Hinds Wins Belfast Final

Legacy Wealth Belfast Open Squash 2015

Final – Sunday 30th August

[1] Joel Hinds (ENG) 3-2 [2] Angus Gillams (ENG) 11/9, 8/11, 6/11, 11/9, 11/7 (97m)

The final of the inaugural Legacy Wealth Belfast Open proved to be a fitting climax to what has been a fabulous first event, with Joel Hinds of England prevailing in another 5-set thriller lasting 97 min against the young up and coming English player Angus Gillams.

In a sign of the match to come, the opening first game saw both players quickly settle into a rhythm of tough demanding rallies, as they tested each other’s defences and looked for opportunities. Angus in particular looked very assured, working hard and attacking with pace to establish a solid 8/5 lead. At this point it looked like Angus would take the first set but a series of forced errors against the run of the play, opened the door for Joel. A couple of quick rallies later, Joel had snatched the first set – undoubtedly to the frustration of Angus.Final

Normal service resumed at the start of the second set, with gruelling rallies as both players moved with great speed and efficiency about the court. From 7/7, Angus showed another side to his powerful attacking game, with a series of stunning drops and volley drops, and was rewarded for his attacking play with the second set.

Often the third set of such a match can be hotly contested and this proved the case today. After levelling the match, Angus came out in the third with all guns blazing. Looking much more at ease, he raced to a 4-0 lead as his attacking front court winners continued to produce reward. Clearly under pressure, the experienced Joel dug deep to stem the flow of winners from Angus, extending the rallies and grafting his way back into the match. With an increasing number of stoppages for lets, and long rallies as the players competed for dominance around the T, Joel worked his way back to within 2 points of Angus. Angus responded – again taking an attacking approach, with a great volley drop and stunning powerful drive to halt Joel’s recovery and take the third set.

The fourth set resumed with increasingly physical rallies but neither player could gain significant dominance. Powerful drives, incredible retrieving and deft touches to the front kept the large crowd at the Belfast Boat Club enthralled. As the pressure and fatigue increased, critical errors crept in the game. From 7/7, a couple of great drops from Joel closed out the fourth to take the match to a deciding set.

As if the standard of squash was not enough drama for the spectators, the first rally of the fifth set ended with an accidental clash with Angus’ racket just catching Joel. A blood injury to Joel’s face resulted in a 5-10 minute break whilst he was patched up. The fifth set then resumed from 0-0, and Joel was first to recover his rhythm from the break, racing to a 5-0 lead. An unsettled Angus managed to stop the run of points by Joel and exchange some longer rallies. However, this early lead proved too difficult to close, and Joel played a number of great drops to finish the match in style. Although a tough loss for Angus, this young player will no doubt feature in many future finals.Final Joel Hinds (3)

Therousing performance by these two players was fully appreciated by the spectators. Joel, having survived an injury scare in the early rounds, and survived two 5-set matches, said “I was delighted to come through such a tough match – and would like to thank the sponsors and organisers for bringing this new event to Belfast”. Promoter Jeff Hearst praised all the PSA players for their effort and great example throughout the tournament, with several of the players helping out with coaching local juniors and playing club members. “I hope this is the first of many great events in Belfast”BelfastOpenSquash.com

Twitter: @PSABelfastOpen

Semi-Finals – Saturday 29th August

[1] Joel Hinds (ENG) 3-2 [3] Edmon Lopez Moller (ESP) 8/11, 11/9, 11/5, 10/12, 11/5 (84m)

[2] Angus Gillams (ENG) 3-0 [Q] Kyle Finch (ENG) 11/6, 11/6, 11/6 (31m)

It was down to the last four, as the semi-finals of the Legacy Wealth Belfast Open produced a great evening of squash including a 5-set 84 minute thriller between the number 1 and 3 seeds.

Edmon Lopez Miller from Spain was looking to cause an upset against tournament favourite Joel Hinds and got off to a great start with a succession of quick points in the first set to open up an early lead. Joel steadied and found some rhythm, gradually extending the rallies – but still spent most of the first game trying to catch up, as Edmon’s fast hitting got him to 10-4 game point. Joel responded by taking more control of the rallies as he worked his way back to 8-10, before a relieved Edmon clinched the set with a hard forehand drive winner.

Joel’s form continued to improve in the second set as he established an early 5-2 lead with a series of tough but controlled rallies, working Edmon effectively around the court. Edmon dug deep to keep in touch but eventually Joel secured the set 11/9. The matched continued to drift in Joel’s favour as he dominated the opening points of the third set with a series of gruelling rallies that stretched Edmon, opening up an 8-4 lead. Edmon finally managed to break Joel’s sequence of winning rallies with another fierce forehand drive, but could not halt Joel’s march to the third game. Joel’s accuracy, control and domination of the centre court was beginning to pay good dividends.

The fourth set brought out some of the most competitive squash of the tournament so far. Dominated by tough energy sapping rallies, there was little between the players as they battled through the points – 6-all, 7-all, 8-all, 9-all. A series of shoe changes by Edmon added to the tension. At this point the crowd was treated to an absolutely huge rally that had both players covering every part of the court – only to end in a let. The drama increased as the players moved to 10-all and another fantastic rally. As the ball was sprayed all around the court, Edmon dived full stretch to pick up a shot, dropped his racket, picked it up and still recovered to keep the rally going and finally win it and eventually the game 12/10. Outrageous play by the young Spanish player.

With the crowd fully engaged in the match, the players started the fifth and final set, Joel managing to establish an early lead. Edmon continued to battle but Joel steadily stretched his lead to 9/4, his accurate shot making forcing a series of errors from the young Spanish player. Despite Edmon’s best efforts, he could not close the gap and Joel closed out the match 3-2. A really fantastic match for the large crowd at the Belfast Boat Club.

After the buzz of the first semi-final, it was the turn of two of England’s most promising young players, number 2 seed Angus Gillams and surprise package of the tournament 16 year old Kyle Finch. Appearing in his first PSA semi-final Kyle started off brightly, showing few signs of nerves. However, it was now the turn of Angus to show his talent. Angus has quietly moved through the early rounds of the tournament with 3-0 wins and continued this run against Kyle. With superb movement around the court, accurate shot making and great control of the rallies, Angus applied relentless pressure. With Kyle beginning to run out of steam in his fifth hard match in 5 days, Angus clinically pounced on any loose shot to punish his opponent. Inevitably Angus brought Kyle’s great run to an end with a 3-0 win.

The two semi-finals left the large crowd at the Belfast Boat Club eagerly looking forward to Sunday’s final between the top seeds, Joel and Angus.

The final is scheduled to begin at 2.00pm on Sunday at the Boat Club.


Twitter: @PSABelfastOpen

Legacy Wealth Belfast Open Final – Sunday 30th August

2:00 [1] Joel Hinds (ENG) v [2] Angus Gillams (ENG)


Quarter-Finals – Friday 28th August

[1] Joel Hinds (ENG) v Patrick Rooney (ENG) 11/8, 11/8, 11/8 (39m)

[3] Edmon Lopez Moller (ESP) 3-0 Phil Nightingale (ENG) 12/10, 11/6, 11/5 (41m)

[Q] Kyle Finch (ENG) 3-0 [6] Jean-Pierre Brits (RSA) 11/5, 11/3, 11/8 (30m)

[2] Angus Gillams (ENG) 3-0 Nick Mulvey (ENG) 11/3, 11/8, 11/2 (28m)

It was Quarter-Finals night at the Belfast Boat Club for the Legacy Wealth Belfast Open.

The number 1 seed Joel Hinds (England), having survived an injury scare the night before, opened up the quarter-finals against one of Europe’s leading juniors, Patrick Rooney also of England. In the first set both players worked hard to find openings, sharing points until 8/8. A couple of almost perfect backhand drives then broke the deadlock in Joel’s favour to win the first game. In the second game, both players continued to attack with rarely more than a point separating them until the end of the game. Again, the more experienced Joel steadied to secure a 2-0 lead. In the third, an early lead from Joel suggested a simple finish to the match but Patrick rallied with some outstanding winners to the front of the court, including a fast-reaction backhand cross court drop that rolled from the nick. However, the mini-revival stalled and eventually Joe served out the match for a 3-0 hard fought win.

The second match featured young up and coming Spanish player Edmon Lopez Moller against English player Phil Nightingale. In a contrast of styles to the first match, this was a display dominated by fast hitting and tough physically demanding rallies. There was nothing between the players in the first set, with Edmon just edging it 12/10. The second set continued in the same vein, with some gruelling rallies, Edmon gradually finding his range with his very effective boasts to win it 11/6. Edmon raced to a 5-0 lead in the third set, before a gritty recovery from Phil. Edmon then steadied with some testing lengths to secure the 3-0 win. Talking after the match, Edmon said: “The first game was really tough. Phil played great shots. The next two games were good for me – my shots improved”. Edmon also said he liked Belfast but was “missing the weather in Spain”. Understandable.

The third quarter-final saw the surprise player of the tournament, 16 year old English junior Kyle Finch, continue his run of great results, to complete a 3-0 win over Jean-Pierre Brits of South Africa. In a fast paced contest, Kyle managed to keep his attacking game going despite of pressure from Jean-Pierre, who was working hard to extend the match against the younger player. Kyle has now secured a fantastic semi-final place in his first PSA event.

Number 2 seed Angus Gillams completed the semi-final line-up with another solid performance against fellow English player Nick Mulvey, winning 3-0. Angus is looking like a strong contender for the event.

Tomorrow’s semi-finals promise breath-taking squash from some of Europe’s most exciting young players. Matches are scheduled to begin at 5.00pm at the Boat Club.


Twitter: @PSABelfastOpen

Main Draw Semi-Finals – Saturday 29th August

17:00 [1] Joel Hinds (ENG) v [3] Edmon Lopez Moller (ESP)

18:00 [Q] Kyle Finch (ENG) v [2] Angus Gillams (ENG)

Main Draw Round 1 – Thursday 27th August

[3] Edmon Lopez Moller (ESP) 3-1 [Q] Brian Byrne (IRL) 11/4, 8/11, 11/8, 11/8 (55m)

Phil Nightingale (ENG) 3-0 [7] Mike Lewis (USA) 11/6, 13/11, 11/6 (31m)

[6] Jean-Pierre Brits (RSA) 3-0 [Q] Josh Taylor (ENG) 11/8, 14/12, 11/4 (39m)

[Q] Kyle Finch (ENG) 3-0 [4] Hugo Varela (ESP) 11/5, 11/6, 11/1 (29m)

Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-0 [5] Christo Potgieter (RSA) 11/9, 11/3, 11/9 (33m)

[1] Joel Hinds (ENG) 3-1 [Q] James Peach (ENG) 11/5, 11/6, 5/11, 11/8 (32m)

Nick Mulvey (ENG) 3-1 [8] Jon Geekie (SCO) 11/5, 8/11, 11/9, 11/2 (38m)

[2] Angus Gillams (ENG) 3-0 Kevin Moran (SCO) 11/4, 11/2, 11/2 (24m)

The first round of the Legacy Wealth Belfast Open started early today with the opening match featuring the last Irish player Brian Byrne left in the Main Draw. Brian was up against the number 3 seed, exciting young Spanish player Edmon Lopez Moller – runner up a few months ago in the European U19 Individuals. In a high quality match, Edmon and Brian shared the opening 2 games, before Edmon edged both the next 2 games with some high quality fast paced squash.

In the next matches the experienced Phil Nightingale proved too strong for Mike Lewis of USA, completing a 3-0 win. Jean-Pierre Brits from South Africa and Josh Taylor from England were evenly matched for the first two games of their encounter, exchanging brilliant drops, counter-drops and lobs. Jean-Pierre held on to take these games, before closing the third game in fine style. The match was played with great sportsmanship from both players.

Day 3 Kyle Finch

Kyle Finch looking relaxed

In the last match of the afternoon session, 16 year qualifier Kyle Finch from England continued his fine run in the event, with an emphatic 3-0 win over Hugo Varela of Spain. Kyle: “I am delighted to be through to this stage in my first PSA tournament”

The evening session produced great squash and some unexpected drama. Patrick Rooney, one of the top juniors in Europe, produced a controlled display against Christo Potgieter of South Africa. In a very entertaining display, both players used a wide range of shots, angles and lobs. Christo rallied in the third set to build an 8-2 lead before Patrick steadied and closed out the match 3-0. Patrick: “It’s good to get that first match under my belt and looking forward to the quarter-final tomorrow”

Day 3 Joel Hinds

Joel Hinds retrieving

Next up was Joel Hinds the number 1 seed from England against English junior James Peach. The match was going to seeding with Joel establishing a good lead, before an accidental clash between the players left Joel sprawled on the court with a painful twist to his ankle. After a 20 min break amid uncertainty over whether the match would continue, Joel returned with his ankle strapped and quickly secured a 2-0 lead. However, in the next game James put steady pressure on Joel, winning it comfortably. The fourth was closely contested with Joel just able to maintain an early lead to close out the match. A relieved Joel after the match: “That was tough and I am really pleased to scrape through against James”

The final matches brought together two England – Scotland contests. The first was a tough contest between Nick Mulvey of England and Jon Geekie of Scotland, with Nick eventually securing a hard earned 3-1 win. Number 2 seed Angus Gillams from England then proved too strong for Kevin Moran with a clinical 3-0 win to round off a great evening of squash.

Tomorrow night should see some hotly contested quarter-finals. All spectators welcome. Matches are scheduled to begin at 5.00pm at the Boat Club.


Twitter: @PSABelfastOpen


Main Draw Quarter-Finals – Friday 28th August

17:00 [1] Joel Hinds (ENG) v Patrick Rooney (ENG)

18:00 Phil Nightingale (ENG) v [3] Edmon Lopez Moller (ESP)

19:00 [6] Jean-Pierre Brits (RSA) v [Q] Kyle Finch (ENG)

20:00 Nick Mulvey (ENG) v [2] Angus Gillams (ENG)



Wednesday 26th August 2015 – Qualifying Round 2 Results


Brian Byrne (IRL) 3-1 [4] Roshan Bharos (NED) 6-11, 11/7, 13/11, 11/4

[6] Kyle Finch (ENG) 3-1 [2] Matthew Sidaway (ENG) 11/9, 14/12, 7/11, 11/7

James Peach (ENG) 3-1 [5] Sam Ellis (ENG) 11/8, 10/12, 11/4, 11/7

[1] Josh Taylor (ENG) 3-1 [8] Stuart Hadden (IRL) 6/11, 12/10, 11/7, 11/8

Match reviews – Day 2

Day 2 Brian Byrne

Brian getting good advice from David Ayerst

Qualification is a tough environment for up and coming professionals, and the Legacy Wealth Belfast Open final round of qualification produced four hotly contested hour-long matches.

The evening kicked off with Irish #2 Brian Byrne taking on Dutch player Roshan Bharos. This proved a fast hitting match with neither player quite able to dominate. Roshan came out of the blocks quickest in the first set taking it 11/6. In the second set Brian established an early lead and managed to maintain this to take it 11/7, with both players showing some great touches to the front of the court. The third set turned into a real scrap with little separating the players in a sequence of fast counter-punching rallies. Brian eventually took it 13/11 and an early lead in the fourth helped Brian close the match out 3-1 over Roshan.

The second match was an all-English affair featuring 16 year Kyle Finch against Matthew Sidaway.

Kyle, in his first PSA event, produced an upset in beating Matthew 3-1, with some excellent quality squash using all corners of the court. Kyle was delighted with the result: “It was a close match, I enjoyed it and am very happy to get through to the next round”

Sam Ellis and James Peach, two other young players from England, continued the trend. Both showed great athleticism and moved the ball and opponent all around the court. There was little between them as the first two games were shared – but from the third on, James managed to maintain pressure and control to take the match 3-1. A very entertaining match with some fantastic rallies to be admired from these two players.

The final match was between Irish player Stuart Hadden and Josh Taylor from England. Stuart started very brightly showing great ball control to dominate the first game and half. However Josh continued to work hard to stay in the match and eventually in the second game began to get some reward. A tense finish saw Josh level the match 12-10. The next two games proved tough for both players, with Josh gradually just edging ahead in both to take a highly competitive match 3-1. A good finish to the evening session, with the efforts of all players appreciated by the spectators.

Reward for the four qualifiers is to join a truly international field of professional squash players in the first round of the Main Draw. English top seeds Joel Hinds and Angus Gillams are joined by players from South Africa, Spain, USA, Scotland and England. Irish hopes rest on Brian Byrne who has recently joined the PSA tour on a full time basis and is looking to secure some solid ranking points. The PSA World Tour is growing strongly and this is a great opportunity to watch some fantastic squash and perhaps some of the stars of the future. Matches are scheduled to begin in the early Thursday afternoon at the Boat Club.


Twitter: @PSABelfastOpen

Main Draw Round 1 – Thursday 27th August


18:00 [1] Joel Hinds (ENG) v [Q] James Peach (ENG)

17:00 Patrick Rooney (ENG) v [5] Christo Potgieter (RSA)

13:30 [7] Mike Lewis (USA) v Phil Nightingale (ENG)

12:30 [Q] Brian Byrne (IRL) v [3] Edmon Lopez Moller (ESP)

15:30 [4] Hugo Varela (ESP) v [Q] Kyle Finch (ENG)

14:30 [Q] Josh Taylor (ENG) v [6] Jean-Pierre Brits (RSA)

19:00 [8] Jon Geekie (SCO) v Nick Mulvey (ENG)

20:00 Kevin Moran (SCO) v [2] Angus Gillams (ENG)




Match reviews – Day 1


In the opening afternoon session, the qualification event began with local player Peter McNeice putting up a spirited effort against Dutch player Roshan Bharos before Roshan completed a comfortable 3-0 winner. This was followed by a “celtic” clash between Irish #2 Brian Byrne and Welsh player Owain Taylor. Owain started off strongly taking the first game 11/8 before Brian worked his way back into the game and levelled the scores. The next two games proved hard-fought with Brian edging the games 11/9 and 12/10 to progress to the next round. The session finished with an entertaining match between 16 year Kyle Finch from England and the very experienced local player David Ayerst. Kyle proved too fast and accurate in the first two games before David clawed his way back into the match with his variety of shots, finding some great angles. In the deciding fourth game, Kyle established a lead only for David again work his way back to 10-10 before Kyle closed out the game 12-10 and the match 3-1.

In the evening session, the first two matches were all-English affairs starting with James Peach against Luke Stewart. Accurate hitting and high work rate from James proved very effective with James completing a 3-0 win. In the next match Sam Ellis similarly played a very effective game against Matthew Cook and also secured a 3-0 win. The final match of the day was an all-Irish pairing of Stuart Hadden against Darren Waring. The rallies were hard fought before Stuart pulled away in the last few points of the games.

Overall a great first day of the inaugural Legacy Wealth Belfast Open with good support for the players. Looking forward to four tough Qualification Round 2 matches starting at 5.30 pm Wed at the Belfast Boat Club.



Results – First Qualifying Round: Belfast Open 2015
[4] Roshan Bharos (NED) bt [L] Peter McNeice (IRL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-1 (24m)
Brian Byrne (IRL) bt [7] Owain Taylor (WAL) 3-1: 8-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9 (50m)
[6] Kyle Finch (ENG) bt [L] David Ayerst (IRL) 3-1: 11-4, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10 (32m)
[2] Matthew Sidaway (ENG) (bye)
James Peach (ENG) bt [3] Luke Stewart (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-6 (24m)
[5] Sam Ellis (ENG) bt Matthew Cook (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 (32m)
[8] Stuart Hadden (IRL) bt [L] Darren Waring (IRL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-6 (34m)
[1] Josh Taylor (ENG) (bye)

Draw 26th August – Final Qualifying Round
[4] Roshan Bharos (NED) v Brian Byrne (IRL)
[6] Kyle Finch (ENG) v [2] Matthew Sidaway (ENG)
James Peach (ENG) v [5] Sam Ellis (ENG)
[8] Stuart Hadden (IRL) v [1] Josh Taylor (ENG)