Monday, November 12, 2012
Three weeks after supporting the World Squash Day, Ipswich Sports Club welcomed world number one James Willstrop to the club as the inaugural JK Invitational took centre stage on Friday and Saturday.
The exhibition-styled tournament attracted a sell-out crowd over both days and also featured world number eight Mohamed El Shorbagy and Indian number one Saurav Ghosal.
Ipswich club professional and world number 30, Jonathan Kemp, completed the stellar cast.
The first semi-final clash, featuring Kemp and El Shorbagy, kept the crowd engrossed for nearly an hour, before Kemp managed to fend off a spirited fightback from the Egyptian to prevail 3-2.
The second semi-final was just as dramatic as Willstrop was forced to save three match balls, before finally defeating Ghosal 12-10 in the deciding game.
After a well-earned rest, all four players were back on court the following afternoon to provide a junior squash clinic and a ‘play-a-pro’ session for the club members.
Attention, though, soon turned towards the final and after El Shorbagy triumphed 3-1 in the third-place playoff, Willstrop and Kemp took to the court.
However, it was the world number one who began ominously and took the first two games in dominating fashion. A battling performance in the third saw Kemp halve the deficit but Willstrop’s unerring accuracy eventually proved too much for Kemp, who succumbed to a 3-1 defeat.
Despite the loss, Kemp was grateful that the exhibition had managed to attract such a star-studded line-up: “It was a great weekend. Luckily we managed to convince James to come down and it was fantastic to have Mohamed and Saurav here as well.
“Everyone seemed to enjoy the matches and the fact that we sold-out on both days shows there is a huge demand for squash in Ipswich. Hopefully we can build on that in the future.”