five-game run to the title as Gawad claims a first
Donna Lobban had already survived two five game thrillers to reach
the final, while second seed Julianne Courtice had enjoyed an easier
passage to the final.
Despite a good start to the first from Donna, Julianne pegged it
back to take the lead 11-6. Donna fought back to take the next two
11-9 but when Julianne claimed the fourth 11-7 Donna was looking at
a third successive decider.
Donna eased ahead, 8-5, Julianne closed to 6-8 but Donna pulled away
again and unlike her previous matches it only took one match ball
for the Aussie-cum-Scot to claim her first ESC Open title 11-8 in 56
"It's been a tough week," admitted the new champion, "I've had some
tough battles and I was really hanging on there at times. I wish I
had Jules' racket skills, but I managed to get through in the end.
When I think that this time last year I was learning to walk again,
I'm really delighted to have come back and to win this title feels
The men's final saw Greb Lobban aiming to continue his run of upset
results to reclaim the title he won in 2018, but Egyptian Karim
Abdel Gawad, who came through to the final with two five game
victories, was in no mood for another thriller.
Karim quickly got into his stride, taking the first two games 11-8
with Greg pulling a few points back towards the end of each. There
was no recovery in the third as Karim pulled away again, claiming
the match and the title 11-4 in 30 minutes.
"People say they'd love to get on court with the top guys," joked
Greg afterwards, "I don't know why, it's horrible! I've had a good
week, but all credit to Karim, he controlled the match from start to
finish and everything he tried came off."
Gawad was delighted with the win: "It's my first time in Scotland
and I've really enjoyed it. The club, the crowd, the court are all
great, and the prize money helps too! It would be great to see a big
PSA event come to Scotland, but hopefully I'll be back to defend my
title next year anyway."
A Chris Leiper 3-0 Chris Ferguson 11-3, 11-7, 11-6
B Cai Younger 3-0 Ruan Metz 18-16, 11-7,11-7
C Simon Broatch 3-0 Karl Becker 11-7, 11-9, 13-11
D Michael Buckholz 3-1 Tom Naylor 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9
E Grant Addison 3-0 Andrew Black 11-3,11-4,11-3
F Mark Lockhart 3-0 Robbie Todd 11-5, 11-6, 11-2
Yesterday Donna Lobban was two-nil up and held off a comeback from
top seed Emily Whitlock to win in five games. Today shewas two-nil
down to fourth seeded South African Alexandra Fuller and came back
towin in five!
Fuller controlled the first two games 11-8, 11-6, her pacy hitting
and smooth movement keeping Lobban off balance and unable to impose
herself on the match.
The Aussie started the third strongly and started to find her range,
reducing the deficit 11-5 and leading the early stages of the
fourth. Fuller levelled at 8-all but Lobban moved ahead again,
levelling the match 12-10 on her third game ball and urging the
crowd on as she left the court - not that they needed any such
The fifth was nervous, neither player managed to get ahead as the
lead changed hands. It was Fuller who edged ahead from 9-all toearn
a match ball, but three points in a row for an emotional Lobban and
she was through to the final 12-10 in 57 minutes..
"Dramatic or what - you'd think I love the drama, but I'd much
rather win easily!
"She was playing amazing in the first two games, but maybe I was
playing her game too much. I think I did a good job of playing my
game after that, it was effective but I had to work hard to stick to
it. It was a great match, tough one to win.
"Greg joked last night that me putting him through the wringer
before his match obviously worked and that I'd have to do it again.
I don't think he saw it coming, but he got his wish!"
Second seed Julianne Courtice reached her second ESC Open final in
three years as she overcame long time adversary Rachael Chadwick in
four games. Chadwick was ahead throughout the first, taking the lead
11-9 and was 9-7 up in the second before a run of four points put
It was plain sailing after that as Courtice took the third 11-4 and
eased through the fourth against a dispirited opponent 11-2,
reaching the final in 38 minutes.
"That second was much needed, if I'd lost that it would have been a
real battle," said Julianne. "But to get to level pegging gave me
the confidence to push ahead in the third.
"I've only played Donna once on PSA, lost 3-2, but she's had some
real battles here so far, I hope I can give her another one tomorrow
and get the crowd going again, and maybe on my side!"
Men :Gawad toughs it out again as Greg finally quells Daryl
The first men's semi-final went the distance as second seed Karim
Abdel Gawad locked horns with 3/4 seed Joel Makin. The Egyptian was
in charge in the first, taking the lead 11-6, but Makin struck back
to take the second and third, both 11-8.
If Gawad was going to reach the final he'd need to win a second
consecutive five-setter, and that's just what he did, delighting the
crowd with his silky skills as he took the last two games, both
"Tough, and tough again! I flew to London, played a PSL match in
Birmingham, flew to Scotland for a five setter yesterday, I didn't
expect that I'd be able to last long against Joel today, but I was
happy with my squash and my performance.
"The crowd here are beautiful, and the great thing about this court
is that you feel like you're playing in the middle of the crowd.
Looking forward to playing the final on it tomorrow."
Having despatched Paul Coll yesterday, Greg Lobban looked like he
was going to do it again as he powered into a two game lead over 3/4
seed Daryl Selby 11-6, 11-5, and with the Englishman looking the
more fatigued of the two as the third game started, another
three-nil seemed to be on the cards.
But Daryl isn't a five-time ESC Open champion for nothing, and he
dug in as only he can, making every rally tough and at times earning
a breather as he questioned referee John Massarella's decisions -
not an opinion, after one exchange he admitted "I need a rest!"
Neither player could score a run of points now, and the next three
games were an exhibition of court craft and sheer determination.
Daryl saved one match ball in the third and two more in the fourth,
taking them both 13-11.
There was no letup in the fifth, as Daryl eked out a 7-3 lead only
for Greg to fight back to 8-all, then 9-all. The last two points
went Greg's way and he lifted him arms into the air as reached the
final for the second time in three years.
"That was very tough out there. So happy to win in 5, Daryl is such
a battle hardened competitor and even at 2-0 up I knew I couldnít
"He played the right game and fought his way back into the match
very well. I tried to stay as calm as possible when I was 7-3 down
in the 5th and trusted my ability to work my way back into the
decider and thankfully managed to win the last point.
"Donna has been doing her best to emotionally drain me by battling
through to win in five games herself the last few days but she
definitely gave me the inspiration I needed to keep pushing
There followed a presentation to long-time tournament supporter and
five-time champion Daryl,in which he was awarded life membership of
Scots exit womenís draw as Lobban and Chadwick stun seeds - Lobban
takes out Coll in massive menís upset
Day Three started with men's round two as the eight seeded players
started theircampaign against last night's winners. As with with
women's draw, all eight won through to setup evening quarter-finals
as predicted by the seedings.
The women's quarter-finals started with top seed andformer champion
Emily Whitlock taking on fifth seeded Australian Donna Lobban -
almost a local with husband Greg watching and the crowd definitely
in her favour.
Had the seeding been done on highest world ranking, they would have
been #1 and#2, and that closeness was borne out as Donna claimed two
close first games, finishing both the stronger for 11-8,11-8 and
almost pulling back Emily's early lead in the thirdwhich the top
seed took 11-9.
The fourth was a humdinger as Donna edged ahead to 10-8, but after
saving those match balls, and four more in extended extra points,
Emily edged home 18-16 to set up a decider.
Donna moved ahead gain in the fifth, and only needed two
morematchballs as she delightedly closed out the match 11-8 in 67
Both Scots exited the draw as Alexandra Fuller overcame Alison
Thomson in straight games 11-6, 11-5,11-8 in 28 minutes. Then, in an
uncanny repeat of the top match, Rachael Chadwick went two up
against third seed Lisa Aitken, who battled back totake the third
and save two match balls in the fourth before finally falling 13-11,
12-10, 6-11, 11-13, 11-8 in just over the hour.
"I've never got close to Lisa, she's battered me every time before
so I went in without any pressure. I had to pick the time to play on
her forehand, she's lethal there. I was pleased to sneak the first
two, felt I should have won the fourth, and she was really up for
the fifth, I was glad to win that one. This seems like a lucky
tournament for me, I've had some good results here."
In the final women's quarter second seed Julianne Courtice let 10-6
leads slip in both the first two games against Satomi Watanabe, but
took them both 12-10 before the former champion closed out the third
11-8in 31 minutes.
The men's quarters started with a sensational upset - home favourite
and 2018 Champion Greg Lobban, this time a 5/8 seed, ousting second
seedand defending champion Paul Coll in straight games! Greg
maintained leads through the first two games then recovered from 2-6
down to closeout the match 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 in 45 minutes.
Five time champion Daryl Selby wasted no time in despatching
Welshman Peter Creed 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 in 23 minutes to set up a
semi-final against Lobban, a repeat of the 2018 final.
Wales' Joel Makin added to the home nations' interest in the
semi-finals as he overcame determined resistance from Alan Clyne,
taking the match 11-3, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5 in 49 minutes.
Last up it was top seed Karim Abdel Gawad against Declan James in a
rematch of their thrilling encounter in the World Teamsin
Washington. James took the first and had gameball for a two-love
lead, but Gawad levelled in extra points. Long story short - it's
late, after all - Gawad prevailed in five,like he does, controlling
the decider to win 9-11, 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4 in 80 minutes.
The Graded events continue tomorrow (yours truly is on at 9am) with
the semi-finals starting at 17.00.
Day Two saw yesterday's winners take on the eight seeded players in
the women's PSA Challenger 20 draw, , and there was barely a hint of
an upset as the seeds all won in straight games to set up the
Yesterday's home winners all lost, two of them to compatriots as
Lisa Aitken and Alison Thomson kept Scottish interest alie.
Aitken now meets England's Rachael Chadwick while Thomson takes on
fourth seeded South African Alexandra Fuller. English top seeds
Emily Whitlock and Julianne Courtice face Aussie Donna Lobban and
Japan's Satomi Watanabe in the quarter-finals, which start at 15.30
The 20th edition of the Edinburgh Sports Club got under way with Round
One of the Womenís PSA Challenger 20 event ,eight matches with the
winners progressing to play the seeds in Thursdayís Round Two.
There was plenty of home interest with Scots in five of the eight
matches, and successful forays for Georgia Adderley, Katriona Adderley
and Elspeth Young.
Adderley, who turned 19 earlier this month, overcame clubmate Carrie
Hallam in straight games while Allen and Young upset 9/16 seeds
Charlotte Jagger and Fanny Segers to give Scotland five spots in round
two. Adderley meets top seeded Englishwoman Emily Whitlock while Allen
and Young meet fellow Scots Alison Thomson and Lisa Aitken.
Womenís Round One :
Georgia Adderley (Sco) 3-0 Carrie Hallam (Sco) 11-4, 11-2, 11-2 (22m)
Yura Choe (Kor) 3-1 Eva Fertekova (Cze) 11-0, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6 (27m)