Irish Open Day 1: Qualifying Round Reports

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Cannon Kirk Homes Irish Open
30 August up to 4 September 2010

Pictures on www.facebook.com/squashstars

BY Arthur Curran

Day 1, Women’s Qualifiers:

Whitlock vs Wall

First up was one of the French favourites Maud Duplomb, who held off a strong challenge from Austrian Sandra Polak to win 11/7, 11/3, 11/8 in 20 minutes. Next up was Emily Whitlock, the 16 year old from England against the rather more experienced Sina Wall of Germany, and despite Emily taking an early lead in each of her three games she was not strong enough to hold off the challenge, and Sina went on to win 11/5, 11/7, 11/7 in 32 minutes.

Next the first of the France/England clashes of which there were three. Young Carrie Ramsey from England, up against more experienced Laura Pomportes, fought very bravely, leading 8/5 in the first but Laura coming back in great style to take the game 11/8. The second game was very even up to 5/5, but then Laura zoomed ahead to 10/5, and despite Carrie saving 3 game balls, she took the second 11/8 again. In the third Carrie took a 7/4 lead but Laura took 7 of the next 8 points to win again 11/8, taking the match 3– 0 in 31 minutes.

France vs England

The third match was another France/England clash, and this turned out to be a sizzler. Celia Allamargot from France took a 5/2 lead against Leonie Holt of England in the first game, Leonie pulled back to 5/5, Celia then took 5 straight points to go 10/5. Although Leonie saved 2 game balls Celia took the next to win the game 11/7. In the second from 3/3 Celia stormed up to 9/3 and although Leonie pulled back three points Celia went on to win the game 11/6.

Was this to be another 3 – 0 to France over England? Well not if Leonie had anything to do with it, she was certainly not going down without a fight. Pulling back from 3/1 down in the third to lead 4/3 then 7/4, they traded point for point up to 11/7, game to Leonie. The small crowd, made up mainly of the other English and French players, were very noisy in their support for their own players, and they both fought valiantly, with long hard rallies and a few mistakes. Leonie took a 4/0 lead, Celia pulled back to lead 5/4, again Leonie pulled back to lead 7/5, Celia levelled at 7/7, then 8/8, 9/9 and 10/10, tie breaker. Leonie then took the next two points and the game 12/10. 2 games each, and both girls fighting really hard to win the match with some great rallies and fantastic shots. The decider was fairly even up to 5/5, Leonie then took 4 points in a row to lead 9/5, Celia pulled one back but Leonie took the next two to win the game 11/6 and the match 3 – 2. What a fantastic comeback and a fabulous match played as usual in a great spirit.

A very happy Leonie.

Zephanie Curgenven of England only got notification of her place in the qualifying round on Saturday whilst she was on holiday in her birthplace of Guernsey, travelled over to Ireland yesterday, Sunday, and went straight into action against a much more experienced Samantha Cornett from Canada. Both ladies started off very evenly, going up to 8/8, then Samantha took 2 points, 10/8game ball, but Zephanie took the next 3 points to lead 11/10 game ball, however Samantha took the next 3 and won the game 13/11. A very lively opening game to follow the previous match. In the second Samantha seemed the stronger, led 5/2 and although Zephanie took another three points Samantha served out to take the game 11/5 and a 2 – 0 lead. Samantha then took a 4/0 lead in the third and it looked all over for Zephanie, but she was determined to show that she had not come all the way here to be beaten easily. She took the next 6 points to lead 6/4, Samantha levelled to 6/6, 7/7 and 8/8 but Zephanie then served out to take the game 11/8 and stay in the match. She then took a 5/1 then a 7/3 lead in the fourth, Samantha pulled back to level 7/7, but after some great rallies and shots from both girls Zephanie took the game 11/9 and the match to a decider. Unfortunately Zephanie then ran out of steam after her fight back, and although she did not stop battling, Samantha took the decider 11/5 and the match 3 – 2. Another great match from the ladies.

The last two matches seemed a bit of an anti climax after these two, but Laura Hill, the fulltime fire fighter from England had a very convincing win over another French player, Coline Aumard, winning comfortably 3 – 0 in just 18 minutes. In the last match of the night for the ladies, Lotte Eriksen from Norway, who recently got her degree at Birmingham University and has now moved to Amsterdam to train under the major coaching force of Liz Irving, got a 3 – 0 victory over Olga Ertlova of the Czech Republic, although she had to battle to take the last two games 11/9 and 11/9. With Victoria Lust of England getting a bye because no reserves turned up, that was the women’s qualification first day complete.

Let’s look forward to some great matches tomorrow (Tuesday).

Arthur Curran lives in Manchester, England and is an avid squash fan, traveling to places like Belfast, Madrid, Monte Carlo, New York, Connecticut, Dublin and Kuala Lumpur to watch major tournaments, as well as extensively in the UK, and have on several occasions reported tournaments for squashsite.co.uk. Although too old and too ill to be able to play the game he is fascinated by the athleticism and skill involved in the game and with the friendliness shown by all the players.

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