Day two of the Northumbria Open at the Northumberland Club in Jesmond saw four matches to decide qualification for the main draw of the PSA $5k event.
First up was a real’little ‘n large’ matchup between Yorkshire’s James Earles and Christophe André. The big Frenchman stormed through the first two games 11/4, 11/4 , Earles struggling to combat his opponent’s reach and power. A 6/1 start in the third offered hope to the Englishman, but it wasn’t to be as André powered back, levelled at 9 all, then saved two game balls before taking the match 13/11.
Having beaten one Winchester man yesterday, (Robbie Downer) local lad Dan Hockburn faced another one tonight in Phil Bull in a match that was akin to a Creme Egg – hard at both ends and soft in the middle. Hockburn edged a tough opening game 12/10 then eased through the second 11/2. The third and fourth went quickly Bull’s way 11/5, 11/3. The decider was well-contested, but Hockburn always had a point or three advantage and from 7/5 he reeled off four point in a row to close out the match 11/5.
”Taking the first was crucial and that helped me to a good start in the second,” said the Hartlepool lad. “He came out attacking in the third and fourth – I’m not used to playing on the lower tin it does make a difference! I think he got a bit tired in the fifth thankfully, so I’m pleased to get through to the main draw.” Dan’s reward is a match against second seeded Dane Kristian Frost.
The growing crowd was entertained in the third match by the lively Spaniard Carlos Cornes, who eased past New Zealand’s Ben Grindrod 11/6, 11/4, 11/2 displaying some athletic movement and spectacular shotmaking along the way.
”The first match is always tough, so I was pleased to win last night and I was much more relaxed and looking forward to playing tonight,” admitted Carlos. ”I’m happy with how I played, it’s always good to get a three-nil win.”
Kiwi success came in the final match of the night as Lance Beddoes – over in the UK for a few months training in Bristol and Pontefract – got the better of three close games against Nick Mulvey. From 7 all in the first, 7 all in the second and 8/7 in the third Beddoes found the extra push to complete a 11/8, 11/7, 11/9 win that pits him against top seed Shaun Le Roux in the main draw.
”He stayed with me all the way through each of the games,” said Beddoes, “but I attacked a bit more at the finish and he gave me just enough loose shots, but it was tough.”
Christophe André (Fra) 3-0 James Earles (Eng) 11/5, 11/4, 13/11 (28m)
Dan Hockburn (Eng) 3-2 Phil Bull (Eng) 12/10, 11/2, 5/11, 3/11, 11/5 (38m)
Carlos Cornes (Esp) 3-0 Ben Grindrod (Nzl) 11/6, 11/4, 11/2 (23m)
Lance Beddoes (Nzl) 3-0 Nick Mulvey (Eng) 11/8, 11/7, 11/9 (43m)
Main draw: Le Roux v Beddoes, Lake v Cornes, Ingham v André, Frost v Hockburn
Full coverage: www.squashsite.co.uk/2009/northumbria2014.htm