Think it's fair to say I haven’t had the smoothest of starts to this season, started out in Canada and then Barcelona on both occasions losing out in qualification. Slightly more disappointing were the performances but maybe expecting to much from myself instead of just going on court and enjoying my squash.
Although I wasn't performing in the tournaments I wasn't to worried as I knew I had put the work in and I was playing well in training. But squash is all about winning matches and it doesn't matter how well you train if the goods aren't there come match day.
After coming back from those first tournaments I had a bit of time to reflect before my next tournament in Ireland. The first thing I did when I got back was to evaluate the trip in a bit more depth so I sat down with my coach and we tried to diagnose what went wrong and how I could use my experiences to make me a better player.
I also had the opportunity through league squash namely national league and Yorkshire league to try and find some form and which in return would give me some confidence to build on. I also had a small tournament in Coventry the weekend before Ireland to give me some match practice and get me sharp. The week leading up to Ireland proved to be a pivotal one and I felt like I was finding some form with some good performances in league then down in Coventry where I felt I played some of my best squash of recent times.
Importantly I got some long tough matches in my leg and felt confident going into Ireland. First up was Roman Svec of the Czech Republic, I managed to pull through in three (13/11 11/2 11.7) a good performance if not a little nervy at times but I expected as much having not won to many matches recently. The thing that never fails to amaze me is the much higher importance PSA tournaments hold compared to anything else. After all we are playing for money and valuable ranking points.
But its amazing what a win does for you, after the first win it felt like a massive weight had been lifted. Next up was Alex Phillips #WR167 I felt I played well and was happy to come through in three (11/6 11/8 13/11). Just towards the end of the match I managed to slip while moving forward after all I am not the most elegant of movers. Although I managed to come through that match I rushed to ice the injury and tried to do everything I could in the knowledge I had a main draw match waiting the next day.
The next day instead of hitting in the morning before the match like myself and most players tend to do I rested up as the injury if anything had become worse overnight. But there was no way I was going to pull out, I decided to go on enjoy it and see what I could do, I was up against Ben Ford former top 100 player still very classy and with great experience. Didn't start off to well losing the first game in little to no time but as the body warmed up and adrenaline kick in I managed to do alright losing out 11/1 11/8 11/8. I had mixed feelings from the tournament on the one hand I had qualified which I wasn't expected to do but at the same time I had come away with what I knew was a nasty injury and which prevented me from being able to go out all guns blazing in the main draw which is what I needed to do to stand any chance.
Throughout the tournament I had a little bit of media coverage from BBC Gloucestershire which mentioned my results every night in the sports update so thanks to them and in particular Ian Randall.
Still on the mend and sadly was unable to go to Japan after further set backs but hoping to be back soon and have at least two more tournaments planned before the end of the year both of which are in Poland where I am in qualification. Thanks for all the support and words of encouragement recently means a lot. Feeling good and looking forward to a good end to the year.