Finals : French double for Melissa and Auguste
Melissa Alves and Auguste Dussourd delivered a French double in London, Ontario.
Second seeded Dussourd overcame top seedeed Indian Vikram Malhotra in a five game men’s final while Alves beat England’s Jasmine Hutton in straight games in a women’s final.
The win marks Melissa’s fifth, and biggest by a long way, PSA title.
Reporter Stingray Hanebury back for his final report of the 2019 Nash Cup. Tomorrow morning, I make my annual trek to a cave in northern Ontario for my 51 week hibernation. If you thought my beard is grizzly now, wait until next August.
Gary Sullivan just stopped by to ask that he not be included in tonight’s write up. Being the good friend I am, I will make every effort to include Gary as much as possible.
The players are warming up and the house is packed to the brim with fans eager to see these two professionals battle it out for the championship. Both players look calm and focused, but we can only assume that under the surface their nerves are less than calm.
First rally is a quick one after Alves hits an unforced error. The next has Hutton hit an unforced winner. They’re going to need a few rallies to get the feel of this game. Local club man, Gary Sullivan, claims he’s never been nervous before a match. His reasoning being that there’s no point being nervous when you know you have no chance of winning. Logic checks out, Sullivan.
Midway through the first and the rallies are fairly short and scrappy. Neither player seems to have yet found their groove. 7-6 in the first and Alves seems to be having trouble getting depth on her length. They’re all finding the side wall early or are being hit too low. However, the next point she turns it around with some good wide cross courts and deep shots that earn her a tin from Hutton. 9-9 and Hutton hits a volley backhand drop into the tin, giving Alves the first game ball. That could be a costly error, but as Gary Sullivan says, you need to go for your winners, even if that means you hit a few people. Game ball is a long point that sees Alves win 11-9 to go up one game.
Second game Alves quickly gets a 4-1 lead. Hutton’s length on the left wall is loose, forcing her to be on the defensive and providing Alves plenty of openings to attack. The next point is hard fought, with Hutton finally winning on a drop in the front right, but Alves believes the drop hit tin and the refs, unsure, call a let. Alves wins the next point and the following, going up 6-1. Hutton needs to tighten up her game and control the mid court if she wants to come back in this game. Alves continues her run of points to go up 10-1 for game ball. Hutton appears a bit lost on what she needs to do to turn things around. She manages to win the following point, but then ends it hitting an easy drop in the tin.
Gary Sullivan, always the expert in the room on whatever the topic is, suggests maybe he can coach Hutton to a victory. Fortunately he doesn’t, which means Hutton still has a chance to win.
The third game starts and Hutton is bouncing on the court, ready to play. She looks determined to put in a good fight. Her length on the left wall looks tighter and is forcing Alves into the back corners. She goes up 2-0. The next point, she earns herself a winning opportunity in the mid court and hits the ball into the middle of the tin. A frustrating end considering the work that was put into the point. At 2-2, the crowd is gifted with a fantastic point. Alves scrambles to retrieve a ball in the front and somehow comes back to win the point. She fires off two more winners in the following rallies to go up 5-2. Hutton knows that the next point is critical, and she digs in to win it. 3-6 down, there’s a lot of runway left for her to make a move this game. At 9-5 both players exhibit some impressive acrobatics to retrieve multiple successive shots in the front. Alves ends up winning to go up 10-4 and get the first championship ball of the tournament.
Alves wins the next point to become the Nash Cup 2019 championship.
The men’s final starts in 45 minutes, which gives the crowd plenty of time to field some refreshments of the non-hydrating variety. I have some time here, so let’s put in one more Gary Sullivan mention. Done.
That’s all for this year from Stingray Hanebury. Thanks to the players for putting in some great performances. The members are already looking forward to their next time on court, with their minds full of unrealistic expectations on their level of play. Our local RMT, Jessica Wilken, is expecting a full schedule in October due to all of the injuries that will inevitably occur.
Cheers, Stingray Hanebury Esq.
As the match is about to begin, it is worth noting that the upstairs crowd is gathering sipping Pinot Grigio or a Cabernet Sauvignon and eating some Prosciutto wrapped asparagus. The disparity is displayed as the downstairs crowd is busy chugging Sleeman beer and munching Ketchup flavoured potato chips. Both crowds are excited and hoping for some great squash. The general consensus is that this has the potential to be a great final with a chance to go 5.
Game 1 … As the match beings, the crowd is definitely buzzing. The first hurdle of this match is off-court as we are experiencing a definite #firstworldproblem, the club’s WIFI is down. Our tech nerds here are sweating more than the players. I think I saw an IT guy scramble to our office faster than a Canadian running for poutine. This reporter heard a girl whine about her inability to update social media with the latest court update. Good thing I’m here watching it live.
Both players are working length early and feeling each other out and trying to find something that works. At 5-5, Malhotra hits a great straight drive after a beautiful hold, most of the crowd was faked out as much as the Frenchman was. Malhotra continues some great squash over the next few points to get to 10-5. Dussourd gets a great straight drop in, but it isn’t enough to stem Malholtra’s game. 11-6, Malhotra.
Game 2… After some tech work, nothing seems to be fixed… ugh. Dussourd has come out with more pace and hits a beauty side wall nick. Dussourd is playing great, pushing the pace and controlling the rallies. At 6-2 for Dussourd, there is a tense argument in the balcony crowd over which aperitif they should order in the 3rd game, the refs have to intervene and quiet the crowd upstairs. Malhotra just can’t seem to regain the control he had in game 1. The game finishes with what some are calling a ‘counterstrike’, Malhotra chasing a ball into the back right as Dussourd punishes the ball into the back left. 11-5 Dussourd.
Still no internet in the club, but somehow a 5c Euro coin ends up on the court and is retrieved by Brad ‘Stingray’ Hanebury’ between games. Canadians in the crowd are frantically doing exchange rates to determine the value of the coin. We are determine where the coin came from, with guesses that in France, the 5c piece is ‘lucky’ or ‘chanceux’ coin similar to the Canadian ‘lucky loonie’.
Game 3… Levelled at 1 a piece, both players are trying to win the momentum game. Dussourd with a great hold and then a solid straight drop to jump out to a 4-0 lead. A few more holds and drives and a few weak shots from Malholtra, Dussourd jumps out to a 7-0 lead. After a few recovery points by Malhotra, Dussourd trips and falls. Unbelievably, there is a sweat trail on the floor. The crowd had made the assumption the Auguste didn’t sweat. Local towel legend Gary Sullivan jumps on court with a handful of towels to clean the perspiration trail. The downstairs crowd is giddy and excited about the great squash and the mastery of the cleaning of the floor. After a few back and forth points, Dussourd is showing more patience and taking advantage of loose balls. Dussourd claims game 3, 11-4 to go up 2-1.
Game 4… Crisis, no internet. Crisis. No beer cans left. The upstairs crowd is delirious. As the game begins it is obvious that Malhotra needs to push the pace and regain some control of the match. At 2-1, Dussourd trips awkwardly and again falls to the ground and leaves a sweat trail. London Squash’s towel man, Gary Sullivan, jumps to the rescue again and with the skill of a diaper changing parent cleans the sweat trail within seconds. After a pair of ‘no lets’ to Dussourd, the Frenchman is clearly frustrated with his play and even more with the refs. Serving at 2-5, he goads the refs into a stroke and then gets called for another ‘no let’. A few more ‘no lets’ and ‘strokes’ go against Dussourd in the later half of that game. Malhotra takes the game 11-5 to level the match at 2-2.
During the break, there is some excitement in the crowd as they realize the internet is back on, and they can get back to their Insta stories and send selfies and Snaps to their friends. Phew, their evenings have been saved.
Game 5… It is worth noting that some wagering in the crowd is occurring as the game begins and no clear betting favourite exists. A few great rallies, a back and forth game is beginning. Both players are aggravated with each other, and equally annoyed with the refs. Some words of encouragement by Mike McDonald cause confusion with the players but prove to be highly entertaining for the crowd. Dussourd takes the encouragement and rides it to a 6-2 lead. A few more tins by Malhotra stretches the lead to 9-2. Malhotra is against the wall. He has a few great rallies, some desperate retrieving, and has pulled the match to 10-5. In the end,
An unbelievable night of squash ending with may have been the best match ever witnessed at London Squash & Fitness. In the end our top 4 seeds are into the final and will be back to face off tomorrow night. There will be a new NASH Cup winner in both the men’s and women’s draws.
We’re down to the final four on both sides….and there were some incredible matches getting us there. It was a good day for the top seeds, with the top four set to contest the men’s semifinals, while Australia’s Donna Lobban joins the top three women’s seeds in the last four.
The NASH Cup included some other event today including a Pro/AM Doubles competition won by Connor Turk and Craig Hall – Thanks to Phill Stables and Trevor Tyson for organizing.
For the third year the NASH Cup had four professionals down to visit Dan VanMoorsel at the Maple City Squash Club in beautiful Chatham Ontario. A crowd of 40+ were treated to a pair of singles exhibition matches followed by a men v. women softball doubles show. A big thank you to PSA members Eva Fertekova (“with a K”); Ali Loke; Alex Noakes; and Ben Coates for their participation. Thanks to Squash Ontario for their help in making this happen. And thank you to Dan and Shane for hosting.
The crowd included a visit from Mayor Darren Canniff showing just how much squash means in this city of 44,000
12 up for the Nash Cup
The ever-popular Nash Cup returns to London for an 12th edition, with the women’s event offering higher prize money than the men’s, with both on the same schedule.
Jay Nash reports
The opening matches of any PSA event can be a quiet one as crowds go, but a good number were present to take in the 3pm battles to kick off the 2019 NASH Cup. With only one exception, tonight’s matches were first time PSA pairings….though the Canadian and Spanish opponents have clearly met each other on the courts before now. By 5pm the club was packed. The crowd at London Squash never disappoints.
As with any event there will be challenges, but this year they were very minor. Those watching online will have caught that we had the players reversed in match #2 online (100% the hosts fault). Cindy Merlo and Ali Thomson also both had incorrect flags on their court names…..(but then, isn’t the Union Jack really the same as a Scottish flag Al, kidding!)
Overall opening night was a massive success and thanks go out to all who made that happen. We’ll do it all again tomorrow starting at 3pm EST.