The Sandman Hotels Open Penticton squash championship at the Penticton Racquet and Fitness Club Sunday came down to the top seeds.
It was also a rematch between Nathan Lake and Angus Gillams, both from England. Lake, ranked 83rd in the Professional Squash Association World Tour, defeated Gillams, ranked 90th, in three sets in their first meeting. Gillams returned the favour in the championship, 11-6,11-6 and 11-4.
It was a pleasing feeling for Gillams to beat Lake after losing their first match.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match,” said Gillams, 20, who along with Lake, had shown some frustration with the officials calls during the match. “I wanted to get my revenge. It feels good.”
Gillams, a former junior champion in England, said facing Lake was hard physically. Gillams wanted to make the match difficult for Lake and make him work.
“He’s strong. He’s a big boy,” said Gillams. “Got to make sure you keep him out of the middle because he is just so strong. And make sure you’re not giving him anything cheap, any easy points. He will put the ball away if you give him the options.”
Gillams believes that Lake got physically tired and that allowed him to run away with the third game.
“I felt good coming into today. I had a tough match yesterday, that sharpened me up for today,” said Gillams. “I just wanted to put in a good performance. I didn’t want to come out thinking I could have done any better.”
Earlier in the open Gillams faced Colombian Jesus Ramirez and beat him 11-2, 11-1 and 11-3. His next match was against Mexico’s Marco Toriz-Caddo, winning 11-5, 11-1 and 11-4. He said they were good, but what helped him win was their inability to keep pace with play. Gillams liked the tournament and said it ran smoothly, especially having only one late start, which impressed him. Gillams also liked the courts and the gyms, which allowed the players to warm up. A return for Gillams is a definite possibility, especially if the open grows in numbers. Gillams and Lake were among a field of 16 pros.
The amateur side attracted 90 players from Canada and the U.S. Winning the A side was Abbotsford’s Michael Parker, while Trail’s Kevin Limbert won the B side. Kelowna’s Jordan Groves won the C side. Club owner Jordan Iannone finished 10th on the A side. On the junior side, local Xavier Roepcke won competing in it for the first time. It was a good feeling for him, especially in his hometown. Roepcke liked the competition, though he had his share of ups and downs.
Jordan Iannone, below, in action on the amateur side.
“I wasn’t too happy with most of my performances, but today I played really well,” said Roepcke, who won 12 of 13 games against four opponents.
Roepcke’s coach, Adam Terheege, who also organized and competed in the Open in the pro bracket, said it was great for the junior player to have that success.
“It’s great for him to get this experience,” said Terheege, adding the experience is a reason his game has gotten a lot better. “He’s done amazing.”
Terheege liked how the weekend went as they try to build the sport in the city. He spent a few months working on putting this together to attract some of the best squash players in the world.
“It’s great to have these athletes travel here to play in the tournament,” said Terheege, who hopes to grow the prize purse from the $5,000 given out to attract stronger players.
It was the first time the club hosted a PSA event, which Terheege said is good for the club and it brings awareness to the city.
The club offers a junior program Monday’s and Friday’s 4-6 p.m. every week for ages seven-15. For details, contact Terheege at the club.