CLIFF AND ANDREWS KEEP HOME FIRES BURNING
A STRONG North East challenge was not enough to stop Birmingham-based pro Miles Jenkins taking the 2017 Northumbria Men’s Open crown. No 1 seed Jenkins triumphed 3-1 over home favourite Michael Andrews in the final at Jesmond’s Northumberland Club, taking the top prize in the $1000 Professional Squash Association closed satellite event. But Tynemouth’s Hannah Cliff went one better in lifting the Ladies title, with an impressive 3-1 final victory over 19-year-old Scot Katriona Allen. This PSA tournament attracted a bumper entry from around the country and a packed crowd to match over three days in mid-March.
In the Ladies final, Cliff took the first 11-6 with some fast-paced squash – but Allen’s attacking shots helped her carve out an early lead in the second, which she hung onto for an 11-7 win, levelling the match at one game each. But the home favourite – runner-up in the Northumberland County Championship – has been in excellent form of late, and her hard running squash and consistent length allowed her to take the last two games with something to spare – 11-6 and 11-5. Northern’s Josie Barker had done well to reach the semi-finals, losing 3-0 to Cliff, while Yorkshire’s Charlotte Jagger lost a real nail-biter in her last-four encounter, going down 13-11 in the fifth to Allen after an epic, see-saw battle.
In the men’s event, the super-fit Andrews had exceeded expectations with a fine run to the final, beating an in-form shot-maker, fellow 5/8 seed Tom Bamford of Pontefract in a close 3-0 semi-final encounter. However the Norton and Jesmond player did not seem quite as focussed in his first ever PSA final, and, perhaps understandably, failed to match the accuracy of his full-time professional opponent. Jenkins took the first two games fairly comfortably, 11-3 and 11-6, before Andrews dug in well to clinch the third 11-6. The World No 221 found his range again in the fourth though, to take it 11-4 and lift the title in front of a packed crowd behind the glassback on Court 1.
Northern’s Michael Mattimore prevailed in the Men’s Plate final, after a lung-bursting clash with Pontefract’s Matt Godson. Mattimore took first blood (11-9) but action man Godson, showing off his trademark diving lunge forward onto the floor to pick up drop shots and boasts, then picking himself up to continue the rally, levelled with a 11-8 win in the second. The home player’s craftier racket work eked out a 2-1 lead, but Godson would not lie down, and he finished the fourth much the stronger, taking it 11-4 to level the match at 2-2. However, the flame-haired dynamo was not finished yet. He turned up the heat with some great attacking squash in the fifth to get, and keep, an early lead – taking the match 11-7 in the decider.
Jesmond’s Charlotte Cooper prevailed 3-0 in the Ladies Plate final, to edge out fast-improving Northern junior Harriet Wight.
In the graded events, Newcastle University’s Chris Garner was top dog, seeing off a strong challenge in the final from Northern starlet Andrew Shipley. The younger player almost sneaked the second game, but was edged out 12-10 as his older opponent took the match three games to nil.
Shipley’s clubmate, Tom Cornell, got his money’s worth in a five-set epic in the ‘A’ Plate, his fitness and speed coming to the fore as he took the decider 11-5 against Neil Campbell of Northumberland Club.
Hexham’s Paul Satow took the honours in the ‘B’ final, beating Tynemouth tyro Guy Eniona 3-1. While Matt Cooper made home advantage count in the Plate final. He kept his cool in the fifth to take it 11-8 against Northern livewire John Thompson, who chased down every ball and put up a strong fight.
In the ‘C’ Event, Eldon Leisure’s Andrew Webber was a 3-0 winner over Jesmond’s Scott Little, while in the plate, an all-action display from Northern’s Kieron Mahoney ensured he lifted the trophy ahead of home favourite Marcus Allsopp.
Thanks go out to tournament organiser and county chairman Dave Barnett, and to the following sponsors for their support of this excellent event, which has now become a firm fixture on the professional squash calendar: Kidd & Spoor Solicitors, Armstrong Campbell Accountants, Matrix Health Services, Sanderson Young, DB Glaziers, The Cherry Tree restaurant, Harrow Squash and the Northumberland Club for hosting the event and for the use of their courts.
MEN’S: Miles Jenkins (Birmingham) 3-1 Michael Andrews (Northumberland Club) 11/3 11/6 6/11 11/4
LADIES: Hannah Cliff (Tynemouth) 3-1 Katriona Allen (Scotland) 11/6 7/11 11/6 11/5
‘A’: Chris Garner (Newcastle University) 3-0 Andrew Shipley (Northern) 11/8 12/10 11/5
‘B’: Paul Satow (Hexham) 3-1 Guy Eniona (Tynemouth) 11/5 11/7 3/11 11/9
‘C’: Andrew Webber (Eldon Leisure) 3-0 Scott Little (Northumberland Club) 11/7 11/9 11/5
MEN’S Michael Mattimore (Northern) 3-2 Matt Godson (Pontefract) 11/9 8/11 11/7 4/11 11/7
LADIES: Charlotte Cooper (Northumberland Club) 3-0 Harriet Wight (Northern) 11/9 11/4 11/5
‘A’: Tom Cornell (Northern) 3-2 Neil Campbell (Northumberland Club) 9/11 11/9 3/11 11/6 11/5
‘B’: Matt Cooper (Northumberland Club) 3-2 John Thompson (Northern) 5/11 8/11 11/8 11/7 11/8
‘C’: Kieron Mahoney (Northern) 3-0 Marcus Allsopp (Northumberland Club) 11/3 11/7 11/7