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Sensational Selby Denies Matthew Nationals Record In Manchester

       Women's Draw                              Previews and Qualifying
Final      Semi Finals      Quarter Finals      2nd Round     1st Round
 Men's Draw
Round One
8 Feb
Round Two
9 Feb
10-11 Feb
12 Feb
13 Feb
[1] Nick Matthew (Yorks)
12/10, 11/4, 11/4 (38m) 
Neil Hitchens (Essex)
Nick Matthew
11-4, 11-4, 11-0 (30m)
Adam Murrills
Nick Matthew
11-8, 11-7, 11-6 (51m)
Chris Simpson
Nick Matthew
11-4, 11-3, 11-6 (35m)
Tom Richards 
Nick Matthew
7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7 (84m)
Daryl Selby
[16] Simon Parke (Yorks)
11/9, 7/11, 11/9, 12/10 (60m) 
[Q] Adam Murrills (Cheshire)
[8] Chris Simpson (Hamps)
11/6, 11/7, 9/11, 11/6 (48m) 
Peter Creed (Wal)
Chris Simpson
11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (41m)
Laurence Delasaux
[12] Laurence Delasaux (Yorks)
9/11, 11/8, 8/11, 11/6, 11/5 (48m) 
[Q] Stephen Siveter (Merseyside)
[4] Adrian Grant (Kent)
11/4, 11/5, 9/11, 11/7 (49m) 
[Q] Andrew Birks (Shropshire)
Adrian Grant
11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (41m)
Alan Clyne
Alan Clyne
11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4 (42m)
Tom Richards 
[10] Alan Clyne (Sco)
14/12, 11/8, 11/1 (25m) 
[LL] Liam Foster (Ches)
[6] Tom Richards (Surrey)
11/8, 11/5, 11/8 (26m) 
Anthony Graham (Glos)
Tom Richards 
13-15, 11-1, 11-2, 11-5 (45m)
Eddie Charlton
[14] Eddie Charlton (Notts)
12/10, 11/5, 11/1 (29m) 
[Q] Andrew Widdison (Yorks)
[LL] Richard Birks (Shropshire)
 11/8, 11/7, 11/6 (34m)
[15] Andy Whipp (Ches)
Andy Whipp
11-4, 11-8, 11-1 (35m)
Chris Ryder
Chris Ryder
9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-4 (71m)
Daryl Selby
Daryl Selby
7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (45m)
Jonathan Kemp
[LL] Adam Giles (Wilts)
11/5, 11/2, 11/6 (21m) 
[7] Chris Ryder (Herts)
[Q] James Earles (Yorks)
11/9, 11/3, 11/6 (32m) 
[11] Joe Lee (Surrey)
Joe Lee
14-12, 11-9, 11-9 (44m)
Daryl Selby
[Q] Phil Rushworth (Yorks)
11/3, 11/8, 4/11, 11/8 (39m)
[3] Daryl Selby (Essex)
Chris Fuller (Northants)
11/8, 12/10, 12/10 (54m)
[13] Joel Hinds (Derby)
Joel Hinds
11-8, 14-12, 12-10 (41m)
Jonathan Kemp
Jonathan Kemp
11-8, 11-3, 10-12, 11-6 (48m)
James Willstrop
Tom Pashley (Sussex)
12/10, 11/4, 15/13 (38m)
[5] Jonathan Kemp (Shrops)
[Q] Declan James (Notts)
16/14, 11/4, 11/4 (31m) 
[9] Adrian Waller (Herts)
Adrian Waller
11-5, 11-8, 11-2 (27m)
James Willstrop
[Q] Charles Sharpes (Surrey)
11/6, 11/6, 11/5 (25m)
[2] James Willstrop (Yorks)

Qualifying finals:

Phil Rushworth (Yorks) bt Rory Pennell (Essex) 11-5, 11-7, 11-6 (25m)
Charles Sharpes (Surrey) bt Richard Birks (Shropshire) 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9 (44m)
Andrew Widdison (Yorks) bt Steven London (Kent) 11-6, 6-11, 11-1, 11-4 (47m)
Stephen Siveter (Merseyside) bt Chris Tasker-Grindley (Glos) 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6 (46m)
Adam Murrills (Cheshire) bt Kristen Johnson (Oxon) 11-9, 16-14, 11-3 (43m)
Andrew Birks (Shropshire) bt Adam Fuller (Herts) 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 (25m)
Declan James (Notts) bt Adam Giles (Wilts) 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (25m)
James Earles (Yorks) bt Liam Foster (Cheshire) 11-7, 11-3, 11-5 (22m)

Men's 2nd qualifying round:
Phil Rushworth (Yorks) bt Jason Pike (Wilts) 11-3, 11-7, 11-5 (29m)
Rory Pennell (Essex) bt Oliver Wildig (Cheshire) 11-6, 11-4 ret. (13m)
Charles Sharpes (Surrey) bt Kevin Moran (Scotland) 11-4, 11-2, 7-11, 11-5 (35m)
Richard Birks (Shropshire) bt Richard Shellam (Northumbria) 11-9, 11-4, 11-3 (29m)
Steven London (Kent) bt Dominic Hamilton (Oxon) 11-5, 5-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7 (60m)
Andrew Widdison (Yorks) bt Morgan Hibberd (Lancs) 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 15-13 (64m)
Stephen Siveter (Merseyside) bt Keith Timms (Herts) 11-3, 13-11, 9-11, 11-2 (48m)
Chris Tasker-Grindley (Glos) bt Ollie Holland (Notts) 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (29m)
Kristen Johnson (Oxon) bt Michael Potter (Cheshire) 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (35m)
Adam Murrills (Cheshire) bt Alex Cutts (Norfolk) 11-9, 11-7, 11-6 (30m)
Adam Fuller (Herts) bt Matthew Sidaway (Lancs) 6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (46m)
Andrew Birks (Shropshire) bt Theo Woodward (Dorset) 11-2, 6-11, 11-6, 16-14 (46m)
Declan James (Notts) bt Matthew Sampson (Northumbria) 11-1, 11-3, 11-6 (25m)
Adam Giles (Wilts) bt Simon White (Wilts) 11-7, 6-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-6 (49m)
James Earles (Yorks) bt Robert Taylor (Cheshire) 11-1, 11-6, 11-8 (27m)
Liam Foster (Cheshire) bt David Barnett (Northumbria) w/o

1st qualifying round:
Phil Rushworth (Yorks)                                                     bye
Jason Pike (Wilts) bt Damien Easy (Cheshire)             11-3, 11-7, 11-4 (20m)
Rory Pennell (Essex) bt Joshua Harris (D & C)            3-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (41m)
Oliver Wildig (Cheshire) bt Julian Tomlinson (Lancs) 11-4, 11-9, 11-4 (21m)
Charles Sharpes (Surrey) bt Chris Ferguson (Scotland)         11-4, 11-3, 11-6 (30m)
Kevin Moran (Scotland) bt Stephen Horabin (Cheshire)         11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (21m)
Richard Birks (Shropshire) bt Blake Bettley (Cheshire)           11-7, 12-10, 11-1 (23m)
Richard Shellam (Northumbria) bt Robert Dadds (Cambs)      12-10, 11-4, 11-7 (32m)
Dominic Hamilton (Oxon)                                                 bye
Steven London (Kent) bt Paul Carter (Cheshire)         11-6, 13-11, 14-12 (33m)
Andrew Widdison (Yorks) bt Ashley Davies (Derbyshire)        11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8 (49m)
Morgan Hibberd (Lancs) bt Liam Gutcher (Northumbria)         11-6, 11-3, 7-11, 11-6 (36m)
Stephen Siveter (Merseyside) bt Alex Phillips (Hants)             11-9, 11-7, 11-9 (31m)
Keith Timms (Herts) bt Jack White (Cambs)                  11-7, 11-5, 11-7 (21m)
Chris Tasker-Grindley (Glos) bt Paul Runciman (Cheshire)   w/o
Ollie Holland (Notts) bt James Asher (Cheshire)         w/o
Michael Potter (Cheshire) bt Daniel McGinn (Cambs)             11-9, 11-8, 3-11, 5-11, 11-5 (49m)
Kristen Johnson (Scotland) bt Nic Birt (Wales)            11-5, 11-1, 11-8 (33m)
Alex Cutts (Norfolk) bt Edward Fairhurst (Lancs)         11-5, 11-1, 11-2 (18m)
Adam Murrills (Cheshire) bt Pablo Rawden (Surrey) 11-7, 11-6, 11-4 (30m)
Matthew Sidaway (Lancs) bt Sean Hunter (Cheshire)             8-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-6, 11-9 (61m)
Adam Fuller (Herts) bt Robert Downer (Hants)             16-14, 8-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9 (60m)
Theo Woodward (Dorset) bt Matthew Hardy (Northumbria)     11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5 (40m)
Andrew Birks (Shropshire) bt Gavan Hitchenor (Cheshire)    11-4, 11-6, 11-2 (19m)
Matthew Sampson (Northumbria) bt Mick Biggs (Middx)          11-2, 11-4, 11-5 (20m)
Declan James (Notts) bt James Jacobsen (Scotland)   11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (35m)
Adam Giles (Wilts) bt Chris Longman (Cheshire)        11-4 ret. (9m)
Simon White (Wilts)                                                           bye
Robert Taylor (Cheshire) bt Lee Brownson (Cheshire)            11-8, 11-9, 11-1 (24m)
James Earles (Yorks) bt Matt Pearson (Lancs)             11-1, 11-5, 11-3 (19m)
Liam Foster (Cheshire) bt Theodore Anderson (Devon)          w/o
David Barnett (Northumbria)                                            bye

Women's Main Draw
Round One
Wed 9th
Sat 12th
Sun 13th
[1] Jenny Duncalf (Yorks)
8-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-4 (28m)
Sarah-Jane Perry (Warks)
Jenny Duncalf
11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (28m)
Emma Beddoes
Jenny Duncalf
11-2, 11-1, 11-5 (19m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter
Jenny Duncalf
11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-2 (62m)
Laura Massaro
[5] Emma Beddoes (Warks)
13-15, 11-5, 11-9, 11-6 (50m)
Emily Whitlock (Ches)
[4] Sarah Kippax (Ches)
11-5, 11-5, 11-9 (34m)
[Q] Lisa Aitken (Scotland)
Sarah Kippax
14-12, 11-7, 11-7 (40m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter
[7] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Mdx)
11-5, 11-5, 11-6 (20m)
[Q] Fiona Moverley (Yorks)
Deon Saffery (Wal)
11-5, 11-3, 11-4 (27m)
[8] Lauren Selby (Essex)
Laura Massaro
11-3, 11-3, 11-7 (22m)
Rachel Willmott
Laura Massaro
11-8, 12-14, 11-3, 11-9 (58m)
Madeline Perry
[Q] Rachel Willmott (Sussex)
11-3, 11-1, 11-4 (18m)
[3] Laura Massaro (Lancs)
Kirsty McPhee (Yorks)
11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (33m)
[6] Victoria Lust (Beds)
Victoria Lust
11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (30m)
Madeline Perry
[Q] Tesni Evans (Wales)
11-2, 11-5, 11-5 (25m)
[2] Madeline Perry (N/Ireland)

Women's 1st qualifying round:

Kirsty West (Cheshire) bt Victoria Temple-Murray (Devon) 11-6, 4-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8 (39m)
Lauren Gray (Scotland) bt Brogan Lane (Herts) 11-5, 6-11, 11-3, 11-2 (24m)

Final       click on images for larger view

Sensational Selby Denies Matthew Nationals Record In Manchester

The world's best squash player's bid to win a record-equalling fourth domestic title was thwarted by Daryl Selby today when the Essex outsider beat world champion Nick Matthew in a marathon 84-minute British National Championship climax at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

Earlier third seed Laura Massaro celebrated the biggest success of her career when she upset Yorkshire favourite Jenny Duncalf, the world No2, to become the first Lancashire winner of the women's title in the event's 36-year-history.

After being dominated by the Yorkshireman in the opening game of the men's final, world No10 Selby fought back to draw level as Matthew dropped his first game of the tournament.  The packed crowd, expecting a Matthew win, watched in amazement as the evenly-contested match moved into a fifth game.

Both players had leads in the decider, but an uncharacteristic series of errors by the defending champion saw Selby pull away from 6-7 down to win 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7 – with Matthew calling his final ball down and shaking Selby's hand.

"I feel I played really well – but I had to play really well against the world number one," said the 28-year-old from Witham.  "I knew I had a chance.  I feel I raised my game to his level.

"In fact I feel I played a phenomenal match.  I'm 10 in the world, and results like this show that I can go higher.  Hopefully this can be a catalyst to move on.

"Is it the best win of my career?  I should say so, when you look at the names on this trophy – Nick Matthew, James Willstrop, Peter Nicol, Jonah Barrington ..... it's an amazing list of names.  And there's Del Harris, the last Essex man to win the title (in 1989)," Selby continued.

"I feel I deserved to win – I matched him physically and turned the pressure back on him," concluded the new men's champion.

A downcast Matthew acknowledged that his opponent had been the better player:  "He didn't give me anything – it was almost error-free squash.  I had my chances – but when he came back he took his chances better than I did.  He played better than me.

"I wanted so much to win that fourth title."

Laura Massaro arrived in Manchester fresh from international success in the USA where she upset three higher-ranked players - including the 14-month-unbeaten world number one Nicol David - to win the biggest Tour title of her career.

Seeded three in the British championship, Massaro reached the final after battling to victory over second-seeded Irish opponent Madeline Perry.  But after taking the opening game in the final, the world No9 slipped behind as England team-mate Duncalf, ranked two in the world, began to dominate.

Despite going into the match 3-11 down on their career head-to-head tally, Massaro beat Duncalf last week in Cleveland - and picked up her game to draw level, before completely dominating the decider to come through 11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-2 after 62 minutes.

"It sounds pretty good, doesn't it – British National champion," said the jubilant 27-year-old after her first-time success in her second final since 2008.

"I just kept thinking in that last game 'keep calm, keep calm, and keep volleying'," added Massaro, who then paid tribute to her coach Phil Whitlock, a former national champion with whom she has worked for the past year. 

"Jenny played so well in that third game – and the fourth was quite tight.  But I just got on top of it in the fifth, and that made all the difference.

"What an amazing couple of week it's been," said the new champion as she signed autographs for youngsters in the packed National Squash Centre arena.

When asked to explain the difference in her approach to the event this year, Massaro said:  "It's having more belief in myself and my game.  And my fitness has also definitely improved. 

"It's knowing that I can do it after what I achieved last week in Cleveland.

"But, believe it or not, I was quite nervous towards the end of the match – thinking about what I had said before the event about wanting my name on that trophy, and that I would be the first Lancashire player to win it!

"It feels really good to have won it at last.  My England team-mates Jenny and Alison (Waters) have both done it – and I wanted to be a member of that club. 

And as Massaro walked away from the presentation, passing event posters featuring the 2010 champions, the 2011 champion said:  "Does this mean I'll be on the poster next year? 

"That's maybe the best thing about winning it!"


Semi Finals 

Massaro Marches Into Manchester Final

Laura Massaro kept alive her hopes of becoming Lancashire's first winner of the women's British National Squash Championships title by upsetting Ireland's second seed Madeline Perry in today's semi-finals at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

Massaro arrived in Manchester fresh from winning the biggest international title of her career in Cleveland, USA - where she claimed successive upsets over Perry; her world number two-ranked England team-mate Jenny Duncalf; and, for the first time, the world number one Nicol David.  

But the third seed from Preston, ranked nine in the world, had a hard battle to repeat her victory over second seed Perry, the world No7 from Banbridge, near Belfast - winning 11-8, 12-14, 11-3, 11-9 in just under an hour.

"Madeline's a great player – she was so gutsy out there today," said a delighted Massaro, now in the final for the second time.  "I just couldn't take my foot off the pedal for a moment.

"The Cleveland success has given me confidence, but it also puts pressure on you.  In the end, though, the confidence outweighs the pressure - and I was feeling OK towards the end.

"It's hard not to put too much pressure on yourself.  But, deep down, I've now got the belief I can do it when it gets tough," added Massaro.

"Winning those matches last week gave me the confidence that I can win events at the highest level.  There'll be no pressure on me in the final. 

Massaro will face England team-mate Jenny Duncalf, the top seed from Yorkshire.  The two-time champion reached the final for the fourth time in five years after the swiftest win of the day – a 19-minute defeat of seventh seed Dominique Lloyd-Walter

The Middlesex 29-year-old reached her maiden semi after upsetting local star Sarah Kippax, the fourth seed from Cheshire, in the previous round.  But Lloyd-Walter was unable to reproduce her performance against the England number one, going down 11-2, 11-1, 11-5.

"I got a good start, and I tried to make sure I kept the pressure on," said Duncalf.  "I thought I was playing pretty well.

"It's always hard being on the back foot when you don't make a good start, especially on big stages like this, but Dom can certainly play a lot better than that.

"I'm looking forward to the final," added the 28-year-old from Harrogate.  "We don't often get to have our friends and family here when we play in big events, so that will be good - but I'm here to win it.

"It's a huge honour to win your National title, I've got two already.  I know Laura will really want to win it for the first time - but I want a third!"

Yorkshireman Nick Matthew gave a performance worthy of his dual status as world number one and world champion to despatch sixth seed Tom Richards, ranked 30 places lower, 11-4, 11-3, 11-6 in just 35 minutes.

Richards, the Guildford-born 24-year-old making his semi-final debut, made his breakthrough in the previous round where he ousted Alan Clyne, the unheralded Scot who upset fourth-seeded Londoner Adrian Grant, a former runner-up, in the last 16 round.

It was a disappointing performance by the Surrey hope who has recently picked up some notable scalps.  "I played Nick last week in the Swedish Open – and I didn't play anything like as well today as I did then," admitted Richards.

"My shots were too loose and you can't do that against someone like Nick.

"It's frustrating – I just didn't do myself justice.  But he is the world number one and world champion, so I suppose he's bound to make it difficult."

Matthew, the 30-year-old from Sheffield who became England's first ever world champion in December, is an-course to win a record-equalling four national titles.  "Tom is one of a group of younger players that shows the strength in depth we have in English squash.  I'm sure he will learn a lot from this," said the England number one.

Richards agreed:  "You learn more from your losses than from your wins," said the beaten semi-finalist.  "But I'll learn a lot more as it's a heavy loss!"

In the last semi-final of the day, third seed Daryl Selby secured a place in the men's final for the first time after overcoming quarter-final hero Jonathan Kemp, the fifth seed from Shropshire who stunned former champion James Willstrop, the No2 seed.

Left-hander Kemp, the world No23 from Halifax, carried on from where he left off 24 hours earlier – taking the first game and leading twice in the second.

But 28-year-old Selby, the world No10 from Essex, moved ahead from nine-all in the second to draw level – then battled to stay ahead of his opponent in the next two to record his 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 victory after 45 minutes.

"This is one of the biggest tournaments we play – and a great chance to show English squash enthusiasts what we do," Selby told event MC Andrew Nickeas immediately following his triumph.  "I'm very happy to get through.

"Kempy is one of those players who, if you give him half a percent, will take full advantage.  He dominated the first game – but I managed to get ahead in the third."

When asked what reaching the National final meant to him, Selby responded:  "I've not made any Super Series finals - only a few three or four star events – but this tournament is up there with the best, because of the strength in depth of English squash.

"It will be my biggest final, for sure, and it will be an honour and a privilege to play the world number one and world champion here tomorrow," Selby continued.

"It'll be great to have my Mum and Dad and the rest of the family to watch me – they've done so much for me over my career.  I hope I can play well."

Quarter Finals    click on images for larger view

11th Feb
Kemp Captures Willstrop Scalp In Major Nationals Upset

Yorkshire's two-time champion James Willstrop, who was expected to reach the final of the British National Squash Championships for the fifth time in seven years, crashed out in tonight's quarter-finals at the National Squash Centre in Manchester after losing to Shropshire's Jonathan Kemp (right).

The world No4 from Leeds walked onto the court with ten career wins out ten against Kemp, the Halifax-based left-hander who is ranked 23 in the world.

But signs of an upset were on the cards when Kemp took the opening game – itself a first in the pair's career head-to-head tally.

The Shropshire lad took the second and had match-ball for a stunning straight games win when Willstrop benefitted from a lucky sidewall nick to reduce the deficit.

But Kemp continued with his game-plan and, after 48 minutes, wrapped up his historic 11-8, 11-3, 10-12, 11-6 victory.

"It's the best result of my career so far," said an exuberant Kemp afterwards.  "When he hit that nick at match-ball in the third, I thought 'was that my chance gone?'.  But I was determined to stick to my game-plan - and it worked.

"But James is a fantastic player – and a fantastic guy too," added the Wolverhampton-born 29-year-old.

"I feel I played well – but physically he seemed down.  But James at 50% would still beat most people!"

After signing autographs for a hoard of young fans afterwards, Willstrop admitted that all was not right:  "I've had enough – I'm just not enjoying playing at the moment.

"There's no point in carrying on like this – maybe I need to stop playing for a while.

"It's unnatural for me not to like playing.  The only reason I'm putting the effort in is not to win – but to do justice to all the people who have come to watch me play.

"I just feel exhausted," continued the 27-year-old England No2 from Leeds.  "Every time I'm on court, it's like a toil.  I'm just glad I'm not playing tomorrow.

"I played a lot of squash in the autumn – maybe I should have done something to reduce the load.  I don't feel I can keep playing at this level.

"I had no desire tonight.  In fact the only desire I had was to get off the court – and not play in the semi-finals.

"But I don't want to take anything away from Jonathan.  I always have to be focussed to play him – and he played well tonight," Willstrop concluded.

In his first semi-final appearance since making his Nationals debut 11 years ago, Kemp will meet third seed Daryl Selby.  The 28-year-old from Essex claimed his second successive semi-final slot when he beat Chris Ryder

The No7 seed from Hertfordshire imposed himself on the match from the outset and had two game-balls in the third – but Selby came through to win 9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-4 in 71 minutes.

"It was a tough match – he found his length pretty well – I couldn't get in front of him for the first three games," said Selby, the world No10. 

"I felt strong in the fourth – and I think he would have been pretty disappointed to lose the third."

Ryder explained later:  "I was just a little off the pace in the fourth – and he raised his game."

When asked if he had been happy overall with his game, the Leamington Spa-based 30-year-old responded:  "No – I'm not happy to lose.  In fact I'm fed up with saying that I'm 'happy my performance' when I lose."

Sarah Kippax's hopes of taking Cheshire interest through to the women's semi-finals were dashed when the fourth seed crashed out to lower-ranked Dominique Lloyd-Walter, the No7 seed from Guildford.

Kippax, the Chester-born world No22 squandered a game ball in the first game and led in the next two – but it was Lloyd-Walter, ranked 23 places lower, who prevailed to win 14-12, 11-7, 11-7 in 40 minutes.

Lloyd-Walter, a former world No18, is making a comeback after a six-month foot injury lay-off.  "I was in agony after a bone in my right foot virtually decomposed, and even now it's only about 90% back," said the 29-year-old, now in the semis for the first time.

"I'm very happy with that – but most of all, I'm really pleased to be back playing again.

"I've qualified as a personal trainer now, and I really enjoy that, so squash is not the only thing in my life anymore," added Lloyd-Walter.  "I'll still play on the Tour, but I'll just be much more relaxed."

Kippax was downcast:  "I'm really disappointed – nothing seemed to come together for me tonight.  I felt that my game was a little bit off.

"But all credit to Dom, she played really well.  I desperately wanted to play well here – I had lots of support.  But she just played better than me and deserved to win."

Lloyd-Walter's semi-final opponent will be Jenny Duncalf, the world No2 from Yorkshire who is seeded to win the women's trophy for the third time since 2007.  The 28-year-old from Harrogate defeated Nottingham's Emma Beddoes in straight games.

"You always try and make sure that you don't let your opponent get much of a look-in - and I think I did that tonight," said Duncalf, from Harrogate.  "I was trying to keep her behind me.

"It's nice to be on the glass court.  It's good to be in the semis – I feel I'm in the tournament at last."

10th Feb

Richards Rallies To First Nationals Semi-Final In Manchester

 click on image for larger view
Surrey's sixth seed Tom Richards battled for 42 minutes to keep Scotland's Alan Clyne at bay before earning his first appearance in the men's semi-finals of the British National Squash Championships at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

The Guildford-born 24-year-old, in only his sixth appearance in the championships, took the first game and led 9-8 in the second before Scottish number one Clyne clinched the game to draw level.

Tenth seed Clyne, from Edinburgh, was celebrating his first appearance in the quarter-finals after a shock defeat of fourth seed Adrian Grant, runner-up two years ago, in the previous round.

However, Richards built up early leads in the next two games before recording his 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4 victory. 

"I knew Alan would fight until the very end," said Richards, the world No31, of his opponent ranked 16 places lower.

The quarter-final stage of the event saw action move from the conventional courts onto the Centre's spectacular all-glass showcourt.

"It's great to be in the semis for the first time – though it's a strange feeling, as it feels like a new tournament, now that we're playing on the glass court.  It's a real inspiration being on there," Richards continued.

"Now that I've beaten two or three of the top players in the world, it has given me a lot of confidence.  I now feel I can hold my own with players in the world's top ten.  But it's one thing thinking about it; it's another thing doing it!"

Later, the event's top seed and defending champion Nick Matthew survived a 51-minute clash with Chris Simpson, beating the Guernsey-born eighth seed 11-8, 11-7, 11-6.

"It would be fantastic to play Nick in the next round," added Richards.  "I know he's played on the court a lot more than I have, but I already feel comfortable on it.  There'll be no pressure on me – it'll all be on him."

Matthew, the world number one and world champion from Sheffield who is bidding to win the national title for a record-equalling fourth time, was full of praise for his opponent.  "Chris is a tough competitor - even from when he was young, he always got stuck in. 

"He and Tom are very strong – it's good to see players like them getting to the later stages of this tournament."

Simpson, the world No45 who represented Guernsey in the Delhi Commonwealth Games, was delighted with his performance.  "I feel I played really well," said the Harrogate-based 23-year-old.  "My aim was to get a game off him – or at least compete for the whole match and not let him get a good run.

"The stuff I was working on really worked today.

"You can't go on court with someone of Nick's calibre without learning something.  In fact, I found myself seeing things he was doing in the match, and trying to play some of those shots myself!  It was a great experience."

Laura Massaro, bidding to become the first Lancashire player to win the women's title, cruised into her fifth successive semi-final when she beat Welsh number one Deon Saffery in today's quarter-finals.

The world No9 from Preston, who arrived back on home soil after the biggest international title win of her career in the USA last week, took just 22 minutes to ease past the unseeded Saffery 11-3, 11-3, 11-7.

"I think Deon took a bit of time getting used to the court," said 27-year-old Massaro.  "In the third she played a bit better and I probably tried to finish it off a little too quickly.

Third seed Massaro lives less than an hour from the venue:  "I really like the court here – but it's more the atmosphere of the whole place than just the court. 

"It was brilliant winning in Cleveland last week, but it was a squash club with just a hundred or so watching.  The setting here is much bigger.  I feel at home here because it's where I have my physio and do my training.  And I've got lots of friends and family here – you don't get that anywhere else."

Massaro will meet Irish rival Madeline Perry in the semis in a repeat of their semi-final clash in Cleveland.  The No2 seed from Banbridge, near Belfast, beat Victoria Lust, the 21-year-old sixth seed from Cheltenham, 11-4, 11-5, 11-6.

"I've been in a few semis now," Massaro added.  "But I'm really looking forward to playing Madeline again.  There'll be no pressure according to the seedings, but I'll have the confidence after my Cleveland win."

Perry, who has never before made the Nationals final – yet reached the finals of the British Open on the same court in 2009 - was delighted with her progress:  "It was nice to be back on the showcourt," said the 33-year-old world No7.

"It would certainly be nice to get to the final for the first time – and hopefully, being seeded two, will help," Perry added. 

"It's been a big goal of mine to win this title for a few years – and back home it would really make a big difference."

About her latest meeting with Massaro, Perry said:  "I feel we're pretty evenly-matched.  But she played so well in Cleveland.

"It should be a great game."

2nd Round

Clyne Clinches Maiden Manchester Quarter-Final

Scot Alan Clyne produced the biggest upset in today's second round of the British National Squash Championships when he beat fourth-seeded Englishman Adrian Grant in straight games at the National Squash Centre in Manchester

The world No 47 from Edinburgh defeated Grant, a gold medallist in the Delhi Commonwealth Games, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 to celebrate the best win of his career.

"It was the first time we'd played – which was perhaps an advantage, as some people think I'm unorthodox," explained the delighted 24-year-old on the eve of his first appearance in the quarter-finals.

"Though I've probably watched him play more than he's watched me.

"I was trying to keep a higher pace – and I think that helped my cause.

"Rankings-wise, this is the best win of my career," added Clyne after his victory over the former world No9 from London. 

"I've played a lot of tournaments recently, so I've been away from my training base.  But I've been getting a lot of matches, which has done me a lot of good."

Clyne now faces Surrey's Tom Richards, the sixth seed ranked 31 in the world.  "He beat me the last time we played, so I hope I'll get him back."

Lancashire's Laura Massaro comfortably cleared her first hurdle in the women's event, beating Sussex qualifier Rachel Willmott in straight games in just 18 minutes.

It was the Preston squash star's first appearance on home soil since winning her biggest title on the international circuit last week in Cleveland, Ohio – where she not only beat England team-mate Jenny Duncalf, the world No2, for the first time in five years, but went on to record a first ever win over Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia who had been undefeated since November 2009.

Massaro, the third seed, carried on where she left off in the USA – despatching Willmott 11-3, 11-1, 11-4 to earn a quarter-final clash with unseeded Welsh player Deon Saffery.

"It's always good to get the first match out of the way," said the 27-year-old world No9 who is bidding to become the first Lancashire player to win the women's title in the event's 36-year history.

"I felt good on there – you never know how you're going to be until you actually get into a match situation," Massaro added.  "I hadn't played Rachel for a while, but she's improved a lot.

"Like me, Deon is coming off the back of a WISPA tournament win in the US.  She's playing well so it should be a good match."

Saffery, winner of last week's Delaware State Open, caused the only upset in the women's championship.  The Yorkshire-based Welsh champion beat Lauren Selby, the No8 seed from Essex, 11-5, 11-3, 11-4.

"It's nice to be back playing my squash again, not hacking it about," said Barry-born Saffery, ranked 114 in the world.  "Winning in Delaware was good – I'm feeling good, and just hope my legs hold up as I only got home last night."

There was double local disappointment in the men's event when Adam Murrills and Andy Whipp fell in the second round.  Murrills, a 20-year-old qualifier from Cheshire, faced the toughest opponent on earth – and went down in straight games to Sheffield's world number one and world champion Nick Matthew.

Manchester-based Whipp, who was aiming for a first ever appearance in the quarter-finals, lost out to Hertfordshire's Chris Ryder 11-4, 11-8, 11-1.

"He tried to earn every point – he's got a good attitude and has good potential to improve," said Matthew of his young opponent.

Murrills was delighted with his progress in the event:  "I think I did myself justice – it was great to play him in a match situation," said the Bowdon squash club player.  "But it was so hard to work him out of position – he's really imposing.  I kept getting myself stuck behind him.  But it was a great experience," Murrills added.

Ryder felt he had the edge on Whipp throughout the match:  "Containment was the key – he likes to attack at a hundred miles an hour and I had to stop him doing that."

The 30-year-old from Leamington Spa immediately spent an hour practising on the centre's all-glass showcourt, on which he will face Essex's third seed Daryl Selby. 

"It's my first quarter-final and my first time on this glass court," Ryder added.  "I feel I have been making steady improvement over the past 15 years – and, even though I'm now 30, I feel I'm playing my best squash.  Certainly this is my best season.


1st Round

Murrills Motors On In Manchester

Cheshire qualifier Adam Murrills pulled off the only upset on the opening day of men's main draw action in the British National Squash Championships when he beat Yorkshire's former champion Simon Parke in four games at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

Parke, the 38-year-old 1998 champion from Pontefract, was celebrating his 51st match in the championships since making his debut in 1987 – three years before his 20-year-old opponent was born.

But after the first two games were shared, Murrills fought back from 7-9 down in the third to open up a 2/1 lead, then survived a game-ball in the fourth before going on to topple the 16th seed 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10 in 60 minutes.

"It was great to get to play Parkey - he's done so much in the game," said a jubilant Murrills, from Bowdon, afterwards.  "I've always wanted to play him, but in league matches he was always a place or two above me, so it never happened.

"I was pleased when I drew him yesterday, and I'm pleased I managed to play well today.  My coach Alex Stait knows him well so he gave me the lowdown on him and a few tips."

Any thoughts that this might be the last time the Manchester crowd see the popular Yorkshireman in action in the event were quickly dispelled by the 38-year-old:  "I read that Stanley Matthews played top-level football until he was 50 – and that's what I aim to do ...... as long as I can stand up and walk in a straight line," quipped the former world No3.

"I was quietly confident – even though I knew he was quick," Parke said of the match.  "It was close – it could have gone either way.

"Alex and I played each other countless times over the years – and there were a few 'Staity' shots in Adam's game!

"Alex said afterwards that it was the best he'd ever seen Adam play," added Parke.

Murrills, making his debut in the event, will now face top seed Nick Matthew, the 30-year-old title-holder from Sheffield who is ranked one in the world.

"Getting to play Nick in the next round was an extra motivation too," added Murrills.

Matthew, bidding to win a record-equalling fourth title, was taken to a tie-break in the first game against Neil Hitchens before easing to a 12-10, 11-4, 11-4 win over his unseeded Essex opponent in 38 minutes.

"That was quite tough," said Matthew, who only 48 hours earlier won the Swedish Open title for the third year in a row.  "Neil's a good solid player, gets stuck in – and he's a nice guy, too.

"In the first game, I was a little bit slow out of the box – then I got into my stride," added England's first world champion.  "It's always a bit hard getting back onto traditional courts after playing on glass."

Former full-time player Andy Whipp, making his ninth successive appearance in the event, successfully took his place in the second round after beating Telford's Richard Birks 11-8, 11-7, 11-6.

The 29-year-old from Didsbury in Manchester, who gave up playing on the PSA World Tour six years ago, seems to be playing the best squash of his life.  "I used to train like an idiot – but now I've got a bit more of a brain," said the Whipp, the head coach at the Manchester Northern club for the past two years.

"I never play over the summer and then at the beginning of each new season I manage to get back into it," added Whipp.  "I'm enjoying playing now more than ever."

In his bid to make the quarter-finals for the first ever time, the 15th seed now faces Hertfordshire's Chris Ryder, the No7 seed from Leamington Spa.

Ryder gave Adam Giles the 33rd birthday present he didn't want by beating the Wiltshire debutant 11-5, 11-2, 11-6 in 21 minutes.

"I've got a tough match against Chris," added Whipp.  "We're pretty even in fact:  If I play well, I've got a good chance."



Local Hero Murrills Makes Main Draw In Manchester

Cheshire squash star Adam Murrills battled to two straight games victories at the National Squash Centre in Manchester today to earn a place in the main draw of the British National Championships for the first time.

But it was sixth-time lucky for the 20-year-old from Manchester, who despatched Oxford's Kristen Johnson 11-9, 16-14, 11-3 in the qualifying finals to earn a place in the first round against 16th seed Simon Parke.

Yorkshireman Parke, a 38-year-old former world No3 who won the title in 1998, will be playing his 51st championship match since making his debut in 1987 – three years before Murrills was born!

Telford twins Andrew and Richard Birks, aged 23, also made the main draw – but in differing circumstances.  Andrew Birks saw off Hertfordshire opponent Adam Fuller 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 to win a qualifying place against Adrian Grant, the fourth seed from London who was runner-up two years ago.

But, after crashing out in the final qualifying round to Surrey's Charles Sharpes, brother Richard Birks won a 'lucky loser' slot in the draw – and will line up against Stockport's 15th seed Andrew Whipp, the only local player who is seeded.

A day after his 19th birthday, Charles Sharpes extended his unbeaten record as a senior to earn a main draw clash with James Willstrop, the second seed and twice champion from Leeds who has reached the final four times since 2005.

Nottingham's Declan James became the youngest player to make the main draw.  The 17-year-old took just 25 minutes to overcome Wiltshire 32-year-old Adam Giles 11-9, 11-5, 11-6.

James will face Adrian Waller, the ninth seed from Enfield.  But Giles, from Swindon, will also be in action on Tuesday after winning a 'lucky loser' slot - against seventh seed Chris Ryder, a former World University Champion from Leamington Spa.

A pair of Yorkshiremen will also boost the first round:  Bradford-born Phil Rushworth defeated Rory Pennell of Essex 11-5, 11-7, 11-6 to make his third first round appearance since 2006, while 21-year-old Andrew Widdison, from Wetherby, will earn his maiden appearance in the championship after beating Kent's Steven London 11-6, 6-11, 11-1, 11-4.

Merseyside's Stephen Siveter completed the qualifying winners line-up with an 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6 defeat of Gloucestershire's Birmingham-based Chris Tasker-Grindley.  In his fourth appearance in the event, the 35-year-old from Stafford will face Yorkshire's 12th seed Laurence Delasaux.

Swedish Open Win Gives Matthew A British Title Boost

Nick Matthew gave his bid to win the 2011 British National Squash Championship title a boost today by securing the Swedish Open crown for the third successive time. 

The world number one from Sheffield beat England team-mate Peter Barker 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 in the final of the PSA International 50 event in Linkoping.

World champion Matthew begins his British National campaign on Tuesday in Manchester where he is seeded to win the trophy for a record-equalling fourth time.

Matthew Would Be 'Honoured' To Win Record Fourth British Title In Manchester

When he steps onto the all-glass court in Manchester next week to defend his men's title in the British National Squash Championships, Nick Matthew will be the first Englishman to do so as world champion.

But the 30-year-old from Sheffield, who became England's first ever World Open champion in December in Saudi Arabia, admits that he would be "honoured" to win a record-equalling fourth British national title.

The 2011 British National Squash Championships will take place at the National Squash Centre at Eastlands from 6-13 February.  The event boasts a world-class field led by Matthew, the world number one, and Jenny Duncalf, the women's world number two.

Matthew won his third British national title at the National Squash Centre last year, beating fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop in the final to keep the title in Yorkshire hands for the sixth year in a row.

But it is a Lancastrian who boasts the greatest number of men's titles in the 36-year history of the country's premier domestic event:  Blackpool-born Phil Kenyon claimed the trophy for a record fourth time in Bristol in 1985, when he beat then rival Gawain Briars for the third time in the final.

"A fourth title would be amazing," said Matthew.  "I'm obviously aware that I'll have the chance to equal Phil Kenyon's record and it'd be a massive honour to do that."

Matthew is looking forward making his home debut as world champion in Manchester at the centre where he trains regularly with his England team-mates.  But his last competitive visit in September was marred when he was forced to withdraw from the ROWE British Grand Prix when taken ill.

"I love playing in Manchester and have always had a good record there - until getting ill at the British Grand Prix - so I'm looking forward to getting back on my favourite glass court," added the event favourite..

"But there are many matches and a lot that can happen before that's a possibility

"I hadn't thought of it as the first tournament at home since becoming world champion, but hopefully I can put on some good performances and show how all the hard work has paid off over the years.

"I hope the British squash public are proud to have a world champion in their ranks as well as such a strong England team in both the men's and women's game."

Matthew faces Essex's Neil Hitchens in the first round before an anticipated clash with his England team-mate and Delhi Commonwealth Games gold-medal-winning doubles partner Adrian Grant in the quarter-finals. 

Hitchens Faces Favourite Matthew In British Nationals Debut In Manchester

Making his debut in next month's British National Squash Championships in Manchester, Essex 24-year-old Neil Hitchens will line up against favourite and world number one Nick Matthew in the first round, according to the draws for the premier domestic event announced today by England Squash & Racketball.

The 2011 British National Squash Championships will take place at the National Squash Centre at Eastlands from 6-13 February.

Matthew is seeded to extend Yorkshire's grip on the men's title for the seventh successive year – and is the firm favourite to become the county's most successful champion, winning his fourth title since 2006.

Born and based in Chelmsford, Hitchens is ranked 121 in the world and turned professional in 2004.

Matthew is expected to go on to face his England team-mate and Delhi Commonwealth Games gold-medal-winning doubles partner Adrian Grant in the quarter-finals.  The left-hander from London is the event's fifth seed and was runner-up to Sheffield-based Matthew in the 2009 final.

Another London left-hander is likely to await Matthew in the semi-finals:  Tour rival Peter Barker is the third seed and ranked eight in the world.

James Willstrop, the second seed who is expected to face Matthew in the seventh all-Yorkshire men's final in the last ten years, opens his 2011 campaign against a qualifier.  The 27-year-old from Leeds, winner of the title in 2007 & 2008, is expected to face England team-mate Daryl Selby, the fourth seed ranked 10 in the world, in the semi-finals.

Jenny Duncalf, the world No2 from Harrogate who is favourite in the women's event, will face Yorkshire-based Welsh number one Deon Saffery in the opening round.  The two-time champion is expected to face Irish rival Madeline Perry in the semi-finals. 

Perry, the world No6 and winner of her 12th Irish national title in December, is bidding to become the first Irish finalist in the event's 36-year history.

Defending champion Alison Waters is the No2 seed.  The world No3 from London is predicted to reach the final for the fifth year in a row – but will first have to overcome Warwickshire's Sarah-Jane Perry, the 20-year-old former European Junior Champion from Kenilworth.

Lancashire interest in the women's champion will be led by fourth seed Laura Massaro.  The world No10 from Preston begins her bid to reach the final for the first time since 2008 against a qualifier – then is expected to line up against England team-mate Waters in the semi-finals.

British National Championships Seeds Predict Yorkshire Double in Manchester

Nick Matthew and Jenny Duncalf are expected to provide a Yorkshire double in next month's British National Squash Championships in Manchester, according to the seedings for the premier domestic event announced today by England Squash & Racketball.

The 2011 British National Squash Championships will take place at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity from 6-13 February.

Matthew is seeded to extend Yorkshire's grip on the men's title for the seventh successive year – and is the firm favourite to become the county's most successful champion, winning his fourth title since 2006. 

The 30-year-old from Sheffield is truly at the top of the world in squash:  He followed a double gold medal success in last October's Commonwealth Games in Delhi by becoming England's first ever world champion in December – then stamped his authority on the game by becoming world number one this month.

But Matthew will face still opposition from career-long county, country and international rival James Willstrop.  The 27-year-old from Leeds, a two-time champion ranked four in the world, is the No2 seed and expected to meet Matthew in fifth Nationals final.

However, Essex pair Peter Barker and Daryl Selby will also provide a substantial threat to the two Yorkshiremen.  Left-handed Londoner Barker, the world No8, is the third seed and Selby, ranked two world places lower, is the No4 seed.

A world-class battle is also predicted in the final of the women's championship, which is expected to be contested by favourite Jenny Duncalf and second-seed Londoner Alison Waters for the fourth time in the last five years.

Duncalf, the world No2 from Harrogate, was champion in 2007 & 2009, while world No3 Waters is the defending champion, after also winning the crown in 2008.

But, again, the top two seeds cannot expect to have things all their own way:   Lancashire's fourth seed Laura Massaro, ranked ten in the world, will be looking to improve on her runner-up finish in 2008 – and third seed Madeline Perry, the world No6, will be determined to become the first Irishwoman to reach the final in the event's 36-year history..

Men's seeds:

[1] Nick Matthew (Yorks)
[2] James Willstrop (Yorks)
[3] Peter Barker (Essex)
[4] Daryl Selby (Essex)
[5] Adrian Grant (Kent)
[6] Jonathan Kemp (Shropshire)
[7] Tom Richards (Surrey)
[8] Chris Ryder (Herts)
[9] Chris Simpson (Hants)
[10] Adrian Waller (Herts)
[11] Alan Clyne (Scotland)
[12] Joe Lee (Surrey)
[13] Laurence Delasaux (Yorks)
[14] Joel Hinds (Derbyshire)
[15] Eddie Charlton (Notts)
[16] Andrew Whipp (Cheshire)

Women's seeds

[1] Jenny Duncalf (Yorks)
[2] Alison Waters (Middx)
[3] Madeline Perry (Ireland)
[4] Laura Massaro (Lancs)
[5] Sarah Kippax (Cheshire)
[6] Emma Beddoes (Warwicks)
[7] Tania Bailey (Lincs)
[8] Victoria Lust (Beds)


Duncalf & Waters To Renew Rivalry In Manchester British National Championships

England's two leading world-ranked squash players Jenny Duncalf and Alison Waters are likely to contest the women's final for the fourth time in five years in next month's British National Squash Championships in Manchester, where the 2011 event will take place at the National Squash Centre from 6-13 February.

Jenny Duncalf, the world No2 from Harrogate in Yorkshire, won the title for the second time two years ago – but Londoner Waters, ranked just one place lower in the world list, struck back to win her second national crown 12 months ago.

The country's premier domestic championships will be making their 15th successive appearance in Manchester – and will be celebrating their ninth year at the Sportcity venue which hosted the squash action in the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Duncalf and Waters lead a world-class field in the women's event – which also features their England team-mates Laura Massaro (Lancs), Tania Bailey (Lincs) and Sarah Kippax (Cheshire).

Massaro, the world No10, from Preston, will be looking to improve on her runner-up finish in 2008, while 2006 champion Bailey, the former world No4 from Stamford, will be marking her 12th appearance in the championship.

But there will be a major bid by Madeline Perry to become the first Irish winner in the 36-year history of the championship.  The world No6 from Banbridge, near Belfast, recently won her 12th Irish national title - but will be hoping to make her mark in Manchester this year after semi-final finishes for the past two years.

World Final In Prospect For British National Championships In Manchester

A repeat of this year’s men’s world championship final is the mouth-watering prospect for the climax of next year’s British National Squash Championships - such is the anticipated quality of the men’s field which is expected to line up at the National Squash Centre in Manchester from 6-13 February 2011.

After contesting both the Commonwealth Games and World Open Championship finals in 2010, Yorkshiremen Nick Matthew and James Willstrop are certain to be seeded to decide the men’s 2011 British National title at Sportcity on Sunday 13 February.

Matthew emerged triumphant both in Delhi in October to win one of two Commonwealth Games gold medals, and in Saudi Arabia in December to become England’s first ever world squash champion.  And later this month - again in the Indian capital Delhi - the 30-year-old from Sheffield beat Willstrop in the final of the PSA Masters to ensure that he begins 2011 as world number one.

Defending champion Matthew will be hoping to win the British National title for a fourth time since 2006, while Willstrop, the 27-year-old world No4 from Leeds, will be aiming to reach his fifth final since 2005 and add to the titles he won in 2007 & 2008.

But the Yorkshire pair will face stiff competition from a number of players – none more so than England team-mates Peter Barker, Daryl Selby and Adrian Grant.  Londoner Barker has consolidated his status in the world top ten after reaching December's World Open semi-finals against expectations, and will make his first appearance in the PSA World Series Finals in London in January.

Selby, from Essex, secured four PSA World Tour final appearances in 2010 and will begin the New Year in the world top ten, while Londoner Grant also enjoyed a successful year which included partnering Nick Matthew to gold in the Commonwealth Games Men's Doubles in Delhi.

But the England quintet cannot guarantee to have it all their own way with a field which will also include Shropshire's Jonathan Kemp, the world No28 from Halifax; Tom Richards, the world No30 from Surrey; Somerset's world No34 Joey Barrington; and former World University champion Chris Ryder, the world No35 from Leamington Spa.