Ford wins national crown
COFFS Harbour squash player Jacob Ford has cemented his reputation as one of the leading junior players in the country.
Ford produced an outstanding performance at the Australian Age Championships in Geelong to win the under-17 national title.
Having won the under-15 championship last year, Ford was seeded number one for his age group last week and despite thr pressure of being the nominated top gun, he remained focused throughout to win his second age title.
He opened confidently with strong performances in the earlier rounds against his Queensland and Victorian opponents to move through to the semi finals where he would be tested by South Australian Saad Khatri.
Leading two games to nil, Ford suffered a hand injury requiring an injury time delay before returning to court where he made some uncharacteristic errors before he showed his determination fighting back from 7-2 and 9-4 down to draw level before taking the game finally in a tie break 13-11 to wrap up the match in 33 minutes.
Into the final against fifth seed Abel Jin from Westren Australia, No 5 seed, both opened the scoring after long rallies in the first clash between the two.
Ford took a tight first game with Jin replying to seize the second.
The all-important third game saw Ford up the tempo with some great volley work which brought him success to go two-one up.
The fourth game saw both players produce heavy exchanges early which ended in Ford's favour.
His consistency was challenging the Sandgroper, skipping out to 8-4 before he courageously attacked a number of short balls from soft returns in the front court reeling off three winners to close out the match to secure the championship.
There was a smile of relief and joy at the same time at winning 11-9 9-11 11-7 11-4.
"It feels good, I thought I played well and took my chances when they came and luckily they were all good,” Ford said.
"Abel was tough, I had to stay in front.”