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04/02/2018
British National Championship 2018

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British National Championship 2018
Men's Draw
13-18 Feb
Manchester, England
Round ONE
15 Feb
Quarters
16
Feb
Semis
17 Feb
Final
18 Feb
[1] Nick Matthew (Yorks)
11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (46m)
[Q] Patrick Rooney (Merseyside)
Nick Matthew
11-7, 11-5, 11-5 (36m)
Joshua Masters
Nick Matthew
6-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-6 (64m)
Chris Simpson
Nick Matthew
11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6 (69m)
James Willstrop
[5/8] Joshua Masters (Kent)
11-6, 11-8, 11-7 (36m)
[Q] Charlie Lee (Surrey)
[5/8] Chris Simpson (Yorks)
11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (50m)
George Parker (Leics)
Chris Simpson
11-8, 11-1, 11-6 (35m)
Greg Lobban
[3/4] Greg Lobban (Scotland)
12-10, 6-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7 (68m)
Adam Murrills (Cheshire)
[3/4] Daryl Selby (Essex)
11-1, 11-4, 11-7 (17m)
[LL] Matthew Parks (Lancs)
Daryl Selby
11-9, 11-9, 11-8 (38m)
Emyr Evans
Daryl Selby
11-9, 11-4, 11-2 (35m)
James Willstrop
[Q] Emyr Evans (Wales)
15-13, 11-4 ret. (29m)
[5/8] Peter Creed (Wales)
Richie Fallows (Essex)
11-5, 11-5, 11-9 (51m)
[5/8] Ben Coleman (Essex)
Richie Fallows
6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (49m)
James Willstrop
[Q] Lyell Fuller (Devon)
11-7, 11-2, 11-6 (35m)
[2]
James Willstrop (Yorks)
Qualifying

Qualifying finals:
Lyell Fuller (Devon) bt Rory Stewart (Scotland) 11-9, 14-12, 20-18 (67m)
Charlie Lee (Surrey) bt Kyle Finch (Hants) 11-3, 11-7, 11-3 (36m)
Emyr Evans (Wales) bt Julian Tomlinson (Lancs) 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 (50m)
Patrick Rooney (Merseyside) bt Matthew Parks (Lancs) 11-7, 11-2, 11-2 (16m)

3rd qualifying round:
Lyell Fuller (Devon) bye
Arron Ken (Merseyside) bt Robert Thirst (Norfolk) 8-11, 11-2, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4 (45m)
Oliver Rawlins (Worcs) bt Josh Owen (Warwicks) w/o
Rory Stewart (Scotland) bt Simon Herbert (Leics) 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 (27m)
Kyle Finch (Hants) bt Matthew Sidaway (Lancs) 8-11, 11-6, 11-1, 11-9 (33m)
Mike Lowrey (Cumbria) bt Brad Garrett (ENG) 11-4, 11-5, 11-1 (18m)
Nick Wall (Yorks) bt Elliott Morris Devred (Wales) 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (27m)
Charlie Lee (Surrey) bt Chris Ogden (Cheshire) 11-1, 11-2, 11-0 (17m)
Emyr Evans (Wales) bt Josh Taylor (Leics) 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 (42m)
Charlie Cowie (Lancs) bt Dylan Martens (Northants) 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (22m)
Julian Tomlinson (Lancs) bt Luke Parker (Leics) 12-14, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (61m)
Robert Dadds (Cambs) bt Ben Smith (Lincs) 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-2, 11-8 (44m)
Stuart George (Scotland) bt Kevin Moran (Scotland) w/o
Matthew Parks (Lancs) bt Alex Gould (Merseyside) 7-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 12-10 (40m)
Richard King (Avon) bt Steve Mason (Cambs) 9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-8 (39m)
Patrick Rooney (Merseyside) bt Liam Gutcher (Northumbria) 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (27m)

1st qualifying round:
Lyell Fuller (Devon) bye
Arron Ken (ENG) bt Daniel Wells (Lincs) 11-7, 7-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-7 (51m)
Robert Thirst (Norfolk) bt Harry Anderson (Yorks) w/o
Josh Owen (Warwicks) bye
Oliver Rawlins (Worcs) bye
Simon Herbert (Leics) bt Nick Parks (ENG) 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (21m)
Rory Stewart (Scotland) bye
Kyle Finch (Hants) bye
Matthew Sidaway (Lancs) bt Oliver Horton (Essex) 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 (20m)
Mike Lowery (ENG) bye
Brad Garrett (ENG) bt Martin Ross (Scotland) w/o
Nick Wall (Yorks) bye
Elliott Morris Devred (Wales) bye
Chris Ogden (Cheshire) bt Sam Todd (Yorks) w/o
Charlie Lee (Surrey) bye
Emyr Evans (Wales) bye
Josh Taylor (Leics) bt Carlton Oldham (Lancs) 11-7, 11-2, 11-5 (21m)
Charlie Cowie (Lancs) bye
Dylan Martens (Northants) bye
Julian Tomlinson (Lancs) bye
Luke Parker (Leics) bt Cai Younger (Northumbria) 8-11, 11-0, 11-3, 11-8 (32m)
Ben Smith (Lincs) bt Oliver Harris (Cheshire) w/o
Robert Dadds (Cambs) bye
Kevin Moran (Scotland) bye
Stuart George (Scotland) bye
Alex Gould (ENG) bye
Matthew Parks (ENG) bye
Steve Mason (SCO) bye
Richard King (Avon) bye
Liam Gutcher (Northumbria) bt Youssef Abdalla (Essex) w/o
Patrick Rooney (Merseyside) bye
 

British National Championship 2018
Women's Draw
13-18 Feb
Manchester, England
Round ONE
15 Feb
Quarters
16
Feb
Semis
17 Feb
Final
18 Feb
[1] Laura Massaro (Lancs)
11-0, 11-4, 11-2 (20m)
Rachael Chadwick (Cheshire)
Laura Massaro
11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (27m)
Emily Whitlock
Laura Massaro
11-3, 11-8, 11-9 (36m)
Tesni Evans
Tesni Evans
11-5, 11-9, 11-7
 (43m)

Alison Waters
[5/8] Emily Whitlock (Cheshire)
11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9 (36m)
[Q] Alicia Mead (Warwicks)
[5/8] Jenny Duncalf (Yorks)
11-7, 11-1, 8-11, 11-7 (35m)
[Q] Kace Bartley (Surrey)
Jenny Duncalf
11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (31m)
Tesni Evans
[3/4] Tesni Evans (Wales)
11-3, 11-7, 11-6 (27m)
[Q] Alison Thomson (Middx)
[3/4] Alison Waters (Middx)
4-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-6 (40m)
Julianne Courtice (Glos)
Alison Waters
11-9, 11-8, 11-5 (29m)
Fiona Moverley
Alison Waters
11-6, 11-4, 8-11,
10-12, 11-5 (61m)
Sarah-Jane Perry
[5/8] Fiona Moverley (Yorks)
11-8, 11-4, 11-3 (25m)
[Q] Jasmine Hutton (Sussex)
[5/8] Millie Tomlinson (Derbyshire)
11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5 (38m)
Lisa Aitken (Scotland)
Millie Tomlinson
11-9, 11-2, 11-1 (24m)
Sarah-Jane Perry
Lucy Turmel (Suffolk)
11-7, 12-10, 11-5 (29m)
[2]
Sarah-Jane Perry (Warwicks)
Qualifying

Qualifying finals:
Kace Bartley (Surrey) bt Elspeth Young (Scotland) 11-6, 14-12, 11-4 (22m)
Alicia Mead (Warwicks) bt Katriona Allen (Scotland) 11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6 (33m)
Jasmine Hutton (Sussex) bt Grace Gear (Herts) 11-5, 7-11, 11-5 ret. (32m)
Alison Thomson (Middx) bt Hannah Davies (Wales) 9-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-9 (34m)

1st qualifying round:
Kace Bartley (Surrey) bye
Elspeth Young (Scotland) bye
Alicia Mead (Warwicks) bye
Katriona Allen (Scotland) v Ali Hemingway (Herts)
Grace Gear (Herts) v Katie Wells (Lincs)
Jasmine Hutton (Sussex) bye
Hannah Davies (Wales) v Heidi Albinson (Notts)
Alison Thomson (Middx) bye
 

 
REPORTS
Matthew claims record tenth British National title

Nick Matthew has claimed a record tenth British National title following an epic showdown with James Willstrop at the Dunlop British National Championships final in Manchester.

In Matthew’s final British National appearance, the former World No.1 overcame fellow Yorkshireman and long-term rival, James Willstrop 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6 (69m) in a tightly-contested finale.

Remarkably before Sunday’s clash, the younger Willstrop had never triumphed over the World No.8 in any Nationals match - falling short on seven occasions, including five final defeats.

But with the World No.16 exhibiting a rich vein of form throughout the 2018 tournament, including making light work of 2011 winner, Daryl Selby in the semi-finals, there was always cause for hope for the 34-year-old Willstrop.

With the sound of Duran Duran’s ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ ringing in Matthew’s ears, the three-time world champion leapt into action, huffing and puffing to a hard earned 5-1 lead inside the first game.

In a tight opening encounter characterised by gruelling minute-long rallies and lung busting scrambles, Willstrop clawed his way back into the tie, utilising his formidable short game to his advantage to stretch within a point of drawing level at 7-7.

On the back of an uncharacteristically wayward Willstrop serve, the World No.8 rallied, powering to victory and claiming the first game 11-7.

With the wind behind his sails, the three-time British Open winner began coasting, sailing to a 6-2 lead before a resurgent Willstrop again broke back to complicate proceedings for the top seed.

With the scores level at 10-10, the English pair began an enthralling duel of cat and mouse until two-time National champion Willstrop made the first slip, enabling Matthew to clinch the second game and put the Sheffield player within one game of a fairy-tale tenth National title.

As tensions rose on court, Willstrop continued to battle admirably - refusing to give in to the six-time defending champion’s challenge and advancing to a 9-5 lead in the third.

Undeterred by the looming sound of defeat, Willstrop pressed on, capitalising on the slightest of Matthew mishits and eventually wrapping up a deserved 11-8 win.

Where many would have faltered under the pressure, Matthew showed no visible signs of nerves, grinding down his opponent and forcing his challenger into completing uncharacteristic unenforced errors on more than four occasions.

While this may not be the first masterclass Matthew has produced on Manchester’s glass court, it may be the last, but not before treating the awaiting audience to an exhibition of beautiful squash.

With five match balls remaining, Matthew utilised every inch of his six-foot frame to swing at one final National championship ball and claim his tenth ever British National Championship crown in the process.

Speaking after the match, Matthew expressed his disbelief at attaining a record ten titles: “I didn’t think I would get one to be honest.”

“I had three goals this year, one of them was to win the World Championships in December and the second was to try and get a tenth National title.

“As James said, I am a pretty horrible person on court, but James is pretty tough on there as well. We are both tough and that is why we have had such a good rivalry over the years.”

It was a great match, I really enjoyed the squash on there.” said the runner-up Willstrop.
“It is a good job he wins more than he loses, but he is a wonderful player, a wonderful ambassador for toughness and an incredibly hard player to compete against.

“I love playing the game – I am really enjoying it and if my body allows me to do it, I will keep going. I can’t count on that necessarily but hope I will be back next year.”
 
Wales rejoices as Tesni Evans makes history

Wales’ Tesni Evans produced a scintillating performance to overcome England’s Alison Waters in the 2018 Dunlop National Squash Championships women’s final today in Manchester.

Her straight-games victory, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 in 43 minutes not only made the Welsh No.1 and World No.12 the women’s champion, but also the first non-English woman and first Welsh player of either gender to claim a title in the championships’ illustrious history.

Evans, 25, was appearing in her first final after knocking out the defending champion, Laura Massaro - but any nerves that she might have had were far from obvious, as she hit to a good length from the outset and raced into a 10-3 lead in the first game.

Four-time champion, and World No.10, Alison Waters, 33, saved two game points with tight shots into the nick - although it was a case of third time lucky for Evans, whose ferocious volley down the right saw her home 11-5.

Evans was clearly buoyed up for the second game - and proceeded to go 6-0 up, thanks to a confident series of drives, boasts, drops and volleys.

But Waters, seeking a fifth title that would draw her level with Sue Cogswell and Cassie Jackman as the most successful woman in the competition’s history, fought back to claim nine of the next dozen points - leaving the game poised at 9-all.

Having recovered so well, Waters hit out of court to hand the advantage back to Evans, who then played a tight drop into the left corner to double her games lead.

Waters began the third game of her record-breaking 10th final in fine style to establish an early 4-1 lead. But her mistake at the front of court drew Evans level, and the Cardiff-born player never fell behind again - earning championship points at 10-6 with a sublime cross-court shot to the back-left corner.

Waters saved the first point with a tight volley - only for Evans immediately to respond in kind with a title-winning shot into the right nick.

Having lifted the trophy without dropping a single game all week, Evans conceded that she had gone on to court with a few butterflies.

“I was so excited last night to have made the final, and tried to bluff that I wasn’t nervous about today - but I was, so just decided to go off as fast as I could,” she said.

“I’m so proud to have won the match, and also to become the first Welsh person ever to be champion.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported or helped me - it means a lot.”

Paying tribute to her opponent, the new champion added: “I have the utmost respect for Alison - thank you for the match today.”

Waters, who won the event in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014, as well as being beaten finalist on five occasions - most recently two years ago - said: “It’s never nice to lose a final.

“But Tesni was on fire from the start, and was the better player today.

“I’m proud to have go to the final. I didn’t quite make it today, but I’ll be back for sure next year!”
 
Matthew and Willstrop set up blockbuster final Nationals showdown

Ten-time National champion Nick Matthew will take on long-time domestic rival James Willstrop in the final of the 2018 Dunlop National Squash Championships at Manchester's National Squash Centre.

The Yorkshiremen have locked horns in five previous Nationals finals with three-time World Champion Matthew enjoying the lion’s share of victories.

Matthew, 37, booked his place after overcoming Chris Simpson 3-1 in an enthralling semi-final match-up: 6-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-6 (64m).

Underdog Chris Simpson took a surprise first game lead, before Matthew surged to draw level in the second.

The three-time world champion utilised his experience to clinch the next two and book a place in the Nationals final for an eleventh year in succession.

“I thought Chris played really well - I had to get feisty and angry. We train a lot together and that is the best I have ever seen him play,” said Matthew.

“It feels good to be in another final and I am pleased to get through and have another battle against James tomorrow.”

James Willstrop booked his place in the final for the ninth time after overcoming Daryl Selby in three - 11-9, 11-4, 11-2 (35m).

The two-time national champion, who has lost only once in 26 matches versus Selby, rapidly dispatched an ailing Selby who was suffering from an injury as the game progressed.

“It is a great pleasure to be playing at 34 years old – we have a wonderful life,” said Willstrop.

“We have always had a great relationship me and Daryl. We play doubles together and it is good to work with him.”

In the women's championships, defending champion Laura Massaro and second seed Sarah-Jane Perry were knocked out to lower ranked opposition.

Four-time champion Massaro lost at the semi-final stage for the first time in four years after falling to Wales’ Tesni Evans in three: 11-3, 11-8, 11-9 (36m).

The 25-year-old, who beat Massaro in the PSA World Championships in December, edged ahead comfortably in the first before continuing to frustrate the world no.4.

Evans, however held her nerve to book her place in her first ever British Nationals final.

“At this tournament there are always more English players than Welsh, so for us smaller countries it means so much,” said Evans.

“To have a performance like that it is fantastic. I am really looking forward to tomorrow and I will try to be relaxed about the situation.”

Four-time National Champion Alison Waters will meet her in the final after she endured an epic five game thriller with Sarah-Jane Perry: 11-6, 11-4, 8-11, 10-12, 11-5 (61m).

Waters raced to a two-game lead and required only one point for victory before Perry battled back to claim two and force a deciding game.



Waters kept her composure to clinch victory and progress to her tenth British National Championship final.

“Thank god I won! We have had some battles over the years. Sarah-Jane is such an amazing player,” said Waters.

“I want a fifth title desperately and I will be giving my all to get it.”

Watch live streaming of the finals on SquashTV and BBC Sport from 5:30pm.

 
Top seeds seal semi spots at Dunlop National Championships

Defending champions Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro have sailed through to the semi-finals of the Dunlop National Squash Championships 2018 following comprehensive 3-0 victories today in Manchester.

Four-time National champion, Massaro looked in fine form to overpower fellow compatriot Emily Whitlock in a repeat of their 2017 semi-final: 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (27m).
“I got myself into a few good leads,” said Massaro afterwards.

“Emily came back well several times, but I always seemed to have enough points in hand.”
Meanwhile, nine-time National champion, Matthew closed out the day with a comprehensive 11-7, 11-5, 11-5, victory over 5/8 seed Josh Masters.

Matthew, the World No. 8 capitalised on some unforced errors in the first then turned on the heat in the second and third to outwit his 22-year-old opponent and win 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 (36m).

Matthew, 37 said:
“In between games I didn’t feel like I was getting that much of a rhythm.”
“The way Josh plays he breaks the rhythm up and makes you feel like you aren’t settled.”
Three time-world champion, Matthew goes on to meet Chris Simpson who overcame Scot Greg Lobban in three: 11-8, 11-1, 11-6 (35m).

Meanwhile, two-time National champion James Willstrop, who is appearing in his 20th Nationals, suffered a shock in his first game against 22-year-old Richie Fallows with the youngster racing to an 11-6 lead.

Willstrop, the World No.16 quickly regained his composure to take the match 6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 and advance to his 12th Nationals semi-final.

The former World No.1 goes on to meet 2011 former National champion, Daryl Selby in the semis.

Commenting on their clash, Willstrop said:
“It’s great fun at this point, I love Daryl to bits, so hopefully we’ll just get stuck in and have a great battle on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Selby, the 2011 champion, faced 21-year-old qualifier Emyr Evans in the first of the men’s quarter-finals and came up against a determined opponent.

A couple of shots were all that separated the two in the opening two games but Selby soon upped the ante and closed out the match, winning 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 (38m).

Meanwhile, Evans’s sister and five-time Welsh National Champion, Tesni Evans overpowered two-time National champion Jenny Duncalf in three: 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (31m).

Evans goes on to meet Massaro, in what will be a repeat of the 2017 PSA World Championships second round which saw Evans oust the former World No.1.

Elsewhere, second seed and 2015 champion Sarah-Jane Perry also advanced to her third Nationals semi-final following a clinical display against Millie Tomlinson.

Perry, the World No. 8 was made to work in the first as Tomlinson utilised many attacking cross courts shots to come back from 5-8 down and draw level at 9-9.

But Perry soon found her form to gain control and take the next two without reply to record an 11-9, 11-2, 11-1 victory, and set up a semi-final clash against four-time National champion Alison Waters.

Waters, meanwhile made light work of 5/8 seed Fiona Moverley requiring just 29 minutes to advance to her 13th British Nationals semi-final.

Watch free live streaming from the quarter-finals onwards on SquashTV and BBC Sport.

 

Top seeds sail through to Dunlop National quarters

The 2018 Dunlop National Squash Championship swung into action on Thursday with top seeds Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro commencing their title defence.

Nine-time champion Nick Matthew showed no signs of nerves dispatching qualifier Patrick Rooney in an intense three-game match 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (46m).

However, the three-time world champion was made to work hard for his quarter-final berth thanks to a sublime effort from his 20-year-old opponent.

In a case of master versus apprentice, Rooney looked unfazed by the challenge of Matthew, pushing for victory in the first before the experienced Matthew battled to an 11-7 lead.

The four-time Commonwealth medallist upped the ante in the second, claiming an 11-5 win before Rooney went out all guns blazing in the third.

After falling to 4-1, the 20-year-old battled back impressively taking Matthew to 9-9 before the top seed charged to victory.

Speaking after the match, Matthew praised his opponent for the tough first round fixture:

“It’s good when they play like that and I don't feel like we have seen enough of it from all of the guys.

"I played Pat two or three years ago and I thought out of all the young English players he had the most about him."

Second seed James Willstrop meanwhile also progressed through to the second round after a comfortable victory over a battling Lyell Fuller.

In a highly competitive first game, Willstrop saw his 22-year-old opponent go level at 6-6 from a lunge-busting rally before the Yorkshireman broke back to go ahead.

With the wind behind his sails, the 34-year-old turned on the heat, claiming wins in his next two games to complete the rout and finish 11-7, 11-2, 11-6 (35m).

Speaking after the match, Willstrop said:

“I know he has got standard and quality, so I had to be ready to play. I managed to weather the storm in the first and I got through to him in the second,” said the 34-year-old.

“You get a different type of player in this competition which we are not used to playing and they’re not used to playing us.

“You have to be careful – just because we are established ranked players it is still difficult.

2011 winner Daryl Selby also advanced to Friday’s quarters, completing a quickfire 3-0 victory over late qualifier Matthew Parks: 11-1, 11-4, 11-7.

There were minor upsets however earlier in the day when 5/8 seeds Peter Creed and Ben Coleman fell at the first hurdle to lower ranked opposition.

Welsh qualifier Emyr Evans got the better of fellow compatriot Creed in the first two games before the world no. 56 was forced to retire through injury.

In the women’s draw, Tesni Evans, the highest-ranked Welsh player saw off 21-year-old Alison Thomson in straight games 11-3, 11-7, 11-6.

2017 semi-finalist Emily Whitlock also advanced through to the quarters after defeating 22-year-old Alicia Mead 3-1 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9.

“Alicia chased everything down, and gave me a hard match,” said Whitlock.

Whitlock’s next opponent will be top seed Laura Massaro, who found no difficulty in progressing through to the quarter-finals, edging past Rachael Chadwick 11-0, 11-4, 11-2 in 20 minutes.

She will be joined in the next round by 5/8 seed Jenny Duncalf, who overcame the challenge of Kace Bartley to wrap up a 3-1 win against the qualifier.

Four-time British National champion Alison Waters is also through after completing a routine victory over Julianne Courtice ensuring the world no.10 heads through to the quarters for the thirteenth year in succession.

Second seed Sarah-Jane Perry suffered no first round jitters when she overcame the challenge of the tenacious U19 British Junior champion Lucy Turmel - winning in three straight games 11-7, 12-10, 11-5.

Watch free live streaming from the quarter-finals onwards on SquashTV and BBC Sport.

 

Teen sensations Lee and Hutton book British National main draw berths

England teens Charlie Lee and Jasmine Hutton progressed into the main draw of the 2018 Dunlop National Championships for the first time in Manchester today.

19-year-old Charlie Lee [3/4], a Nationals debutant, put in a stellar performance against [5/8] Kyle Finch, winning 11-3, 11-7, 11-3 in 36 minutes.

Lee, who hails from Surrey and is the younger brother of Joe Lee, the 2017 Nationals runner-up, said; “Last year was my first year as a full-time pro but I was injured for the first six months so I couldn’t play in this tournament. It’s nice to qualify first time round.

“With a 16-man draw, that makes it a bit tougher and the qualification tournament is like an event itself and a tough one, but I’m looking forward to showing what I can do.”

Awaiting Lee in round one of the main draw will be [5/8] Josh Masters, ranked 57 in the world, also making his Nationals debut.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Jasmine Hutton from Sussex also secured a main draw spot after [3/4] Grace Gear was forced to retire in the fourth: 11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 4-3.

It was business as usual for the number one qualifying seed, Patrick Rooney who made light work of Matthew Parks securing an 11-7, 11-2, 11-2 victory in just 16 minutes.

Elsewhere, in what was perhaps the match of the day, men’s second qualifying seed Lyell Fuller, who claimed his first PSA title last week, was forced to dig deep in a 67-minute thriller against Scotland’s Rory Stewart.

Stewart put in a challenging performance but Fuller edged past in three: 11-9, 14-12, 20-18.
Elsewhere, Emyr Evans will represent Wales in the main draw after dispatching Julian Tomlinson 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 in straight games.

In the women’s qualifying draw, top seed Alison Thomson overcame Hannah Davies 9-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-9 to secure her spot in the main draw.

England’s Kace Bartley, seeded second, faced Scotland’s Elspeth Young with Bartley prevailing 3-0: 11-6, 14-12, 11-4. Bartley was pushed hard in the second, saving three match balls before securing the win.

Meanwhile, Alicia Mead booked her place in her first Nationals main draw after defeating Scotland’s Katriona Allen 3-1: 11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6.

Round one action gets under way at the National Squash Centre from noon on Thursday 15 February.
 

Rivals Matthew and Willstrop seeded to contest last Nationals final

The Dunlop National Squash Championships will play host to a series of mouth-watering encounters, with Nick Matthew and James Willstrop seeded to meet in a blockbuster final showdown, after the main draws were released.

In the top half of the Men’s draw, defending champion and top seed, Nick Matthew will begin his title defence against a qualifier and is seeded to meet Declan James in the quarters before a potential final clash with long-term rival and former World No.1, James Willstrop.

The Yorkshiremen have locked horns in five previous Nationals finals with three-time World Champion Matthew enjoying the lion’s share of victories.

Willstrop, the two-time National champion, will first have to navigate a potential semi-final clash with 2011 champion, Daryl Selby - the only player ever to have toppled nine-time champion Matthew in a Nationals final.

Selby, who commences his campaign against a qualifier, will be wary however of a potential quarter-final challenge from Scot Greg Lobban, who last week dispatched the World No.15 in three at the Edinburgh Open final.

Looking to upset the proceedings will be a trio of rising young stars including George Parker, Richie Fallows and Josh Masters.

In the women’s draw, top seed and defending champion Laura Massaro is seeded to meet World No.12 Tesni Evans in a mouth-watering last four encounter. The Welshwoman, seeded 3/4 memorably got the better of the four-time National champion and former World No.1 in Round 2 of the AJ Bell PSA World Championships back in December.

Meanwhile, the bottom half of the women’s draw sees a blistering first round clash between former title holders Jenny Duncalf, the former World No.2 and Sarah-Jane Perry, the current World No.8.

Perry, who lifted the NetSuite Open title last year, is seeded to go on to meet four-time National champion and World No.10 Alison Waters in the semi-finals.
With six former title holders seeded to meet in the Men's and Women's semi-finals, the 2018 Championships promises to be one of the most hotly contested to date.

The qualifying stages will be held on 13th and 14th February, with the main draw taking place between 15th and 18th February. Action from the quarter-finals onwards will be shown live and free on SQUASHTV to digital subscribers around the world.

 

 

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