Willstrop Sets Up Dream Nationals Final Against Matthew
Proving without doubt that his recent
shoulder injury is well and truly behind him, former champion James
Willstrop recovered from a game down to beat rising star Daryl Selby
in the semi-finals of the British National Squash Championships to
set up a dream final against defending champion Nick Matthew – the
first meeting on the all-glass showcourt at the National Squash Centre
in Manchester since the Yorkshire rivals contested a controversial
climax of the British Open last September.
Sixth seed Selby celebrated his first
appearance in the semi-finals after upsetting fellow Essex player and close
friend Peter Barker, the second seed, in the previous round. And the
27-year-old world No15 showed his new found form by taking the opening game
against Willstrop, the third seed.
But the 26-year-old from Leeds, who was
forced to concede last Sunday’s Swedish Open final after sustaining a
shoulder injury, raised his game to see off Selby 9-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-5 in
56 minutes - in a match which captivated the near capacity crowd at the
National Centre at Sportcity.
“The first game was pretty brutal – but it
was always going to be against Daryl, he’s in such good form,” said
Willstrop, the 2007 and 2008 champion now in his fourth final. “I had to
stick with it and use all my skills to keep him at bay.
“If I can play a match like that after last
week, that’s good news. It was definitely looking a little ropey last
“It was a real tough match to come through –
and to do so is a confidence-booster, after the injury.
“We always have heavy battles,” added
Willstrop when asked to comment on the ‘dream’ final. “I suppose we’ve
worked our way up to the top – he’s at two and I’m at six. There’s big
“But it’s exciting to be involved in a
massive tournament like this,” concluded Willstrop.
In the earlier men’s semi, Nick Matthew took
the opening game against England team-mate Adrian Grant - then fought
back from 5-8 down in the second to take the score to nine-all when his
opponent dived across the court in an attempt to retrieve the ball, and cut
After a seven-minute ‘blood injury’ break,
the pair returned to the court and Matthew moved to game ball at 11-10. A
freak bounce off the door handle at the back of the court gave the
Yorkshireman the game – but Matthew insisted that a let was played, and the
point was replayed.
Grant took the point to draw matters level
again – only for the 29-year-old from Sheffield to win the game at his next
attempt before easing through the third game to record an 11-6, 13-11, 11-5
victory in 70 minutes.
Matthew, the champion in 2006 and 2009,
extends his unbeaten run in the event to 14 matches since 2005.
On discussing the injury disruption
afterwards, Matthew agreed that there is never a good time for such a break
to occur: “It was quite hard to get the rhythm back - but if he’d won the
second, it would have been game on!
“I’ve told him before to stop diving,” joked
the defending champion.
When asked to comment on the sensational
recent form on the PSA World Tour which has taken him to a career-high world
No2, Matthew responded: “It’s now or never. I’m 30 this year – I’ve not
got a lot of time left so I’ve got to make the most of it!”
Asked about his sporting gesture in offering
a let after the official had given him the second game, Matthew said: “I’m
sure he would have done the same – anyway, it was probably the worst shot
I’ve played in my life, so I couldn’t take a win from it!”
Favourite Jenny Duncalf, the world
number three from Harrogate, fended off opposition from third seed
Madeline Perry in the opening women’s semi-final to beat the 11-time
Irish champion 11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5 in 47 minutes.
“Madders hits the ball so well – she gets
good pace on it,” said Duncalf, winner of the title in 2007 and 2009.
“She’s tough, quite a confident player. She’s a real handful. I had to get
her out of her comfort zone.
“Yes, it’s been going well for the last few
months, I’ve struck some good form. Let’s hope I can continue the run.
“It feels great to be in the final – in fact
it was difficult not to think about getting to the final when I still had a
few matches to go! But now I’m there, I can relax a bit more and enjoy it –
whoever I play!”
Her opponent will be England team-mate
Alison Waters – but the second seed from London was taken the full
distance by fourth seed Laura Massaro before surviving her first
five-game match in the tournament.
Massaro, who suffered two bruising WISPA
World Tour defeats before the event – then battled with lower-ranked player
opponents and her confidence to reach the semis – matched world No5 Waters
shot for shot.
The underdog from Preston took the opening
game, then fought back from 2/1 down to win the fourth.
But after a 14-minute fifth game, it was
Waters who prevailed, winning 10-12, 11-5, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8 in 71 minutes to
reach the her fifth final in the past six years.
"I knew she had a tough match yesterday, but
I wasn't going to take her lightly today,” said Waters. “It was a tough
game - we were both a bit loose at times, maybe because we both really
wanted to win it so much.
"Sometimes matches like that become a bit of
a scrap and it's a question of digging out the win. I managed to do that
today – I'm delighted to be in the final again."
A disconsolate Massaro tried to look on the
bright side: “I was pleased that I could battle it with her today –
especially after what happened in the US before and after my long game
yesterday,” said the 26-year-old world number nine.
Selby Sinks Barker In First Nationals Upset
After four days of action in the British
National Squash Championships, sixth seed Daryl Selby produced
the first upset when he beat close friend and fellow Essex man Peter Barker,
the No2 seed in a four-game quarter-final at the National Squash Centre
at Sportcity in Manchester.
The pair lined up for a place in the
semi-finals only days after 27-year-old Selby scored a notable upset over
world No7 Barker in a PSA Tour event in Canada. And, in a 33-minute first
game, the world No15 took Barker to a tie break, saving a game ball before
clinching the game 14-12.
Selby took the second to extend his lead –
but left-handed Londoner Barker battled back to reduce the deficit by
winning the third.
Barker won six points from 2-8 down in the
fourth, but Selby held off the challenge to win 14-12, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6 in
60 minutes to earn his first Nationals semi-final berth.
“It means a lot to me that I can beat
someone who’s world number seven,” said a delighted Selby afterwards. “But
it’s a shame that we got drawn together – off-court we’re such good friends.
“The first game was crucial and I managed to
get two decent shots to win it. I think he got a bit frustrated in the
second after losing the first – then he caught me off guard in the third,”
“In the fourth I got a little nervous at 8-2
up – and thought ‘surely I can’t lose it from here!’
“It’s the first time I’ve come into this
event genuinely believing I have an outside chance of doing well.
“And it’s always a good crowd here –
appreciative of squash. It’s a joy to play in front of this home crowd.
“Winning this title would be more of a dream
than anything else – but if I did, it would be the biggest achievement in my
career,” concluded Selby.
Showing no signs of ill effect from his
recent shoulder injury, third seed James Willstrop earlier cruised
into the semi-finals after a straight games win over Joey Barrington,
the seventh seed from Somerset.
Winner of the premier domestic title in 2007
and 2008, the 26-year-old Yorkshireman was in full control for most of the
match, wrapping up his 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 victory in just 38 minutes.
It was only five days ago that Willstrop was
forced to retire from the final of the Swedish Open after sustaining
an injury which ultimately manifested itself in his shoulder.
“I feel good – there were only a few minor
confidence issues to deal with over the first part of the week,” said
Willstrop after his third straight games win in the event. “Whatever I did
in Sweden, the body was completely out of kilter.
“Joey’s very tough, and fetches everything
back so he’s difficult to play. And he’s a good sport too,” added the world
No6 from Pontefract.
Willstrop won his two Nationals titles on
the all-glass court at the National Squash Centre – where he also reached
the final of the British Open last year. “I feel very at home here –
Manchester’s been a great servant to the sport and it’s great to be back.
“There are a lot of Pontefract supporters
here too which is fantastic – just like the old days. Let’s hope they stick
around for the weekend.”
In the opening women’s quarter-final, fourth
seed Laura Massaro took on Sarah Kippax, the seventh seed from
Cheshire who has not beaten the world No9 from Lancashire in 10 meetings
since their junior days in 2001.
But Chester-born Kippax recovered from a
game down to win the next two games – her first ever pair against Massaro -
to lead 2/1.
Massaro, bidding to reach the semis for the
fourth year in a row, regained her composure to wrest back the fourth and
five times clawed back leads by Kippax in the decider before winning 12-10,
11-13, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7 in 60 minutes.
“I don’t know what happened – my brain
went,” said the shell-shocked 26-year-old from Preston afterwards. “But
Sarah’s playing really well – it’s the best she’s ever played against me.”
Massaro arrived in Manchester after two
successive Tour defeats to lower-ranked Egyptian Raneem El Weleily.
“I had a couple of bad losses recently, so I
was a bit flat,” explained the fourth seed. “I was 9-5 up tonight in both
games and she caught up, and then went 2/1 up – and I thought ‘here we go
“She made me feel I didn’t have any rhythm.
I just had a really bad day – I’m really disappointed as I’ve been working
at trying to think about playing and enjoying it. I feel emotionally as if
Later, second seed Alison Waters
claimed the last semi-final slot in the women’s competition when she
defeated Warwickshire’s Emma Beddoes, the eighth seed from
Nottingham, 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 in 28 minutes.
Londoner Waters is flying high after picking
up two WISPA World Tour titles in a row over the past two weeks in
“I can’t complain,” said the 25-year-old
world number five. “I had a good couple of weeks in America. I was seeded
one in both events, but it was still tough – and my goal was to win both.
“I’m not going to step off when I play Laura
tomorrow. Being in the Nationals semi-finals is always a big occasion,”
said the 2008 champion who is hoping to be in the final for the fifth time
in six years.
Birthday Girl Perry Celebrates Maiden Bailey Win In British Nationals
Madeline Perry celebrated her 33rd birthday in style in the opening
women's quarter-final in the British National Squash Championships
when she recorded her first ever tournament win over English rival Tania
Bailey - beating the 2006 champion in four games at the National
Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.
Bailey, the fifth seed
from Lincolnshire still hampered by a long-standing knee injury, took
the opening game against the third seed from Banbridge, near Belfast. But
Perry quickly regained the upper hand and after 49 minutes completed her
breakthrough 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 victory.
"I hate to keep on
going on about my injury, but the main thing tonight is that Madeline played
really well - she was on top form and even at my best I would have found it
difficult," said 30-year-old Bailey, a former world No4.
"I just wasn't used to
playing at that pace - it's mainly my confidence. I just didn't feel
comfortable on that court.
"I definitely enjoyed
the match, however - but there are so many things to work on.
"I so much want to say
that I'm feeling good and playing well - but my body isn't quite quick
enough. However, there are more positives to be taken out of the match than
Perry, who has only
ever beaten the Lincolnshire lass once before - in a Premier League match
when Bailey was forced to retire injured - was happy to have won: "She's
still so strong and determined - I knew it was going to be tough. I'm just
relieved to get through."
The world No8 was
playing her first tournament on the National Centre's all-glass showcourt
since recording her career-best win over world number Nicol David in
last year's British Open.
"This is my special
court now. I was pretty determined to win again after that memorable win
last time," said the birthday girl.
"I find it tough to
play Tania, so I knew I needed to stick in, try to keep her under pressure
but play a basic game, I tend to get drawn into her game too easily."
Perry, now in her
third semi in four years, will play title-holder Jenny Duncalf after
the favourite from Harrogate in Yorkshire cruised to an 11-5, 11-8, 11-2 win
over Lauren Briggs, the sixth seed from Essex, in 23 minutes.
Duncalf is playing her
first national event since recording two stunning victories on the WISPA
World Tour over Nicol David, the Malaysian who has dominated the
women's game since 2006.
"I'm happy with the
way I am playing at the moment - but the main thing is to keep that momentum
going. But those wins did give me confidence - and extra belief in myself,"
explained the 27-year-old world No3.
"But I've got a tough
match coming up now against Madeline in the semi-finals - and I'm looking
forward to that," added Duncalf, who has met the Irish number one in past
three National championships.
In the opening men's
quarter-final, Jonathan Kemp found himself two points away from a
sensational straight games upset which would have seen the Shropshire lad
make the semi-finals for the first time.
28-year-old and fellow left-hander Adrian Grant have faced each other
regularly since first meeting in the British Junior U16 Nationals'
semi-finals in 1996 - with world No10 Grant boasting a 7-1 head-to-head
And Londoner Grant,
the fourth seed, ground out his eighth win tonight, beating seventh seed
Kemp 5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-3 in 70 minutes to claim his fourth
successive berth in the semi-finals.
"The standard's very
high - Kempy's ranked in the twenties so there are no easy games at this
stage," said relieved winner Grant. "I couldn't find my rhythm for the
first game and a half, but that was Kempy not letting me settle.
"I got into it later
on, but it was never easy, we were both looking to take control of the
middle and hunting the volley. It was maybe a bit scrappy, but I'll take a
In the final match of
the day, event favourite Nick Matthew took the first two games
against close friend Alister Walker - then had a shock when the
fifth-seeded underdog battled back to take the third and build up a 5-2,
then 9-8, lead in the fourth.
But defending champion
Matthew chased down everything that Walker could throw at him and ultimately
clinched an 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 victory in exactly one hour.
"He's too good now,"
said world number two Matthew of his opponent, ranked ten places lower.
"I was struggling in
parts of the game.
"But it is the same in
practice - I win the first two games and he wins the third - so I'm used to
it," added the 29-year-old from Sheffield. "I told my Dad I didn't want
that to happen again tonight, so I was quite annoyed at dropping that third
"Players like Ali are
coming to their peak so it gets harder and harder."
Walker, 27, from
Leeds, was downcast at the outcome: "That's three tournaments in a row now
where I've lost 12/10 in the fifth to Shabana; had chances against James;
and now this one where I had chances again against the world number two.
"Hopefully I'm going
to get one soon, I just have to get some consistency.
"I belong on the court
with these guys now, I'm as good as them," added the defeated world No12.
"I just need to believe I can beat them.
"It's frustrating, but
Barker Sets Up Selby Replay In British Nationals Quarters
Less than a week after losing to his close friend and Essex county team-mate
in a PSA World Tour event in Canada, No2 seed Peter Barker will meet sixth
seed Daryl Selby for a place in the semi-finals of the British National
Squash Championships after both prevailed in straight games in the second
round of the country's premier domestic event at the National Squash Centre
at Sportcity in Manchester.
While Selby, the world No15 from Witham, eased to an 11-5, 11-7, 11-9
victory over former British Junior champion Adrian Waller in 36 minutes,
Londoner Barker, ranked seven in the world, needed two minutes longer to see
off the challenge of Leamington Spa-based Chris Ryder, the 10th seed and a
former World University champion, 11-4, 11-8, 11-3.
"I know it's going to be tough - we're good friends and he's beaten me the
last couple of times," said Barker as he contemplated Friday's quarter-final
clash on the state-of-the-art all-glass showcourt at the National Centre.
"Of course, I hope it won't be three times in a row - but he's one of the
top guys now, he'll soon be in the world top ten. And on their day, any one
of the world's top ten can beat one of the others.
"I'm looking forward to moving onto the glass court - and I hope the fact
that I've probably played on it more times than Daryl will give me a bit of
"But it'll be who plays better on the day - and I hope it's me," concluded
Two upsets looked to be on the cards when outsiders Joe Lee, from Surrey,
and Scot Alan Clyne opened up leads against higher-ranked opponents. But
after marathon encounters lasting more than 80 minutes, Leeds-based fifth
seed Alister Walker came out on top 13-15, 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9 against
Clyne, and eighth seed Joey Barrington, from Glastonbury in Somerset,
prevailed 5-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-8 over Lee.
"I started really well and won the first game comfortably - but he started
to move better in the second and I lost a bit of width and length,"
explained 20-year-old Joe Lee after his first appearance in the event's
"But I wasn't far off - and if I'd gone 2/0 up, it could have been a
different story. I learned a lot from that. But it was good opportunity to
get onto the glass court, so I'm disappointed I didn't make more of it.
"My coach Peter (Genever) told me to take a few gambles - and they paid off,
but it was a little too late."
Joey Barrington, ranked 27 in the world, admitted that he had been
stretched: "It was tough - but it was great to play him. Now I've got a day
to practise on the glass court for my quarter-final against James Willstrop."
Walker's reward for surviving his 82-minute match against 13th seed Alan
Clyne is a clash with Nick Matthew, the defending champion who is ranked two
in the world.
"That's just what I needed before a likely quarter-final with Nick!" joked
the 27-year-old from Gloucestershire as walked off court following his
"I'm just happy to be through, I'm relieved. He's very fit and gets a lot
back. It's hard to play good squash on this court - and he played perfectly,
he got his tactics absolutely right," added the Botswana-born world No12.
"It's all very well to beat players like (Amr) Shabana and (Gregory)
Gaultier, but a winning a title like this would really set you apart. It's a
title that everybody covets - it would be really nice to win it."
Nick Matthew, from Sheffield, survived his last sixteen clash shortly
afterwards - but again the favourite was tested, this time by Tom Richards,
the fast-improving world No34 from Surrey. After losing the first game,
ninth seed Richards raced to a 7-2 lead in the second before Matthew
steadied the ship and ground out an 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 victory in 51 minutes.
"When I saw the draw, I knew I had the toughest opponent in the second
round," said the England number one. "He's steadied up his game a lot - he's
got a lot fitter and stronger. He'll be in a top 20 player before long.
"I felt I was in control in the first half of the first game - then it was
Halifax-based Jonathan Kemp secured his quarter-final place in the quickest
time. The No7 seed from Shropshire took just 24 minutes to overcome Hull's
15th seed Laurence Delasaux 11-5, 11-5, 11-9.
And Londoner Adrian Grant, the Leeds-based fourth seed who was runner-up
last year, earned his seventh successive quarter-finals berth by beating
Guernsey's Chris Simpson 11-8, 12-14, 11-8, 11-5 in 58 minutes.
There were no shocks in the first round battles in the women's championship
- though Emma Beddoes, the Nottingham-based eighth seed, had to fight back
from two games down to beat determined Derbyshire outsider Laura Hill 9-11,
7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 in 56 minutes.
"I was 9-3 up in the first and never got another point," said Beddoes, from
Warwickshire. "I don't really know what happened, but it's very easy to
become too defensive on these courts. Laura's a great retriever and if you
don't do something with the ball she's going to hang in and win the point.
"It wasn't the greatest squash and she was hitting a better length than me.
I just had to stick in there, I've never made the quarters before so there
was no way I was going to go down without a fight.
"I don't get to play on the glass court that much, so it will be brilliant
to play on it, and I even get a day off!"
Top seeds Jenny Duncalf and Alison Waters wasted no time in claiming their
places in the quarter-finals. Favourite Duncalf, the defending champion from
Harrogate, despatched qualifier Deon Saffery, the Welsh number one, 11-7,
11-4, 11-4 in 25 minutes, while Londoner Waters needed only 19 minutes to
quash Warwickshire qualifier Sarah-Jane Perry 11-1, 11-4, 11-3.Willstrop Survives Opening Encounter In Manchester British Nationals
Just two days after a shoulder injury forced his retirement in the final of
the Swedish Open, Yorkshireman James Willstrop came through
the men's first round match in the British National Squash Championships
in Manchester unscathed when he beat Irish champion John Rooney in
straight games at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity.
Willstrop Survives Opening Encounter In Manchester British
After a nervous start, the two-time champion from Leeds began to impose
himself on the game against Rooney, and went on to defeat the unseeded
Irishman 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 in 38 minutes.
"It was great, under the circumstances - at first I was very tentative but I
came through it OK," said the 26-year-old third seed. "I've done everything
I can since Sunday - mostly intense work with my physio Alison in Leeds,
trying to get things in my body back in place!
"But these things happen in squash - and there's no reason why you can't
turn things round. Now I can forget about it and get on with it - it's good
to erase some of the doubts."
Willstrop was being supported between games by England High Performance
Coach David Campion. "It was good to have my brother with me - he's
been through it as well. He knows the psychology of injury!"
Willstrop will now face Welshman Nic Birt, the only unseeded player
to make it through to the last 16. The 28-year-old from Newport was heading
back to Cardiff last night to resume his coaching duties after losing in the
qualifying finals when he received a call from the organisers offering him a
place in the first round as a 'lucky loser'.
Birt's luck continued today when he beat qualifying winner Phil Rushworth,
also a coach, from Yorkshire, 11-9, 11-2, 10-12, 15-13 in a 73-minute
Earlier in the day top-seeded Yorkshireman Nick Matthew, the world
number two, successfully began the defence of his title when he beat
Shropshire qualifier Andrew Birks in straight games.
The 29-year-old from Sheffield took just 29 minutes to defeat Birks, a
22-year-old from Telford making his maiden appearance in the event, 11-3,
11-7, 11-4 as he bids to win his third title since 2006.
"Ever since I first played in the Nationals, it has been a priority event
for me - in the early days, a good opportunity to get the scalp of a top
player, just like my opponent today was trying to do," explained the England
"It's a big thing to be the National Champion!
"It shows the standard of the event that I'll probably face Tom Richards
tomorrow in the second round - a player who's pushing to get into the
world's top 30. I'll have to up my level."
Matthew arrived in Manchester fresh from winning the Swedish Open for
the second year in a row, beating England team-mate James Willstrop
in the ill-fated final.
"It's good to get the cobwebs out of the system after a day of travelling.
Andrew impressed me - he worked hard throughout the game, with no cheap
shots," Matthew continued.
"After a tough period at the end of last year, I needed some time off over
Christmas - so when I played in New York, I felt I was lacking a bit. But I
felt a lot better in Sweden - and got better each day, even though the final
was a bit of an anti-climax. So hopefully I have benefitted from the time
Matthew revealed that he has two major goals after defending his National
crown: "My two targets this year are to do well in the Commonwealth Games
and to reach number one in the world."
Two England 'veterans', both of whom made their debut in the 1987
championships, enjoyed differing fortunes at the National Squash Centre
Stephen Meads, the 1995 champion from Berkshire, was celebrating his
22nd appearance in the event - having only missed one year, 1993, since his
debut. But the 39-year-old from Wokingham only lasted half a game against
rising star Tom Richards - the ninth seed who was just one year old
when Meads began his Nationals' run - when he suffered a back spasm after 10
minutes with the score standing at just 5-3.
On an adjacent court, 37-year-old Simon Parke was two points away
from celebrating a stunning upset in his 50th match in the championships.
The Yorkshireman, three times a finalist and winner of the trophy in 1998,
fought back from 6-10 down to win the first game against seventh seed
Jonathan Kemp - then secured the second before being poised at nine-all
in the third.
But Shropshire lad Kemp's superior fitness eventually came into play as the
Halifax-based 28-year-old summoned up a 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5
victory after 62 minutes.
"It's always good to play Parkey - I enjoyed the whole match," said Kemp
immediately afterwards. "I was in control in the first game and 10-6 up when
he just decided to go for it. And even when I was ahead in the fifth, he
never gave up.
"I was impressed - I didn't think he'd be able to play like that. That was
his big match."
When reminded that his opponent first competed in the event in 1987, Kemp
retorted: "I was six then - it's clear he's got more experience than I have!
"It's the first serious match I've played since December as I decided to
concentrate on training over the past couple of months. Hopefully, now I've
played a match, I'll remember how to play squash properly," concluded the
Parke was delighted with his performance: "I nearly got him! I've been
playing quite well recently - but that was probably the best I've played for
about a year. I definitely had the chance to take him - but just didn't have
enough in the end."
Rueing the fact that he leaves the event empty-handed, as prize money starts
with second round losers, Parke continued: "It's the only time I've had to
pay £22.50, and my petrol money, for the honour of competing in the
Nationals - so I needed to get my money's worth!
"I was disappointed not to be one of the top 16 seeds - and thought long and
hard before deciding to play.
"And then I almost took out a top eight seed - so I think I proved myself!"
Rushworth Leads Qualifying Group Into British Nationals' Main Draw
Phil Rushworth became the first qualifier to claim a place in the men's main
draw of the British National Squash Championships when he beat fellow
Yorkshireman Sam Wileman in straight games in today's (Monday) qualifying
finals at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.
The 26-year-old Bradford-born coach, now based in Surrey, despatched
Leeds-based Wileman 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 in just 22 minutes.
"It's my second time in the main draw, but I got a 'lucky loser' last time,
so it's good to get there properly this time," said a jubilant Rushworth.
There were mixed successes for 22-year-old Telford twins Andrew and Richard
Birks. Andrew Birks, ranked 221 in the world, recorded a significant upset
when he recovered from a game down to beat Sussex's 21-year-old world No 142
Tom Pashley 10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 to earn his first appearance in the main
But Richard was unable to join him, beaten later 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8 by
Oxfordshire's Dominic Hamilton, a 30-year-old based in Leeds who is
celebrating his first time in the main draw at only his second attempt.
Hamilton, who was raised in Bradford but later moved to Oxford and
ultimately played for the county, hoped to be drawn to play Nick Matthew,
the top seed and defending champion. "We used to play on Yorkshire junior
teams together, and I beat him when I was 12. He's got a bit better since
then, but it would be good to play him again!"
Chris Hall, a Surrey-born 22-year-old who is based in Kenilworth, earned his
first appearance in the main draw at his fifth attempt since 2004 when he
beat Yorkshireman Andrew Widdison 11-8, 11-8, 11-9.
When asked to explain his mysterious recent absence from the circuit, Hall
explained: "I was at University until last July, and now I coaching full
time at three clubs in Warwickshire. But I'm starting to play some
A pair of Scots battling for places in the main draw enjoyed mixed results:
Stuart Crawford, from Edinburgh, went down 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 to Merseyside's
Stephen Siveter - but 23-year-old Jamie MacAulay, also from Edinburgh, beat
Welshman Nic Birt 11-4, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8.
But Aberdeen-born MacAulay must now face another Scot in his maiden
appearance in the British championships after being drawn to meet 13th seed
The final men's qualifying match produced the only local player to survive
the 64-man qualifying draw when Manchester's Peter Billson defeated
Yorkshireman James Earles 11-6, 8-11, 11-3, 11-2 in 39 minutes to earn his
sixth successive appearance in the event's main draw.
The 29-year-old's reward is a first round clash with another Yorkshireman,
Laurence Delasaux, the 24-year-old No 15 seed from Hull.
Leads Local Interest In British Nationals' Qualifying
Peter Billson leads local interest in the men's qualifying competition of
the British National Squash Championships after beating Dorset's Michael
Hopkins in the first qualifying round of the country's leading domestic
championships at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.
The Manchester-based 29-year-old, aiming to make the main draw for the sixth
year in succession, battled for 43 minutes to overcome Hopkins 11-5, 9-11,
The unranked Billson now faces Nottingham's 15-year-old Ollie Holland, the
British Junior U117 champion ranked 368 in the world, for a place in the
Cheshire's Adam Murrills will also compete in the second qualifying round
after beating Darren Vickery 11-7, 11-3, 11-5. The 19-year-old former
England junior international from Bowden will now take on fellow 19-year-old
Joshua Harris, from County Durham.
Yorkshire's world number two Nick Matthew heads a star-studded men's field
competing for the title of 2010 British National Champion. The 29-year-old
defending champion from Sheffield boosted his chances of success for the
second year in a row today when he won the prestigious Swedish Open title
after beating fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop in the final.
The top two world-ranked Englishmen are expected to line up in next Sunday's
British Nationals' final - but some doubt may now be cast on this dream
final after Willstrop was forced to retire from the Swedish Open climax
suffering with a shoulder injury.