Kent Open 2021
15 - 18 Dec
Tunbridge Wells, England, $3k
 Curtis Malik (ENG)
11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8 (41m)
[WC] Noah Meredith (ENG)
11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (26m)
11-6, 11-4, 11-4 (33m)
11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4 (41m)
Aaron Allpress (ENG)
6-11, 11-3, 11-2, 7-11, 11-3 (56m)
 Hasnaat Farooqi (ENG)
 Owain Taylor (WAL)
11-4, 14-12, 11-3 (27m)
Nick Ratnarajah (ENG)
11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (37m)
 Perry Malik (ENG)
11-4, 11-7, 11-7 (29m)
Jordan Warne (ENG)
Finnlay Withington (ENG)
6-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 (36m)
 Anthony Rogal (ENG)
5-11, 16-14, 11-5, 11-4 (42m)
11-6, 11-7, 11-3 (28m)
 Jack Mitterer (ENG)
11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6 (39m)
Josh Attwell (ENG)
 James Peach (ENG)
11-5, 11-5, 11-6 (28m)
Alvaro Martin (ESP)
11-8, 10-12, 9-11, 15-13, 11-7 (48m)
Phil Nightingale (ENG)
11-6, 11-6, 11-3 (19m)1-5, 11-6 (28m)
 Joshua Masters (ENG)
Kent Open 2021
15 - 18 Dec
Tunbridge Wells, England, $3k
 Torrie Malik (ENG)
11-3, 11-5, 11-3 (22m)
11-3, 11-3, 14-12 (25m)
11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 (31m)
Lara Newton (ENG)
11-2, 7-11, 11-5, 11-4 (25m)
 Catherine Holland (SCO)
 Sofia Aveiro Pita (POR)
11-5, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4 (26m)
Emma Keane (BER)
Sofia Aveiro Pita
11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (17m)
 Rana Ismail (EGY)
 Satomi Watanabe (JPN)
11-1, 11-5, 11-3 (15m)
11-3, 11-4, 11-6 (15m)
 Polly Clark (ENG)
11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (21m)
[WC] Olivia Besant (RUS)
Amy Royle (ENG)
9-11, 3-11, 11-5, 11-9, 16-14 (46m)
 Isabel McCullough (ENG)
11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6 (25m)
 Kace Bartley (ENG)
Curtis Malik and Satomi Watanabe are Kent Open champions
Winners Presentation and Organisers
Curtis Malik and Satomi Watanabe triumphed in the Colin Payne Kent Open,
sponsored by 501 Entertainment, after two entertaining finals at
Tunbridge Wells Squash Club.
Malik kept the family flag flying high by beating Yorkshire’s James
Peach after his sister Torrie lost in the women’s final to Watanabe.
Top seed Torrie mounted a battling comeback after losing the first two
Watanabe, 24, began in positive fashion, driving the ball with pace and
precision to take advantage of a nervous start by the 17-year-old Sussex
She won the opening two games by an 11-7 scoreline as Malik struggled to
get the ball past her into the back corners.
Malik responded aggressively in the third, finding her targets and
dictating the play for large parts of the game to win 11-8.
Her accuracy slipped a little in the fourth game as Roehampton
University student Watanabe regained control with her solid driving
forcing errors from her opponent.
However, from 9-5 down Malik won three points in a row as the packed
gallery roared their encouragement.
There were some intense, physical rallies but it was Watanabe who moved
to match ball at 10-8. Malik clawed back another point but the stylish
Japanese player unleashed a squeal of delight as she clinched victory
and the title.
In the men’s final, family honour was restored as Curtis Malik outplayed
James Peach to win in straight games.
Malik is playing with immense confidence after a recent run of
outstanding form has taken him to five finals since August and this was
his third triumph.
He moves the ball around court intelligently, has an impressive flat
forehand kill, and is never afraid of crashing the ball into either nick
whenever the opportunity arises.
Peach is a meticulous, methodical player with superb touch at the front
of the court but Malik managed to keep the ball out of the danger zones
for most of the match.
In the first game, Malik powered into a 7-3 lead and was clearly in a
zone of confidence created by several months of outstanding form
culminating in five finals.
After an even start to the second game, he made the decisive move from
4-4 to 8-4 and saw out the game to lead by two games to love.
Peach responded in the third and produced spells of outstanding quality
as the score seesawed throughout. He led 6-2 only for Malik to draw
level, and from then on Peach managed to keep his nose in front to
squeeze home 11-9.
Malik recovered his focus, length and control to dominate the fourth
game. Peach was still doing some incredible retrieving but he clipped
the tin a few times and hit the ball out once as Malik stepped up the
pressure to win 11-4.
The finalists were joined on court for the presentations by former
Tunbridge Wells captain Colin Payne’s father Malcolm and daughters Alice
Sussex Siblings Reach Kent Open Finals
Sussex siblings Curtis and Torrie Malik lived up to their top seed
billing by reaching the finals of the Colin Payne Kent Open, sponsored
by 501 Entertainment, at Tunbridge Wells Squash Club.
Both won in straight games and will be fired up to complete a family
double against James Peach and Satomi Watanabe.
weathered a fierce fightback from No.3 seed Rana Ismail in the third
game of her semi-final.
The 19-year-old Egyptian, a student at Roehampton University, struggled
to make much impression in the first two games as Malik dominated with
her crisp, precise hitting.
Malik quickly established a dominant position by winning the first six
points and it was only at 10-1 down that Ismail was able to add to her
The second game provided the reverse, with Ismail hanging on at 3-5 down
before Malik produced another run of six consecutive points.
Ismail worked her way into the match in the third game with a more
attacking policy, aided by a sudden flurry of mistakes by her opponent.
Ismail was ahead throughout and reached game ball at 10-9, but Malik
fought back strongly, saved another game ball at 10-11, and, after a few
nervous moments, clinched the game and the match with a 14-12 scoreline.
the final she faces another Roehampton student, Japan’s Satomi Watanabe,
who took less than 16 minutes to see off No.2 seed Kace Bartley.
Like the men’s No.2 seed, Josh Masters, who was beaten by James Peach in
the quarters, Londoner Bartley blamed the workload of coaching for
affecting her match fitness.
She revealed: “Like most players, there was no money coming in during
lockdown and when clubs reopened I managed to get some coaching work at
a number of places, but it’s very tiring.
“I haven’t been able to do any proper training for four months because I
have been so busy coaching, but I am planning to get back into it
properly next season. To do that I need to start training in the New
In the first men’s semi-final James Peach ended the impressive run of
17-year-old Finnlay Withington with a straight-games triumph.
Withington gathered some early points to lead 4-3 in the first game but
Peach imposed himself on proceedings by winning seven points in a row.
In the second, Withington constructed a 5-2 lead but Peach once again
enjoyed a dominant phase with five consecutive points. Withington
levelled at 7-7 but another four-point combination gave Peach the game.
Withington’s challenge evaporated in the third as Peach powered his way
to victory with some accurate placement and phenomenal recoveries to
deny his opponent any success with some ambitious shots.
Owain Taylor was unable to mount a sustained challenge against top seed
Curtis Malik, who looked strong and confident throughout.
six-point burst from 3-2 down in the first game established a clear
pattern of control by Malik. Taylor rallied with three more points but
Malik comfortably contained matters with a five-point winning margin.
In the second, Malik quickly built a 4-0 lead and pushed through to take
Malik raced to a 7-1 lead in the third and there was no way back for the
Welshman as Malik wrapped it up with another 11-4 win.
Two great finals are looming.
Earlier in the day (Friday), BBC South East broadcast a superb feature
on the tournament, including a moving segment on the amazing Malik
click here to download the BBC SE News Article
Maliks Motor Through To
Kent Open Semi-finals As Seeds Are Scattered
By ALAN THATCHER
and sister top seeds Curtis and Torrie Malik powered through to the
semi-finals of the Colin Payne Kent Open, sponsored by 501
Entertainment, on the day when home hopes were halted.
More favourites fell by the wayside as Kent’s No.2 seed Josh Masters and
No.8 seed Jack Mitterer both crashed out of the men’s competition after
holding dominant positions.
Masters squandered a match ball against No.7 seed James Peach before
losing in the fifth and Mitterer will be kicking himself for losing
control against 17-year-old Finnlay Withington.
The world has changed gears since Masters last reached the Kent Open
final after being awarded the wild card in 2017, finishing runner-up to
Joel Makin on that occasion. Then he was in the rising star category;
now he is an experienced pro and at 26 the oldest player in the whole
He has also had to undergo two hip operations after issues affecting his
mobility and in Tunbridge Wells he was up against a fast and fit
opponent who knows his game inside out. The two shared an apartment for
two years at the University of the West of England in Bristol and Peach,
22, is still based there as he hones his career options with Hadrian
Stiff’s Elite Squash Academy.
Peach finished strongly to win the opening game and led 5-2 in the
second, but Masters hit back to lead 8-6. Peach reeled of four points to
hold game ball at 10-8 but Masters hit some outrageous winners to take
the game 12-10.
From 5-4 down in the third, Masters pulled ahead to hold game ball at
10-6 and weathered a flurry of points from Peach to take it 11-9.
The fourth game was neck and neck all the way through until Masters held
match ball at 10-9 and then again at 12-11, but Peach refused to bow
down and clawed his way back to take it 15-13.
Peach led 6-3 in the fifth and although Masters pulled back to 6-6,
Peach pulled away to win 11-7 and book his place in the semi-finals
against the fearless Finnlay Withington.
said: “I had spent five hours coaching at Park Langley before driving
down to play and I was feeling pretty tired. I felt I was moving OK but
I know my hip will be sore tomorrow.
“In some ways it’s not too damaging to play two days on the trot but if
I had gone all the way through and played four days in a row then the
hip would definitely be feeling the strain. I have had two lots of
surgery and will certainly need more.”
Masters recently won the Wild Card Challenge at Canary Wharf and will be
training as hard as he can to make the most of the opportunity in March.
He added: “I will definitely try to cut down the coaching to give my
body a chance but I’m looking forward to the best of three format
looked in control against Withington as he took the opening game 11-5
but the boy from Bury hit back to lead 8-5 in the second. Mitterer drew
level and the pair traded points until Mitterer held ball at 13-12 and
again at 14-13, but he failed to convert them and Withington took three
points in a row to take the game 16-14.
Withington’s confidence grew and he led throughout to win the third
game. In the fourth he pulled away from 5-4 ahead in the fourth to win
the final six points in a row.
Owain Taylor overcame No.4 seed Perry Malik 3-0 and the Welshman will
now face top seed Curtis Malik for a place in the tournament fashion.
Taylor and Perry had crafted a 96-minute marathon in Scotland the
previous week but the Welshman maintained control of proceedings in
similar fashion in each of the three games.
From the scores being level around the mid-point of each game, Taylor
pulled away to claim a run of points to open up a commanding and
Taylor now faces big brother Curtis, who enjoyed a straight-games win
over the great entertainer Aaron Allpress, who conjured up some
extraordinary Mizuki volleys as the points piled up against him.
Allpress began strongly and led 8-4 in the first game but that was the
only time he held any semblance of control.
It was a day when the top four women’s seeds entered the fray after
enjoying a rest day when Covid withdrawals decimated yesterday’s first
All four won through to the semis with No.2 seed Kace Bartley the only
one to drop a game in her tie against Amy Royle.
Bartley faces a tough time in the semi-finals against the dazzlingly
effective Satomi Watanabe, who took just 15 minutes to ease past Polly
seed Torrie Malik, playing remarkably mature squash for a 17-year-old,
had too much for the enthusiastic Lara Newton, one year her junior.
She now faces the Egyptian No.3 seed Rana Ismail (right), who looked
comfortably in control throughout her match against Sofia Aveiro Pita
Four magnificent semi-finals now lie in wait.
Mixed fortunes for local hopes on day one of the Kent
Royal Tunbridge Wells sits on the border of Kent and East Sussex, and
players from both counties took centre stage on day one of the Colin
Payne Kent Open, sponsored by 501 Entertainment.
Men’s top seed Curtis Malik was fully tested by wild card Noah Meredith,
who plays number one for host club Tunbridge Wells.
The scoreline of 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8 shows how close each game was
between the two Sussex players. Meredith performed well, and a packed
gallery roared him on throughout the match, but he was up against an
in-form opponent whose recent run of success (winning 12 of his last 15
PSA matches) has clearly given him a massive air of confidence.
Meredith hit some outstanding winners but on many occasions he found
Malik anticipating his shots and moving into position before his
opponent had struck the ball.
Malik meets Aaron Allpress in the quarter-finals after the Colchester
player ousted No.5 seed Hasnaat Farooqi from London in a ding-dong
battle, winning an entertaining encounter 11-3 in the fifth.
Malik’s younger brother Perry is also playing well at the moment and his
straight-games win over Jordan Warne landed him a quarter-final showdown
with Owain Taylor a week after the two played a 96-minute marathon in
the Lockerbie Challenge in Scotland.
Welshman Taylor won that 18-16 in the fifth but enjoyed a much quicker
win at Tunbridge Wells, beating Nick Ratnarajah 11-4, 14-12, 11-3 in 27
Kent’s Jack Mitterer played some superb squash to beat Josh Attwell in
four games and he meets Manchester’s 17-year-old Finnlay Withington, who
celebrated his first Tour match win when he upset #3 seed Anthony Rogal
Kent’s No.2 seed Josh Masters, runner-up to Joel Makin in the last
edition of the tournament played at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone,
finished proceedings with a 19-minute win over veteran campaigner Phil
Nightingale, who spent many years playing Kent League squash before
becoming a vicar in Northamptonshire.
Masters meets James Peach, who achieved a straight-games win over Alvaro
Martin from Spain.
The day began with some off-court drama as four players were forced to
withdraw from the women’s competition.
One of them tested positive for Covid ... and three more had to pull out
because they all share the same apartment at the University of
The players who withdrew are Katie Cox (England), Kiera Marshall
(England), Chloe Foster (Wales) and Megan van Drongelen (Netherlands).
The PSA immediately arranged a redraw which resulted in the top four
seeds, Torrie Malik (England), Kace Bartley (England), Rana Ismail
(Egypt) and Satomi Watanabe (Japan) all receiving a bye.
When play began there was plenty of drama on court. The standout match
of the day featured two 17-year-olds, with Yorkshire’s Amy Royle
fighting back from two games down to beat Kent’s No.8 seed Isabel
McCullough 9-11, 3-11, 11-5, 11-9, 16-14 after saving three match balls
in the fifth.
Despite spending two hours stuck in a traffic jam on top of the QE2
Bridge over the River Thames on her journey down from Essex, Lara Newton
looked fresh as she beat No.7 seed Catherine Holland, who had taken an
even longer journey down from Scotland.
Portugal’s No.6 seed Sofia Aveiro Pita was also delayed by the same
snarl-up which caused tailbacks on the M25 on her journey down from
Cambridge. She too looked fresh as she beat Bermuda’s Emma Keane, based
in Guildford, in four games.
Yorkshire’s Polly Clark, with coach David Pearson in attendance, beat
Hampshire-based Russian Olivia Besant in straight games.
The four top seeds, Torrie Malik, Kace Bartley, Rana Ismail (Egypt) and
Satomi Watanabe (Japan) join the fray today after enjoying a rest day
because of the Covid issues.
Torrie, however, was kept busy, along with her two brothers, as the BBC
South East filmed interviews which will be broadcast during today’s
evening news bulletin.
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