British Nationals 2007

The World of Squash
at Your Fingertips

About SP
Squash on TV
UK Counties
World Links
Online Store
Books, Subs, Videos

Squash Directory
Where to get it all

Classified Section
Job, Jobs, Jobs ...Something to sell...

Colin McQuillan Reports From The Nationals


. Reports

. Previews
. Men's Draw
. Women's Draw

. Matthew Pulls Out



Kemp Crashes As Vail Advances In Manchester

Tim Vail became the first unseeded player to reach the men's quarter-finals of the British National Squash Championships for eight years when he upset fellow Englishman Jonathan Kemp, the No7 seed, in today's (Wednesday) second round at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.


After dropping the opening game, the 29-year-old from Lee-on-Solent beat his Shropshire opponent 8-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9 in 39 minutes to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in eight appearances in the event.


"I thought before the match that if I played well, I could win it," said the England No16 who gave up the international circuit in 2002 to concentrate on coaching.   "I'm chuffed to bits.


"My current form is down to the training sessions I've been having with Stacey Ross and Ian Robinson over the past eighteen months or so.  My main aim now is to get into the England top ten."


Kemp came into the match having not played at all for the past two weeks as the result of a back ailment:  "I knew what to expect against him - but he played really well.  I didn't think I played badly, under the circumstances - but I couldn't miss the Nationals!"


Vail will meet favourite James Willstrop in the quarter-finals on Thursday, when the action at the National Squash Centre moves onto the all-glass show court.  The Yorkshireman, playing on a conventional plaster court, "trundled" to an 11-9, 7-11, 11-3, 11-4 victory over Gloucestershire's 16th seed Alex Stait.


"It's important to realise that these courts don't suit the way I play - they're a real leveller - so when you encounter players like Alex, you have to treat them with a lot of respect," explained Willstrop, the 23-year-old world No9 from Pontefract. 


"Unlike on the all-glass court, which we're so much more used to playing on, it's really hard to do anything with the ball.  It makes you feel quite ordinary - you just have to trundle your way through matches!"


Willstrop's England and Pontefract club team-mate Lee Beachill cruised through his second round encounter, beating Oxfordshire's 12th seed Scott Handley 11-8, 11-6, 11-4.


"It's good to get off three-nil.  I didn't feel amazing, but I'm hitting the ball well enough, which is good," said the three-times champion who is bidding to reach the final for a record seventh successive year.


"I'm just looking forward to getting back on the glass court now," added the third seed.


Welshman Alex Gough, the sixth seed, survived his second marathon battle in 24 hours when he overcame Gloucestershire's No9 seed Alister Walker 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4 in 78 minutes.


"I'm feeling much better than I did yesterday, following a good rest after the match," said the 36-year-old British Open Over-35 champion who reached last week's Swedish Open final against the seedings.


"I thought my win over Karim Darwish (the world No8) in last week's semi-finals in Sweden was one of the best performances of my life - and he was playing well - and this is the continuation of that," said Gough when asked to describe the way he felt he was playing currently.


"I'm hitting the ball well - so, as long as the body holds out, I should be fine.  But it'll all be very different on the glass court."


Walker was disappointed at the outcome:  "I gave myself a great chance before the match - and should have made more of it at 7-7 and 8-8 in both the first two games.  But Alex knows how to play those points so well.  There's a lot to learn mentally from a match like that," said the 24-year-old from Leeds.


Former champion Simon Parke was another 'marathon man' in action for the second day in row:  The 34-year-old No8 seed from Yorkshire took 98 minutes to get the better of Essex's tenth seed Daryl Selby 11-7, 11-10 (5-3), 10-11 (0-2), 11-8.


"He's a phenomenal player, I've got so much respect for him," said Selby of his opponent, the 1998 champion, afterwards.  "I can't remember winning any easy points - I was battling for my life all the time.  I've never beaten him before, but I felt I played well.  What an experience!"


Parke will now face higher-seeded Adrian Grant, the Yorkshire-based Londoner who beat Berkshire's unseeded Stephen Meads 11-10 (4-2), 11-3, 11-6.  The match lasted 77 minutes, but 26 of those were off court while Grant was receiving treatment for a cut knuckle on his racket hand - sustained when he scraped his hand across the floor while reaching for a shot.


Favourite Tania Bailey coasted to a 9-0, 9-4, 9-2 win in 31 minutes over Manchester's Rebecca Botwright in the first round of the women's event.  "I've played Becky probably three times in the past year - and this is definitely the best she's played," said Bailey.


"I feel great, I feel sharp - in fact it's the best I've felt going into a tournament for ages," explained the defending champion from Lincolnshire.


"Last year I wasn't expected to do well, so this year I guess there is a bit more pressure."


Tania and her England team-mates recorded an appearance on the BBC TV show 'Eggheads' last week.  "I was more nervous doing that than I've ever been in all my life!"


Irish champion Madeline Perry made a welcome return to the event after a four-year gap to record her first ever win in the championship by beating Merseyside's Georgina Stoker 9-1, 9-0, 9-1 in 29 minutes.


"I wanted to play well here and get off to a good start," said the third seed from Banbridge, near Belfast, who celebrated her 30th birthday this week. 


"In previous years I was concentrating on getting into the world top ten, but now that I've achieved that I want to try and win this - it's a title I really fancy!"


Manchester fans had to wait until the final match of the day to see local star Vicky Botwright claim her anticipated place in the quarter-finals with a 9-6, 9-3, 9-2 victory over Warwickshire qualifier Vicky Hynes.


"I didn't play super well, but I'm pleased to get through without dropping a game," said the second seed who has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals in nine appearances since 1997.


Hynes, who had a baby boy some eighteen months ago, was making her return to the event after a three-year gap.


"She's a tricky player and considering how long she was out, she plays really well," added Botwright.





British Nationals 2007
Men's Draw
First Round
Tue 13th
Second Round
Wed 14th
Sat 17th
Sun 18th

[1] James Willstrop (Yorks)
11/3, 11/7, 11/6 (29m)
[Q] Jethro Binns (Wales_

 James Willstrop
11-9, 7-11, 11-3, 11-4 (42m)
 Alex Stait
James Willstrop
Thu 20.15
Tim Vail
13.45 17.00

[16] Alex Stait (Glos)
11/6, 11/5, 11/8 (28m)
[Q] Tom Pashley (Sussex)

[7] Jon Kemp (Shrops)
11/4, 11/8, 8/11, 11/7 (32m)
Peter Billson (Lancs)

Jon Kemp
8-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9 (39m)
Tim Vail

[LL] Adrian Waller (Herts)
11/6, 11/8, 1/11, 11/8 (34m)
Tim Vail (Sussex)

[3] Lee Beachill (Yorks)
11/2, 11/1, 11/3 (22m)
[Q] Eddie Charlton (Notts)

Lee Beachill
11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (35m)
 Scott Handley
Lee Beachill
Thu 18.45
Alex Gough

[12] Scott Handley (Oxon)
11/7, 11/5, 11/5 (25m)
[Q] Chris Tasker-Grindley (Glos)

[6] Alex Gough (Wales)
8/11, 11/6, 11/9, 11/6 (58m)
Nick Taylor (Lancs)

Alex Gough
11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4 (78m)
Alister Walker

[9] Alister Walker (Glos)
12/10, 11/6, 11/5 (43m)
[Q] Jaymie Haycocks (Shrop)

[Q] Shaun Le Roux (Yorks)
11/6, 11/7, 11/9 (36m)
[10]  Daryl Selby (Essex)
Daryl Selby
11-7, 11-10 (5-3), 10-11 (0-2), 11-8 (98m)
Simon Parke
Simon Parke
Fri 18.45
Adrian Grant
Ben Ford (Kent)
11/9, 9/11, 11/9, 6/11, 11/5 (71m)
[8] Simon Parke (Yorks)

Steve Meads (Berks)
11/4, 12/10, 12/10 (63m)
[14] Chris Simpson (Hants)

Steve Meads
11-10 (4-2), 11-3, 11-6 (77m)  
Adrian Grant

[Q] Stephen Siviter (Merseyside)
11/9, 11/8, 11/9 (38m)
[4] Adrian Grant (Kent)

Peter Genever (Sussex)
12/10, 11/4, 7/11, 3/11, 11/7 (70m)
[15] Lee Drew (Essex)

Lee Drew
9-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-3 (48m)
Peter Barker
Peter Barker
Fri 20.15
John White

[Q] Jonny Harford (Glos)
 11/7, 11/8, 11/3 (33m)
[5] Peter Barker (Essex)

Hadrian Stiff (Devon)
11/7, 11/3, 11/6 (27m)
[13] Tom Richards (Surrey)

Hadrian Stiff
11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (28m)
John White

Andy Whipp (Cheshire)
11/6, 10/12, 11/6, 11/7
[2] John White (Scotland)


 Qualifying finals:

Stephen Siviter (Merseyside) bt James Snell (Devon)     11-8, 11-7, 11-6 (33m)

Jaymie Haycocks (Shropshire) bt Adrian Waller (Herts)   11-9, 11-9, 11-5 (39m)

Jonathan Harford (Glos) bt Joe Lee (Surrey)                   11-2, 8-11, 11-1, 11-4 (51m)

Shaun le Roux (Yorks) bt Jonathan Tate (Northumbria) 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 (42m)

Chris Tasker-Grindley (Glos) bt Darren Lewis (Leics)       5-11, 11-10 (4-2), 11-5, 8-11, 11-9 (71m)

Eddie Charlton (Notts) bt Lewis Walters (Notts)             11-8, 6-11, 11-10 (4-2), 11-10 (2-0) (66m)

Tom Pashley (Sussex) bt Robbie Temple (Glos)               11-7, 11-5, 3-11, 11-6 (41m)

Jethro Binns (Wales) bt Phil Rushworth (Yorks)              11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9 (45m)

Men's 2nd qualifying round:

Stephen Siviter (Merseyside) bt Nick Douglas (Notts)     11-3, 11-6, 11-6 (31m)

James Snell (Devon) bt Andrew Widdison (Yorks)           11-6, 11-10 (4-2), 3-11, 11-4 (39m)

Jaymie Haycocks (Shropshire) bt Peter Creed (Wales)    11-7, 8-11, 11-4, 11-4 (42m)

Adrian Waller (Herts) bt Asa Morris (Avon)                      11-8, 11-8, 11-4 (33m)

Jonathan Harford (Glos) bt Thomas Phipps (Bucks)         11-7, 11-3, 11-6 (28m)

Joe Lee (Surrey) bt Keith Timms (Herts)                          11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0), 11-7 (40m)

Shaun le Roux (Yorks) bt Adam Murrills (Cheshire)          11-5, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8 (32m)

Jonathan Tate (Northumbria) bt Morgan Hibberd (Lancs)        11-2, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8 (37m)

Chris Tasker-Grindley (Glos) bt Michael Pearson (Lancs)         11-10 (3-1), 11-4, 11-9 (30m)

Darren Lewis (Leics) bt Liam Foster (Cheshire)               11-8, 11-6, 11-7 (31m)

Eddie Charlton (Notts) bt Christopher Hall (Surrey)        11-8, 11-10 (2-0), 11-7 (35m)

Lewis Walters (Notts) bt Joel Hinds (Derbyshire)            11-9, 7-11, 11-10 (4-2), 2-11, 11-8 (71m)

Robbie Temple (Glos) bt Neil Desai (Surrey)                    11-6, 11-9, 11-7

Tom Pashley (Sussex) bt James Earles (Yorks)               11-7, 11-2, 11-3 (20m)

Phil Rushworth (Yorks) bt Issa Kamara (Kent)                11-3, 11-6, 11-1 (26m)

Jethro Binns (Wales) bt Philip Nightingale (Surrey)         11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (35m)

1st qualifying round:

Stephen Siviter (Merseyside) bt Nathan Cole (Cheshire) 11-2, 11-4, 11-4 (32m)

James Snell (Devon) bt Alex Phillips (Hants)  11-3, 11-6, 11-6 (21m)

Andrew Widdison (Yorks) bt Paul Rawden (Surrey)  11-9, 11-10 (4-2), 11-9 (39m)

Jaymie Haycocks (Shropshire) bt Rory Pennell (Essex)  11-1, 11-2, 11-7 (18m)

Peter Creed (Wales) bt Steven London (Kent)  11-7, 11-5, 11-8 (30m)

Adrian Waller (Herts) bt Alex Ingham (Surrey)  11-8, 11-4, 11-6 (31m)

Asa Morris (Avon) bt Jordan Jozefczyk (Cheshire)  11-7, 11-7, 10-11 (0-2), 11-3 (50m)

Jonathan Harford (Glos) bt Andrew Birks (Shropshire)  11-2, 11-9, 11-9 (37m)

Shaun le Roux (Yorks) bt Oliver Pett (Sussex)  4-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-9, 11-5 (52m)

Jonathan Tate (Northumbria) bt Paul Bell (Cumbria)  11-5, 11-6, 11-9 (20m)

Morgan Hibberd (Lancs) bt Nicholas Bradley (Warwicks)   4-11, 11-10 (3-1), 11-8, 8-11, 11-10 (2-0) (62m)

Michael Pearson (Lancs) bt Adam Taylor (Yorks)  7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-10 (4-2), 11-10 (2-0) (51m)

Chris Tasker-Grindley (Glos) bt Elliot Selby (Essex)  11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (21m)

Liam Foster (Cheshire) bt James Matthews (Surrey)  11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (34m)

Darren Lewis (Leics) bt Mark Fuller (Northants)  11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (25m)

Eddie Charlton (Notts) bt Neil Cordell (Yorks)  8-11, 11-9, 11-10 (3-1), 11-4 (46m)

Christopher Hall (Surrey) bt Alistair Mutch (Wales)  5-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-10 (3-1) (65m)

Lewis Walters (Notts) bt James Clyne (Herts)  11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0) (33m)

Joel Hinds (Derbyshire) bt Michael Waight (Cheshire)  11-9, 11-9, 11-4 (30m)

Neil Desai (Surrey) bt Nick Murrills (Cheshire)  11-10 (2-0), 11-3, 6-11, 7-11, 11-8 (57m)

Issa Kamara (Kent) bt Richard Birks (Shropshire)  11-6, 3-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-8 (42m)

Phil Rushworth (Yorks) bt William Newnham (Sussex)  11-6, 4-11, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 11-9 (55m)

Philip Nightingale (Surrey) bt Shaun Pearson (Cheshire) 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 (24m)


Men's preliminary round:

Jordan Jozefczyk (Cheshire) bt Luke Butterworth (Yorks)  10-11 (1-3), 11-6, 11-8, 11-10 (2-0) (47m) 

Morgan Hibberd (Lancs) bt Andrew Cross (Yorks)  11-10 (8-6), 11-4, 11-10 (2-0) (45m)

Michael Pearson (Lancs) bt Oliver Dixon (Herts)  11-5, 11-6, 11-10 (2-0) (32m)

Eddie Charlton (Notts) bt Chris Clarke (Shropshire)  11-10 (5-3), 11-5, 11-8 (37m)

Neil Desai (Surrey) bt Ky Hibberd (Lancs)  11-7, 11-10 (5-3), 10-11 (0-2), 11-8 (48m)


British Nationals 2007
Women's Draw
Round One Quarters Semis Final
[1] Tania Bailey (Lincs)
9-0, 9-4, 9-2 (31m)
Rebecca Botwright (Lancs)
Tania Bailey
Jenny Duncalf

[6] Jenny Duncalf (Yorks)
9-4, 9-1, 9-3 (30m)
[Q] Karen Leach (Merseyside)

[3] Madeline Perry (Ireland)
9-1, 9-0, 9-1 (29m)
Georgina Stoker (Merseyside)
Madeline Perry
Laura Hill
[8] Laura Hill (Derbyshire)
10-8, 9-1, 9-4 (33m)
[Q] Kirsty McPhee ( Yorks )
[7] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Middx)
9-4, 9-1, 9-0 (30m)
Sarah Kippax (Cheshire)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter
Alison Waters
[4] Alison Waters (Middx)
6-9, 9-5, 9-3, 5-9, 9-5 (56m)
[Q] Lauren Siddall ( Yorks )
[5] Laura-Jane Lengthorn (Lancs)
9-1, 9-1, 9-0 (22m)
Laura Mylotte (Ireland)
Laura-Jane Lengthorn
Vicky Botwright
[2] Vicky Botwright (Lancs)
9-6, 9-3, 9-2 (32m)
[Q] Vicky Hynes ( Warwicks )

 Qualifying finals:

Lauren Siddall ( Yorks ) bt Louise Clark (Hants) 9-5, 9-2, 9-1 (26m)

Karen Leach (Merseyside) bt Victoria Bell ( Cumbria ) 10-8, 10-9, 9-6 (48m)

Vicky Hynes ( Warwicks ) bt Rachel Willmott ( Sussex ) 9-2, 9-7, 7-9, 9-2 (38m)

Kirsty McPhee ( Yorks ) bt Stacey Sephton (Middx) 9-0, 9-3, 9-6 (27m)


Women's 2nd qualifying round:

Lauren Siddall ( Yorks ) bt Emma Chorley ( Somerset ) 9-2, 9-5, 9-1 (27m)

Louise Clark (Hants) bt Gemma Davies ( Wales ) 9-7, 9-4, 9-0 (26m)

Karen Leach (Merseyside) bt Deon Saffery ( Yorks ) 10-8, 9-4, 9-4 (46m)

Victoria Bell ( Cumbria ) bt Lauren Selby ( Essex ) 9-6, 9-6, 9-4 (35m)

Rachel Willmott (Sussex) bt Victoria Lust (Beds) 7-9, 4-9, 9-2, 9-2, 9-4 (74m)

Vicky Hynes ( Warwicks ) bt Fiona Moverley ( Yorks ) 4-9, 9-7, 9-2, 9-3 (34m)

Stacey Sephton (Middx) bt Leonie Holt ( Warwicks ) 9-0, 9-1, 8-10, 9-5 (54m)

Kirsty McPhee ( Yorks ) bt Susannah King (Hants) 9-3, 9-6, 2-9, 9-6 (62m)


Women's 1st qualifying round:

Karen Leach (Merseyside) bt Sarah-Jane Perry (Warwicks)     9-5, 9-1, 10-9 (41m)

Victoria Bell (Cumbria) bt Jennifer Knibbs (Derbyshire)    9-6, 9-5, 9-3 (40m)

Lauren Selby (Essex) bt Kimberley Hay (Northumbria)    9-7, 9-6, 9-0 (25m)

Victoria Lust (Beds) bt Harriet Ingham (Surrey)              9-2, 9-0, 9-1 (13m)

Rachel Willmott (Sussex) bt Carrie Ramsey (Yorks)         9-0, 9-2, 9-1 (30m)

Fiona Moverley (Yorks) bt Emma Molyneux (Lancs)         9-3, 9-5, 9-2 (23m)

Vicky Hynes (Warwicks) bt Carrie Hastings (Cambs)       10-8, 9-10, 9-5, 9-4 (57m)

Stacey Sephton (Middx) bt Kerri Shields (Ireland)           9-2, 9-3, 4-9, 9-6 (35m)

Leonie Holt (Warwicks) bt Millie Tomlinson (Derbyshire)          6-9, 9-3, 8-10, 9-1, 9-4 (61m)

Susannah King (Hants) bt Kirsty West (Cheshire)           9-3, 5-9, 9-4, 9-1 (29m)

Kirsty McPhee (Yorks) bt Katherine Quarterman (Oxon) 9-1, 9-5, 9-1 (19m)



Beachill & Willstrop Overcome Early Hurdles In Manchester 

England and Pontefract club team-mates James Willstrop and Lee Beachill comfortably overcame their first hurdles in today's (Tuesday) first round of the British National Squash Championships with straight games wins at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.


Top seed Willstrop, the world No9 who was runner-up two years ago, despatched Welsh qualifier Jethro Binns 11-3, 11-7, 11-6 in 29 minutes to set up a last sixteen clash with fellow Englishman Alex Stait, the 16th seed from Gloucestershire.


"That was a good work out," said the 23-year-old Yorkshireman.  "I didn't want it to go on too long - after all, it could be a long week."


Lee Beachill took just 20 minutes to down Nottingham qualifier Eddie Charlton 11-2, 11-1, 11-3.  The three-times champion, who is bidding to reach the final for a record seventh successive year, will now face Oxford 's 12th seed Scott Handley, who beat Gloucestershire qualifier Chris Tasker-Grindley 11-7, 11-5, 11-5.


Beachill and Willstrop are expected to meet, for the fourth year in a row, in Saturday's semi-finals.


Former champion Simon Parke, the No8 seed in his 15th appearance in the event since 1987, was taken the full distance by fellow Englishman Ben Ford before coming through 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5.


Both players are over 30 and, like Parke, Ford is a club coach - but unlike Parke, the 31-year-old England No27 from Kent has just rejoined the Professional Squash Association (PSA) after a gap of some eight years, whereas Yorkshireman Parke 'retired' from the pro circuit last year.


"I knew what to expect - Ben took a game off Peter Nicol in the Nationals last year," said Parke after his 71-minute marathon.  "He's a cunning player and I'm glad to get through."


Despite having given up the international circuit, 34-year-old Parke seems to be playing more than ever.  "I seem to be working harder than ever now, combining my coaching at the Heaton club in Bradford with playing most of the BSPA tournaments.  I feel I'm playing well, but not playing full-time means that the pressure's off when I'm on court."


After taking the fourth game from 4-6 down, Ford could clearly see the winning post:  "I just bottled it in the fifth, going for shots I hadn't tried earlier in the game.  I was thinking I was on the verge of winning!"


As the day progressed, so the courts at the National Squash Centre continued to favour the more 'mature' player.  Stephen Meads produced one of the two men's upsets of the day when he beat 19-year-old 14th seed Chris Simpson, the former European junior champion from Hampshire, 11-4, 11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0) in 63 minutes. 


The win marked the 36-year-old former champion's 16th successive first round win in the event since making his debut in 1987.  "It's a bit sad that I got myself really psyched up for that match - and was even quite nervous before it," said the Berkshire number one, who retired from the international circuit three years ago.  "As I don't play events on a regular basis, this one means a lot to me.


"But it's good to show that there's still life in the old dog," said the 1995 champion.  "It was 'old-school' squash, not necessarily very pretty.  But he'll probably go away and think about that for a long time."


Later, another 'senior' player dismissed one of the up-and-coming seeds when Devonian Hadrian Stiff, aged 33, defeated 13th seed Tom Richards, a 20-year-old from Surrey , 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 in 27 minutes.


Another fine demonstration of 'seasoned' squash came when 36-year-old sixth Alex Gough, the reigning British Open Over-35 champion, took on Manchester 's Nick Taylor, who is also the top seed in the British Nationals Over-35 Championship.


Gough had arrived from Sweden where 48 hours earlier he - unexpectedly - played the final of the Swedish Open after upsetting Egypt 's world No8 Karim Darwish in the semi-finals.  Gough and Taylor - both former runners-up in the event - thoroughly entertained the packed NSC crowd, who were desperately hoping for local success.


But, after 58 minutes, it was eventually Gough who prevailed - winning 8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 to reach the second round for the tenth time in 12 appearances since 1992.


Northern players excelled in the women's qualifying finals, with Lauren Siddall and Kirsty McPhee, both from Yorkshire, joining Merseyside's Karen Leach and Warwickshire's Vicky Hynes in the main draw.


Hynes, from Birmingham , will face local star Vicky Botwright, the No2 seed from Worsley in Manchester who is expected to reach the final for the first time in eight appearances.



Steady Eddie Battles Into Nationals Draw In Manchester

Eddie Charlton battled for 66 minutes against Nottinghamshire county team-mate and fellow 18-year-old Lewis Walters in today's (Monday) qualifying finals of the British National Squash Championships to become the youngest player to qualify for the men's main draw of the sport's biggest UK domestic event at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.


The Mansfield teenager, who became a member of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) to play the international circuit only two months ago, came through 11-8, 6-11, 11-10 (4-2), 11-10 (2-0) against Walters - and goes on to face Yorkshire's three-times champion Lee Beachill, the No3 seed, in the first round tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1.00pm.


Merseyside's Stephen Siviter earned the distinction of becoming the oldest player to qualify for the main draw when he beat Devon's James Snell 11-8, 11-7, 11-6 in 33 minutes.  It was a case of 'fifth time lucky' for the 31-year-old from Swinton who has failed in his attempts to qualify for the event four times earlier since 2000.


The Prestbury club No2, widely regarded as the best non-professional player in the famed North West Counties league, will now take on left-handed Londoner Adrian Grant, the No4 seed ranked 14 in the world, in the first round.


Event favourite James Willstrop, the 23-year-old from Pontefract in Yorkshire who was runner-up two years ago, is drawn to meet qualifier Jethro Binns in the first round.  The 22-year-old Welshman defeated Surrey-based Yorkshireman Phil Rushworth 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9 in the qualifying finals.


The late withdrawal of Surrey's 11th seed Stacey Ross opened the door for a 'lucky loser' in the event.  Hertfordshire's Adrian Waller, beaten earlier by Jaymie Haycocks (Shropshire) in straight games, was given a further opportunity to shine in the event by replacing Ross to meet Sussex's former world No116 Tim Vail in the first round.



Manchester 'A Perfect Place To Win Something' Says Willstrop

England's James Willstrop, top seed in this week's British National Squash Championships in Manchester, believes that he is on the verge of success for the first time in the country's biggest UK domestic event.


After qualifying, which gets underway today (Sunday), the British National Championships take place at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity from Tuesday (13 February) - with action from quarter-finals onwards staged on the spectacular all-glass court at the NSC, the venue which hosted the squash competitions in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, leading to the finals on Sunday (18 February). 


In addition to members of England's historic Men's and Women's World Team Championships-winning squads, the 2007 National Championships have also attracted the leading players from Scotland, Ireland and Wales - including former champion John White, the world No10 from Scotland; Madeline Perry, the world No8 from Banbridge, near Belfast; and British Open O35 champion Alex Gough, the world No23 from Wales.


Willstrop, the 23-year-old from Pontefract in Yorkshire who led England to success in the 2005 Men's World Team Championships, reached the Nationals final two years ago - and rates the tournament highly.


"You can see how significant it is with the level of players competing in it," said the former world junior champion.  "The event is so well run and the players so well looked after.  And it's well-marketed and attracts big crowds - there aren't many tournaments anywhere in the world that are better!


"I enjoy playing on the all-glass court there - it has fond memories for me as it was where I played the final of the British Open (in 2005).  It's a big stage for us to play on - and that's what we like," added the England international who trains regularly at the NSC.


By his own exacting standards, Willstrop has had a mixed run on the international circuit since winning the prized Qatar Classic in November 2005.  His lowest period came in September last year when he contracted food poisoning in Cairo on the eve of competing in the World Open.


"You have to understand that people in all sports have periods like this - nothing really bad but just a time when things don't seem to go well.  And that illness in Egypt was a bit of a setback.  Your confidence takes a bit of a knock.


"But I really believe in myself - and I realise that I need to back that up with some success.  I need a good run, but I feel in good shape and things have been going well in training.


"It's time for me to win something - and this would be the perfect place to do it.  The National title is a very important one to hold," explained Willstrop.


For the past three years in a row, Willstrop's National Championship progress has been stopped by Lee Beachill, his close friend and England and Pontefract club team-mate.  Indeed, he has never beaten the 29-year-old former world number one who is also coached by his father Malcolm Willstrop.


According to the draw, Willstrop will meet third seed Beachill for the fourth year in a row - in the semi-finals.


"It's something which keeps coming up - I guess because we're based at the same club and good mates," explained Willstrop when asked if he was looking forward to another meeting with his great rival. 


"But I'm not thinking about it - mainly because there are plenty of tough matches to go before the chance of meeting him.


"But, truthfully, I never have a great deal of fun playing Lee - our games are so different.  I'm trying to learn how to deal with players like him - I'm working at it.  But, even though he's had the upper hand so far, I don't dwell on it.


"The main thing is that I want to win the National title - so hopefully I'll be able to deal with it if I have to!


Title-holder Tania Bailey, the world No5 from Lincolnshire, is seeded to retain the women's crown she won for the first time last year. 





Champion Matthew Forced Out Of Nationals

Defending champion Nick Matthew has been forced to withdraw from next week's British National Squash Championships in Manchester after failing to recover from an ankle injury.


The 26-year-old Yorkshireman from Sheffield - the world No6 originally named as top seed for the 2007 event - sustained the ligament injury in last month's Canadian Classic in Toronto, and has been undergoing intensive physiotherapy treatment since then back on home soil.


"I'm gutted," said Matthew after succumbing to the inevitable.  "It was exactly four weeks ago today that I tore the ligaments in my right ankle - and everybody told me it would be between eight to ten weeks before I'd be back on court.


"But it's testament to the great Physio and massage team I've had working on me here at the EIS (English Institute of Sport) in Sheffield that I almost made it.  Led by Rob and Derry, they've seen me for around 2/3 hours a day for about four or five days a week since the incident," added Matthew.


"I'm already back running and doing light work on court - and that's better than I could have anticipated.  It's just a pity I haven't got an extra week or so before the event starts."


Since winning the British National title for the first time twelve months ago, Nick Matthew went on to become the first home-grown Englishman since 1939 to win the British Open trophy - in addition to becoming the first ever holder of both the British Open and National titles simultaneously! 


"I've been honoured to be the British National champion - and it's been massive to have held this and the British Open title as well.  But whoever wins next week in Manchester will thoroughly deserve it - and luckily there are plenty of years ahead of me to try to win it back!"


In a redraw of the men's event, Matthew's Yorkshire and England team-mate James Willstrop is elevated to top seed.  The 23-year-old world No9 from Pontefract, who was runner-up in 2005, led England to success in the World Team Championships later in the year in Pakistan.


Scotland's John White, champion in 2004, becomes the new second seed - and Yorkshire's three-times champion Lee Beachill is No3 seed.


Title-holder Tania Bailey, the world No5 from Lincolnshire, is seeded to retain the women's crown she won for the first time last year. 


The sport's biggest UK domestic event takes place at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity from 13-18 February, following qualifying from Sunday 11 February.  The NSC will also welcome competitors for the country's biggest Masters event, offering British National titles for men in age-groups from Over-35 to Over-70, and women from Over-35 to Over-55.


Revised Men's 1st round draw:


[1] James Willstrop (Yorks) v Qualifier

[16] Alex Stait (Glos) v Qualifier

[7] Jonathan Kemp (Shropshire) v Peter Billson (Lancs)

[11] Stacey Ross (Surrey) v Tim Vail (Sussex)

[3] Lee Beachill (Yorks) v Qualifier

[12] Scott Handley (Oxon) v Qualifier

[6] Alex Gough (Wales) v Nick Taylor (Lancs)

[9] Alister Walker (Glos) v Qualifier

[10] Daryl Selby (Essex) v Qualifier

[8] Simon Parke (Yorks) v Ben Ford (Kent)

[14] Chris Simpson (Hants) v Stephen Meads (Berks)

[4] Adrian Grant (Kent) v Qualifier

[15] Lee Drew (Essex) v Peter Genever (Sussex)

[5] Peter Barker (Essex) v Qualifier

[13] Tom Richards (Surrey) v Hadrian Stiff (Devon)

[2] John White (Scotland) v Andrew Whipp (Cheshire)



Willstrop & Beachill Set For Semi-Final Showdown In Nationals' Draw


All four top men's seeds are set to face qualifiers in next week's first round of the British National Squash Championships in Manchester - and women's favourite Tania Bailey is scheduled to face both the city's Botwright sisters - according to the draw for the event which announced today (Monday) by England Squash.  And second seed James Willstrop is expected to meet Yorkshire rival and three-times former champion Lee Beachill in the semi-finals for the fourth year in a row.


The sport's biggest UK domestic event takes place at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity from 13-18 February, following qualifying from Sunday 11 February.  The NSC will also welcome competitors for the country's biggest Masters event, offering British National titles for men in age-groups from Over-35 to Over-70, and women from Over-35 to Over-55.


The first seed standing in the way of men's favourite Nick Matthew is expected to be Alister Walker, though the No10 seed will first have to overcome Gloucestershire county team-mate Alex Stait.  The title-holder from Sheffield is then due to meet England team-mate Peter Barker, from Essex, for a place in the semi-finals where third seed John White, the 2004 champion from Scotland, is his anticipated opponent.


Willstrop, the 23-year-old former world No2 from Pontefract, is looking to win the men's title for the first time - and seeded to meet Matthew in the final.  But the draw suggests that 16th seed Lee Drew from Essex, then Shropshire's eighth seed Jonathan Kemp will provide hurdles before the predicted last four clash with fourth seed Beachill, his Pontefract club-mate.


Beachill, a former world No1, has never lost to Willstrop in countless domestic and international clashes - and should the 29-year-old Yorkshireman make the final, it would extend his record to seven successive appearances!


Lincolnshire's Tania Bailey, winner of the women's crown for the first time last year, will take on Manchester's unseeded Rebecca Botwright in the first round.  If the 25-year-old world No30 from Worsley cannot overcome the top seed, ranked five in the world, she will hope that her older sister Vicky Botwright can gain revenge in the predicted women's final.


Neither Botwright sibling has progressed beyond the last eight in the championships which celebrate their 11th successive year in Manchester this year - but Vicky, the 29-year-old world No7, will be hoping that 2007 will provide the city's first true 'home' success.


Both players, however, have tough hurdles to overcome before achieving their seeded positions - Bailey her England team-mate Jenny Duncalf, from Harrogate, in a likely quarter-final, before the expected semi-final clash with Irish number one Madeline Perry, the third seed from Banbridge, near Belfast.


An all-Lancashire quarter-final is the prediction for Vicky Botwright - against Laura-Jane Lengthorn, the fifth seed from Preston who upset her higher-ranked county colleague in the Wolverhampton Open final last November.  The No2 seed would then be expected to face England team-mate Alison Waters, the fourth seed from London, in the semi-finals.


Men's 1st round draw:

[1] Nick Matthew (Yorks) v Qualifier

[10] Alister Walker (Glos) v Alex Stait (Glos)

[6] Peter Barker (Essex) v Qualifier

[13] Scott Handley (Oxon) v Hadrian Stiff (Devon)

[3] John White (Scotland) v Qualifier

[11] Daryl Selby (Essex) v Qualifier

[7] Alex Gough (Wales) v Andrew Whipp (Cheshire)

[14] Tom Richards (Surrey) v Qualifier

[9] Simon Parke (Yorks) v Qualifier

[5] Adrian Grant (Kent) v Tim Vail (Sussex)

[15] Chris Simpson (Hants) v Peter Genever (Sussex)

[4] Lee Beachill (Yorks) v Qualifier

[12] Stacey Ross (Surrey) v Stephen Meads (Berks)

[8] Jonathan Kemp (Shropshire) v Ben Ford (Kent)

[16] Lee Drew (Essex) v Nick Taylor (Lancs)

[2] James Willstrop (Yorks) v Qualifier


Women's 1st round draw:

[1] Tania Bailey (Lincs) v Rebecca Botwright (Lancs)

[6] Jenny Duncalf (Yorks) v Qualifier

[3] Madeline Perry (Ireland) v Georgina Stoker (Merseyside)

[8] Laura Hill (Derbyshire) v Qualifier

[7] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Middx) v Sarah Kippax (Cheshire)

[4] Alison Waters (Middx) v Qualifier

[5] Laura-Jane Lengthorn (Lancs) v Laura Mylotte (Ireland)

[2] Vicky Botwright (Lancs) v Qualifier



Matthew & Bailey Seeded To Repeat Nationals' Success In Manchester

Yorkshire's Nick Matthew and Lincolnshire's Tania Bailey are expected to retain their titles in the British National Squash Championships later this month in Manchester, according to the seedings announced today (Friday) by England Squash.


The sport's biggest UK domestic event takes place at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity from 11-18 February. 


In addition to members of England's historic Men's and Women's World Team Championships-winning squads, the 2007 National Championships have also attracted the leading players from Scotland, Ireland and Wales - including former champion John White, the world No10 from Scotland; Madeline Perry, the world No8 from Banbridge, near Belfast; and British Open O35 champion Alex Gough, the world No23 from Wales.


The NSC will also welcome competitors for the country's biggest Masters event, offering British National titles for men in age-groups from Over-35 to Over-70, and women from Over-35 to Over-55.


Since winning the British National title for the first time twelve months ago, Nick Matthew went on to become the first home-grown Englishman to win the British Open trophy since 1939 - in addition to becoming the first ever holder of both the British Open and National titles simultaneously! 


The 26-year-old world No6 from Sheffield is currently recovering from an ankle injury sustained earlier in the year in Canada, and is expected to make his comeback on the all-glass show court at the National Squash Centre.


Fellow Yorkshireman Lee Beachill, the three-times champion who was runner-up to Matthew last year, is seeded four - behind Scotland's John White at three - while his Pontefract club-mate James Willstrop, the world No9 who was runner-up two years ago, is the No2 seed.


Tania Bailey's maiden triumph in the 2006 Nationals also provided a springboard for further success on the international tour.  The 27-year-old world No5 from Stamford picked up the Vassar College Class of 1932 Open title in the USA in April, and also reached the finals of the Malaysian Open and Hong Kong Open.


Bailey is expected to meet her England team-mate Vicky Botwright in the women's final.  Second seed Botwright, the world No7 from Manchester, leads local interest in the event - and, after missing the championship last year as a result of injury, will be hoping for her best ever success in her ninth appearance in the event.


With Ireland's Madeline Perry as third seed and Londoner Alison Waters named fourth, further north west interest is provided by fifth seed Laura-Jane Lengthorn, the 23-year-old from Preston who rose to No11 in the world rankings this month.



Men's seeds:

[1] Nick Matthew (Yorks)

[2] James Willstrop (Yorks)

[3] John White (Scotland)

[4] Lee Beachill (Yorks)

[5] Adrian Grant (Kent)

[6] Peter Barker (Essex)

[7] Alex Gough (Wales)

[8] Jonathan Kemp (Shropshire)

[9] Simon Parke (Yorks)

[10] Alister Walker (Glos)

[11] Daryl Selby (Essex)

[12] Stacey Ross (Surrey)

[13] Scott Handley (Oxon)

[14] Tom Richards (Surrey)

[15] Chris Simpson (Hants)

[16] Lee Drew (Essex)


Women's seeds:

[1] Tania Bailey (Lincs)

[2] Vicky Botwright (Lancs)

[3] Madeline Perry (Ireland)

[4] Alison Waters (Middx)

[5] Laura-Jane Lengthorn (Lancs)

[6] Jenny Duncalf (Yorks)

[7] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Middx)

[8] Laura Hill (Derbyshire)