2019 Colin Payne Kent Open Squash Tournament – Tunbridge Wells

Jan Van Den Herrewegen wins the Colin Payne Kent Open after a punishing, pulsating final against top seed Rui Soares.

Finals. Saturday January 12th.

Final: (2) Jan Van Den Herrewegen (Belgium) beat (1) Rui Soares (Portugal) 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5 (76 mins)

Jan Van Den Herrewegen won the Colin Payne Kent Open after a punishing, pulsating final against top seed Rui Soares.

The Birmingham-based Belgian won a massively entertaining five-setter 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5 after 76 minutes of high-quality squash in front of a packed crowd at Tunbridge Wells Squash Club.

The score see-sawed throughout the match, with the ascendancy switching from player to player.

That was clearly evident in the opening game as Van Den Herrewegen surrendered an 8-3 lead. Soares put together a run of points but when he reached 10-9 he noticed blood pouring from his left thumb after scraping his hand on the court floor.

After a 14-minute break for treatment, he returned to wrap up the opening game.

Van Den Herrewegen began strongly again the second game and advanced to a 9-4 lead before Soares began his customary recovery process. The Portuguese clawed his way back to 8-9 but the Belgian managed to clinch the game 11-9.

The third began in a similar pattern, but this time Soares failed to make any inroads as Van Den Herrewegen powered through 11-4.

Soares did respond in the fourth, however, battling back from 7-4 down to win 11-9 and take the game to a fifth.

This time Van Den Herrewegen imposed himself firmly on proceedings and, having built a 9-2 lead, withstood a brief recovery from Soares to close out the match 11-5.

In a poignant presentation ceremony, Colin Payne’s daughters Alice and Charlotte handed the runners-up trophy to Soares before Van Den Herrewegen received the winner’s trophy from Councillor Jane March, head of Culture, Leisure and Tourism at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

Van Den Herrewegen, who is studying for a PhD at Birmingham University, was delighted to win his first PSA title for more than a year. He said: “It was a great match, very fair, and we were both trying to play the ball at every opportunity.

“There were some odd dynamics going on because I feel Rui plays his best squash when he is behind and he proved that with the two games he won. But I am very pleased with how I played. There were a few passive spells but I was confident going forward to attack.

“This is a great tournament and it has a lovely feel to it with all the club members getting involved. They were absolutely hanging from the rafters upstairs and I love playing in tournaments like this.”

Soares said: “I keep coming back and maybe one day I will this tournament. As Jan said, this is a great event with so many people working hard in the club to make it happen.”


Before the final, Jasmine Hutton of Sussex won a highly entertaining Collins Jewel Women’s Challenge against Elise Lazarus of Essex 11-9, 13-11, 11-7.

Alan Thatcher

Tournament Preview & Fact File


Kent Open heads to Tunbridge Wells

in memory of former national champion Colin Payne

Now known as The Colin Payne Kent Open sponsored by Select Gaming, the open kicks off on January 10-12th at Tunbridge Wells Squash Club in London Road.

Former Tunbridge Wells number one Colin Payne was a professional player who reached the world top 50 and appeared for Kent on more than 100 occasions. He died in a domestic incident in Dartford in 2016.

He was county champion five times, won the Kent over-35 title on ten occasions and, during the year of his death, he won the British Over-50s Championship.

Payne owned the Ripples chain of bathroom stores in Tunbridge Wells, Reigate and Brighton.

His long-time friend Ben Ford, who is club coach at Bexley, has been awarded the Wild Card in the draw and faces No.3 seed Jan Van Den Herrewegen, the Belgian number one, in the first round.

A doubles competition for the Colin Payne Shield will take place on the Saturday.

Sponsor Jonny Powell, Business Development Director of the Kent-based Select Gaming company, played alongside Payne in the Tunbridge Wells first team.

Jonny said: “I am delighted that the Kent Open has a new home at Tunbridge Wells. We are relocating to my home-town and also honouring the memory of one of Kent’s finest players. I am sure that Colin’s many friends in the game will want to visit the tournament to pay their respects and enjoy some great squash.

No. 1 Seed – Charlie Lee


Date of Birth: 13/05/1998
Height: 182cm (5’11”)
Coach: Rob Owen, Danny Lee
County: Surrey
Turned Pro: 2017
Highest World Ranking: 82 June 2018

We are delighted to be welcoming 20 yr old Charlie Lee as our No. 1 seed.

Charlie has a highest ranking of 82 in the world and is a former England U19, U17 and U15 champion!


First Round Draw (seeding number in brackets):

(1) Charlie Lee (Eng) v Nick Mulvey (Eng)
(7) Ben Coates (Eng) v Roman Allinckx (Sui)
(6) Mark Fuller (Eng) v Nick Wall (Eng)
(3) Jan Van Den Herrewegen (Bel) v Ben Ford (Eng, wild card).
(4) Leonel Cardenas (Mex) v Connor Sheen (Eng)
(5) Stuart Macgregor (Eng) v Viktor Byrtus (Cze)
(8) Miles Jenkins (Eng) v Harry Falconer (Eng)
(2) Rui Soares (Por) v TBA

Thursday January 10: Kent Open First Round starts at 1pm. Junior Coaching Clinic 4.30pm. Kent Open Quarter-Finals begin at 6pm.
Friday January 11: Lightning Round begins at 6pm. Kent Open Semi-Finals at 7pm and 8pm.
Saturday January 12: Coaching Clinics with the pros from 10am to 1pm. Doubles 1pm to 4.30pm.
Women’s Challenge at 5pm.
Colin Payne Kent Open Final: 6pm (followed by presentations and tournament party)

Kent Open founder Alan Thatcher, who has been involved in several high-profile tournaments, including the British Open, US Open and Canary Wharf Classic, will be masterminding operations. – A former doubles partner of Colin Payne at Maidstone, he said: “The tournament will celebrate its tenth anniversary with a new home venue after nine successful years at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone. “The growth of the Kent Open is due to the support of our sponsors, and Select Gaming have been involved every year since we started.

Tournament organiser Alan Thatcher hands over the Kent Open Trophies to Tunbridge Wells Squash Club chairman Mark Groves-Gidney

“It is hugely rewarding when you see young players go on to achieve great things in their careers. England’s Declan James and our reigning Kent Open champion Joel Makin (from Wales) are prime examples. …Pics from his win over Josh Masters >>

“Joel is in great form and has recently beaten the world champion, Mohamed ElShorbagy of Egypt, and Declan, another frequent visitor earlier in his career, is now at an all-time high of 16 in the world rankings. This makes him the new England number one, following in the footsteps of squash legends Nick Matthew and James Willstrop.

“It’s a pleasure watching guys like these compete in the Kent Open and it’s wonderful to see their hard work and dedication paying off.”

Tunbridge Wells Squash Club chairman Mark Groves-Gidney added: “We strive to be one of Kent’s premier clubs so we are delighted to be hosting this prestigious tournament: it will be great for our members and all the sporting enthusiasts of Tunbridge Wells for us to hold the Kent Open.

“It is wonderful for Jonny Powell to bring this tournament ‘back home’ and we are very fortunate to have Alan Thatcher take care of the event. Tunbridge Wells Squash and Rackets Club is pleased to financially support this event and we acknowledge the gracious support of our sponsors including The Spa Hotel.

The Wells Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic will also be delivering support to the players and G Collins and Sons jewelers will finance a Ladies professional challenge match during the tournament”.


This year we are proud to announce the inclusion of an
exhibition match between Elise Lazarus and Gina Kennedy on Sunday before the men’s final.

Gina Kennedy (L) with Amelia Henley

Gina Kennedy (Left) with Amelia Henley



Joel Makin (Wales) beat Josh Masters (England) 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (37 mins)


Tom Ford (England) beat Joel Makin (Wales) 8-11, 12-10, 11-13, 11-5, 11-9 (83 minutes)


Charles Sharpes (England) beat (Q) George Parker (England) 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10 (74 mins)


Jonathan Kemp (England) beat Steve Finitsis (Australia) 13-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9 (60 minutes)


Jonathan Kemp (England) beat Adrian Waller (England) 11-5, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9 (48 minutes)


Chris Simpson (England) beat Karim Ali Fathi (Egypt) 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 (45 minutes)


Chris Ryder (England) beat Max Lee (Hong Kong) 11-9, 16-18, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4 (121 minutes)


Alan Clyne (Scotland) beat Jonathan Harford (England) 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (35 minutes)


The Mote Classic Invitation Tournament:

Chris Ryder (England) beat Aaron Frankcomb (Australia) 11-13, 13-11, 11-2, 11-6 (82 minutes)


Kent Open Squash Tournament
2019 Sponsors

Kent Open Squash Tournament
2019 Sponsors