Spectators at the Homburg Centre in Halifax, Canada were treated to a number of well-contested matches in the first round of the Welaptega Bluenose Squash Classic, PSA M35 tournament with Eddie Charlton being the only seed to bow out at the first hurdle to Andrew Schnell.
Schnell, the wildcard from Calgary, was ranked almost 40 places below his opponent in the World Rankings but, after a fast start from Charlton, managed to steady himself impressively. Charlton hit a number of tins during the encounter and Schnell took full advantage to earn an 11-9, 11-9, 12-10 triumph to move into the next round.
He will go on to face Alister Walker in the quarter-final after the Botswanan overcame Todd Harrity in a five-game thriller. Harrity started brilliantly and racked up a number of quick blows to rise into a two-game lead but Walker’s experience paid off in the end as he came back to complete a superb turnaround.
Karim Abdel Gawad has also advanced to the next round and seeing off Shawn Delierre in style. The 24-year-old Egyptian took the first game in just four minutes with Canada’s Delierre unable to cope with Gawad’s speed and accuracy throughout. Despite being on the brink of elimination, Delierre threw everything he had into the final two games but it wasn’t enough to prevent an irrepressible Gawad from completing the victory in three to set up a next round clash with Alfredo Avila who beat Reiko Peter.
Elsewhere, World No.10 Marwan Elshorbagy defeated fan favourite Martin Knight, controlling the tempo of the match to win a 42 minute tie in straight games. Elshorbagy, who will travel to Qatar and Seattle in the coming weeks for the Qatar Classic and PSA Men’s World Championship, respectively, will face Campbell Grayson next thanks to the number seven seed’s triumph against Piedro Schweertman.
Ryan Cuskelly is also through after sweeping to a 3-0 victory against Arthur Gaskin to set up a quarter-final encounter with Laurens Jan Anjema who dispatched Christopher Gordon in four.
Results – First Round: Welaptega Bluenose Squash Classic 2015
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Shawn Delierre (CAN) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 (19m)
 Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt [Q] Reiko Peter (SUI) 3-1: 1-11, 11-7, 11-6, 12-10 (71m)
[WC] Andrew Schnell (CAN) bt  Eddie Charlton (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 12-10 (52m)
 Alister Walker (BOT) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 3-2: 10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-3 (56m)
 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt [Q] Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (33m)
 Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 3-1: 11-4, 11-7, 10-12, 11-3 (53m)
 Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt [Q] Piedro Schweertman (NED) 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5 (49m)
 Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Martin Knight (NZL) 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (42m)
Draw – Quarter-Final
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Alfredo Avila (MEX)
[WC] Andrew Schnell (CAN) v  Alister Walker (BOT)
 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v  Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
 Campbell Grayson (NZL) v  Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)
By James Hall