GERRARD BRITISH GRAND PRIX
Matthew Wins Gerrard Grand Prix
Final: Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Karim Darwish (EGY) 2-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4 (55m)
3/4: Lee Beachill (ENG) bt Amr Shabana (EGY) 11-2, 11-5 (16m)
5/6: Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Peter Barker (ENG) 11-6, 11-6 (24m)
7/8: James Willstrop (ENG) bt David Palmer (AUS) 11-7, 5-11, 11-9 (37m)
Matthew Wins Gerrard Grand Prix
The final of the Gerrard British Grand Prix Squash Championships at the National Squash Centre in Manchester started with Egypt’s World No.10 Karim Darwish continuing the fine form he has shown throughout the event - convincingly taking the first game 11-2 against World No.8 and British National Champion Nick Matthew.
However, Matthew bounced back in the second, showing more of the form that had propelled him into the final and closing out the second game 11-7, before a pulsating third game when Darwish again came into his own taking the game right to the wire before losing 11-9.
The fourth game turned out to be the last as Matthew turned the screw to win 11-4, and secure another tournament win on the Sportcity court to add to the National title he won in Manchester in February.
“It’s becoming one of my favourite courts with my Nationals win and now this," said the delighted Gerrard British Grand Prix Champion. "Karim started so well tonight to win the first game – but my coach, David Pearson, told me to get back to basics and I’m really pleased to go one better after losing in last year's final.”
Earlier in the evening, newly crowned World Champion David Palmer defeated English No.1 and World No.4 James Willstrop 11-7 5-11 11-9 in the 7th/8th play-off.
Both players have had extraordinary weeks for different reasons. Palmer won his second World Championship in Egypt just six days prior, whilst Willstrop was forced to withdraw from the Cairo event with Gastro-Enteritis which resulted in him spending four days in hospital - hardly the ideal preparations for the Gerrard British Grand Prix or next week's Dunlop British Open.
World No.4 Willstrop certainly looked to be back to his best taking the first game 11-7, before a closely contested second game went to Palmer. The final game could have gone either way, but after a see-saw affair, England’s Willstrop prevailed 11-7 5-11 11-9 in 37 minutes.
In the play-off for the 5th/6th positions, Peter Barker was looking to follow-on from his good form of the previous night, when he recorded a career first win over arch-rival James Willstrop, against two-time Gerrard British Grand Prix winner Thierry Lincou. Although Barker challenged World No.3 Lincou with all-out attack, and despite playing extremely well, he just couldn’t quite do enough losing 11-6 11-6 in 24 minutes.
Former World No.1 Lee Beachill took the court for the 3rd/4th place match against current World No.1 Amr Shabana, and continued his fine form to despatch the Egyptian 11-2 11-5 to claim third place.
2006 Gerrard British Grand Prix Championships Final Positions:
Gerrard British Grand Prix Champion: Nick Matthew (ENG)
Runner-up: Karim Darwish (EGY)
3rd Place: Lee Beachill (ENG)
4th Place: Amr Shabana (EGY)
5th Place: Thierry Lincou (FRA)
6th Place: Peter Barker (ENG)
7th Place: James Willstrop (ENG)
8th Place: David Palmer (AUS)