Cracking squash action was battled out recently when the East London Squash Open took place in the city, with the best local squash players as well as a few from outside going all out for the grand prize.
It was the third annual showing of the fiercely competitive tournament and once again produced an outside winner.
Last year’s champ Gary Wheadon did not take part, leaving it open for a new champ to be crowned and it ended up going to form as number one seed Lawrence Khun from the Free State took the honours and R20 000 grand prize.
It was a family affair in the final as Lawrence took on his brother John and in three tightly fought games Lawrence emerged victorious – 11:8, 11:9, 11:9 – for a 3-0 win.
Lawrence’s temperament for big matches in the end was more visible in the final as he took the first game convincingly, before John came back quite strongly on the second game, holding leads of 7:1 and 8:3 before Lawrence powered back to take the lead at 10:9 and then seal the win.
The third and final set was then neck and neck before Lawrence took a small advantage and edged the game to be crowned the third East London Squash Open champion.
The first upset came when the number six seeded player, East London’s Tristen Worth, sank the number three seed, Wayne Sithole from Gauteng.
The two battled it out in highly competitive five-setter that saw Sithole break a racquet and later getting a groin injury when he over-exerted himself in an attempt to save a winner Worth had played.
Worth’s luck, however, soon ran out when he encountered John Kuhn in the semis where he lost 3-0.
On the other side of the draw Border number two and fourth seed Kelvin Edwards enjoyed a strong start, thumping 13th seed Yanga Mazwi 3-0.
His quarterfinal was then a thriller, taking on Hayden Worth, with the match going to five sets and Edwards having to survive a strong resurgence from the challenger who recovered from two games deficit to put himself in pole for winning the match, before Edwards edged the final game.
This strenuous encounter ended up costing him dearly in the afternoon semifinal against Lawrence as he was blanked 3-0, with the eventual champion admitting after the match that he had benefited from the drawn out match between Hayden and Edwards.
“I played Kelvin Edwards, he had a very tough five-setter and that tired him out a bit,” said Lawrence.
The third-fourth playoff then saw the two best performing local players up against each other but the match went only one way as Worth won 3-0.