Solent Classic 2013

Reports from Martyn Collins-Ballands

Joel Hinds beats top seed Tom Richards in five-game final

SH0408Good morning – what a 12 hours of sport we’ve had! Froch coming from the depths of defeat to win in the 9th round, and Houdini who didn’t ‘rock up’ for England in Australia! Now to a morning of squash. The graded tournament finals taking place from 11am,warming the court up for the main event. Can it match up to all these sporting events?

Tom ‘Cool’ Richards against Joel ‘Bambi’ Hinds


They should both should have been relatively fresh – Joel started where he finished last night –error free squash. As Tom started to find his width and length to Joel’s forehand, Joels’s ever reliable back-hand sees him go on to take the game 11-8,

Joel’s first back-hand error into the tin made Tom’s eyes light up thinking ’happee dayz’. More cheap errors from Joel levelled the score to one all.

The third game was level all the way through, both players not giving an inch. It was ‘nip and tuck’ all the way through, until at 12-11 Joel played a tremendous back-hand volley drop to take a 2-1.

Some new insoles for Joel might be order of the day as play stopped twice early in then4th. But this didn’t seem to mess with Tom’s concentration as he closed out the 4th game 11-8.

Now the 5th game! Tom looked cool and Joel had rethought his game plan in the break. Here we go!

There were early exchanges from both players at the front of nthe court and they stayed level to seven all –maybe nerves?! Both players then visiting avery inch of the court with no give mes. A forehand drive took Joel to match ball, and a screaming cross court drive maeant match to Joel. Well played!

That’s it from another successful Lee on Solent tournament.

The Draw:


Round ONE:

SH0266Welcome to sunny Lee-on-Solent for the start of the annual BSPA Solent Classic with a very strong entry pitting it up there with Carl Froch v George Groves; and the Ashes with No.1 seed tom Richards (England) and no.2 seed Rex Hedrick (Australia) hoping to meet on court 5 (the Gabba) on Sunday.

But I’m sure no.3 seed Andy Whipp and No.4 seed Joel Hinds both from the northern teitory will be having a say in the matter along with 5/8 seeds the Gosport crew of Ant Graham and Ollie Pett and the upmarket Lee-on-Solent’s very own Tim Vail and London Boy Ben Ford.

No real upsets in the 1st round. All the expected players going through with Will John under John Milton’s wing shining through 3-2 against local Neil Chambers from 2-0 down. Also Joe Green winning in four against Chichester’s Steve Wykes.

Round TWO:

Again no real surprises Andy breezing through 3-0 against Will John and Ant Graham again breezing through 3-0 although he did save 5 game balls in the 3rd and Ant took his 1st match ball, to an early night. Joining them is Tom Richards winning 3-0 meanwhile on the opposite court Ben Ford and Robert Downer were having a battle with Ben going 2-1 up before squeezing a tight 4th to win 3-1.

Next two matches featured Olly Pett v Reuben Phillips and Rex Hedrick v Phil Nightingale. Olly came through unscathed 3-0 and Rex was sent the wrong way 3 times by a boast in the same rally but still won it. You can now see how it took him 2 hours to win in Phoenix 3-0 without a tiebreak game.

Last 2 matches Joel Hinds didn’t have it all his own way v Jamie Henderson but came through 3-1, and Lee’s Tim Vail completed a master class performance against a very game Joe Green to end the night and dream of another quarter final.


Welcome back folks to the quarter finals. First up on court 5 Tom Richards v Ben Ford and on court 6 Andy Whipp v Ant Graham.

Ben started well taking the 1st, Tom had put work into Ben’s legs and it started to take its toll, Tom winning 3-1. Whippy started like a train and finished like one. Ant competed in the third but there was only ever going to be one winner, Whippy winning 3-0.

The last two matches featured Rex Hedrick v Ollie Pett and Joel Hinds v Tim Vail.  Joel started off well taking a 6-0 lead before any reply from Vail. This was too much to give away as Joel took the first game. Vail started better in the 2nd and they were neck and neck til 8-8 then oel pulled away with some superb squash.

Joel went 4-0 up in the 3rd and Vail couldn’t catch up as Joel won 3-0. Ollie looked to have returned to his best in the first two games winning them 11/4 11/6. Rex rallied more and an increase in errors from Ollie helped Rex take the 3rd game but Ollie found his rhythm again in the 4th to take the match.


The 1st of the two mouth-watering semis sees number 1 seed Tom Richards v defending champion Andy Whipp. Andy not looking quite as mobile as previous rounds sees Tom take an unassailable lead and f/h overhead kill sees Tom take the 1st. The usual trend of Andy not coming off between games doesn’t seem to be working as Andy goes 5-1 down. As Tom seems to be growing in confidence and stature taking the ball early and at 2-0 Andy shakes Tom’s hand and concedes with a bad back; what a shame as Tom would have liked the battle ahead.

And the last semi between Joel Hinds and OlliePett, Joel was 1st out of the starting blocks moving with a lot of intent using his full locker of shots. Hard drives together with high ;lobs gelled with errors with Olly saw Joel take the 1st. 2nd sees the tables turn completely as Ollie really gets on the pace and Joel makes errors from all over the park, Ollie taking the 2nd and maybe this is the confidence Ollie needs from the break from competitive squash. In the 3rd both players seem to have found their own game, a lot of toing and froing sees Olie go in front with precise length with his naturally good racket skills but Joel creates a lot of pressure from his reliable yet awkward backhand doing some damage and squeezing 11/8. The 4th sees take Joel take an early lead only for Ollie to take it to 7-7; now going into the business end of the game; a tremendous b/h volley nick from Olly who then takes a blood break, not epo. A top b/h kill, f/h drop, b/h in a quick sequence of play sees Joel into the final tomorrow.

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