The old generation dominated at the British National
Championships in Manchester, with Nick Matthew extending his title
record to nine and Laura Massaro
collecting a fourth crown, writes Ian McKenzie.
Matthew beat Joe Lee in the Surrey player’s first final. Lee
played well enough, but it was the 36-year-old who had the cutting
“I was playing players who had nothing to lose, Joe today, Declan
[James] yesterday,” said Matthew. “I am trying to keep the next
generation at bay.”
That he did, being largely untroubled by his younger opponents,
22-year-old qualifier Ashley Davies and James (23), as well as by
the 33-year-old Jaymie Haycocks, beating all three 3/0. James
delayed him the longest at 44 minutes.
Second seed James Willstrop, the runner-up to Matthew in five of his
10 national finals, withdrew in the second round due to illness,
opening the way for Lee, who ousted fellow 5/8 seed Adrian Waller to
make the final.
After his 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 victory in the 40- minute decider,
Matthew said: “It would be
nice to get 10.”
In the September/October 2016 issue of Squash Player, Matthew
revealed he had two major goals left in this career – the PSA World
Championship in December and the Commonwealth Games in Australia
next April. Now we can add a 10th national title to those.
“I wish we could play all the events here in Manchester,” he added,
speaking of his favourite court and crowd.
His wish will come true in part, for in December the PSA World
Championship will be held in Manchester.
Massaro, now 33, likes the venue just as much, since it is not far
from her home. On the way to her final she dropped the first game to
Fiona Moverley in the quarter-finals and to Emily Whitlock in the
semis, but was dominant in the end. Second seed Alison Waters
survived a 75-minute battle with Wales’ Tesni Evans in the
quarter-finals, but then fell to Sarah-Jane Perry, who herself had
to survive a five-set tussle with Victoria Lust.
Massaro won the final in straight games – 11-5, 12-10, 11-9 – but
the rallies were long,
averaging 14 shots, and she saved two game balls in the second.
• Squash Player Digital 2016 Issue 5: In search of gold (Nick
Matthew speaks about his remaining targets)