Day sees the
women's final up first between Belgium's Nele Gilis and South African,
Alexandra Fuller. Promised to be a great match between these 2 great
Despite some early tins, possibly with nerves, from both players, we had
some lovely rallies in the first game. Nele settled a little quicker and
was a bit more patient to win the 1st game, 11-6. The second followed a
similar pattern with Nele going ahead but Alex came back well to level
it 6 all.
There was the best rally of the match at 8-6 which Nele looked to have
but Alex fought hard with great skill to win the point. However Fuller
continued to hit some tins to hand the initiative to Gilis. Nele duly
won the 2nd to go 2 up. Alex came out firing in the 3rd. However Nele
was playing so confidently and consistently, staying in control and
putting Fuller under pressure.
Gilis made few mistakes whereas Fuller hit more tins. Gilis went 9-5 up.
Alex played 2 nice rallies bringing it back to 7-9 but put another ball
down to give match ball to Gilis. It took just one rally for Nele to win
it, by wrong footing Alex to win the title and her 2nd Irish Open.
In the men's final New Zealander Campbell Grayson played Mahesh
Mangaonkar from India. They played each other just once before, which
Campbell won. Expecting a very quick match with 2 players who will run
forever, the big audience in Fitzwilliam eagerly anticipated a great
Grayson started very strongly and went 4-0 up, controlling the T. Both
players were playing low risk squash and making very few mistakes.
However Campbell was just that bit more precise and won the 1st game
11-6. Grayson drops were so tight and at a dead weight which got him
many points and so it continued at the start of the 2nd. Then at 4-1 to
Campbell, we had the best rally of the match with super retrieving from
both players and great driving into the corners which both players got
Grayson won that rally though, which was a reflection of the match and
the control he had. In the 2nd game there was a better variety of shot
from both players. Grayson continued to work really hard and making few
mistakes, while dragging his opponent from the front of the court to the
back and visa versa.. He won the 2nd game 11-8 and looked in full
control of the match.
The 3rd saw a super rally for the 1st point with some lovely drops and
pick ups and then a great piece of anticipation by Grayson to win the
point after Manngaonkar drove it from the front of the court.
Grayson then went 4-1 up very quickly with his pin point accuracy.
However then maybe Grayson started to get a little tired as he made a
few mistakes and it went to 6 all. Then at 7-7 Grayson won a huge rally
where he played a lovely drop dead which Mangoankar couldn't get to.
This signaled the end for the Indian and Campbell won the next 4 points
in convincing style to win the title.
So the end of a super week of superb squash, which was a joy to watch.
The athleticism, deft touch and skill of all the players was magnificent
and an inspiration to the club players in the audience. See you all back
in Dublin next year!!
Semi finals day with Women's no. 1 seed
Millie Tomlinson playing South African Alexandra Fuller. The 1st game
saw Fuller come out quickly and she took control from the start. Millie
came back but Alex took the game 11-8.
The 2nd saw Tomlinson come out quickly to go 4-1 up, showing her
experience. There is 23 places between them in world ranking, with
Tomlinson at 22 and Fuller at 45 but it did not show..Fuller came
fighting back and went 6-4 up. Both were playing some lengths, dead into
the corners. Belying the gap in rankings, Fuller was playing the better
and more assertive game at this point and went on to win the 2nd 11-7.
Millie has to do something or she was going out! She did and took the
3rd 11-8 playing more direct squash. In the 4th game Millie went 5
points up and looked to be leveling the match, however Alex came back
strongly, playing lovely lengths and had 2 match balls winning the match
on the second.
In the 1st men's match, 2 very energetic players were playing. India's
Mahesh Mangaonkar was up against Welshman Peter Creed. Both players went
at it from the start and the 1st game was nip and tuck. Creed just got
it 12-10. In the 2nd Mangaonkar came out quickly and built a 7-3 lead
playing some aggressive squash.
Playing with nice variation now Mahesh won it 11-4. He continued into
the 3rd playing a lovely length and then super boasts to drag Peter out
of position. Mahesh went 10-0 up and won it 11-2 in convincing style.
Creed has to do something significant now and unfortunately for him it
didn't happen. Mahesh was in full control and won it 11- 3 and 3-1 for
The 2nd women's semi final saw no. 2 seed Nele Gilis of Belgium play New
Zealander and no. 3 seed Amanda Landers Murphy. In the 1st it was a very
close game. Both players were sizing each other out.
Gilis had just a bit more accuracy and won the game 11-8. in the 2nd, it
got worse for Murphy as she put 5 or 6 balls into the tin, to hand the
game to Gilis, 11-5. Unfortunately for Landers Murphy it never got going
for her and with Gilis played very nicely, making very few mistakes,
which her opponent was making, she won the game and match 3-0.
The last semi final saw Campbell Grayson also of New Zealand play Czech
Daniel Mekbib. This match promised to give the crowd in Fitzwilliam and
those watching live on Irish Squash TV something special and boy it
didn't disappoint. Daniel was 9-6 up and playing beautifully, looking in
control however Grayson had other ideas and clawed his way back to 10
all. Grayson working as hard as usual took the last 2 points to win it
The 2nd game did not disappoint with both players going toe to toe
and point for point. Mekbib really wanted this game and his play showed
it. At 9-8 Campbell made a super retrieve but Mekbib played an
unorthodox overhead into the nick to get game ball.
Campbell put the ball into the tin for Mekbib to win it 11-9. The 3rd
was another super game. Both players gave each other room and there were
very few decisions to be made by the referee. Also, lovely to see both
players called balls down on themselves. It went point for point to 9
all with both players playing super squash, retrieving with such speed
and such lovely touch. 10 all, and a no let for Campbell, so game ball
Game ball saved and it went on to 12 all. Campbell eventually took it
14-12. Mekbib was all fired up for the 4th and again the game did not
let us down. Campbell playing as if his life depended on it, just had
that little bit too much.
Mekbib was under pressure and Campbell closed it out 11-7 to reach
tomorrow's final for the first time.
Quarter finals day saw some really
excellent squash in both the women's and men's events. First up was
women's no. 1 seed, Millie Tomlinson vs Egyptian Hana Ramadan.
Ramadan caused the no. 1 seed plenty of problems with Hana playing some
lovely backhand drives to the corners. She was also taking the ball
early. Tomlinson got a couple of nicks in the 5th which helped her and
then a couple of strokes to win it 11-6.
In the 1st men's match, Benjamin Aubert of France played Indian Mahesh
Mangaonkar. Both players were hitting the ball very hard and low. Aubert
started to get tired but Maangaonkar was full of running and didn't seem
to be out of breath at all. In a match lasting 74m, Aubert ran out of
steam and it went to the Indian 3-1.
The 2nd women's match was between Belgium's Tinne Gilis and Alexandra
Fuller from South Africa, now living in Ireland and doing some junior
coaching. Both players were very steady but Fuller was driving a little
better which got her in the lead. 2-0. Gilis pulled one game back but
Fuller closed it out 3-1.
The next match was between the 2 bionic men, Peter Creed and Alan Clyne
who seemed as if they could run all night. The match went to 5 games and
lasted 1 hour & 30 min. The first 4 games were shared with nothing in
each game. Creed was unbelievably fast around the court which probably
was the slight difference, as he took the 5th 11- 7.
Amanda Landers Murphy of New Zealand played French woman Enora Villard
next. Villard took the 1st, but Landers Murphy took the next 3 fairly
comfortably. The last women's match was between no. 2 seed, Belgium's
Nele Gilis and Rachael Chadwick. This was the most comprehensive result
today in the women's event. Despite Rachael working hard and making it
difficult for Gilis, the result was 3-0 to Gilis.
The last 2 matches in the men's event were between Campbell Grayson &
Richie Fallows and Daniel Mekbib & Karim El Hammamy.
Grayson again was like the bionic man such was his coverage of the
court and speed to the ball. This frustrated Fallows who despite his
talent couldn't find a way past Grayson. Fallows got one game but
Grayson was too good and won 3-1. In the last match of the day, Czech
Daniel Mekbib played Egyptian Karim El Hammamy. Both players got into
trouble with the referee and showed their impatience. Mekbib coped with
this better and went 1 up.
El Hammamy levelled it 1 all. in the 3rd Mekbi was 9-5 down but showing
great skill and determination he brought it back to 9all and then won it
11-9, 6 points in a row!! he has the initiative now and won the 5th 11-7
in 8 minuted over the hour.
Some really amazing squash from all 16 players and even more to look
forward to, tomorrow in the semi finals.
In Round 2 matches for the Cannon Kirk Irish Open, the only top seed to
fall was the number 1 men's seed, Todd Hannity of the USA who lost 3-1
in 59 min to Benjamin Aubert of France. The scores were 11-13, 11-7,
7-11, 10-12. So a close match which could have gone the other way. All
the other men's matches very much went to form with 3-0 score line in
In the women's competition, no.1 seed Millie Tomlinson of England had a
straight forward win over Chloe Mesic of France in the 1st match of the
day. The only other seed to go out was Melissa Alves of France to Hana
Ramadan of Egypt.
Other seeds to be pushed were Amanda Landers Murphy of
New Zealand vs Jenny Duncalf of England. This was a close match, which
Duncalf could have taken.
Murphy pushed hard when it mattered and took
it 11-4 in the 5th. Likewise, Enora Villard of France was tested by
Swiss player Chloe Merlot. in a match which lasted 56 min. Villard was
2-0 up, but Merlot, working hard, brought it back to 2 all. The 5th was
nip and tuck but Villard took it 11- 8.
Tomorrow sees the quarter finals with all matches on court 1. The first
match starts at 12 noon with Millie Tomlinson playing Hana Ramadan