Joel Makin improved on his runner-up finish at the Select Gaming Kent
Open PSA M10 twelve months ago to come through and overpower local hero
Josh Masters to take the 2017 title in straight games.
In front of a packed gallery at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent,
Makin dominated the match in what was the hottest day of the year.
Makin settled into a comfortable rhythm early on and quickly built an
8-1 lead to set up the platform for victory.
“I felt good all week and I felt I was moving well – I have had a good
season and it’s great to end the season on a winning note,” said Makin.
“It’s been a superb tournament and the players all appreciate the way
they are looked after here at The Mote.”
Making wasn’t the only player to upset the home crowd this weekend as
Scotsman Greg Lobban collected the biggest title of his career to date
at the NZ Southern Open.
The number five seed, who recently returned from a lengthy injury
absence, overcame Malaysian top seed Ivan Yuen to take the title 3-1.
There was no such joy for Lobban’s compatriot Lisa Aitken though as she
lost out to local Kiwi top seed Amanda Landers-Murphy in the final of
the Matamata Open.
favourite Josh Masters recovered from 2-1 down in games to beat US
number one Todd Harrity to reach the final of the Select Gaming Kent
Open, presented by First Business Finance.
A boisterous, partisan crowd at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, the
county town of Kent, roared their encouragement as Masters fought back
against his higher-ranked opponent.
Harrity, the world No.49, is seven places above Masters in the PSA world
rankings. The two train together in Bristol and, despite being good
friends, there was certainly no lack of competitiveness.
settled quickly and from 5-1 up he picked off the first game 11-4.
Masters responded solidly in the second and from 7-7 he finished
strongly to make it one game all.
After an even start to the third game, Harrity powered through to win it
11-6. The physical investment on a hot court began to take its toll as
Harrity’s control faded in the fourth. Masters dominated to win it 11-4
and set up an intriguing battle in the fifth.
From 2-1 down, Masters constructed his best spell of the match to win
seven points in a row. He hit some devastating nicks, tight drops and
forced a tiring opponent into errors.
At 9-3 up, Masters tinned a volley that was too high even for his 6ft
3in tall frame, and then mis-timed a drop shot. His fans began to chew
their nails as they feared a Harrity comeback, but Masters clinched
victory with two outstanding winners as the crowd roared with a mixture
of joy and relief.
“I was a bit slow to start,” he admitted. “I knew the match was going to
be hard and I was relieved that Todd started to get a bit tired. I have
been happy to hit a good patch of form when I needed it most in the
fifth game twice this week.”
No.4 seed Harrity admitted: “I felt that although I was 2-1 up that Josh
was controlling most of the match and I was certainly tired in the
fourth and fifth games. I had put in a lot of work and he wasn’t making
many mistakes. He played exceptionally well.”
seed Joel Makin eased past Richie Fallows in straight games, winning
11-4, 11-9, 11-8 with the No.3 seed from London losing the match on a
penalty stroke issued for arguing.
It was not the way he would have wanted to celebrate his 22nd birthday,
and even though the Mote members sang “Happy Birthday” to him at the
tournament party he knew he should have done better.
Makin was solid, positive and playing controlled, error-free squash. He
said: “I was happy with the way I played but Richie always seems to
engineer breaks in the play, whether it’s a shoelace or wanting the
court cleaned. It gets very irritating.
“This is a physical game based on continuous play and you don’t want
“I am looking forward to the final very much. Josh is a talented player.
He likes to go for winners and we have very contrasting styles, which
should make it a great match.“