SquashTalk >Al Ahram 2001, Cairo, Egypt > Historical Records

Richards Shows
Value of Young Legs

April 20, 2008, By Martin Bronstein, SquashTalk.com , Independent
; © 2008 SquashTalk LLC       

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the trophy was finally presented after four days of feverish activity
at Colets Health and Fitness Club in Surrey, it was local boy Tom
Richards who proved the value of young legs by beating Simon Parke
in straight games in the final.

Richards, 21, from Weybridge in Surrey,
had played eight matches in six days before the match with Parke,
but it was Parkes legs that gave out first out. Richards had beaten
Nial Rooney and Shaun Larue in the qualifying rounds of the Irish
Open, then knocked out the American number one Julian Illingworth
in the first round, before being beaten by John White in the quarters.
After a rushed flight back to Surrey, Richards knocked out Obaid
Jahan Khan and Stacy Ross on Friday, then polished off Steve Meads
and Peter Marshall on Saturday.

The semi-final again Marshall had
been a really hard slog going the full five games with Marshall running
out of gas in the fifth to lose 11-1.

Its really hard going in these
tournaments, playing two matches a day, Marshall commented. But I
lost the tie-break in the first game. I think If I had won that first
game, I could have hung in to win, he said after the 70-minute match..

the other semi-final, Simon Parke, now 35 years old, had a very easy
time as Scott Handley put up a token fight in losing 11-8, 11-4,
11-4. This was welcome relief to Parke who had a monumental five-game
match against Ben Ford in the quarters, fighting back from two games
down to win.

The final showed just how much Richards
has matured in the last two years. The former stroppy teenager now
plays a very mature game with little sign of the tantrums that he
used to have. He played exactly the right tactics against Parke,
keeping the pace high and moving Park around the court, constantly
using the boast to take Parke to the front of the court and then
driving him to the back.

Parke was world number three eight years
ago and 25 years of experience at the top levels can more than make
up for his advancing years, but despite some wonderful recoveries
and bursts of great speed, he was unable to counter the relentless
attack that Richards mounted over the three games. After 50 minutes
of breathtaking pace, Richards emerged the 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 winner
to deservedly take the winners cheque for 1,000.

When asked about
his punishing schedule over the last week, Richards replied:

"I’ve been
waiting to feel bad this whole tournament, but it hasnt happened,
I feel quite good. My plan was to plays as fast as I can, because
Simon never gives up. My boasts are usually not very good, but today
they were working so I kept using them to move him around."

Lee, who has coached Richards from the age of 4, was there to give
advice between games, was delighted with his proteges performance.

It was a mature performance and he
kept the high pace and a good shot selection, throughout the match.
The only area that needs improving is fine tuning his shots when
he has his opponent out of position, said Lee, who still works with

Simon Parke said that he was very impressed
with his young opponent.

"He stuck in there all the way.
Hes now keeping off the tin and not making so many errors. Hes tough
to play."

Which is exactly what everyone used
to say about Simon Parke

Tom Richards bt Peter Marshall 12-10, 7-11, 11-3, 2-11, 11-1.
Simon Parke bt Scott Handley 11-8, 11-4, 11-4.
Tom Richards bt Simon Parke 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 50mins)

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Historical information PSA Men's Pro Event:

Year Winner Runnerup Scores
1996 Jansher Khan Ahmed Barada  
1997 Peter Nicol Jansher Khan  
1998 Ahmed Barada Martin Heath 15/5,15/17,15/13,13/15,15/13
1999 Peter Nicol Ahmed Barada 15-9, 15-13, 15-11
2000 Peter Nicol Ahmed Barada 15/14, 9/15, 15/3, 15/12


Historical information PSA Women's Pro Event:

Year Winner Runnerup Scores
1997 Sarah Fitz-Gerald Michelle Martin  
1998 Michelle Martin Cassie Jackman  
1999 Michelle Martin Carol Owens 9-6, 9-0, 10-9
2000 Leilani Joyce Carol Owens 8/10, 9/7, 9/5, 3/9, 9/5



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