Joe completes home run to take the title
Joe Lee, from the host club St George’s Hill, won the 7th PSA title of his career by defeating Rory Stewart of Scotland 3-2 after a brutal 83 minutes of gruelling squash , in the final of the Eriswell Challenge .
Stewart , the 4th seed , seized the first game after a few uncharacteristic errors from Lee had given him a good lead and the chance to attack .
Lee countered with an attack of blistering pace and aggression , which left Stewart struggling to win points in the second game , punching the air as he left the court after an 11–4 mini victory.
The vigour and exertion of the second game proved hard to sustain for Lee as Stewart capitalised on the slightly deader ball which awaited the players as the third game commenced. He raced into a commanding lead and skilfully kept his nose ahead for a while only to see Lee haul himself back to take it 11-8.
Lee needed to start well in the fourth and as he commenced his push for glory , the championship looked almost a certainty as Rory Stewart buckled a little as Lee blitzed his way to a 6-1 lead.
Stewart was tiring but Lee marginally dropped the pace almost offering the Scotsman the chance of a riposte . Miraculously Stewart took 10 points in a row , many after hard fought rallies to force the match into a decisive 5th game .
The socially distanced, sweltering home crowd had their part to play now as the gladiators returned to the arena . Once again Lee needed to be competitive early to regain some of the flow and rhythm that had been lost . He rose superbly to take on this difficult challenge with aplomb . He kept in the lead throughout the hard fought game and as the end approached Stewart was finally broken physically . Lee ran out a 11-5 victor but both players had contributed to a wonderful display of top squash and sportsmanship .
The final was proceeded by Gina Kennedy’s first defence of her Pro Squash Challenge title . Gina displayed fantastic athleticism and skill to defeat World no 42 Jasmine Hutton 3-0 .
Part of Lee’s reward for winning the Eriswell Challenge will be a crack at PSC title holder Mohamed El Shorbagy in the autumn.