Women’s $3k PSA Challenger, Pontefract, Yorkshire, 21-23 May
Final : Mead ends Malik run to take the title
The eager anticipation of yet another seed being swept aside by the tornado Torrie Malik in the final of the AS Insurance Services Pontefract Ladies Challenger didn’t quite materialise and the reason was down to a clinical and professional performance by the victor Alicia Mead.
Malik competed well and the scores were tight but the games were controlled for most parts by an energetic Mead who didn’t allow her opponent many opportunities to impose her pace and power into the match. The 3-0 win means that Mead finishes the tournament without dropping a game.
Mead accepted her trophy from the tournament sponsor Avril Storey the managing director of AS Insurance Services Ltd who said: “It’s been a weekend of very high quality squash and I’m delighted to be involved supporting the sport and watching live matches again”.
It’s a first PSA title for Mead who said:
“I’m really chuffed to win this tournament which is my first PSA title. I’ve been working hard throughout lockdown but particularly over the past 3 months so it’s really pleasing to get a great result and move on to realising my ambition which is hopefully to achieve a top level ranking position”.
Day TWO : Semis
Well the question was – could the youngster from Sussex continue her surge past the seeded players in her semi-final against the number 3 seed from Scotland?
And the answer was delivered in 4 enthralling games which resulted in Torrie Malik overcoming an energetic Georgia Adderley.
Adderley struggled to deal with the power and pace of Malik in the first two games and then looked to have found the answer in the third. But a poor start by Adderley in the fourth gave the advantage back to Malik and despite a determined recovery by Adderley Malik held her nerve to take it 13-11 albeit on a disputed call. Nevertheless she fully deserved the victory and her place in the final tomorrow afternoon.
Her opponent will be Alicia Mead who dispatched Grace Gear in 3 games in the second semi-final. Gear was competitive and at times tested the number 2 seed but Mead always looked comfortable and her skilful choice of shots meant the outcome never really looked in doubt.
Mead is the favourite and will be the fresher of the two finalists tomorrow but she will be facing a young lady who is in form and who will be full of confidence – this should be a very entertaining final!
Day TWO : Quarters
The first of today’s quarter finals paired 5th seed Charlotte Jagger from South Yorkshire against yesterday’s top seed victor Torrie Malik from Sussex, and it was the youngster who prevailed in a convincing 3-0 win. Although there were some intense and competitive rallies at times Malik completed the match in just 20 minutes to secure a semi-final place later today.
Her opponent was decided in the tie between 3rd seed Georgia Adderley and wild card entry Grace Clark. On paper this was an odds-on win for Adderley but there was plenty of fight in Clark who showed a far better ability level than her current ranking suggested. The match was won in the fourth game which Adderley eventually took 12-10 to post a 3-1 victory.
The third match looked like it was over in the fourth when number 3 seed Grace Gear had 3 match balls but a spirited come back by her opponent and number 8 seed Katie Wells turned it around and her 13-11 win took the match into a final game decider. It seemed that the missed chance in the fourth had swung in Wells’ favour as she stormed to a 5-1 lead but Gear regained her composure and levelled the score. The game then ebbed and flowed to 9 all before Gear closed it out with an 11-9 victory.
The last quarter final of the day saw 2nd seed Alicia Mead against number 6 seed Katriona Allen and looked to be hard to call with a first game score-line of 14-12 in favour of Mead. This proved to be as near as the powerful and determined Allen would get to Mead though as she went on to play 2 more games of controlled and accurate squash to take her to the semis with a 3-0 win.
Two interesting semi-finals this evening starting at 6.30pm …
The shock of the day from the expected progression of the seeded players was the defeat of the number 1 seed Lily Taylor by the athletic junior Torrie Malik.
It went all the way to 5 games but Malik remained calm under pressure and claimed a well earned victory. She will face number 5 seed Charlotte Jagger who came out on top after a strange 5 game match with Tayla Mounter.
Wild card entry Grace Clark continued the upsets by beating 7th seed Dutch girl Sanne Veldkamp in another entertaining 5 game match. She advances to play number 3 seed Georgia Adderley who had a 3-0 win over a useful looking junior Saran Nghiem.
The longest and closest match of the evening between local girl Polly Clark and number 6 seed Katriona Allen from Scotland took 63 minutes to decide with the last game going to the Scot 13-11.
Allen will play number 2 seed Alicia Mead in the quarters after she imposed her dominance in her match with the promising youngster Asia Harris who was a late replacement for the injured Georgina Kennedy.
8th seed Katie Wells will play 4th seed Grace Gear in the other quarter final after both had trouble free wins against Sofia Aveiro Pita and Kiera Marshall respectively.