Franklin seals third title victory

  • Bermuda’s best: Franklin and Lacey with their trophies (Photograph by Bill Dickinson)

Micah Franklin lived up to his No 1 ranking, dispatching Noah Browne in an emphatic 3-0 triumph to retain his national title at the Bermuda Squash Racquets Association last night.

The tournament’s top seed, who is ranked 154 in the world, overpowered his opponent with his excellent footwork and volleys which took their toll on fellow PSA World Tour player Browne, who also finished runner-up last year.

Franklin won the opening game 11-9 after coming from behind and then withstanding a late rally by Browne who at one stage trailed by four points.

The second game also featured long rallies that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. Franklin jumped out to a 5-3 lead but Browne refused to roll over, winning the next two points to tie the game up.

However, a series of errors by Browne and officiating calls for interference that went against the No 2 seed enabled Franklin to pull away for good and take the game 11-5 for a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-three final.

Browne did well to keep things close during the early stages of the third game but again came undone by a series of errors which Franklin capitalised upon to win 11-7 and complete the sweep and capture a second straight national title and third overall.

“The score doesn’t reflect the match whatsoever,” Franklin said. “Noah is an unbelievable competitor. He’s going to be going on to great things and it was a pleasure playing him.”

In the preceding best of three women’s final, No 2 seed Susie Lacey came from a game down to beat fifth seed Maura Doherty 3-1 to claim a maiden national title.

Doherty, who beat defending champion Rachel Barnes in the semi-final, had things all her own way in the opening game, which she emphatically won 11-2.

But Lacey showed tremendous character to win the second game 11-8.

Lacey also came out on top 11-9 in another hard-fought battle in the third game, that could have gone either way.

Very little also separated the players in the fourth game, which saw Lacey overcome the jitters and her opponent’s late rally to clinch the title with an 11-7 triumph.

Overcome with emotion, Lacey sank to the floor and wept after finally getting over the last hurdle having finished runner-up at this event on several occasions.

“I’ve been in the final quite a number of times but always lost,” she said.

“This is my first victory in the national championships and it means the absolute world to me. It’s crazy and I can’t believe it.

“I had to fight literally for every point because she was not going away. She fought third every single point and I just tried to keep my head together and play as best I could.

“I was nervous on the last point and at 10-6 I was thinking I am going to lose this.

“But then I held it together and just managed to get through it and now I am a national champion.”