Owain Taylor & Torrie Malik Take Kent Open Titles
15 Jan 2023
After a week of superb squash featuring players from 16 nations, the Kent club ended up with two all-British finals in front of a packed gallery at Tunbridge Wells Squash Club.
Home hero Noah Meredith played superbly but was unable to deliver another giant-killing act as Welsh international Taylor controlled the fifth game of a pulsating battle to clinch victory with a scoreline of 10-12, 11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 11-5.
In a tournament sponsored by Meredith's Tunbridge Wells team-mate Jonny Powell, owner of 501 Fun, and dedicated to former Kent and England player Colin Payne, Meredith had taken out top seed Valentin Rapp (Germany) and No.3 seed Temwa Chileshe (New Zealand).
But despite Meredith showing plenty of the attacking skills that earned him two enormous victories, Taylor's solid control gradually wore down his opponent's resistance.
The two players are separated by more than 100 places in the world rankings, with Taylor at 112 and Meredith 215, but the 21-year-old from Brighton threatened another shock result as he hit back from 10-7 down to win the opening game on a tiebreak.
Taylor dominated the second and won the crucial third game after being 6-4 down.
Meredith started the fourth game in positive fashion to lead 4-1 and after a titanic tussle he won another tiebreak to take the match into a fifth game.
This time there was to be no fairytale finale as Taylor controlled proceedings with some precision squash to win it 11-5.
"Noah showed all week what a threat he can be, but I am very pleased to win the tournament," said Taylor after notching up his maiden PSA World Tour title.
"It was a great match and it's always good to play in a club which has been full of fans every day."
Malik powered through the first two games but Thomson hit back in the third with some intelligently structured rallies that moved her opponent around the court.
Thomson threatened to take the match to a fifth game as she held game ball at 10-9 but Malik finished strongly to win it 12-10 to take the title.
Thomson said: "I was very pleased to reach my first PSA final after coming back from injury but Torrie played very well."
Malik added: "It's lovely to win in a club that feels like home. It's not far from where we live and I want to thank the crowd for supporting me all week."