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Aley overcomes his former coach in final

Sport | Published:

THE Sarnians made a concerted effort to keep the Jupiter Guernsey Open title on home soil but this was not enough to stop Essex’s Mike Aley from reigning triumphant.

Mike Aley has Martin Watts on the stretch in the Guernsey Open men's final. (Picture by Ben Fiore, 23798439)

His decisive victory came against Guernsey Squash development officer Martin Watts – a former coach of his who later testified to his impressive improvement since contesting the tournament four years prior.

The turnout of 11 visitors left the organisers pondering and while Janick Radford occupied top seed in Grade A, a surprise or two looked imminent.

Radford secured his place in the semi-final after beating Shawn Gubbin but lost in four games to Aley, who had qualified through a five-game match against young Patrick Josey – the eventual plate winner – and a clear win against Duncan Green.

Watts had qualified in smooth fashion through two straight-sets matches and was certainly in shape to give Aley a great challenge. The Guernseyman got off to a flying start to take the opener 11-4, but he ran out of steam to lose the next three 11-7, 11-6, 11-3, confirming the visitor’s victory.

‘I used to coach him in Essex when I was there, he’s improved a lot – I think he surprised Janick in the semi-final,’ said Watts.

‘I played really well in the first game and won the first one, but he took the next three. He was a little bit fitter than me, a bit stronger and he kept it going.’

Meanwhile, Leigh Radford lived up to her seeding, making a welcome return to beat Karen Robinson for the women’s title in a largely domestic field.

It was a closely-contested affair as Radford rattled off the first two games 11-9, 11-6 before being pegged back 9-11 in the third, but she came back strongly to finish her opponent 11-5.

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