British national champion James Willstrop completed a remarkable
hat-trick of international squash titles on home soil when he beat England team-mate Nick
Matthew in an all-Yorkshire final of the Mamut English Open
at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
Winner of the
Canary Wharf Classic in London in March and the Prince English Grand
Prix in Birmingham in September, the 24-year-old world No6 recovered from a
game down to upset higher-ranked Matthew, the England No1, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6,
11-6 to claim the eighth PSA Tour title of his career.
earlier the pair had played alongside each other in India
- leading England
to a spectacular triumph over Australia
in the final of the Men's World Team Championship, to successfully defend
the sport's most prestigious world team trophy.
But in the
5-star PSA Tour event, hosted by Sheffield City Council, it was
back to being opponents that was to complete an eventful year for both players.
and raised in Sheffield, took an early lead in the first game - but Willstrop
fought back to draw level before the home hero clinched the final two points to
win the game and establish the opening advantage. In a similar pattern in the
second, Willstrop moved ahead - and Matthew drew level before Willstrop
re-established his advantage to take the game.
The pace moved
up a couple of notches in the next two games - with Willstrop taking early
leads, then running away from five-all in the fourth to clinch the match after
was the pair's 15th Tour meeting since 2001, with the pre-match
career head-to-head tally poised at 7-7. The victory also ended a three-match
winning sequence for Matthew over Willstrop - including the US Open final
in September, which the Sheffield star
won in straight games.
definitely been struggling a bit with Nick of late - he's had the upper hand in
recent matches," conceded the tall 24-year-old from Leeds
afterwards. "So I'm very pleased to have reversed that today - on a big
occasion and in a big tournament in our home county!
"We both had
to push - and we knew that - but I just managed to produce the win. I was very
pleased with way I played."
that it was better to lose to a friend: "I like him a lot, but I'd rather lose
to anyone else, to be honest! There is a massive, if respectful, rivalry
between us. We both want to be Yorkshire number one, England number
one - and world number one!" said Matthew, now runner-up in his home town for
the second time, after being beaten in the 2005 final.
overtook Willstrop in the December world rankings, this success in the final PSA
Tour event of the year could reverse the situation and see Willstrop back as the
top-ranked Englishman in the first list of the New Year.
11/6 11/2 11/1 (23)
 Nick Matthew (Eng)
Qualifying Qualifying finals line-up:
Stacey Ross (ENG) bt Jan Koukal (CZE)
14/12, 10/12, 11/7,
Scott Handley (ENG) bt Tom Richards (ENG)
11/9, 11/8, 11/13,
Alex Stait (ENG) bt Aaron Frankcomb (AUS)
11/8, 11/5, 9/11,
Chris Ryder (ENG) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
11/5, 11/4, 11/8
Stacey Ross (ENG) bt Shaun le Roux (ENG) 11-0, 11-5, 11-5
Jan Koukal (CZE) bt Yann Perrin (FRA) 11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8
Scott Handley (ENG) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 11-7, 8-11,
11-7, 4-11, 11-8
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Jonathan Harford (ENG) 11-1, 8-11,
Alex Stait (ENG) bt Mark Krajcsak (HUN) 11-5, 11-7, 11-9
Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) bt James Snell (ENG) 11-3, 11-9, 11-7
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Adam Fuller (ENG) 11-10 (2-0), 11-6,
5-11, 10-11 (0-2), 11-6
Chris Ryder (ENG) bt Eddie Charlton (ENG) 11-5, 11-5, 11-6
Rafael Alarcon (Bra), Stacey Ross (Eng), Chris Ryder (Eng), Scott
Handley (Eng), Aaron Frankcomb (Aus), Jon Harford (Eng), Mark
Krajcsak (Hun), Jan Koukal (Cze), Ryan Cuskelly (Aus), Mathieu
Castagnet (Fra), Alex Stait (Eng), Tom Richards (Eng), Shaun Le
Roux (Eng), James Snell (Eng), Adam Fuller (Eng)
Nick Matthew and James Willstrop
-England team-mates ranked five and six,
respectively, in the world - will meet in a dream all-Yorkshire final of the
Mamut English Open after surviving the semi-finals of the 5-star PSA Tour
squash event at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
favourite from Leeds, faced fourth seed Peter Barker - the third member
England squad which lifted the Men's World Team Championship
title in India only five days ago.
made his world championship debut for England in Chennai - and confidently
clinched the winning rubber in the dramatic final against Australia - had a good
run to reach the semi-finals in Sheffield, but went down 11-10 (2-0), 11-5,
4-11, 11-1 to Willstrop in 49 minutes.
24-year-old Essex - who acknowledged earlier that his win in the world final
decider was "easily the best moment of my career so far" - was not too
downhearted by his English Open loss:
"I'm not too
down on myself. The win in India was
fantastic, probably beyond my expectations. I'm very happy, though a bit
disappointed today," said Barker.
Sheffield's own Nick Matthew extended his straight-games-winning run in the
event by beating Scotland's
John White, the No3 seed, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4. Though clearly not moving quite
as well as normal, after sustaining a back injury in the quarter-finals, White
tested the local star before succumbing in 38 minutes.
that comfortable playing John," said Matthew afterwards of his renowned
hard-hitting opponent. "But he came back well after last night."
When asked if
he and Willstrop were great rivals on court, despite coming from the same
county, Matthew replied: "It's healthy, friendly rivalry. But very competitive
I've got it right against him for the last couple of games - so hopefully
tomorrow I'll do it again!"
Willstrop's Tour head-to-head record is poised at 7-7. But the Sheffield hero
has come out on top on the last three occasions - including at the US Open
final in October and the World Open quarter-finals earlier this month in
""He's had me
the last few times - and I'm getting a bit sick of it, to be honest," said
Willstrop. "Hopefully this'll be my time."
England Team-Mates Reach
English Open Semis back to top
Less than a week after playing alongside each other to win
the Men's World Team Squash Championship title for England in
India, James Willstrop and Peter Barker will face each other in
Monday's semi-finals of the Mamut English Open after successfully
overcoming their quarter-final opposition at the English Institute of Sport
The pair will
be joined in the last four by the third member of the world title-winning
team. Nick Matthew, the England No1, will face Scotland's John White
in the other semi-final.
Barker, the 24-year-old from Essex who clinched the world title for
England by winning the decider against Australia, took only 27
minutes to reserve his place in the last four of the 5-star PSA Tour
event, beating English qualifier Chris Ryder 11-5, 11-3, 11-1.
"I played well
India and carried that forward to here," said the left-hander.
"But it's a monumental step up to play James tomorrow - I'll have to improve
quality opponent - but he's the sort of guy I've got to beat to get into the
world top five."
Willstrop faced seventh seed Renan Lavigne - the Frenchman Barker beat as
England despatched France
in the world semi-finals. The 24-year-old from Pontefract took four games to
overcome the French No3 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8 in 44 minutes.
Barker have played each other countless times in the past - particularly during
their junior careers when they met in the finals of the British, European and
World Championships, with the Yorkshireman boasting a 100% success
firmly established in the world's top 16 now and has had some good results.
I'll need to play well to beat him - I'll have to be 100%," said Willstrop, who
has only lost to his England
team-mate once in 12 meetings over the past six years.
Nick Matthew, the 27-year-old world No5 from Sheffield who is the second
seed, brushed aside unseeded Englishman Jonathan Kemp, beating the
26-year-old left-hander from Telford 11-9,
"I just about
did enough today," said Matthew, runner-up two years ago. "Jon can hit winners
from anywhere, so I had to keep focussed. I'm still feeling the effects of
jet-lag, but I should be fine tomorrow."
face third seed John White, the event's inaugural champion in 2003. The
US-based Scot was coasting to a straight games win over Canadian Shahier
Razik when his movement became hampered by a back injury.
about half way through the third game - it seems I may have pinched a nerve in
my lower back," said White later. After dropping the third game, and taking a
three-minute injury break at the beginning of the fourth, White came back to
beat the sixth seed 11-2, 11-8, 10-11 (2-4), 11-9 in 43 minutes.
"I started to
slow-ball it in the fourth game, and the problem eased up slightly," added a
Within three days of successfully
retaining the Men's World Team Championship title with a stunning victory
in India, England
squash heroes Nick Matthew, James Willstrop and Peter Barker were
back to their winning ways in the first round of the Mamut English Open
England No1 Nick Matthew, the
US Open champion playing in his home city, scored the day's most emphatic
win when he crushed compatriot Alex Stait, a qualifier from Manchester,
11-6, 11-2, 11-1 in just 23 minutes.
Fellow Yorkshireman James
Willstrop - who levelled the world final after Matthew went down in the
opening match against former world champion David Palmer - battled to an
11-5, 11-10 (5-3), 4-11, 11-6 win over Italian No1 Davide Bianchetti in
"I always knew it was going to be a
tough match - I really had to dig in and fight as hard as I could," said the
24-year-old world No6 from Pontefract.
the world championship debutant who clinched the world title for England by
winning the decider in Chennai, faced fellow Essex player Daryl Selby at
the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. The 24-year-old world
No13 won 11-5, 11-10
(3-1), 11-7 in 60 minutes to set up a surprise quarter-final clash with another
fellow Englishman Chris Ryder, a qualifier.
The World University champion from Wolverhampton
recovered from a game down to upset Welshman Alex Gough, the fifth seed,
6-11, 11-10 (2-0),
11-1, 10-11 (2-4), 11-10 (5-3) in 69 minutes - in the event's biggest opening
"That's definitely my best result,
by some distance," said Ryder, ranked 12 places below Gough, a World Open
quarter-finalist earlier in the month. "It's one of the biggest
tournaments I've had a big win in - I can't ask for more!"
Another upset later in the day saw
Jonathan Kemp become the fifth Englishman to claim a place in the
5-star PSA Tour event's quarter-finals. The unseeded 26-year-old from
Telford in Staffordshire twice had to come from behind to oust Bradley Ball,
the eighth seed from Ipswich, 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5 in 42 minutes.
Kemp now faces second seed Nick
Matthew in one of two all-English quarter-finals.
Gets Sheffield Hero Matthew
After English Open Qualifying Win back to top Sheffield’s world
squash championship-winning hero Nick Matthew will begin his bid for the
Mamut English Open crown in the Yorkshire city with a match against
English qualifier Alex Stait.
The 28-year-old from
Manchester set up the clash after beating Australian Aaron Frankcomb11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7
in last night's qualifying finals in 70 minutes - the longest match of the day.
Matthew, fresh from leading England to the World Team Championship title
in India earlier this week, starts as second seed in the 5-star PSA Tour
event when he takes to
the court at the English Institute of Sport at around 6pm.
It is expected that Matthew, ranked No5 in the world, will play fellow
Yorkshireman James Willstrop in the final on Tuesday evening. Willstrop,
the number one seed, was also part of the England team.
Stait was one of three Englishmen who survived the qualifying finals in
Sheffield. Oxfordshire's Scott Handley
beat compatriot Tom Richards 11-9, 11-8, 10-11 (1-3), 10-11 (1-3), 11-3
in 59 minutes, while Wolverhampton's Chris Ryder defeated Australian
Ryan Cuskelly 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 in 52 minutes.
Czech number one Jan Koukal denied a clean sweep of English qualifying successes
when he beat Surrey's Stacey Ross 11-10 (4-2), 10-11 (0-2), 11-7, 11-3.
Koukal will face Scotland's hard-hitter John White, the third seed, in
the first round.
With Matthew and Willstrop joined in Sheffield by England team-mate Peter
Barker, it will mean that White is the only top four seed who was not
involved in world championship action on the other side of the world earlier
"That means, unfortunately, that Whitey will arrive in Sheffield as fresh as
paint!" pointed out favourite Willstrop.
Comprehensive Home Interest In Mamut
English Open Qualifying Finals In Sheffield back to top There will be domestic interest in
all four qualifying finals of the Mamut English Open Squash Championship,
hosted by Sheffield City Council, after five Englishmen came through the
first qualifying round in the 5-star PSA
Tour event in Sheffield.
Qualifying is being staged
simultaneously at the Abbeydale Park and Hallamshire squash clubs
in the city - leading to the first round of the main draw taking place for the
first time at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on Saturday (15
December), through to the final on Tuesday.
Surrey's Stacey Ross headed
the qualifying draw - and comfortably beat fellow Englishman Shaun le Roux,
from Yorkshire,11-0, 11-5, 11-5. The 34-year-old from Sutton will now
face Czech number one Jan Koukal for a place in the main draw.
Another Surrey player pulled off a
notable upset: Tom Richards, back in action after a six-month knee
injury layoff, defeated Leeds-based Jonathan Harford,
ranked 40 places higher in the world, 11-1, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8. Richards now
faces fellow countryman Scott Handley, from Oxfordshire, who took five
games to get the better of young Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet 11-7, 8-11,
11-7, 4-11, 11-8.
Manchester-based Alex Stait
also secured an upset to earn a place in the qualifying finals. The 28-year-old
from Gloucester, ranked 85 in the world, despatched Hungary's world No63 Mark
Krajcsak 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 to set up a clash with Australian
England's World Universities
champion Chris Ryder will also take on an Australian for a place in the
main draw. The 27-year-old from Wolverhampton beat Nottinghamshire's
11-5, 11-5, 11-6 and will now face Ryan Cuskelly, from New South Wales, in the
The 2007Mamut English
Open - the final PSA Tour
squash event of the year, which is hosted by Sheffield City Council -
will get underway at the city's English
Institute of Sport
on Saturday, leading to the final on Tuesday (18 December).
Just three days earlier, in the
Indian city of Chennai (formerly Madras), the courageous trio fought back
from a match down to beat major rivals Australia 2/1 in the final of the
biennial Men's World Team Championship - successfully defending the title
that Willstrop and Matthew helped to wrest back from Australia in 2005.
"Winning the title again was
incredibly special - you realise that you might not achieve anything as good as
that ever again in your career," said Yorkshireman James Willstrop, the world
No6 and England No2 from Pontefract who levelled the tie after beating
Australian Stewart Boswell in the second rubber.
Earlier, Sheffield's own Nick
Matthew, ranked 5 in the world, had fought back from two games down against
Australian No1 David Palmer before going down to the world No4 in an
82-minute five-game marathon.
"David's a class act," said
Matthew. "I played a great match and put him under pressure. Losing was no
disgrace - but it put the pressure on my team-mates!
"I would say that we won the title
because we wanted it more than anybody else!"
It was England's world championship
debutant Peter Barker that was the hero of the hour. With the tie poised at
one-all against eight-time champions Australia, the 24-year-old from Essex
calmly held off the challenge of Cameron Pilley, beating the world No23
in straight games to clinch the title for England.
"It was better than last time,"
explained Willstrop when asked if the team was able to celebrate, with the
English Open only days away. "We had a beer or two after the final, and then on
the long flight back, we celebrated with champagne, kindly donated by BA!
"It hasn't been the ideal
preparation for the English Open, but I'm just going to try and relax and enjoy
it. I've got a tough first round, against the Italian number one Davide
Bianchetti - but I'll try and give him the respect he deserves.
"Having been with Nick and Peter in
a team for the past week, it'll be weird if we have to play against each other
in Sheffield - especially after one of the best experiences we could ever wish
to have," added Willstrop.
Matthew, the reigning US Open
champion who was runner-up in Sheffield two years ago, is the event's second
seed and will face a qualifier in the opening round. If the draw goes according
to the seedings, top seed Willstrop will face fourth seed Barker in the
Previews back to top
Yorkshireman Willstrop Favourite
Mamut English Open Crown In Sheffield
the England No1 and world No5 from Yorkshire, is named as top seed for next
month's Mamut English Open Squash
Championship in Sheffield - and
is expected to face England team-mate and Sheffield-based Nick Matthew in
the final of the 5-star PSA Tour
event less than a week after the pair
hope to lead England to a successful title defence in the World Team
Championship in India.
"I can't think of a better way of rounding off the year than winning the Mamut
English Open in my home county after helping England to win the world title for
the second time in a row," said 24-year-old Willstrop, the British National
champion from Pontefract.
The 2007Mamut English Open - the final PSA Tour event of the
year, which is hosted by Sheffield City Council - will take place the
English Institute of Sport in Sheffieldfrom Saturday 15 December to Tuesday 18
star-studded line-up also features a further member of England's world team
championship squad - Peter Barker (left), the world No13 from Essex who
is the fourth seed, behind third seed
John White, the hard-hitting Scot who
won the inaugural English Open at Sheffield's famous Crucible Theatre in 2003.
After reaching the final two years ago, Nick Matthew would like nothing more
than to go one better and win this major Tour title in his home city of
Sheffield in December.
Since becoming the first player to hold both the British National and British
Open titles at the same time last year - as well as becoming the first true
Englishman to win the British Open crown for 67 years - the 27-year-old has
continued to extend his portfolio of international squash titles by winning the
US Open trophy this year.
In the draw announced today by event promoters Eventis Sports Marketing Ltd -
the company led by the sport's four-times Commonwealth Games
gold medallist Peter Nicol - Matthew will face a
qualifier, while Willstrop opens his campaign against Italian number one
England's New US Open Champion Matthew
Determined To Win At Home back to top
While 'entente cordiale' may not have applied in last week's
Rugby Union World Cup semi-final, Sheffield’s Nick Matthew says that
relations between the English and the French on the squash court aren’t always
that good either.
Matthew, the 27-year-old world No10 who won his first PSASuper Series title this month at the US Open and will compete in
his home town at the Mamut English Open in December, says the prominence, and dominance, of
top French players Thierry Lincou
and Gregory Gaultier often leads to some tense times between the walls.
“Both Thierry and Gregory are terrific players. In some ways
they are they similar but they also have lots of differences. Gregory is a lot
more flamboyant, Gallic if you like, while Thierry is further on with his
career," explains the 2006 British Open champion.
“Generally we get on well, but when it comes to the team events
the French don’t have much depth after those two - so they have to win their
games, which leads to a few bruising encounters.”
Gaultier and Lincou, ranked third and seventh in the world, have
also dominated recent domestic tournaments - much to the disgust of the England
number two: “They played each other in the final of the British Open in
September and last year in Sheffield at the English Open they knocked all us
Yorkshire lads out to meet in the final at the Crucible.”
With the Mamut English Open moving to Matthew’s training base at
the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield this December, a repeat of
last year’s final is something Matthew won’t even contemplate.
“The EIS is pretty much my second home I spend so much time
there. Winning in Sheffield is very important to me – I’ve not managed to do it
yet, although I’ve been close.”
However, before the English Open, Matthew is concentrating on
three Super Series Platinum events in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Hong Kong that
could make or break his season over the next four weeks.
“There are three layers to the Super Series, with Platinum being
the highest, giving more ranking points and prize money. Winning the US Open
was a real breakthrough because it was the first time I’d won a ‘major’ away
from the UK.
“It is going to be a long stretch away from home and then there
is the World Open in Bermuda at the end of November. So it is a tough run but at
least I know I have a tournament on my home patch to look forward to.”
The 2007Mamut English Open Championships - the
final PSA Tour event of the year, hosted by Sheffield City Council -
takes place the
English Institute of Sport in Sheffieldfrom Saturday 15
December to Tuesday 18 December.
Tickets, priced from £12.50 - £25.00, are available with
immediate effect from Ticketmaster, either via the website
www.Ticketmaster.co.uk or by telephone on
“To deliver unique and desirable sports
events services to corporate clients while promoting and supporting the
HOME COMFORTS FOR MATTHEW AS ENGLISH OPEN
MOVES TO THE EIS back to top
world number eight squash star Nick Matthew will be well and truly on home
soil when the Mamut English Squash Open returns to the city later this year.
now in its fifth year, will take be staged at the English Institute of Sport
Sheffield in Attercliffe in December (15-18) instead of its usual home at
Theatre because of refurbishment work at the city centre venue.
It is a
move that will be warmly received by the 26-year-old Matthew though, as the.
EISS is his training base for off court strength and conditioning work. He
has long stated his desire to win his ‘home’ event after losing the final in
tournament is once again a five star ranked event, which places it as one of
the top dates on the men’s tour calendar and guarantees most of the world’s
top 16 players will be in the draw.
the then world number one Thierry Lincou beat Matthew in the quarterfinals
on the way to defeating fellow Frenchman Gregory Gaultier 3-2 in a thrilling
final at the Crucible.
legend Peter Nicol, whose company Eventis Sports Marketing owns the event,
says the move from the Crucible to the EISS is an exciting development for
a tremendous four-years at the Crucible where the English Open has grown
into a permanent fixture on the tour. We always knew that because of the
refurbishment there we would have to find a new venue in 2007.
priority, because of all the support we have had from the city, was staying
in Sheffield and we are delighted to be at the EISS this year, which is
probably the top indoor sporting venue in the UK. All the players have heard
about the EISS’s facilities from Nick and now can’t wait for December to
Councillor Tim Rippon, Cabinet Member for Economic
Regeneration, Culture and Planning at Sheffield City Council said: "Being
able to secure the squash championships for yet another year is excellent
news for the city. The team have worked tirelessly to accommodate the event
whilst the usual venue is under refurbishment. This only goes to enhance our
credentials as a major sporting event destination."
Brailey, chief executive of Sheffield International Venues, the management
company for EISS, said: “I have attended the Mamut English Open several
times at the Crucible so I am delighted that we are able to host the
tournament this year at the EISS and welcome the world’s best squash players
once again to the city.”
details are expected to be announced shortly for the tournament.
English Open Tickets Now Available
Tickets for the 2007Mamut English Open
Championships - the final PSA Tour squash event
of the year, hosted by Sheffield City Council - are
and promoted by Eventis Sports Marketing
company led by the
sport's four-times Commonwealth Games gold medallist
Peter Nicol, theMamut English Open has
attracted the world's leading squash players since its
launch at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in
But, due to the famous
theatre's refurbishment programme, the 2007 championships
will take place at the city's English Institute of Sport,
getting underway on Saturday 15 December with the finals on
Tuesday 18 December.
Boosted by an increased
$57,500 prize-fund, the 2007 five-star PSA Tour event is
sure to attract a star-studded line-up - all eager to finish
the year on a high and looking to start the New Year with a
strong world ranking.
Local interest will
undoubtedly be led by Sheffield's own Nick Matthew,
the world No8 who reached the 2005 final and last year
became the first Englishman for 67 years to win the
British Open crown.
Tickets, priced from
£12.50 - £25.00, are available with immediate effect from
Ticketmaster, either via the website
by telephone on 0870
back to top-150 0541.