Matthew and Alison Waters successfully defended their
National Championships in Manchester today to give Matthew a
record sixth title and Waters a fourth crown.
After Waters, the second seed from Middlesex, had routed
Madeline Perry 3/0 in the Irish champion’s first British
National final, world no.1 Matthew fought back from losing
the first game to James Willstrop to overcome his great
Yorkshire rival 3/1.
The top seed’s 78-minute victory over Willstrop in front of
a capacity crowd at the National Squash Centre enabled him
to equal Cassie Jackman’s all-time record of British titles
and become the first man to claim six.
winning the first game 11-5, Willstrop could not contain the
triple world champion, who fought back to edge a close
second game 12-10 before taking control of the match and
snatching the next two 11-4, 11-8.
A beaming Matthew told the crowd: “That’s got to be up there
with one of my best ever wins against James. Some of his
backhand drives were ridiculously tight. He was in such
great form that at the moment it’s relief more than delight,
although I’m sure I’ll be happy in five minutes!”
Matthew, who took his young niece onto court to help him
collect the trophy, added: “I won’t be playing for much
longer. You’re a long time retired, which is why it means a
lot to me, having all my family here and my support staff. I
know I haven’t got many more times left on this stage, so I
really do appreciate everyone’s support.”
In the women’s final world no.4 Waters was in fine form as
she swept aside joint third seed Perry in just 32 minutes.
29-year-old, competing in a record-equalling eighth National
Championship final, was in a confident mood from the start
as she took a quick first game 11-3.
Perry struggled to recover as Waters, always looking the
more threatening and causing the Irish player persistent
problems, won both the second and third games 11-6 to secure
“I’m so pleased," said Waters. "I’ve had plenty of tough
battles against Madders in the past, so I was ready from the
“I just played my game and was confident going into it. I’m
so excited to have won a fourth title.
“Big respect to Madeline, though. I know how long she’s
wanted to get a National final. She’s 37 years old and if
I’m still playing as well as she is at 37, I’ll be
seed Laura Massaro suffered a shock exit from the British
National Championship in Manchester tonight as Ireland’s
Madeline Perry (left) qualified for her first final in the
tournament at the age of 37.
The double champion from Lancashire made the perfect start
by winning the first game 11-6, but Perry hit back to win
the next three – 12-10, 11-9, 11-6 – and qualify for a clash
with defending champion Alison Waters tomorrow.
“I’m 37 years old, so it’s about time I made the final!”
joked Ireland’s number one after the 55-minute semi-final.
“I thought I’d better do it before I retire. I’m proud of
the fact that I’m still playing so well at my age.
“Today I was really focused on staying on top. I know how
dangerous Laura is, so I knew I had to work hard for it.”
Waters, the second seed from Middlesex, qualified for a
record-equalling eighth final with a hard-fought victory
over Jenny Duncalf, the two-time winner from Yorkshire.
The three-time champion, who started playing squash at the
age of five at Southgate Squash Club, beat Duncalf 5-11,
11-8, 11-2, 12-0 in 51 minutes.
Speaking after her match, the 29-year-old Waters said: “That
was really tough. It nearly went to 2/2, but I thought no,
I’m not letting this go to a fifth game.
“I can’t believe I’ve been in eight national finals – I’m
only 29, I’m not that old!
“I’ve got three titles to my name and I want more – so I
can’t wait for tomorrow.”
Alison Waters reaches eighth
Alison Waters (right) has booked her place in the final
of the National Squash Championships.
The world no.4 who
started playing squash at the age of five at Southgate
Squash Club beat Yorkshire’s Jenny Duncalf 3-1 in the
Speaking after her match
the 29-year-old said: “That was really tough, it nearly
went to 2-2 but I thought no, I’m not letting this go to
a fifth game.”
Tomorrow with be Waters’ eighth appearance in a national
final, “I can’t believe I’ve been in eight national
finals – I’m only 29, I’m not that old!
“I’ve got three titles to
my name and I want more – so can’t wait for tomorrow!”
Alison will face the
winner of Laura Massaro and Madeline Perry who are due
to play later today.
Alison Waters bt Jenny
Duncalf 5/11, 11/8, 11/2, 12/10 (51m)
Arch Rivals Meet Again
In Nationals Final
rivals Nick Matthew and James Willstrop will meet again
in the final of the National Championship in Manchester
tomorrow after the Yorkshire pair enjoyed contrasting
semi-final victories today.
While defending champion Matthew struggled to dispose of
2011 winner Daryl Selby 3/1 in a contentious tie, second
seed Willstrop had a more straightforward 3/0 win
against Adrian Grant, the other joint third seed.
Matthew and Willstrop have contested three National
finals in the past four years, but five-time winner
Matthew has yet to be beaten by his England team-mate.
However, the 33-year-old triple world champion suffered
a scare against world no.10 Selby, who, in a match full
of drama and contentious decisions, stretched Matthew –
much to the delight of a noisy crowd.
Despite winning the first game 11-8, though, it wasn’t
to be for the Essex man and Matthew claimed the next
three 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 to triumph after 84 minutes.
Much of the controversy occurred in the fourth game.
With Matthew 2/1 in front, Selby looked set to take the
match to a decider after leading 7-3, but the
Yorkshireman then won six points in a row to put the
pressure back on the joint third seed.
Unhappy at some of the decisions made by the referees,
Selby took a more positive approach and won the next two
points to level it at 9-9, the highlight being a
cross-court nick off Matthew’s serve.
9-9, though, the referees awarded a crucial stroke to
Matthew, at which point Selby exited the court and
shouted: “I want to cry.”
The triple world champion duly converted his matchball
to end Selby’s 2014 title chances, but in Matthew’s
(left) post-match interview to the crowd one spectator
booed him. In response, the defending champion said: “To
the person that booed, I’d like to see how they would
react under so much pressure on there.”
Later he said: “I think we were both taking our space,
it’s nothing personal between us. I was wary because
it’s still fresh in my mind when he beat me on this
court in the final in 2011, so I know how dangerous he
is in a fifth game.
“Decisions went against us both during the match. The
refs have a tough job.”
A disappointed Selby said: “It’s the semi-finals and
emotions and passion obviously run high. I felt like I
got some poor decisions in the fourth and it turned the
“It’s hard to take when you’re on there slogging your
guts out, training hard throughout the year.”
Later Willstrop, the 2007 and 2008 winner, eased past
Londoner Grant 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 in 62 minutes.
“I had to plot my way through that one,” said Willstrop.
“It was a good quality match, a bit of a chess game
really trying to find the right areas to put the ball
“Adrian’s a great athlete and he plays well here. I knew
all of that, so that’s a very good win for me.
“You can’t fail to get yourself up for a match like
tomorrow’s final against Nick. There’s no pressure on
me, as I’m about 800 to one down, but I may not have too
many of these occasions left, so I’ll try to enjoy it
and make the most of it.”
wo-time champion Jenny Duncalf was the first
player to reach the semi-finals of the National Championships in Manchester as
she maintained her unbeaten record (apart from PSL matches) against Sarah Kippax
with a straight-games win.
Duncalf started strongly in each game, taking leads of 6-1, 5-1 and 5-2 and kept
Kippax, who awas appearing in her seventh straight quarter-final, at bay.
“It was good to get those starts, so I needed to make sure I kept the momentum
and I managed to do that,” said a satisfied winner.
Daryl Selby avenged his defeat at this stage by Tom Richards last year with a
straight-games win over his former St George’s team-mate (Selby now plays for
Chapel Allerton in the PSL).
There was never much in it, but Selby managed to eke out leads in the middle of
each game and Richards, to his own frustration and Selby’s relief, couldn’t
close those gaps.
“We’ve played a few times and that may be the first or second time it’s finished
3/0, so I’m happy to take that,” said the 2011 champion.
champion Alison Waters
made it through to her seventh successive
semi-final (she was injured in 2011) with a battling win against Emma Beddoes,
who was appearing in her fifth straight quarter-final.
Beddoes took a while to get adjusted as Waters took the first comfortably, but
Beddoes always led the second as she levelled.
It was Waters, though, who had the leads in the next two games, closing out the
third from 9-7, and surging ahead to 10-3 in the fourth before Beddoes’ comeback
attempt was scuppered by two unforced errors.
“She played well,” admitted Waters. “You
think you’ve won the rally, but she keeps getting it back. It was a bit of a
scrap, but it’s always nice to win matches like that and I’m looking forward to
Nick Matthew made it four National Champions through to the semis as the men’s
defending champion beat Joe Lee in straight games – the world champion’s 13th
Nationals’ win in a row. Lee struggled to get to grips with the match at the
outset, but made Matthew work hard to maintain leads in the next two games.
“Joe’s improving all the time," said Matthew. "The younger players are
definitely keeping us on our toes! Great to be here, but a shame it’s on
Valentine’s Day. It’s not doing me any favours with my wife! Really looking
forward to tomorrow, the crowd is always great over the weekend.”
the match Matthew was presented with his Team England Best Male Athlete award
from the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Speaking about this year’s Commonwealth Games, Matthew said: “It’s a huge event
for us and hopefully we can show the Olympics what they’re missing out on.”
The evening session started with Madeline Perry reaching the semi-final for the
eighth time as she beat Emily Whitlock in straight games.
Just turned 37, the Irish champion was
facing an English teenager – although Emily does turn 20 today – and it was
experience that held the day as Perry led early in all three games and kept the
pressure on her young opponent.
Whitlock won’t be satisfied with her performance – serving out twice in the
second game and a number of uncharacteristic errors in the third – but her time
“When you’re almost 20 years older than your opponent there’s definitely some
pressure on you,” admitted Perry. “I knew she’d be hungry to make a breakthrough
and come out firing, so I was definitely ready for that.
“I keep coming here and losing in the semis. Like I said last year, it must be
my turn soon! I felt good on there tonight, so hopefully I can finally make the
Adrian Grant reached the semi-finals for the seventh time with a hard-fought
three-game win over Chris Simpson that took a full 70 minutes to complete.
There was never much between them, and the Guernsey man had his chances at 10-9
and 13-12 in the first, and also led 9-7 in the second, only to see Grant close
out both games.
Grant edged ahead from 3-3 in the third and although Simpson got as close as
7-6, Grant pulled away to reach 10-6 and a Simpson error ended the match 11-8
“He’s improved a lot over the last couple of years and I class him as a huge
threat,” said Grant. “There wasn’t much between us. I just tried to relax at the
crucial points at the end of the games and it paid off.
“There were only a couple of points in it. The scoreline doesn’t really reflect
how tough the match was, but I’ll take it.”
Top seed Laura Massaro wants the women’s title back. “I want to win this
prestigious title as many times as I can before I retire,” said the two-time
champion after beating Sarah-Jane Perry in straight games.
Perry, in good form after an extended injury layoff, didn’t get started in the
first as Massaro dictated the play to take the lead 11-5, but started doing her
own dictating in the second as she opened up an 8-3 lead.
Massaro steadied and with Perry pressing a little too hard as she tinned several
times, Massaro came back to 9-9 before taking the game 12-10, and the third was
“She’s had some good wins recently so that takes a bit of pressure off as losing
to her wouldn’t be a bad loss,” explained Massaro. “But I really want to win
this title, so that puts pressure on yourself. It’s such a prestigious event,
the history and the depth of the game here, we all want to win this one.”
James Willstrop completed the day’s proceedings with a 3/0 win over Adrian
Waller in which the two-time champion was always ahead, but always had to work
hard to stay there.
“That scoreline was ridiculous for the intensity of the match, especially at the
start of each game, when I really had to dig in and work hard to get in front,"
“There’s a great bunch of players coming through, men and women, and players
like Adrian and Joe are going through a huge improvement cycle. They’ll be
getting there very quickly.”
So today’s semi-finals, which will be streamed live on PSAsquashTV, will feature
all the top seeds, including five players who have already
Day four of the British Nationals Championships in Manchester saw the top eight
seeds in both men’s and women’s competitions progress to the quarter-finals.
The afternoon session at the National Squash Centre saw defending champions Nick
Matthew and Alison Waters safely through to the quarter-finals, Matthew beating
Scotland’s Greg Lobban and Waters beating qualifier Amina Helal, both in
Matthew now faces Joe Lee, who needed all five games to see off the challenge of
Lucy Loser Richie Fallows.
“It wasn’t my best match,” admitted Lee, “but he didn’t allow me to play my
game. It was a very mature performance from him, he proved he deserves to be in
the main draw and got in my face and made it difficult. He just needs a bit more
consistency which will come very quickly.”
In the other top-half quarter-final Daryl Selby and Tom Richards will meet for
the fourth year in a row. Richards beat Eddie Charlton, also for the fourth year
in a row, in an hour-long four-game match.
“Eddie is always tough to play,” admitted Richards, “he just needs one of those
big wins to propel him up the rankings, I’m sure he’ll get it soon.”
Selby, the 2011 champion, also needed four games to get past un-seeded Chris
Ryder. “Chris is a really good player for anyone to learn from,” said Selby. “He
controls the ball very well, has good touch and doesn’t over hit the ball. I’ve
had a lot of tough battles with him so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
In the women’s draw Waters will face Emma Beddoes while two-time champion Jenny
Duncalf meets Sarah Kippax, who reached a seventh quarter-final in row after
coming from a game down to beat Deon Saffery, ending Welsh interest in the main
The evening session brought more victories for the seeds as the quarter-finals
lined up as predicted.
Adrian Grant was given the sternest test as he came from a game down to beat
Scottish number one Alan Clyne.
“He’s always tough to beat,” said Grant, “he came out firing in the first and at
the start of every game, I really had to dig in, he so difficult to shake off.”
The last match of the day saw Adrian Waller beat Ben Coleman in three tight
games to set up a meeting with second seed James Willstrop . “I’ll have nothing
to lose,” said Waller, “and it will be good to see how I stack up against one of
the very top players in a competitive match.”
champion and world number one Nick Matthew (right) began the
defence of his National Championship title with a
straight-games victory in Manchester today.
The Yorkshireman stormed to an 11-7, 11-2, 11-4 win against
18-year-old Lyell Fuller in 31 minutes.
The 33-year-old top seed said: “I had to take him seriously.
I was following him on Twitter and he kept telling everyone
how much he was up for it!
“I love playing in Manchester. This tournament is as hard to
win as any PSA event. With all the top British guys taking
part, you can’t take it lightly.”
It was a busy day three at the Nationals, with Masters
matches starting at 10.00, 16 men’s main draw matches from
noon and two rounds of women’s qualifying
At the halfway stage we had eight players through to the
men’s second round, including lucky loser Richie Fallows,
who beat qualifier Peter Billson in straight games.
“Too many matches,” said Billson, who overcame another of
England’s top juniors in a marathon qualifying final last
night, “I just didn’t have anything left.”
Chris Ryder upset the seedings as he beat his Birmingham PSL
teammate Jaymie Haycocks in straight games, but there were
no upsets the glass court as Tom Richards, Daryl Selby, Joe
Lee and Matthew all won in straight games.
The toughest draw was for Keith Timms, who qualified via two
long five-setters, coming off court last and finding himself
first on against Eddie Charlton.
“I could tell he was feeling it,” said Charlton as he eased
through in straight games.
There were no upsets in the evening session, although Declan
James had to come from two games down to see off Nottingham
clubmate Ollie Holland.
pleased to come through a brutal affair tonight,” tweeted
James. “Can’t wait to get back out there tomorrow night
against Chris Simpson.”
Simpson beat Robbie Temple in four games, Temple coming back
from 10-6 down in the third to extend the match 15-13 and
almost pulling off another recovery in the fourth as he
rallied from 4-10 down only to lose it 11-9.
Charles Sharpes was also sorely tested, by Scottish
qualifier Dougi Kempsell, Sharpes coming through an often
contentious match 11-9 in the fifth after 84 minutes.
Meanwhile Alan Clyne, Adrian Grant, James Willstrop (left),
Adrian Waller and Ben Coleman all took their expected places
in round two.
Equal Prize Money For Female Nationals Squash
England Squash & Racketball
have revealed that prize money will be awarded equally to both men and women at
the 2014 British National Squash Championships.
The step shows the commitment of the National Governing Body in helping to drive
women's squash forwards and recognising the important part the women's game has
to play in the tournament.
England Squash & Racketball Operations Director Jim Lord said: "We are delighted
to announce that the prize money for the 2014 National Squash Championships in
Manchester will be equal for both men and women.
"We are determined to play our part in raising the profile of the women's tour
and, if at all possible, contribute to a longer term commercial strategy that
will influence increases to women's prize money."
The move follows that of the US Open in Philadelphia which recently increased
the women's prize money to match the men's draw.
The British National Championships, run in partnership with Manchester City
Council, take place in Manchester next week and will see Britain's best squash
players - including England's world No1 and three-time world champion Nick
Matthew and current British Open champion Laura Massaro - battle it out for the
Total prize money for the National Squash Championships now stands at £22,800.
Barker Withdraws From Nationals Joint
third seed Peter Barker (right) has been forced to pull out of this week's
National Championships in Manchester.
The 30-year-old left-hander from Essex suffered what he described as "a
very tight calf" during his straight-games quarter-final defeat by second
seed Greg Gaultier in last week's Swedish Open.
"I don't want to tear it again if I continue to play," added Barker, who was
sidelined for two months after tearing the calf in his second-round match
with Finland's Henrik Mustonen at the 2013 World Championship in Manchester.
Barker's next scheduled PSA tournament is the Windy City Open in Chicago,
which begins on February 26. He is seeded eighth in the $115,000 World
As a result of Barker's withdrawal, two seeds below him have moved up a
place in Manchester, with Kent's Adrian Grant now a 3/4 seed in the bottom
half of the draw and Surrey's Joe Lee a 5/8 seed in the top half, while
Nottinghamshire's Declan James is seeded for the first time in the event at
Instead of facing second seed James Willstrop in Wednesday's first round,
James now takes on a qualifier, while Willstrop will meet Scotland's Kevin
Moran, who has been spared qualifying.
Lincolnshire's Adam Auckland has also been promoted into the main draw
following the withdrawal of Sussex's Olli Pett and will play Scotland's Greg
Lobban in round one.
British National Squash Championships2014,
National Squash Centre, Sportcity,