TUNBRIDGE WELLS Squash Club has named its Open Tournament after Colin Payne, a leading local player who was instrumental in bringing the prestigious event to the town.
And for the first time this year, the club will be offering equal prize money to both the competing men and ladies.
The Colin Payne Tournament, the fourth annual Professional Squash Association (PSA) Open, will be held at the club on London Road on January 11-12.
Colin, who died last year at the age of 54, won the Over-50s National Squash Championship and had previously been a professional on the PSA World Tour.
A doyen of Tunbridge Wells Squash Club, he won the Kent Championship five times, Kent Over-35s Championship 10 times, and represented the county team on more than 100 occasions.
The first round will be held from 4-7pm on Thursday January 11, with quarter-finals at
7.30-9pm, semi-finals on Friday January 12 from 5-6pm and the final at 7pm.
Sixteen world-ranked men will be competing for the Colin Payne Trophy. Richie Fallows (world ranking 62) has won the tournament for the last two years.
But he will be expecting tough opposition from Ben Coleman (No 52), who beat him 3-2 in the final at Venise Verte. Also among the top sees are Joe Lee (No 59) and Jamie Haycocks (No 85)
In the ladies’ event, Millie Tomlinson, winner of the last three tournaments and having reached her highest ranking at No 26 in the world, will be hoping to retain her title – especially with the extra prize money on offer.
However, she could be challenged by one of the rising stars of British squash, 17-year old Elise Lazarus. Since she competed last year, she has risen 68 places up the rankings ladder to break into the top 100.
Alison Thompson (No 74) is also one to watch after her London Open title, while the tournament also welcomes Japan’s Misaki Kobayashi (No 40), who reached three finals in 2017.
Tickets are available from Tim Donald on 07802 730909 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Entry costs £5 per session or £10 for a season ticket to all four sessions – there are two each day.
An Under-18s season ticket costs £5. Reserved seats cost £5 in addition to the entry fee, viewing one court only.