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Walderslade's Josh Masters beaten by top seed Joel Makin, from Wales, in the final of the Select Gaming Kent Open

By KentOnline reporter

Top seed Joel Makin claimed the Select Gaming Kent Open title by overpowering local hero Josh Masters in straight games, writes Alan Thatcher.

In front of a packed gallery at The Mote Squash Club, Welsh No.1 Makin, runner-up last year, dominated the match as a tired-looking Masters looked to win points in a hurry.

Masters, the fourth seed from Walderslade, ousted No.2 seed Todd Harrity, the USA No.1, in the semi-finals, having beaten Danish No.1 Kristian Frost in the quarters and Spanish international Edmon Lopez in a fiery first round encounter.

Joel Makin (red) proved too strong for Walderslade's Josh Masters in Sunday's final Picture Andy Jones

Joel Makin (red) proved too strong for Walderslade's Josh Masters in Sunday's final Picture: Andy Jones

The matches against Lopez and Harrity were brutal five-setters and clearly sapped his energy.

Cheered to the rooftops by Mote members every time he stepped on to court, Masters was bidding to become the county’s first winner of the event in its eight-year history as a world-ranking tournament.

But Makin settled into a comfortable rhythm early on and quickly built an 8-1 lead before Masters got a few more points on the board.

Makin closed out the game 11-5 and soon led 5-1 in the second. Masters pulled it back to 3-5 but Makin powered through to close out the game 11-4.

Masters produced his best squash in the third game, leading 5-4 and then 8-6, but Makin soaked up the pressure and won five points in a row to win the title.

Makin said: “Josh had some hard games this week and was obviously feeling the effects but I felt good all week and I felt I was moving well.

“After winning the British Under-23s, and now this, it’s great to end the season on a winning note."

Masters said: “It was one match too many, I guess. There wasn’t much left in the tank after some hard matches this week and I was disappointed that I didn’t give Joel a better game.

“I was pleased to get to the final and it was great to see the club packed out every day during the tournament. All the noisy support from the Mote members gave me a lift, for sure.” 

Walderslade's Josh Masters, left, with Select Gaming Kent Open champion Joel Makin Picture Andy Jones

Walderslade's Josh Masters, left, with Select Gaming Kent Open champion Joel Makin Picture: Andy Jones

Before the men’s final, The Mote hosted a special women’s exhibition between Kent’s Gina Kennedy and Essex's Elise Lazarus, who recently won the British Under-23 title aged 16.

Kennedy, who completed a successful first year at Harvard by winning US Colleges individual title, won the match 10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 13-11. 

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