PLAYERS from as far afield as Brazil came to take part in the fourth Colin Payne Professional Squash Association (PSA) Open Tournament, which this year featured an equal prize fund of £2,000 for men and women.
The tournament was renamed in memory of Colin Payne, who died in 2016. A former professional on the PSA World Tour, he brought the first Open to Tunbridge Wells in 2014.
The men’s draw saw two local club players join the tournament. The England Under-17s Top 20 player Luke Credland acquitted himself well against the No 2 seed Ben Coleman, who is currently 52nd in the world rankings.
Tunbridge Wells’ first-team player Jonny Powell nearly caused a first-round upset, pushing the No 4 seed Ondrej Uherkha from the Czech Republic to five games before narrowly losing in the decider.
Alison Waters, ranked 10th in the world, booked her place in the final by winning 3-0 against Alicia Mead, who has just returned to action on the professional circuit after suffering a fractured back.
Last year’s finalist Elise Lazarus, only 17 years old and already the British Under-23 Champion, won a hard-fought match against world No 89 Kace Bartley 3-2.
In the men’s semi-finals, last year’s winner Richie Fallows (No 60) took 40 minutes to overcome the popular Rui Soares of Portugal.
Coleman finally prevailed in a titanic battle with Jamie Haycocks of Crowborough Squash Club, winning 3-2, 11-8 in the fifth game.
The women’s final was cut short as Elise Lazarus was forced to withdraw at the end of the second game due to injury, leaving Alison Waters as the victor.
The men’s final was a hard-fought and thrilling contest from beginning to end, but No 1 seed Fallows eventually overcame Coleman 3-2, 12-10 in the fifth game to hold on to his title.
This year’s competition was sponsored by JVIP, Sankey’s, The Spa Hotel, Harveys of Lewes, Ballard’s, MyCourts, Risebridge Health & Sports Club in Groombridge and The Wells Physiotherapy & Sports Clinic.