualifying finals.

Charles Sharpes always has a point to prove against fellow Englishmen, having lost his funding from the national governing body last year.

He looked impressive as he beat Eddie Charlton in straight games.

Sharpes kept it tight on the backhand and his disciplined approach did not give Charlton anything loose to profit from, and he took advantage of the openings when they came his way.

There were several long, competitive rallies where Sharpes looked comfortable and although Charlton hung in, Sharpes was pleased to get off in three.

Eddie, it must be said, looked slightly below his usual level.

 "We played in the Swedish Open qualifiers and Eddie took me apart," said Sharpes. "I was a bit slow off the pace after the Christmas break and Eddie was well on top throughout that one.

"But today I felt good, stepped up the court well, and felt I dominated large parts of the match. "I was hitting through the ball well, it's my home court, the crowd are on my side and I'm looking forward to playing Olli tomorrow. I have never beaten him so I hope tomorrow is the day. The closest I have come to beating him was a 3-2 in Qatar."

Masters through as Schoor retires

Jens Schoor retired with a back injury to give Josh Masters a place in the qualifying finals. Masters had been in dominant form, hitting both nicks with some outstanding volleys.

The 6ft 3in Masters loves to attack any loose balls and punished Schoor for anything off the walls.

The German winced with pain after some collisions and had some treatment to his back at the end of the second game. He returned to court, played one more point, then shook hands with Masters.

Masters had beaten Schoor in the first round of the Select Gaming Kent Open last year and was happy to get off court still fresh for tomorrow. He  immediately came upstairs to watch the match taking place on the adjacent court between Declan James and Chris Fuller.

He said: "No one likes to win like that but it's one match nearer to the main draw and I'll take it. I felt I was playing well."

James and Joe through in three

Declan James and Chris Fuller know each others' games inside out, so it was no surprise that large elements of their match were cautious, close passages of play.

The second game was a brutal affair, with James squeezing home 18-16 after a lengthy tiebreak. That seems to take the sting out of Fuller's game and James went through 11-8, 18-16, 11-5 in 53 minutes.

Joe Lee has been struggling or form in recent months.

He made a sluggish start against Lyell Fuller and was soon 8-3 down, but he worked his way back to take control of the match. After the first game he maintained the quality and ended up a comfortable winner in straight games.

Lyell will be back on Friday, playing Josh Masters in the Wild Card Shoot-out before the main final.

Fallows takes out top seed Anjema

Top qualifying seed Laurens Jan Anjema was knocked out in the first round by England's Richie Fallows.

This highly entertaining match illustrated why squash is such an addictive and intoxicating sport at the top level. The combination of astonishing skill and the breathtaking brutality of close combat were in evidence throughout this compelling encounter.

Fallows won a tough opening game 11-9 but was completely overwhelmed as Anjema took the second 11-2.  The tall Dutchman stayed on top to win the third 11-6 and Fallows had a real battle on his hands to tay in the match.

He led 5-2 in the fourth but Anjema's quality and experience shone through as he worked his way back into the proceedings and he held match ball at 10-9. But Fallows recovered to win three points in a row to take it to five.

Fallows opened up a solid lead in the fifth as the rallies became intensely physical. It was clearly hurting both players as they were forced into some gut-wrenching retrievals, followed by moments of exquisite skill.

Anjema saved two match balls but, after 71 minutes, Fallows finally ended the hopes of the man he once idolised as a junior at Connaught Squash Club on the edge of Epping Forest in east London.

"I used to watch players like LJ train at Connaught under Neil Harvey," said Fallows. "It was just before Peter Nicol moved on when I got my chance to join the squad.

"That was one of the best performances of my career and certainly the best mentally. I felt close to boiling point at the end of the second game but kept my feelings under control.

"It was a fantastic match to play in. LJ is physical but fair and you have to expect one or two knocks in this game. There was nothing dirty at all. We both wanted to play the ball."

 


LATEST: 11 Points
with Simon Rosner

Robbie's busy day

Robbie Temple's comeback win isn't the end of an amazing story.

This evening, Robbie is playing former world No.2 Peter Marshall in a battle of the two handers in an exhibition evening at Middleton Squash Club in West Sussex!

Asked how he turned around that third game, Robbie admitted:

"I can't remember. Really, I can't remember what happened. But, once I got in front, I managed to build some momentum. That's what helps you to win matches: momentum. Suddenly it swung my way.

"I am hardly playing these days - maybe one league match a week. I spend most of my time on court feeding when I'm coaching. So it took me a while to get used to the pace at this level.

"I'm looking forward to playing Reda. He was the last player I played, in the British Open, before I retired from the PSA Tour, which he reminded me of when I arrived at the club today!"
  

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