Saturday, 24 March 2018

Former champion has no answer to number one seed

Former champion has no answer to number one seed

HENLEY Squash Club’s Jill Campion fulfilled her seeding to finish runner-up in the ladies over-55 national championships held in Manchester last weekend.

Campion, who lives in Bix, is a three-time champion in this age group and now in her last season in this category and was seeded two in the tournament.

In her quarter-final against Sarah Howlett in a tense three-game match Campion came out the blocks firing on all cylinders before her opponent battled back in a tense final game. However, the reigning champion had enough quality and experience to win in three games — 15-10, 15-11, 15-12.

In the semi-final Campion had her work cut out against Hilary Kenyon, a strong, experienced player who represents England in the over-50s age group and has recently joined the over-55s. Campion managed to clinch the first game thanks to good shot choice, but Kenyon came back fighting in the second game, which she dominated, levelling the score at one game all.

Campion increased the pace in the third and fourth games, running down Kenyon’s shots, and her growing confidence reflected in the quality of her shots as she progressed to the final with a 12-15, 15-7, 8-15, 8-15.

In the final Campion faced five-times master winner and number one seed Mandy Akin, playing her first national championships in the over-55 category.

Campion started well, using her shot-making skills to good effect, and edged ahead in the first game, but Akin soon found her stride and came out strongly, taking the first set 15-9. Akin continued to put Campion under pressure in the second game to win 15-10. There was no respite in the third set as Akin won 15-6 to secure the title.

Speaking after the final defeat Campion said: “Mandy is a very strong player, a youngster in this age group, and still one of the best over-50 players in the UK, let alone over-55.

” I had played well in my semi-final match against Hilary and I hoped to play as well against Mandy. I had my game plan, but she is so strong and fast, and kept me under pressure the whole time. I was pleased to get to the final in my last national championships in this age group.”

Campion’s success at the national championships confirmed her selection to play number two for England over-55s in the home internationals being held in Cardiff at the end of April. This will be her 17th England cap at masters level.

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