The World of Squash
at Your Fingertips

About SP
Squash on TV
UK Counties
World Links

Online Store
Books, Subs, Videos

Squash Directory
Where to get it all

Classified Section
Job, Jobs, Jobs Something to sell ...

Cambridge Doubles/Jim Bentley Cup 2016


The indispensable magazine for serious Squash Players
click here for your Subscription to Squash Player Magazine
Cambridge Doubles
Jim Bentley Cup
18 - 21 Nov
Toronto, Canada
Qualifying Report
Martin Bronstein Reports

Tough days of qualifying

There were two upsets in the 2016 Cambridge Doubles qualifying rounds on Thursday afternoon. The first came when the young pair of Randy Lim and Bassett Chaudry knocked out the experienced team of Will Hosey and Michael Pirnak 3/1 in a 56 minute battle that was probably affected by the shotmaking of Lim and the power of Chaudry.

The first point was fought point-for-point until the Malaysian/Pakistani pair finally opened a three point lead at 13-10. Hosey, still beaming after become world Over 55 champion at the world championships in South Africa last month, and Pirnak, fought back to reach 13-14 before Lim hit the winner to take first blood 15-13.

The second game saw the pair use their experience to dictate play and run out 15-11 winners. If we thought the natural order had righted itself, we were wrong. Hosey and Pirnak imploded into a series of errors which help hand the third game to their opponents for a remarkable 15-4 scoreline.

The fourth game promised a real battle as each pair tried to gain the upper hand and build a lead but it was again point-for-point until 8-all. But then Lim’s speed at the front of the court and his ability to hit cross-court nicks helped his team pull away to 15-10 and earn a berth in the qualifying finals, to face Carl Baglio and Travis Judson on Friday for a place in the main draw.
In the other upset Tyler Hamilton and Robert Nigro faced Robert Burns (USA) and Omar El Kashef (Egypt) in a huge 90 minute tussle that raged through five battering games before Hamilton and Nigro edged the fifth 15-12. They had the hardest road to hoe having had to beat Strachan Jarvis and Mark Porter in preliminary round before their first match proper. This they did with a 3/0 scoreline and in their next match they showed a consistency that will stand them in good stead when their other attributes fail them.

They won the first game against Burns and El Kashef 15-12, but that was no indication of superiority as their opponents responded by taking the second game 15-8. That scoreline too was deceiving too because the third game was close, reaching 13-all before Burns and El Kashef took the two final points to lead 2/1.

There were some questionable calls from the marker; most memorable when a player had both opponents blocking his shot to the front wall, normally a certain stroke which the marker, in his trained wisdom, decided was a let.

Burns was now showing distinct signs of fatigue on the left wall and his error rate mounted while Hamilton and Nigro showed no signs of let-up. Nevertheless the fourth game was still close and Burns/El Kashef almost pulled it off when they fought back from 10-13 to 13-14, but failed to stop their opponents from taking the final point to even the match at two games all. In the fifth game Burns and El Kashef actually led 8-6 but the steadiness and low error rate of Hamilton and Nigro finally saw them through 15-12 to end the 89 minute match. They would face Graham Bassett and Freddie Reid on the final qualifying final on Friday.

from Martin Bronstein

Lim and Chaudry continued their winning ways at lunchtime on Friday against Carl Baglio and Travis Judson in a 50 minute match which they won 3/1. The first game however suggested that the match would run into next week as both sides participated in a ‘I can hit the ball harder than you’ contest. In fact one rally went on for so long, I was hoping they had scheduled an intermission so I could get to the bathroom. Lim and Chaudry won that game 15-10 and I hoped against hope that Lim would rediscover his racquet skills and hit a few winners. The sparse winners that did appear came from Chaudry who hit a few wonderful straight nicks and was always dangerous because of his sheer power.

Baglio/Judson threatened to make a match of it by taking the second game 15-11 but then fell behind in the third to lose it 9-15. They put up a real fight in the fourth, level at 7-all, then 10-all, and then fighting back to 13-14 but Lim and Chaudrey would not be denied and Chaudry closed out proceedings with a superb shot to length that neither Baglio or Judson could return.

It will be interesting to see how this pair fares in the main draw where they face the Australian pair of Matt Jenson and Scott Arnold.

In the final qualifying match Hamilton & Nigro finally found their their way blocked by Graham Bassett and Freddy Reid, although in the first game it seemed as though as the latter pair would pay for their lack of playing, while Hamilton and Nigro were fully run in and motoring on all cylinders. Bassett was prone to errors and trailing 4-11 he and his partner had little hope of a comeback. And so it was, their opponents winning 10-15 in an unremarkable game.

All four players made up for this lack of flair in the second game when winners started flowing from all the rackets. The sort of flair and shot making that had seemed absent from the other qualifying matches now sprouted all over the place. With the score at 7-7, I had counted seven outright winners. Bassett seemed particularly determined not to allow the squash to descend into a slamming contest and mixed up his shots with entertaining regularity bringing his team back into the match with a 15-11 score.

Saturday report
from Martin Bronstein

Jenson & Arnold Survive Qualifyer’s Challenge ; Bassett & Reid Provide Upset

It must have been a terrific Black Tie Extravaganza on Friday night because when Matt Jenson and Scott Arnold took to the court to face the challenge of Randy Lim and Bassett Chaudhry, there were three spectators – and that included your correspondent. And 11 in the morning is a little early.

The higher ranked pair started as though they had been part of the celebrations- rusty is a word that comes to mind. Jenson was a little ambitious so early in the morning and made more errors than his ranking of 8 would suggest, while the Lim & Chaudhry machine continued their near-error free play. They deserved the 13 minute first game, winning 15-10.
In the second game Jenson tightened his game and kept the error rate down and despite trailing 6-10 he and Arnold kept their heads and pulled back to even the score at 12 and then 13 before losing 14-15.

A two game lead for the underdogs was not on the cards and the betting people were getting jittery. However Jenson & Arnold asserted themselves in the third game and were leading 7-3 due to some fine winners and some good low drives. What happened next could have been a turning point: Jenson’s racquet hit Lim in the face on a follow-through and there was an immediate swelling on Lim’s eye. The blow had been hard enough crack the lens of his protective glasses. Ice was applied and within five minutes Lim was back in play. The blow had obviously affected him as the final game score of 15-6 indicates.

The fourth game saw a glorious array of reverse angles and nicks from the top pair which made

Chaudhry a little edgy causing him to slam some shots into the tin. Jenson & Arnold kept up the pressure and took the game 15-9 to tie the match.

Lim & Chaudhry were not downhearted and made their opponents fight all the way: level at 5, level at 8 level at 9 and level at eleven. Jenson & Arnold took the next point, and just to crank up the suspense the ball broke causing a suspension of play to warm up the new ball. (This is so boring. Keep some balls in the oven, mother!) When play resume Jenson hit a beautiful low drive for a winner , won the next and forced an error from Chaudhry on the final point to give them the victory after 75 very interesting minutes.

When asked what caused the turnaround at two games down, Jenson replied: “Hitting Randy in the face.” Then got serious saying that they kept their opponents in the back of the court to give them the openings for their many winners. Their reward is a semifinal meeting with favourites Damian Mudge and Manek Mathur who had a much easier time in overcoming Imran Khan and Gregory Parke.

Mudge and Mathur are ranked one and two while their opponents are ranked 10 and 15. The difference was obvious as Mudge (who could be the winningest squash player ever if you counted all the doubles tournaments he has won) brought a new level of stroke play to the court with the experienced backing of Mathur, his new partner. The other team’s performance suffered from the errors that streamed off Khan’s racquet. He’s not the first player that, when faced with a superior player, would go for winners. If it comes off , you’re a hero, otherwise you walk off the court having lost. Which is what happened, Mudge & Mathur winning 15-9, 15-7, 15-12 in 41 minutes.


The match between Viktor Berg & Robin Clarke and Graham Bassett & Fred Reid had some contentious moments - perhaps that should be minutes. The teams did not see eye to eye with each other and both teams failed to agree with the marker on many decisions. Oh! So many decisions. Was the ball up? Was he obstructed? Was it a let? Was the serve good? How many angels can dance on a squash ball? (I made that last bit up).

At one time all four players were speaking at once with nobody seeming to listen anybody else. We came to watch squash and what we get is United Nations debates. And then Clarke accidentally drilled Bassett in the ribs with the ball causing him to fall like a Canadian Fir. (A terrific bruise, now on YouTube).

As expected Berg & Clarke took the first game 15-12 despite trailing 4-9. Berg finished the game with a superb long drop from the back of the court. What was not expected was that they would lose the second game despite being level at 12-12, Bassett showing his skill by closing out the game, also with a long drop from the back. The third game took 20 minutes due to injury time out and some lengthy debates; the steadiness of Bassett & Reid once more being the deciding factor – 15-11.

The fourth game seemed like a doddle for Bassett &Reid when they led 12-4 – yes 12-4! Berg & Clarke did not give up and fought hard to get back to 7-12 before their opponents took a point to bring their run to an end. Then came a long, long rally, with both teams realizing the importance of the next point; It went on forever before Clarke made the error to put the game at match point. Bassett & Reid took that point to put them in the semis where they will face Michael Ferreira & Yvain Badan.

Jonny Smith and Raj Nanda were not expected to lose to Ferreira & Badan in the final match of the afternoon. And nor was the match expected to last 97 minutes, the longest of the tournament so far.

None of the four players showed a range of killer shots and long stretches of games were taken up with Smith on the left wall cross-courting high balls to Badan on the right wall, who would volley back to Smith who would repeated his shot. It began to look like a well-honed training routine instead of competitive squash play.

Smith& Nanda took the first game 15-7 due to Badan’s error rate, and then lost the second game 9-15 in just 11 minutes. They reasserted themselves by winning the third game in 18 minutes, 15-9, a session that included a thousand cross court volleys. (This could be an exaggeration.)

They were again expected to win the fourth game which they led 8-5 but their opponents wore them down to win 15-12 to force a decider.

The game was timed at 32 minutes , which included innumerable training routines and at least two broken balls. To be fair it had suspense : tied at 12 and then 13 and then 14-all, match ball. The gallery was full and nobody had left their seat for the entire match. The point finally went to Ferreira and Badan who must surely need a long ice bath and massages before Sunday’s semi-final.

Sunday Semi-finals
report from Martin Bronstein


This man Matt Jenson is either very good or very bad. Whatever face he happens to show he keeps his opponents on their toes. Today it was Damian Mudge and Manek Mathur whose toes must be aching. Not so much in the first game when they jumped quickly to a 3-1 lead and suddenly they were 6-1 ahead thanks to three Jenson errors. Mathur then rubbed salt into the wound with a winning slam down the court followed by a perfect drop shot to make the score 7-1, not the sort of mountain that Jenson and partner Scott Arnold want to climb so early in the match. Mathur & Mudge kept control of proceedings to lead 10-4 when Jenson’s good side came out: he hit three winners on the run to give his side a chance of getting back into the game at 7-10. Mudge stopped the run with a perfect overhead volley into the nick which was followed by two more errors from Jenson and Arnold to make the score 13-7 from which there was no going back. Jenson finished the game with a slam into the tin and the first seeds had the game 15-9 after 14 minutes.

In the second game everything went into reverse. Jenson & Arnold jumped to a 4-1 lead and although their opponents gave chase right through the game Jenson was now on target hitting nine outright winners. There was some pretty long rallies but Jenson always seemed to have the last word which helped his team nick the game 15-13 after 24 minutes of hard work.

Games three once more reversed the picture as Mathur & Mudge jumped to a 5-1 lead, hitting some nice winner of their own. They held the lead and ran out 15-7 winners in only just 11minutes to lead 2/1.

The fourth game was a battle with Jenson on the left wall hitting on the old man (Mudge is now 40) on the right wall in the hope he would tire. Jenson errors and winners cancelled each other out but he and Arnold played well enough to lead 11-7 with the promise of forcing a fifth game. Mudge hit two counter drops off Jenson drops and then served an ace to make the score 11-11. This was not the time to take any bets and when Jenson hit a beautiful forehand drop into the nick to take back the lead, a fifth game looked very likely. Mudge hit the tin to give his opponents a lead at 13-11 but then Jenson’s skill deserted him into another error. This was cancelled out by a tin from the other side to give Jenson & Arnold game ball. 14-12. But two great drop shots brought the score to 14-14 (Oh! the drama! )

Readers, can you guess what happened next ? Right Jenson blasted the ball into the tin from the back of the court. It was all over 15-14 and old man Mudge and his new partner Mathur were into the final.

RESULT: Mathur & Mudge beat Jenson & Arnold. 3/1: 15-9, 13-15, 15-7, 15-14. (76 minutes)


The English/ Swiss pairing of Michael Ferreira and Yvain Badan (third favourites in the betting) had scraped into the semis after a wearing 107 minute battle with Smith and Nanda in the quarters and now faced the American/ Canadian qualifyers, Graham Bassett and Freddie Reid who hit the court running to lead 3-1. There’s nothing flashy about either of these teams, so at times it is a matter of who makes the most errors. In the first game this unpopular title went to Bassett - five unforced errors . Nevertheless they were all square up to 14-all when Reid was caught on the right wall next to a tight drive and marker had no option but to give Badan the stroke to end the 14 minute game 15-14.

The second game was a quick 10 minute affair with Bassett & Reid keeping control from 4-4 to lead 12-9 and then combined to hit three winners in a row to take the game 15-9.
The third game was even quicker, Ferreira & Badan racing to a 5-1 lead on some fine winners. It seemed that neither pair wanted to hang around too long (did they have a plane to catch?) and winners and errors moved the game forward, Ferreir & Badan reaping the benefits to lead 11-4 with the help of Bassett’s errors. They took the game 15-11 in just nine minutes.

The final game was well contested with Bassett & Reid giving away four unforced errors to cancel their early lead. So the battle commenced at 4-4 and almost point-for point until 10-10. Ferreira & Badan were always steady which helped put them into the lead and, at 14-12, Bassett’s ambition tried another winner but resulted in the sound of the tin, which at the point was the death knell.

RESULT: Ferreira & Badan beat Bassett & Reid 3/1: 15-14, 9-15, 15-11, 15-12. (52 minutes)

Monday Report


Clean Sweep For The New Pair In Toronto
Martin Bronstein Reports

Damian Mudge may be the old man of the doubles circuit but tonight at the Cambridge Club he showed why he has been top man for so long with so many tournament notches on his belt. Yes, he had a partner, Manek Mathur, a new match this season, but as Michael Ferreira and Ivain Badan had decided  on targeting the older man in an attempt to wear him out, it seemed  Mudge had to hit most of the balls and Mathur (Badan’s former partner) was reduced  to that of a supporting role.

The first game  was no indication of what was in store for Ferreira& Badan as they more than held their own, probably encouraged  by their first meeting this season when they beat Mathur & Mudge  15-13 in the fifth. (Mind you, at their next meeting they lost 3/0)

 Mudge was firing a barrage of balls back at Ferreira on the left wall and his two-handed backhand was given a lot of work.  On some shots Ferreira added a sort of snapped slice, sending the ball into the front right nick – it was unreadable and promised much grief for his opponents – but ultimately caused grief  to himself with a high error count.

There were few long rallies as both teams were looking for opportunities to go short. There were some wonderfully dynamic rallies with displays of lightning reaction that caused cheers from the packed bleachers.  At 13-13, it was still anybody’s game when the ball broke. The warmed up ball was Mudge’s lucky charm – he won the next points with a fluked  nick off the frame and then an outright winner on a reverse nick – 15-13 after 18 entertaining minutes.

Sadly that was about it. The first point of the second game  was another lucky nick, the next point went to him and his partner when Badan was denied a let and from that moment they just raced away. Mudge was hitting screaming cross-courts that were too fast for Ferreira to scrape off the wall: he was cutting in surprise drops and disguised drops  for which his opponents  had no answer. And always Mathur was there as solid backup.  Mathur & Mudge were 8-3 up  and with the help of eight outright winners took the game  15-6 in 16 minutes – which included time out for a broken ball.

Now Ferreira & Badan are known for their determination, their never-say-die attitude and coming back from match ball down, so there was anticipation for the third game, despite the evidence of the second game.

Alas, it was not to be  and once again  Mathur & Mudge raced away to lead 8-2  and although Badan hit three winners to give hope at  5-8, the race was virtually over and after just 13 minutes  Mathur & Mudge  had the game (symbolically the last point was on an unforced error from Ferreira ) and the match as well as then their names on the  Jim Bentley Cup.

In the changing room Mudge said he’d had a good work out during the day “..and opened my hips. So when I’m feeling good in my body, I’m more confident.”  Tomorrow  he will be undergoing his third knee operation: he certainly did not play like a one-legged man.

For Mike and Yvain it was a bad day at the office, and scant reward for all the hard work of the weekend when they had to ground out victories, in contrast to the winners who had a comparatively easy route to the final. Roll on 2017.




 CONTACT:  SP Webmaster     Magazine Editor