British Nationals 2008

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Masters Result and Report Page

. Men's Draw
. Women's Draw

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. Quarter Finals (1)
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Masters Result and Report

Free Live Webcast Of Nationals' Final

 Willstrop & Waters Win In Manchester

While Yorkshireman James Willstrop successfully defended his men's title in the British National Squash Championships in Manchester, it was third time lucky for Londoner Alison Waters who upset her higher-seeded England team-mate Laura Lengthorn-Massaro to win the women's crown at the National Squash Centre.


After a highly successful year on the world tour since winning this title 12 months ago, Willstrop arrived in Manchester as firm favourite to retain his title. 


But his Pontefract club-mate Lee Beachill - a three times champion who underwent hernia surgery at the beginning of the New Year - had battled through to a record seventh final appearance against the odds.


Willstrop edged ahead after a finely-balanced first game - then turned the screw as Beachill's lack of match fitness began to show.  The 24-year-old world No6 raised his arms in delight as he celebrated his 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 triumph in 39 minutes - becoming only the second person in history to win back-to-back men's titles.


"I didn't know what to expect - and maybe I was just too cautious to start with," said Willstrop, the England number one.  "I couldn't dwell on his shortcomings - I had to constantly keep my focus.


"I was pleased to have closed it out - I couldn't afford to give him a sniff.


"The Nationals is a tough event - it's a big tournament and a very important one to me."


Willstrop's next major target is the Hi-Tec World Championship - which will be staged at the National Squash Centre in Manchester, for the first time, in October. 


"The World Open is my biggest focus this year - and, being here in Manchester, it will clearly be a massive event," added the new champion.


Beachill was not happy with his performance: "I went onto the court expecting to be further away from him than I was - then I was disappointed that I wasn't able to capitalise on that," explained the 30-year-old former world number one afterwards.


"I was more disappointed with the way I was mentally than physically," said Beachill, who survived a hard-fought 91-minute semi-final less than 24 hours earlier.


"If that's the top standard in the world, then I'm not that far away.


"On reflection, I can't be too unhappy:  I've not got a lot more to prove in this tournament."


In the women's final, local favourite Lengthorn-Massaro, from Preston, took control of the first game, but Waters came back to take the next two.


At 4-8 down in the fourth, Waters mounted a final charge to record her impressive 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 win in 49 minutes.


"I really wanted it this year after missing out twice before," said the 23-year-old world No11 who became the first unseeded player to reach the final in 2005 and last year lost out after squandered a two-game lead.  "It's been my focus since the beginning of the year.


"It's a nice title to have - my first senior title - and at least I get to hold onto it for a year!


"It'll give me a lot of extra confidence on the WISPA World Tour - where my ambition is to get into the world's top eight.


"My next event is the Malaysian Open - where I meet Vicky Botwright in the first round," concluded the new champion.

James Willstrop wins his second Nationals title

Alison Waters Wins her first Nationals Title

Lee Beachill struggled against a dominent James Willstrop

Lee Beachill beats Adrian Grant to be the first man ever to reach seven Nationals finals.


Tania Bailey top seed for the 2008 title

Lee Beachill beats Alex Gough in quarter-final

Alister Walker beats Alex Stait 3-0 and goes into his first Nationals semi-final
British Nationals
Men's Draw
First Round
Tue 11th
Second Round
Wed 12th
[1] James Willstrop (Yor)
11-5, 11-7, 11-6 (32m)
Nick Taylor (Lan)            
James Willstrop
11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (26m)
Ben Ford
James Willstrop
11-4, 11-4, 11-2 (24m)
Jonathan Kemp
James Willstrop
11-5, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5 (60m)
Alister Walker

James Willstrop
11-9, 11-8, 11-4 (39m)
Lee Beachill

[16] Ben Ford (Ken)
10-11 (0-2), 7-11, 11-0, 11-5, 11-8 (51m)
Peter Billson (Lan)           
[6] Jonathan Kemp (Sal)
11-5, 11-9, 11-6 (32m)
Chris Simpson (Ham)      
Jonathan Kemp
11-2, 11-6, 11-9 (28m)
Tom Richards
[14] Tim Vail (Ssx)
11-10 (4-2), 11-7, 11-5 (33m)
Tom Richards (Sry)        
[3] Peter Barker (Ess)
11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9 (44m)
[Q] Jethro Binns (Wal)    
Peter Barker
11-6, 11-4, 11-10 (4-2) (33m)
Alex Stait
Alex Stait
11-8, 11-7, 11-2 (32m)
Alister Walker
[15] Alex Stait (Gls)
11-7, 11-5, 11-10 (2-0) (32m
[Q] Lewys Hurst (Wal)    
[8] Alister Walker (Gls)
11-10 (2-0), 11-4, 11-5 (47m)
Hadrian Stiff (Dev) 
Alister Walker
11-1, 10-11 (3-5), 11-10 (3-1), 11-2 (50m)
Andrew Whipp
[13] Andrew Whipp (Chs)
11-7, 2-11, 11-4, 11-6 (33m)
[Q] Adrian Waller (Hrt) 
Steve Meads (Brk)
10-11 (0-2), 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7 (93m)
[9] Daryl Selby (Ess)
Daryl Selby
11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6 (89m)
Joey Barrington
Daryl Selby
11-5, 11-9, 11-10 (3-1) (49m)
Adrian Grant
Adrian Grant
11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-10 (9-7) (91m)
Lee Beachill
[Q] David Barnett (Nbr)
11-4, 11-2, 11-4 (32m)
[7] Joey Barrington (Som)
Jonathan Harford (Gls)  
11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (30m)
[LL] Chris Tasker-Grindley (Gls)
Jonathan Harford
7-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-3 (48m
Adrian Grant
[Q] Eddie Charlton (Ntt)
11-1, 11-9, 11-8 (35m)
[4] Adrian Grant (Ken)
[Q] Jaymie Haycocks (Sal)
11-10 (2-0), 11-6, 11-9 (36m)
[11] Chris Ryder (Hrt)
Chris Ryder
7-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (73m)
Alex Gough
Alex Gough
11-7, 11-4, 11-5 (31m)
Lee Beachill
John Rooney (Irl)
11-10 (4-2), 11-9, 11-10 (2-0) (67m)
[5] Alex Gough (Wal)
[Q] Stuart Crawford (Sco)
11-2, 11-1, 9-11, 11-4 (42m)
[10] Simon Parke (Yor)
Simon Parke
11-6, 11-5, 11-2 (33m)
Lee Beachill
[Q] Joel Hinds (Dby)
11-3, 11-3, 11-7 (35m)
[2] Lee Beachill (Yor)


Qualifying finals:

Joel Hinds (Derbyshire) bt Joe Lee (Surrey) 11-10 (4-2), 11-5, 5-11, 9-11, 11-6 (81m)

Adrian Waller (Herts) bt Rory Pennell (Essex) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (28m)

Lewys Hurst (Wales) bt Chris Tasker-Grindley (Glos) 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 (23m)

Eddie Charlton (Notts) bt Thomas Phipps (Bucks) 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (28m)

Jethro Binns (Wales) bt Neil Cordell (Yorks) 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (30m)

Stuart Crawford (Scotland) bt Mark Fuller (Northants) 11-5, 11-6, 11-0 (24m)

Jaymie Haycocks (Shropshire) bt Phil Rushworth (Yorks) 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (29m)

David Barnett (Northumbria) bt Stephen Siveter (Merseyside) 11-9, 11-7, 11-6 (29m)

Men's 2nd qualifying round:
Joel Hinds (Derbyshire) bt Sam Wileman (Yorks) 11-5, 11-5, 11-4 (21m)
Joe Lee (
Surrey) bt Alex Phillips (Hants) 10-11 (1-3), 11-3, 11-10 (2-0), 11-9 (35m)
Rory Pennell (Essex) bt Adam Taylor (Yorks) 8-11, 11-10 (2-0), 8-11, 11-9, 11-9 (44m)

Adrian Waller (Herts) bt Chris Fuller (Northants) 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-8 (88m)

Chris Tasker-Grindley (Glos) bt Steven London (Kent) 11-3, 11-4, 11-9 (28m)

Lewys Hurst (Wales) bt James Snell (Devon) 7-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (41m)

Eddie Charlton (Notts) bt James Earles (Yorks) 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (21m)

Thomas Phipps (Bucks) bt Nick Murrills (Cheshire) 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 (26m)

Neil Cordell (Yorks) bt Lewis Walters (Notts) 11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7 (69m)

Jethro Binns (Wales) bt Keith Timms (Herts) 11-9, 11-8, 11-10 (2-0) (39m)

Mark Fuller (Northants) bt Chris Truswell (Staffs) 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (48m)

Stuart Crawford (Scotland) bt Alex Ingham (Surrey) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (35m)

Phil Rushworth (Yorks) bt Neil Desai (Surrey) 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (31m)

Jaymie Haycocks (Shropshire) bt Jago Nardelli (Middx) 11-4, 11-7, 11-10 (2-0) (25m)

Stephen Siveter (Merseyside) bt Oliver Pett (Sussex) 11-5, 11-9, 11-10 (3-1) (45m)

David Barnett (Northumbria) bt Sean Hunter (Cheshire) 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 (17m)

Men's 1st qualifying round:

Joel Hinds (Derbyshire) bt Asa Morris (Avon)                     w/o

Sam Wileman (Yorks) bt Adam Murrills (Cheshire)             2-11, 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 (52m)

Joe Lee (Surrey) bt Morgan Hibberd (Lancs)                      6-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-6 (46m)

Alex Phillips (Hants) bt Jamie Moxom (Cornwall)                w/o

Adam Taylor (Yorks) bt Tom Pashley (Sussex)                   11-4, 11-8 ret. (17m)

Rory Pennell (Essex) bt Jordan Jozefczyk (Cheshire)          11-4, 11-3, 11-7 (19m)

Adrian Waller (Herts) bt Nick Wall (Yorks)                           w/o

Chris Fuller (Northants) bt Andrew Birks (Shropshire)        8-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 (45m)

Steven London (Kent) bt Shaun le Roux (Yorks)                w/o

Chris Tasker-Grindley (Glos) bt Neil Counter (Cornwall)      11-1, 11-5, 11-0 (12m)

James Snell (Devon) bt Ky Hibberd (Lancs)                       11-7, 11-5, 11-7 (25m)

Lewys Hurst (Wales) bt Richard Birks (Shropshire)            11-4, 9-11, 11-10 (3-1), 11-10 (3-1) (40m)

Eddie Charlton (Notts) bt James Matthews (Surrey)          w/o

James Earles (Yorks) bt Mick Biggs (Surrey)                      11-10 (4-2), 9-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9 (40m)

Nick Murrills (Cheshire) bt Arthur Gaskin (Ireland)             w/o

Thomas Phipps (Bucks) bt Oliver Dixon (Herts)                  11-6, 11-7, 4-11, 11-3 (31m)

Neil Cordell (Yorks) bt Michael Harris (Devon)                    w/o

Lewis Walters (Notts) bt Sammy Chambers (Cambs)        w/o

Keith Timms (Herts) bt Liam Foster (Cheshire)                 11-6, 8-11, 11-1, 11-7 (36m)

Jethro Binns (Wales) bt Mark Woolhead (Herts)                 w/o

Mark Fuller (Northants) bt Nathan Cole (Cheshire)             11-6, 11-4, 2-11, 11-10 (2-0) (44m)

Chris Truswell (Staffs) bt Andrew Widdison (Yorks)            9-11, 11-4, 11-10 (2-0), 7-11, 11-6 (65m)

Alex Ingham (Surrey) bt Gary Hinton (Hants)                    11-5, 11-1, 11-4 (21m)

Stuart Crawford (Scotland) bt Alex Cutts (Norfolk)             11-9, 11-5, 11-1 (23m)

Neil Desai (Surrey) bt Adam Fuller (Herts)                         11-3, 11-3, 11-5 (26m)

Phil Rushworth (Yorks) bt Peter Astbury (Cheshire)           11-8, 11-2, 11-4 (25m)

Jago Nardelli (Middx) bt Daniel Massaro (Lancs)                 10-11 (0-2), 11-10 (5-3), 11-7, 11-9 (71m)

Jaymie Haycocks (Shropshire) bt Michael Bull (Hants)       11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (16m)

Oliver Pett (Sussex) bt Luke Butterworth (Yorks)               11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (34m)

Stephen Siveter (Merseyside) bt Luke Vaggars (Cornwall)       11-5, 11-5, 11-3 (29m)

Sean Hunter (Scotland) bt Paul Bell (Cumbria)                   11-10 (2-0), 11-0, 11-5 (21m)

David Barnett (Northumbria) bt Oliver Wildig (Cheshire)    11-4, 11-5, 11-7 (28m)



British Nationals
Women's Draw
Round One

[1] Tania Bailey (Lincs)
11-4, 11-6, 11-5 (24m)
Laura Mylotte (Ireland)

Tania Bailey
11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (27m)
Sarah Kippax
Tania Bailey
11-6, 11-9 ret. (29m)
Laura Lengthorn-Massaro

Laura Lengthorn-Massaro
6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 (49m)
Alison Waters

[8] Sarah Kippax (Chs)
11-7, 11-9, 11-4 (27m)
[Q] Kirsty McPhee (Yor) 

[3] Laura Lengthorn-Massaro (Lan)
11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (18m)
[LL] Sarah-Jane Perry

Laura Lengthorn-Massaro
11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (34m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter

[6] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Mdx)
11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-10 (2-0) (44m)
[Q] Lauren Siddall (Yor) 

Becky Botwright (Lan)
11-8, 11-2, 11-4 (29m)
[7] Lauren Briggs (Ess)

Lauren Briggs
11-3, 11-4, 11-2 (21m)
Alison Waters
Alison Waters
10-11 (0-2), 11-8, 11-10 (2-0), 11-5 (48m)
Jenny Duncalf

Laura Hill (Dby)
10-11 (0-2), 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 (36m)
[4] Alison Waters (Mdx)

[Q] Emma Beddoes (Wrk)
11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (23m)
[5] Madeline Perry (Irl)

Madeline Perry
8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 (45m)
Jenny Duncalf

[Q] Vicky Hynes (Wrk) 
11-10 (3-1), 9-11, 11-8, 11-4 (39m)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (Yor)


2nd qualifying round:

Lauren Siddall (Yorks) bt Victoria Bell (Cumbria)                11-1, 11-5, 11-4 (14m)

Victoria Lust (Beds) bt Rachel Willmott (Sussex)               11-7, 11-8, 13-15, 11-8 (48m)

Kirsty McPhee (Yorks) bt Kimberley Hay (Northumbria)     11-8, 11-4, 13-11 (20m)

Fiona Moverley (Yorks) bt Jeannine Cowie (Lancs)             11-6, 11-9, 11-7 (23m)

Deon Saffery (Yorks) bt Sarah Bowles (Northumbria)         11-8, 11-9, 11-9 (28m)

Vicky Hynes (Warwicks) bt Katie Burgin (D & C)                 11-9, 11-3, 11-4 (20m)

Sarah-Jane Perry (Warwicks) bt Emma Chorley (Somerset)     7-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 (40m)

Emma Beddoes (Warwicks) bt Harriet Ingham (Surrey)    11-4, 11-1, 11-7 (21m)

Women's 1st qualifying round:

Victoria Bell (Cumbria) bt Carrie Ramsey (Yorks)                13-11, 11-7, 11-1 (20m)

Victoria Lust (Beds) bt Kirsty West (Cheshire)                   11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (26m)

Kimberley Hay (Northumbria) bt Susannah King (Hants)   11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (18m)

Fiona Moverley (Yorks) bt Katherine Quarterman (Oxon)   11-8, 11-9, 11-5 (20m)

Jeannine Cowie (Lancs) bt Julie Peachey (Oxon)                11-5, 11-7, 11-6 (17m)

Sarah Bowles (Northumbria) bt Lauren Selby (Essex)        11-5, 11-9, 13-15, 7-11, 11-9 (50m)

Deon Saffery (Yorks) bt Claire Kluyyer (Cheshire)              11-5, 11-8, 3-11, 11-4 (27m)

Katie Burgin (D & C) bt Millie Tomlinson (Derbyshire)         12-10, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9 (31m)

Sarah-Jane Perry (Warwicks) bt Leonie Holt (Warwicks)     5-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-2 (30m)

Emma Chorley (Somerset) bt Gemma Davies (Wales)      11-5, 11-2, 11-3 (18m)

Harriet Ingham (Surrey) bt Carrie Hastings (Cambs)         11-6, 11-5, 11-9 (25m)


Masters Result and Report Page


Beachill In Seventh Heaven In British Nationals In Manchester


Just six weeks after undergoing hernia surgery, Yorkshireman Lee Beachill survived a marathon encounter against England team-mate Adrian Grant in the semi-finals of the British National Squash Championships in Manchester to become the first player in history to reach the men's final seven times.


Second seed Beachill, a three-time winner of the title, will play top seed and defending champion James Willstrop - his England team and Pontefract club-mate - in Sunday's men's final at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity


The surprise women's final will produce a new champion when Lancashire's Laura Lengthorn-Massaro takes on Londoner Alison Waters after the pair achieved semi-final upsets over the first and second seeds, respectively.


"To win, I thought I'd have to do it in three games," said 30-year-old Beachill, who was appearing in his first UK tournament since the operation.


But after dropping the third game, he saved five game balls in the fourth, then clinched his fourth match-ball to win 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-10 (9-7) in 91 minutes to make the seventh final in his last eight appearances in the event.


"I knew I was hitting the ball well - but once the game went over 30 or 40 minutes, I started to break down.  After the third game was gone, I thought I'd be up against it - but he didn't push away," explained Beachill, from Pontefract.


"But, even though I was tired in the fourth, the adrenaline took over and I began to move more freely.  I'm delighted to be in the final - but more delighted to be playing that well!"


On his historic seventh final appearance, Beachill admitted that he was "thrilled".


"But I amaze myself when I look back at the history and see what I achieved - including things like beating Peter Nicol when he was world number one.  It's a huge tournament to win.


"I was desperate to win tonight's match - but the fact that he seemed more desperate gave me a bit of a lift."


In what he described as "a very strange game", Willstrop beat Gloucestershire's Alister Walker, the eighth seed appearing in his maiden semi-final, 11-5, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5.


Willstrop, the England number one who boasts a 3-0 head-to-head record over Walker, led 7-3 in the third game - but Walker, playing inspired squash, fought back to draw level at eight-all. 


In the fourth, Willstrop romped to an 8-1 lead before closing out the match after 60 minutes.


"I don't normally have trouble getting round players, but I did tonight," conceded the 24-year-old world No6.  "And there were so many lets - I can't think anyone wanted to see those!  It just wasn't a very satisfactory match.


"But I don't think I've played against him when he's played so well - he was so relaxed and he grew in confidence when he got the lead."


When asked if he can recover from his disappointing performance for the final - especially against his close friend and Pontefract training partner Lee Beachill - Willstrop said:  "I very often play poor matches in tournaments and go on to win.


"It teaches me that you can go from a match like yesterday, when I played brilliant and fluent squash, to a day like today - yet still put in a good performance 24 hours later."


Walker was understandably downcast afterwards:  "But if anybody had told me a week ago that I would end up in the semi-finals, I would have been delighted.


"The most important thing for me was to show that I can make some inroads against people like James," added the 25-year-old world No32 from Leeds.


Third seed Laura Lengthorn-Massaro claimed a place in the women's final for the first time after favourite Tania Bailey, from Lincolnshire, retired injured after two games.  Former champion Bailey arrived in Manchester having not been on court for two weeks after sustaining a ham-string injury in New York.


The Lancashire lass from Preston took the first game convincingly against her higher-ranked England team-mate, and came back from 4-6 down in the second to secure the second. 


"I was feeling good and really up for the third when Tania decided to stop," said the 24-year-old world No12.  "But it's fantastic to be in the final."


The pair's previous meeting took place last October in the World Open in Madrid where Bailey, despite suffering with breathing difficulties, beat her English rival in four games.


"I'm not expected to beat Tania, yet when we played in Madrid suddenly everybody assumed I'd win - and I felt really tense on court and threw the match away," explained Lengthorn-Massaro.  "I was determined not to let that happen again."


Tania Bailey was distraught at not being able to complete the match:  "I felt it a bit in the first game - then a couple of lunges in the second made me realise that there was a problem," explained the world No5 from Stamford.


"Even though I could have played through the pain, it's the worry of what that might do to me long-term which was of greater concern.  It's really disappointing, I hate stopping in the middle of a match.


"I wouldn't necessarily have been able to beat Laura, but I'd just like to have given her a game."


Later, Londoner Alison Waters avenged her defeat in last year's final by dethroning Yorkshire's reigning champion Jenny Duncalf 10-11 (0-2), 11-8, 11-10 (2-0), 11-5 in 48 minutes. 


Duncalf, the second seed from Harrogate, romped to a 7-0 lead in the opening game before her opponent, the fourth seed, replied - moving ahead to claim the first game-ball at 10-9.  However, Duncalf came back to clinch the game.


Waters won the two close games that followed - and it was one-way traffic for the lower-ranked player as Waters went on to take the match and earn a place in the final for the third time in four years.


"A final in the Nationals?  It can't get much better than that!" said the 23-year-old world No11 who squandered a two-love lead to lose to Duncalf in a 74-minute marathon final last year.


"In the first game it was 7-0 before I knew it!  But I like to attack so I like the new scoring. 


"At the beginning of the second game, I said to myself 'don't give her a 7-0 start again'."


Walker Beats School Pal Stait To Earn Maiden Semi In Manchester


In a surprise clash between two Gloucestershire school friends in the quarter-finals of the British National Squash Championships, it was the younger Alister Walker that prevailed to reach his maiden semi-final on the all-glass court at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.


"I'm dead chuffed," was the 25-year-old number eight seed's comment immediately after his 11-8, 11-7, 11-2 victory over Alex Stait, the 15th seed who reached the last eight after a shock win over third-seeded England international Peter Barker.


"We met at Wycliffe College in Gloucester when I was 14 and Alex was about two years older - he used to give me a few lessons!


"We're very good friends - but when I heard that he'd won his earlier match, and that we'd be meeting in the quarters, I suddenly felt under a lot of pressure.


"It's a good job I had the day off yesterday to refocus myself - it would have been very easy for us to have chatted about the match.  But I had to be professional and get the job done," explained the world No32, a full-time professional who is now based in Leeds.


One of the highest-ranked English players who does not play the international Tour, Manchester-based Stait is highly regarded by his peers.


"His front court game is really exceptional - I had to keep the pace high," said Walker.


Walker will now meet defending champion James Willstrop in the semi-finals.  The 24-year-old top seed from Leeds put in a devastating performance to beat Jonathan Kemp, the sixth seed from Shropshire, 11-4, 11-4, 11-2 in 24 minutes.


"I was fully aware of Kemp's ability - I played him in Qatar (last November) and had to be really focussed," said the England number one, ranked six in the world.  "If you let him attack, he can cause problems.


"I think I played well, but I've got to keep it up.  I desperately want to click tomorrow - and I'll need to if I'm going to win this title again.


"I feel I know this court as well as anyone," continued Willstrop.  "I feel very comfortable here, and I like being comfortable. 


"I'm in love with what I'm doing."


In the women's quarter-finals, Yorkshire's defending champion Jenny Duncalf, the No2 seed, recovered from a game down to beat Irish champion Madeline Perry, the fifth seed, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 to set up a semi-final against Alison Waters - a repeat of last year's final.


Waters, the No4 seed from London, overwhelmed Essex's first-time quarter-finalist Lauren Briggs 11-3, 11-4, 11-2.


"I feel I'm into the tournament now," said Duncalf after the win over Perry which reduces the Irish star's head-to-head lead over her to 4-3.  "She was putting me under a lot of pressure - and I lost my concentration at the end of the first game - so it's nice to come out with a win."


Like all competitors in the women's event, Duncalf is coming to terms with the new 'point-a-rally' scoring system (to 11 points per game) which is being trialled at the British Nationals at the request of WISPA, the Women's International Squash Players' Association.


"You really realise how big the points are - it makes it really intense.  You don't really know what it's like until you've played it," explained the world No8 from Harrogate.


"I was 9-0 up in the third game and thought I was concentrating quite well - and suddenly the score was 9-5!  There's no safety net in this new scoring."


Alison Waters needed just 21 minutes to overcome Lauren Briggs and claim her fourth successive berth in the semi-finals. 


"I thought I played quite well - the ball was quite bouncy at first, but if you get it into the corners, it dies," explained the 23-year-old world No11.


"I think she was a bit edgy - it was possibly her first time on the glass court, whereas I am quite used to it now."


Grant Stems Selby Comeback In Manchester


Londoner Adrian Grant booked the first place in the men's semi-finals after stemming a comeback by Essex's ninth seed Daryl Selby in the quarter-finals of the British National Squash Championships on the first day's play on the all-glass court at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.


The Leeds-based left-hander led all the way through the first two games, but Selby put more pressure on the fourth seed in the third, before reaching his first game-ball at 10-8.


However, the experienced Grant raised his game to reclaim the advantage, before clinching an 11-5, 11-9, 11-10 (3-1) victory in 49 minutes - and his third appearance in the event's last four.


"It was tight in the third game, but as I was 2/0 up in games I thought I should just go for it - and played some risky shots which worked," explained Grant, the first black player ever to play for England. 


"Even though Daryl had had two marathon matches in the previous rounds, he still kept going - I definitely didn't take him lightly.


"I've been working on a few things on my game recently - and now have much more confidence to play winners from the centre of the court."


When asked about the importance he places on the National Championships, Grant was quick to reply:  "All the top English guys want to win this one.  With an arena like that, everybody wants to do well.


"It's a lot more open this year.  I'm playing well - and if I stick to what I know, I could go all the way," added the 27-year-old. 


Grant will meet second seed Lee Beachill in Saturday's semi-finals after the Yorkshireman beat experienced Welshman Alex Gough, the fifth seed, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5 in 31 minutes.


Beachill, appearing in his 11th successive quarter-final, is appearing in his first event on home soil since undergoing hernia surgery at the beginning of the year.


"I'm pretty delighted with the way I'm playing - I keep having to remind myself that it was only six weeks ago that I was having surgery!  If you'd said then that I would be on court now, in this form, I would have said you were mad," said the 30-year-old three-time winner of the title.


Beachill was full of praise for Gough, the 37-year-old who is also competing in the Over-35 championship.  "I think the squash he's played over the last 18 months or so has been his best ever.  We've played loads of times - and the last few have been great matches - he's so tough."


Beachill sustained a freak neck injury midway through last year's event - causing him to withdraw on the eve of the semi-finals.  "That was a real low point in my life last year - it took a while to get over it.


"But I always seem to fulfil my aim here and love playing in the event," added Beachill, who has notched up a record six successive final appearances.


"I don't feel under any pressure this year as I have no expectations.  But I'm hitting the ball so well - and I know that when I walk on court, I'm tough to beat.


"I don't think I've got anything to prove here," concluded the former world number one.


In the women's event, Lancashire's Laura Lengthorn-Massaro beat her long-time rival Dominique Lloyd-Walter in straight games to claim a semi-final berth for the second successive year.


"It's good to be back in the semi-finals again - but there's more pressure this year as I am seeded to do so," said the 24-year-old third seed from Preston after her 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 victory in 34 minutes.


"We've had some battles over the years - in juniors she was a couple of years older and always beat me then.  So I know how to play her."


But there has also been a new Manchester influence in her game since Laura started working with local star Nick Taylor, head coach at the National Centre.


"I started working with Nick just before Christmas - he's been helping me with my technique," explained the England international.


"I feel good here - I definitely like playing here," added the world No12 who now meets England team-mate Tania Bailey for a place in her first final.


Bailey, the 2006 champion from Lincolnshire, beat Cheshire's Sarah Kippax 11-7, 11-7, 11-7.


"That's definitely the best she's ever played against me," said Bailey of her opponent, the No8 seed who is now based in Halifax. 


"I feel as strong as I've ever been," added Bailey, who sustained a ham-string injury two weeks ago which hampered her Nationals' preparation.  "My match practice is a little bit lacking - but I'm just so glad I'm playing."

Stait Celebrates Home Win In Manchester


Manchester-based Alex Stait pulled off "easily my best result ever" when he upset England international Peter Barker, the third seed, in today's (Wednesday) first round of the British National Squash Championships in Manchester.


The 28-year-old from Stroud in Gloucestershire, who moved to Alderley Edge more than three years ago, was celebrating his ninth appearance in the event since 2000.  However, his shock 11-6, 11-4, 11-10 (4-2) victory over Barker, the world No12, takes Stait into the quarter-finals for the first time.


"I just played out of my skin," summed up Stait after his breakthrough 33-minute win.  "I know that on my day I can really play well - and this was my day.


"I moved to Manchester more than three years ago with my fiancée Karen - and since then I've been coaching at the club in Alderley Edge.


"It was great to get so much support from local friends and club-mates tonight - they gave me a real lift.  This tournament has always had the feel of a local tournament to me - which is why it's so good to do well in it."


Barker admitted afterwards that he had been suffering with a fractured toe.  "My physio assured me that I wouldn't do any further damage to it if I played - and I didn't want to pull out of the tournament.  But it did restrict my movement.  I will now rest it and give it a chance to heal before playing in the Canary Wharf Classic in London next month."


The surprise win takes Stait into an all-Gloucestershire quarter-final - against school-mate Alister Walker!  Originally from Gloucester, Walker has also moved north - to Leeds.  "We've played loads of times before - it'll be a great match," added Stait.


Top-seeded Yorkshiremen James Willstrop and Lee Beachill claimed their anticipated places in the quarter-finals after straight games second round wins.  Favourite Willstrop, the defending champion from Leeds, beat 16th seed Ben Ford, from Kent, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 in 26 minutes while second seed Beachill, from Pontefract, defeated county colleague Simon Parke 11-6, 11-5, 11-2 in 33 minutes.


Essex's No9 seed Daryl Selby pulled off a minor upset when he overcame Somerset's Joey Barrington, the seventh seed, 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6 in an 89-minute marathon.


Less than 24 hours after considering withdrawing from the women's event, top seed Tania Bailey coasted to a straight games first round victory over Irish international Laura Mylotte.


The world No5 from Lincolnshire had not been able to train or compete for almost two weeks, since picking up a ham-string injury during a quarter-final match against the Australian world No2 Natalie Grinham in the Apawamis Open in New York.


"Even up to yesterday, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to play," said the 28-year-old England No1 after her 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 win in 24 minutes.  "But thanks to the brilliant efforts my fantastic physio Jim Webb (the Head Physiotherapist at the English Institute of Sport, North West) - including a two-hour session I had with him yesterday - I felt absolutely fine during my first match for nearly two weeks.


"I was a little bit nervous when I went on court - but my body felt fine.  Hopefully, I'll get stronger with every match - and I'm looking forward to playing my next match on the all-glass court.  I love that glass court," added the 2006 champion from Stamford.


The women's event is being played using 'Point-A-Rally' scoring for the first time - falling in line with PAR scoring to 11 points a game that has considerably enhanced the spectator appeal of the men's game.


"I like it - it makes the games much more exciting for the crowd," said Bailey after her first round match.  "We'll need to get used to it - but it puts pressure on the higher-seeded players as their opponents can just let rip.  But it's worked so well for men's squash."


In the longest women's match of the day, sixth seed Dominique Lloyd-Walter, from Harrow in Middlesex, battled for 44  minutes to overcome Yorkshire qualifier Lauren Siddall 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-10 (2-0).


"Before I knew it, we got to five-all in our first game, when the score would still have been love-all under the old system," explained Siddall, the 23-year-old world No42 from Pontefract.  "I definitely prefer it - but you've got to come out ready.  It keeps you on your toes!"


There was local disappointment in the women's event when Manchester's Rebecca Botwright - the younger sister of No2 seed Vicky Botwright, who was forced to withdraw from the event with a viral infection - went down 11-8, 11-2, 11-4 to No7 seed Lauren Briggs.


"She played well and I made too many errors," said the 26-year-old who is now a Special Educational Needs teacher's assistant at Walkden High School in Swinton.


In the last match of the day, defending champion Jenny Duncalf eased to an 11-10 (3-1), 9-11, 11-8, 11-4 win over Birmingham qualifier Vicky Hynes.  The 25-year-old second seed from Harrogate, who won the title for the first time last year, will now face Ireland's Madeline Perry in a repeat of last year's semi-final.


Fifth seed Perry, playing in her first UK tournament since sustaining a serious head injury in Italy last October, beat qualifier Emma Beddoes, from Warwick, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5.

Willstrop Delights In War of the Roses Win In Manchester


Defending champion James Willstrop described it as 'the perfect day for a Yorkshireman' after beating local hero Nick Taylor in the first round of the British National Squash Championships in Manchester.


Just 48 hours after winning the Swedish Open trophy on the international Tour, Willstrop was back at the scene of his maiden triumph last year at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity.  Competing against his former Premier League club team-mate, Willstrop romped to an 11-5, 11-7, 11-6 victory in 32 minutes.


"That couldn't be any better for a Yorkshireman - a perfect evening, playing squash against a Lancastrian with about 50 Lancastrians cheering him on," said the top seed from Pontefract, also a firm favourite with the local crowd.


"But I loved it - and it was a really enjoyable game, as it always is with Nick.  He was really relaxed and ran his heart out."


Taylor, the 36-year-old from Stalybridge who is the reigning British National and British Open Over-35 champion, also thoroughly enjoyed the workout.


"When I first saw the draw, I was really pleased that I was playing James - as we always have a great game," said the event's one-time runner-up, now head coach at the Sportcity centre.


"But it's amazing how quickly you forget the pace of the modern game - it's a million miles an hour!  The mind's there, but the body isn't anymore.


"But this is the best crowd in the world - and that's great for squash," added Taylor.


Five weeks after undergoing revolutionary hernia surgery, former champion Lee Beachill was back in winning form today when he beat Derbyshire qualifier Joel Hinds in straight games


"I'm actually playing well and hitting the ball really well - but my movement is not there yet, so I don't really have any great expectations," said the 30-year-old from Pontefract after his confident 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 victory in 35 minutes.


Beachill, who boasts three title victories from six successive appearances in the men's final, has set up an all-Yorkshire second round clash with Simon Parke, the tenth seed who beat Scottish qualifier Stuart Crawford 11-2, 11-1, 9-11, 11-4. 


Parke, the 1998 champion, beat former world number one Beachill the last time they met in the event - in the 1999 semi-finals.  Should Parke win again, it would take the 35-year-old into his 50th championship match since making his debut in the event more than 20 years ago.


A shock looked on the cards when Stephen Meads, a 37-year-old from Wokingham in Berkshire celebrating his 20th appearance in the event, fought back from 1/2 down to level his match against Daryl Selby - and then went 4-0 up against the ninth seed from Essex.


But the Nationals' veteran was unable to force through his advantage as 25-year-old Selby rallied back to win 10-11 (0-2), 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7 in 93 minutes. 


"I knew what to expect with Steve - he's probably been practicing for the last three months for this actual match!" said Selby, the England No9 afterwards.  "I've got a lot of respect for him - we used to play together in a team, and he's really good to be around. 


"If any young professional wants to learn how to give 100%, then he needs to look no further than Meadsy.  But I was happy with the way I played - I played well all the way through - it's just that Meadsy got everything back!  I'm not at all annoyed with myself."


The first upset took place later in the day when Surrey's Tom Richards secured his first ever win over 14th seed Tim Vail, the England No15 from Sussex who reached the quarter-finals 12 months ago.  Richards is fighting back to full strength after knee surgery last year which kept him out of action for eight months.


"I'm surprised at how quickly I've been able to get back into it - I suppose I feel fit enough, but perhaps not quite sharp enough," explained the 21-year-old England No24 from Walton-on-Thames.  "I've always been wary of Tim, so it's good to get my first win over him.


"I reckon I'm about 85% back to my former level now.  I was 53 in the world before I ruptured my cruciate ligament - I'm now 121, so I've got a lot of catching up to do!"


Vail blamed his heavy recent workload on his poor performance:  "I turned 30 and got married in December - and I've only had one day off in the last month," explained the England No15 from Lee-on-Solent.  "When I got on court I found that my legs were like jelly!"


The day's qualifying finals for the women's championship produce twin successes for both Yorkshire and Warwickshire - with Lauren Siddall and Kirsty McPhee, from Pontefract and Normanton, respectively, joining Vicky Hynes and Emma Beddoes, from Warwick and Birmingham, respectively, in the main draw.

Teenager Waller Is Youngest Nationals' Qualifier

Teenager Adrian Waller became the youngest player to qualify for the 2008 British National Squash Championships when he beat Essex's Rory Pennell 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 in 28 minutes in today's (Monday) men's qualifying finals at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.


The 18-year-old British Junior champion from Enfield in Middlesex, who led England to success in last year's European Junior Team Championships in Belgium, will face local star Andrew Whipp in Tuesday's first round.  Whipp, the 26-year-old 13th seed from Stockport, is making his sixth appearance in the event and seeded for the first time.


Waller survived an 88-minute second round qualifying match against Northamptonshire's Chris Fuller earlier in the day before easing through against his Essex opponent in the evening.


"I felt a lot looser and more comfortable than in my earlier match, and he seemed a bit tired, maybe feeling his five-setter from earlier," said Waller after his qualifying final. "It was a different game too, a faster pace which suited me better.


"I was a lucky loser last year, so it's good to qualify properly this time."


Derbyshire's Joel Hinds was given the toughest ride in the qualifying finals - taking 81 minutes to overcome Surrey's England junior international Joe Lee 11-10 (4-2), 11-5, 5-11, 9-11, 11-6.  The 20-year-old from Duffield now meets three-time champion Lee Beachill, the No2 seed from Pontefract in Yorkshire.

Champion Duncalf In Bid To Overcome British Nationals 'Shock'


England international Jenny Duncalf is determined to retain her women's title in next week's British National Squash Championships in Manchester - despite the "shock" that greeted last year's surprise winner on the eve of the event.


The championships, which will take place for the sixth year at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity from 12-17 February, have attracted world class fields from throughout the UK.  In addition to the men's and women's open events, the tournament - in its 12th successive year in Manchester - will feature Masters championships in age-group categories ranging from Over-35 to Over-70.


At the request of the Women’s International Squash Players’ Association, which wants to trial the system adopted on the men’s professional tour for the past three years, the Nationals' organisers are introducing 'point-a-rally' scoring for the women's event, instead of the traditional 'hand-in hand-out' scoring.


"I was pretty shocked," said Duncalf when news reached the 25-year-old world No8 from Harrogate in Yorkshire.  "It had never been used before in a big tournament, and no-one asked our opinion.


"I don’t think I have ever played in a tournament with it, but you have to try to move forward with the times.  I guess it’s good for WISPA to use the nationals as a measuring stick.  It will be interesting to see if it makes the game more attacking."


Duncalf feels that the new scoring system may work in her favour - she has an attacking style and is one of the most naturally-talented players. 


After a bad patch in 2006, when her world ranking fell from a career-high number six down to 12, Duncalf made a breakthrough at the beginning of last year - coming through the Nationals as sixth seed to beat favourite Tania Bailey, then Irish international Madeline Perry, before ousting her second England team-mate Alison Waters in the final.


The triumph raised her morale, and suggested that she could still improve.  Individually it was, she said, the most important success of her career.


Duncalf went on to win the European Individual Championship title for the second year running - thereafter making it to the quarter-finals of the World Open in Madrid and then the final of the Carol Weymuller Open in New York.  The result was a deserved return to the world's top ten.


Whilst not the favourite to defend her title in Manchester, Duncalf believes she will have more pressure upon her than last year.


Seeded three, Duncalf begins her 2008 campaign against Derbyshire fire-fighter Laura Hill - and is likely to have to beat England team-mate Vicky Botwright - the No2 seed and local favourite from Manchester - in the semi-finals if she is to make the final for the second successive year.

Free Live Webcast Of Nationals' Final Follows PSALive Deal


PSALIVE.TV, the dedicated squash Internet webcast channel for all the major PSA World Tour events, will cover the British National Squash Championships live from the first round - including the men's final free - following an agreement with the organisers of the Championships at the National Squash Centre in Manchester, from 12-17 February.


The championships, in their 12th successive year in Manchester and sixth year at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity, have attracted world class fields from throughout the UK.  In addition to the men's and women's open events, the tournament will feature Masters championships in age-group categories ranging from Over-35 to Over-70.


The free webcast initiative follows the highly successful 'freeview' of the recent Dunlop British Open final from the same venue recently - where psalive servers were pushed to their limit following the unexpected demand.


"We had a tremendous following of the British Nationals last year and there was real interest in some of the age-group matches as well, so we will certainly cover these during the later stages," said Adrian Battersby, who will be present throughout the week as lead commentator for PSALIVE.


"Of course, the open competition will be our main focus and if the men's and women's finals can match last year, then we are in for a treat.  We have improved our servers in many ways since the British Open and upgraded in various areas so we shouldn't have any problems in everyone getting online to view, but we do have a maximum limit and there could be a chance that the full-up sign will be posted so my advice would be to get in early if you want to watch this match - you should pre-book the final online and that will guarantee you entry."


Membership of PSALIVE is free - all that is needed to be able to view the live matches is realplayer software, which can be downloaded free from the site.


Furthermore, PSALIVE will also be showing action from the women's championship - which will feature seven players from the world's top 20.  "This will provide a rare and welcome chance to watch top class women's squash live," concluded Battersby.


Check out for details on web-streaming coverage of the 2008 British Nationals


Top Seed Willstrop Lines Up Against Local Star In Nationals' Opener


England number one James Willstrop is seeded to retain his men's title in next month's British National Championships in Manchester, from 12-17 February.


But the 24-year-old world No6 from Pontefract in Yorkshire will face determined local opposition from British Over-35 Open champion Nick Taylor in the first round, according to the draw issued today by England Squash.


The championships, in their 12th successive year in Manchester and sixth year at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity, have attracted world class fields from throughout the UK.  In addition to the men's and women's open events, the tournament will feature Masters championships in age-group categories ranging from Over-35 to Over-70.


Willstrop and Manchester-based Taylor were team-mates in the National Squash Centre-based Manchester/Pontefract side which won the Premier Squash League title in 2004 - and both know the NSC's spectacular all-glass court well. 


Willstrop, who won the national title for the first time last year, is expected to progress through to the semi-finals - where he is scheduled to face England team-mate Peter Barker, the third seed who clinched the world team title for England in December after winning the deciding match against Australia.


The left-hander from Upminster in Essex begins his 2008 Nationals campaign against a qualifier.  A quarter-finalist for the past two years, Barker is expected to reach the semi-finals for the first time.


Second seed Lee Beachill, whose distinguished National Championships' record includes three titles and six successive final appearances from 2001-2006, also faces a qualifier in the opening round. 


The 30-year-old from Pontefract will be making his tournament comeback in the Nationals after undergoing hernia surgery at the beginning of this month.  Beachill has a tough route through to the final - where he is expected to meet England and Pontefract Club team-mate James Willstrop. 


A predicted second round clash with fellow Yorkshireman Simon Parke - the 1998 champion hoping to notch up his 50th match in the championships since his debut in 1987 - could take Beachill through to face long-time rival Alex Gough, the fifth-seeded Welshman who boasts a British O35 Open crown. 


Beachill's scheduled semi-final opponent is fourth-seeded Londoner Adrian Grant, also an England team-mate and also based in Yorkshire.


In addition to Nick Taylor, local interest in the men's event will be provided by 13th seed Andrew Whipp and unseeded Peter Billson.  Whipp, a 26-year-old from Stockport, is looking to make his first appearance in the last sixteen after facing a qualifier in the first round - while Manchester-based Billson, 27, lines up against Kent's 16th seed Ben Ford.


A familiar name will return to National Championship action for the first time since reaching the quarter-finals two years ago.  Joey Barrington, son of 1980 champion Jonah Barrington, is the seventh seed.  The 28-year-old world No27 from Glastonbury in Somerset faces a qualifier in the opening round.


Favourite Bailey Faces Irish Opponent In Opening Nationals' Clash


Former champion Tania Bailey, the top seed from Lincolnshire, faces Irish opponent Laura Mylotte in the first round of the women's event in the forthcoming British National Squash Championships in Manchester, from 12-17 February.


The championships, in their 12th successive year in Manchester and sixth year at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity, have attracted world class fields from throughout the UK.  In addition to the men's and women's open events, the tournament will feature Masters championships in age-group categories ranging from Over-35 to Over-70.


Bailey, the 2006 champion from Stamford, is expected to reach the final for the second time - but the world number five's opponent is based in Stockport and will no doubt benefit from local support.  Mylotte, ranked 47 in the world, originally hails from Galway and is making her third appearance in the event.


Bailey is expected to face England team-mate Alison Waters in the quarter-finals, according to the draw announced today by England Squash.  The 23-year-old fifth seed from London was runner-up both last year and in 2005, and opens her 2008 campaign against a qualifier.


The favourite has avoided the player who stopped her in last year's quarter-finals:  Third seed Jenny Duncalf, the world No7 from Harrogate in Yorkshire who went on to win the title for the first time, is in the lower half of the draw - where she faces Derbyshire fire-fighter Laura Hill in the first round.


Local star Vicky Botwright is the second seed, whose first opponent will be a qualifier.  The 30-year-old world No6 from Worsley in Manchester will be keen to shine for the first time in this year in her 10th appearance in the event in her home city since 1997.  Botwright has hitherto failed to fulfil her promise in the Nationals - with the quarter-finals being her best finish, five times in the last six years!


Lancashire county team-mate Laura Lengthorn-Massaro - the fourth seed from Preston who caused Botwright's downfall last year - is drawn to face Cheshire's Sarah Kippax in the first round.


Willstrop & Bailey Seeded To Win National Squash Titles


England number ones James Willstrop and Tania Bailey have been named as top seeds for next month's British National Championships, which will be held in Manchester, from 12-17 February.


The championships, in their 12th successive year in Manchester and sixth year at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity, have attracted world class fields from throughout the UK.  In addition to the men's and women's open events, the tournament will feature Masters championships in age-group categories ranging from Over-35 to Over-70.


James Willstrop, ranked six in the world, won the men's title for the first time last year.  But the 24-year-old from Pontefract in Yorkshire, who made his debut in the event in 2000 as a 16-year-old, will face stiff opposition - led by England and Pontefract Club team-mate Lee Beachill, a three times winner of the title.


Second seed Beachill, 30, will be making his tournament comeback in the Nationals after undergoing hernia surgery at the beginning of this month.  Beachill failed to reach a record seventh successive final last year after sustaining a freak neck injury hours before his semi-final match - against close friend Willstrop!


Peter Barker, the world No12 from Upminster in Essex who clinched the world team title for England in December after winning the deciding match against Australia, is the third seed - while Kent's Halifax-based Adrian Grant is seeded four.


Tour veteran Alex Gough, the 37-year-old Welshman who boasts a British O35 Open crown, is the No5 seed - and will be making his 13th appearance in the event since 1992.


Tania Bailey will be hoping to reclaim the women's title she lost to England team-mate Jenny Duncalf last year.  The 28-year-old world No5 from Stamford in Lincolnshire won the crown for the first time in 2006 - but crashed out to Duncalf in last year's quarter-finals.


Duncalf, 25, from Harrogate in Yorkshire, is the third seed - but in 2007 fought through the event as sixth seed to claim her maiden national title.


Local star Vicky Botwright is named as second seed.  But the 30-year-old world No6 has hitherto failed to fulfil her promise in the Nationals - with the quarter-finals being her best finish, five times in the last six years!


Lancashire county team-mate Laura Lengthorn-Massaro - the world No11 from Preston who caused Botwright's downfall last year - is the fourth seed.  Londoner Alison Waters, a surprise runner-up twice in the last three years, is seeded five.


Matthew Forced to Miss British National Championships


England's highest-ranked squash player Nick Matthew has been forced to withdraw from next month's British National Championships, to be staged at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity, Manchester, from 12-17 February.


The 27-year-old world No5 from Sheffield, who followed his title success at the US Open last October by reaching the semi-finals of the World Open in December, sustained a shoulder ligament tear whilst leading England to their successful defence of the Men's World Team Championships in India.  Following corrective surgery, Matthew is currently undergoing intensive physiotherapy treatment.


"I'm absolutely gutted to be missing my second successive Nationals," said the Yorkshireman whose damaged ankle ligaments in January 2007 prevented him from competing in the championships last year.


"The Nationals has always been an important event in my schedule and not being able to play in the championships since winning the title in 2006 is a massive blow," added Matthew.  "On a positive note, the surgeons have told me that the operation went well and I am confident that with the support of the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in Sheffield that I will be back on court very quickly."


Matthew, who is not expected to make his return to the Men's World Tour until the Dunlop British Open in Liverpool in May, made an indelible mark on squash history in 2006 when he became the first home-grown British Open Champion for 67 years, rounding off a sensational year which began with him being crowned British National Champion for the first time and also included him winning the British Grand Prix title.


In addition to men's and women's open events, the British Nationals - in its sixth year at Sportcity - will feature Masters events which will attract the nation's best players in age-group categories ranging from Over-35 to Over-70.


National Championships To Adopt PAR Scoring For Women's Event

Women's matches in next month's British National Squash Championships will feature 'Point-A-Rally' scoring for the first time following an appeal to the organisers by the Women's International Squash Players' Association (WISPA) to trial the system used by the professional men's circuit for the past three years.

The 2008 British National Squash Championships - which will attract world-class fields including England's men's and women's world team championships-winning squads - will take place at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity, Manchester, from 10-17 February.

There is widespread interest within the squash community worldwide to unify the professional game's scoring system.  Furthermore, it is widely conceded that the introduction of PAR scoring to 11 points a game has considerably enhanced the spectator appeal of the men's game.

"We are as keen as anybody to see a unified scoring system in the professional game," said Tournament Manager Chris Nutley, the Competitions and Events Manager at England Squash.  "Having switched successfully to PAR scoring to 11 for our men's event three years ago, we are very happy to help WISPA's trial of the system for the women's Nationals this year."

Andrew Shelley, Chief Executive of WISPA, added:  "WISPA has been experimenting with PAR to 11 which PSA used for a little while, and the next phase of this is to see it in operation in competition featuring a range of WISPA members, including top flight players.

"Scoring is an emotive issue. Should WISPA continue with standard scoring as used by recreational players around the world and universally understood? Should we move to the men's pro game Point-A-Rally scoring? It would be good to have uniformity, but would it damage our presentation? Would matches be too short? Would a real comeback be a thing of the past? On the other hand would it increase excitement when games are close? Many questions but no answers as yet!

"Which is why we are indebted to the British Nationals, and indeed the Egyptian and Dutch Championships too, for adopting PAR for their women's championship to help our evaluation," Shelley explained.  "So, while the WISPA Tour continues as normal, the data and impressions gained in Manchester and elsewhere will significantly help the decision-making process."

England's world No7 Jenny Duncalf will be defending the women's title she won for the first time last year.  But the 25-year-old from Harrogate in Yorkshire will face stiff competition from a number of quarters - including Manchester's own Vicky Botwright, the world No6; Lancashire's fast-improving world No11 Laura Lengthorn-Massaro; and the 2006 champion Tania Bailey, the England No1 and world No5 from Stamford in Lincolnshire.