World No. 1’s Damien Mudge & Ben Gould won their third SDA title in just as many weeks Monday night, defeating world No. 3’s Manek Mathur & Yvain Badan in the $25,000 Jim Bentley Cup final at the Cambridge Club in Toronto.
The Bentley adds to the PDC Cup and Big Apple titles in the past three weeks for the Australian powerhouse. The historic title did not come easy for the defending champions in Toronto, however.
The eight-team main draw saw the top two seeds progress to the final with two, three-game victories each. As in 2014, Mudge & Gould needed had to get past Canadian national doubles champions Robin Clarke & Scott Arnold in the semifinals. Clarke & Scott, SDA rookies of the year, managed to stay within reach of the eventual champions, but fell short each game 15-11, 15-11, 15-11.
In the bottom half of the draw, two seeds Mathur & Badan held off fellow Trinity Bantam Jonny Smith & Greg Park in a three-game semifinal for the second consecutive tournament. Smith & Park had endured an upset scare against another pair of Bantams in the first round, Carl Baglio & Andres Vargas, recovering from 2-0 down to win the match 14-15, 11-15, 15-11, 15-3, 15-11.
After Mudge & Gould controlled the PDC Cup final last week, it was Mathur & Badan who carried their tournament momentum into the final. The Trinity grads led the top seeds in an fast-paced first game, and earned an early lead 15-8. Mathur & Badan continued to lead in the second, and at one point held a 9-6 advantage, at which point Mudge & Gould rallied to win the game 15-13. There was no looking back for Mudge & Gould after leveling the game score as the top seeds took the match in four 15-9, 15-12 to win an entertaining final.
Their second Bentley title as partner marks Mudge’s fifth total, and Gould’s sixth.
“There were a few differences from last weekend,” Mudge said comparing the two finals in two weeks against Mathur & Badan. “We didn’t have the ball control that we had last week. Swiss and Manek came out firing and we got off to a slow start.
“Winning three events consecutively is a pretty difficult thing to do. You’re playing to the end in every tournament and have to step right up a few days later.”
The top seeds will lead the draw again in the massive Briggs Cup next month. Mudge, meanwhile, will reunite with former partner Viktor Berg in two weeks when the tour resumes with the Delaware Pro Doubles at Wilmington Country Club.
The Jim Bentley Cup—namesake of the Cambridge Club founder—has a long tradition of elite squash doubles with a history that has included a variety of unique events. For many years, the Bentley was held as an invitational, where the club determined the pairings, matching top PSA softball singles professionals from around the world with the best in hardball doubles.
Watch the Jim Bentley Cup final replay below.