British Nationals 2010

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2009 2008 2007 2006

Nick Matthew & Alison Waters Are New National Champions


After two contrasting finals at the National Squash Centre in Manchester, Yorkshire’s Nick Matthew and Londoner Alison Waters emerged as the 2010 British National Squash Champions – Matthew retaining his men’s title after beating fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop in straight games and Waters twice coming from behind to defeat top seed Jenny Duncalf, also from Yorkshire, in five games in the women’s climax.


Ranked two in the world, Nick Matthew emphatically demonstrated that he is Britain’s best player when he beat Willstrop, ranked four places lower, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 to win the men’s title for the third time since 2006.


It was a repeat of the controversial clash on the same court last September when the two England team-mates contested the British Open final – when Matthew saved a match ball before winning a five-game 122-minute marathon.


On this occasion, top seed Matthew always had the upper hand and extended his unbeaten run against Willstrop to nine wins since 2007.


“That’s got to go down as one of my best performances – I didn’t make many errors,” explained the 29-year-old from Sheffield who is now unbeaten in the championship since 2005.


“You go on the court prepared for two hours with James.  I know how good he is.


“It’s not often you beat him 3/0,” added the new champion.


Asked how it felt to be the British National champion again, the England number one said:  “It feels good – it always feels good at this venue – I’m at home on the court.”


And how will he celebrate?  “I’ll go out with family and friends – have a meal and a glass of wine – maybe some champagne.”


Willstrop, the world No6 from Pontefract who reached the final despite suffering a shoulder injury a week ago, admitted that Matthew was “just too good”. 


“His physical presence was so strong – he made me play bad squash,” added the tall Yorkshireman who recently beat three of the top four players in the world en-route to winning the Tournament of Champions in New York.


“His superior physical condition found me out – like it hasn’t done for a while.


“Physically, he’s probably one of the best specimens in the sport.  He’s now a tremendous athlete.


“I hope I can develop over the next few years – I’m not at my peak yet.


“I just felt lacking physically – there was no spark – I couldn’t use my racket like I wanted to.


“But I feel absolutely not disappointed – I couldn’t do anything else,” added the runner-up.  “The only disappointment is that I have not produced.”


Second seed Alison Waters celebrated her fifth appearance in the women’s final in six years by prevailing in an epic match over favourite Jenny Duncalf, the world number three. 


Duncalf, the defending champion from Harrogate, twice led her close friend and England team-mate.  But Londoner Waters battled back in both cases to force a fifth game decider. 


Again Duncalf moved ahead, leading 6-1 and 9-5 before reaching match ball at 10-9.  Waters saved the match ball before eventually converting her own first to win 10-12, 11-7, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10 in 65 minutes.


“I think that was the best match we’ve ever played - I kept telling myself to keep down the errors,” said the 25-year-old world No5 after the pair’s third final together since 2007.


“It’s hard – we’re good mates.  Neither of us wanted to lose.


“We’ve got a lot of respect for each other – let’s hope that will still be the case!”

Masters results and Report

 . Men's Draw
 . Qualifying

 . Women's Draw
 . Qualifying

 . Reports
 . Previews

click images for larger view

James Willstrop brings Daryl Selby's winning run to an end


5th seed Alister Walker narrowly gets through his second round match against Alan Clyne


Madeline Perry beats former champion Tania Bailey 3-1

click images for larger view

Daryl Selby beats 2nd seed and world no. 7 Peter Barker

British Nationals 2010
Men's Draw
Round One
Tue 9th
Round Two
Wed 10th
Sat 13th
Sun 14th
[1] Nick Matthew (Yorkshire)
11/3, 11/7, 11/4 (29m)
[Q] Andrew Birks (Shropshire)
Nick Matthew
11/5, 11/9, 11/8 (51m)
Tom Richards
Nick Matthew
11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 (60m)
Alister Walker
Nick Matthew
11-6, 13-11, 11-5 (70m)
Adrian Grant
Nick Matthew
11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (49m)
James Willstrop
[9] Tom Richards (Surrey)
5/3 rtd (10m)
Stephen Meads (Berkshire)
[5] Alister Walker (Gloucestershire)
11/7, 11/6, 11/9 (32m)
[Q] Dominic Hamilton (Oxon)
Alister Walker
13/15, 11/8, 11/5, 7/11, 11/9 (82m)
Alan Clyne
[13] Alan Clyne (Scotland)
11/5, 11/2, 11/6 (26m)
[Q] Jamie Macaulay (Scotland)
[4] Adrian Grant (Kent)
11/4, 4/11, 11/1, 11/4 (36m)
[Q] Steve Siveter (Merseyside)
Adrian Grant
11/8, 12/14, 11/8, 11/5 (59m)
Chris Simpson
Adrian Grant
5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-3 (70m)
Jonathan Kemp
[11] Chris Simpson (Hampshire)
 11/7, 11/6, 12/10 (42m)
James Snell (Devon)
[7] Jonathan Kemp (Shropshire)
10/12, 8/11, 11/9, 11/7, 11/4 (62m)
Simon Parke (Yorkshire)
Jonathan Kemp
11/5, 11/5, 11/9 (24m)
Laurence Delasaux
[15] Laurence Delasaux (Yorkshire)
11/5, 12/14, 11/8, 6/3 rtd (44m)
[Q] Peter Billson (Lancs)
Andy Whipp (Cheshire)
11/3, 11/6, 7/11, 2/11, 11/5 (59m)
[16] Joe Lee (Surrey)
Joe Lee
5/11, 12/10, 11/7, 11/8 (84m)
Joey Barrington
Joey Barrington
11-8, 11-9, 11-5 (38m)
James Willstrop
James Willstrop

9-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-5 (56m)
Daryl Selby

[Q] Anthony Graham (Glos)
11/5, 12/10, 12/10 (60m)
[8] Joey Barrington (Somerset)
[Q] Phil Rushworth (Yorks)
11/9, 11/2, 10/12, 15/13 (73m)
Nic Birt (Wales)
Nic Birt
11/7, 11/2, 11/2 (21m)
James Willstrop
John Rooney (Ireland)
 11/9, 11/6, 11/5 (38m)
[3] James Willstrop (Yorkshire)
[Q] Chris Hall (Surrey)
 11/4, 11/5, 11/1 (27m)
[14] Adrian Waller (Hertfordshire)
Adrian Waller
11/5, 11/7, 11/9 (36m)
Daryl Selby
Daryl Selby
14-12, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6 (60m)
Peter Barker
Eddie Charlton (Nottinghamshire)
5/11, 11/7, 11/7, 11/6 (47m)
[6] Daryl Selby (Essex)
Stuart Crawford (Scotland)
11/5, 11/6, 11/2 (28m)
[10] Chris Ryder (Hertfordshire)
Chris Ryder
11/4, 11/8, 11/3 (38m)
Peter Barker
Joel Hinds (Derbyshire)
11/4, 11/4, 11/8 (32m)
[2] Peter Barker (Essex)


Qualifying finals:
Phil Rushworth (Yorks) bt Sam Wileman (Yorks) 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (22m)
Andrew Birks (Shropshire) bt Tom Pashley (Sussex) 10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (46m)
Anthony Graham (Glos) bt Adam Murrills (Cheshire) 11-6, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6 (41m)
Dominic Hamilton (Oxon) bt Richard Birks (Shropshire) 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8 (48m)
Chris Hall (Surrey) bt Andrew Widdison (Yorks) 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (45m)
Jamie MacAulay (Scotland) bt Nic Birt (Wales) 11-4, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8 (41m)
Stephen Siveter (Merseyside) bt Stuart Crawford (Scotland) 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (28m)
Peter Billson (Lancs) bt James Earles (Yorks) 11-6, 8-11, 11-3, 11-2 (39m)

Men's 2nd qualifying round:
Phil Rushworth (Yorks) bt Charles Sharpes (Surrey) 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 (61m)
Sam Wileman (Yorks) bt Declan James (Notts) 12-10, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5 (47m)
Tom Pashley (Sussex) bt Robert Downer (Hants) 11-4, 11-7, 11-8 (29m)
Andrew Birks (Shropshire) bt Chris Tasker-Grindley (Glos) 10-12, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10 (40m)
Anthony Graham (Glos) bt Adam Auckland (Lincs) 11-6, 11-2, 11-6 (21m)
Adam Murrills (Cheshire) bt Joshua Harris (D & C) 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 13-11 (52m)
Dominic Hamilton (Oxon) bt David Barnett (Northumbria) 12-10, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8 (49m)
Richard Birks (Shropshire) bt Rory Pennell (Essex) 9-11, 1-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (53m)
Chris Hall (Surrey) bt Alex Phillips (Hants) 11-3, 11-1, 11-4 (16m)
Andrew Widdison (Yorks) bt Liam Foster (Cheshire) 11-0, 11-3, 11-9 (27m)
Nic Birt (Wales) bt Ben Coleman (Essex) 7-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-9 (68m)
Jamie MacAulay (Scotland) bt Lewis Walters (Notts) 13-11, 11-5, 9-6 ret. (36m)
Stephen Siveter (Merseyside) bt Nicholas Hopcroft (Surrey) 11-4, 11-8, 11-2 (38m)
Stuart Crawford (Scotland) bt Nick Wall (Yorks) 12-10, 11-3, 11-2 (29m)
James Earles (Yorks) bt Chris Fuller (Northants) 7-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8 (50m)
Peter Billson (Lancs) bt Ollie Holland (Notts) 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (29m)
Men's 1st qualifying round:
Phil Rushworth (Yorks) bt Michael Potter (Cheshire) 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 (23m)
Charles Sharpes (Surrey) bt Matthew Sidaway (Lancs) 11-8, 12-10, 11-3 (27m)
Declan James (Notts) bt Mark Fuller (Northants) w/o
Sam Wileman (Yorks) bt Paul Carter (C) (Cheshire) 11-5, 11-2, 11-4 (18m)
Tom Pashley (Sussex) bt Ahmed El Refee (Cambs) 13-11, 11-7, 12-10 (26m)
Robert Downer (Hants) bt Blake Bettley (Cheshire) 11-2, 11-3, 11-2 (16m)
Andrew Birks (Shropshire) bt Matthew Parson (Lancs) 11-4, 11-5, 10-12, 11-7 (32m)
Chris Tasker-Grindley (Glos) bt Simon White (Wilts) 11-3, 11-2, 14-12 (25m)
Anthony Graham (Glos) bt Ky Hibberd (Lancs) 11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (36m)
Adam Auckland (Lincs) bt Michael Waite (Cheshire) 11-8, 12-10, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9 (52m)
Adam Murrills (Cheshire) bt Darren Vickery 11-7, 11-3, 11-5 (20m)
Joshua Harris (D & C) bt Theo Woodward (Dorset) 11-2, 11-7, 11-6 (25m)
David Barnett (Northumbria) bt Nick Murrills (Cheshire) 11-5, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7 (34m)
Dominic Hamilton (Oxon) bt James Jacobsen (Scotland) w/o
Richard Birks (Shropshire) bt David Wardle (Surrey) 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 8-11, 12-10 (50m)
Rory Pennell (Essex) bt Joseph Edwards (Cheshire) 11-2, 11-1, 11-2 (15m)
Alex Phillips (Hants) bt Robert Dadds (Cambs) 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (18m)
Chris Hall (Surrey) bt Jacob Robinson (Cheshire) 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 (24m)
Andrew Widdison (Yorks) bt Morgan Hibberd (Lancs) 11-5, 14-12, 7-11, 11-7 (59m)
Liam Foster (Cheshire) bt Olivier Pett (Sussex) w/o
Nic Birt (Wales) bt Jon Hunter (Cheshire) 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 (28m)
Ben Coleman (Essex) bt James Matthews (Surrey) 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5 (45m)
Jamie MacAulay (Scotland) bt Ben Rodgers (Devon) 11-7, 11-4, 16-14 (41m)
Lewis Walters (Notts) bt Lee Brownson (Cheshire) 11-2, 11-5, 11-4 (25m)
Nicholas Hopcroft (Surrey) bt Sean Hunter (Cheshire) 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 (39m)
Stephen Siveter (Merseyside) bt Tom Dwyer (Lancs) 11-8, 11-1, 11-3 (30m)
Nick Wall (Yorks) bt James Asher (Cheshire) 11-8, 11-7, 11-4 (25m)
Stuart Crawford (Scotland) bt Chris Clinton (Northumbria) 11-3, 11-3, 11-1 (15m)
James Earles (Yorks) bt Nathan Lake (Glos) w/o
Chris Fuller (Northants) bt Robert Taylor (Cheshire) 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (28m)
Ollie Holland (Notts) bt Jason Pike (Wilts) 11-5, 11-8, 12-10 (32m)
Peter Billson (Lancs) bt Michael Hopkins (Dorset) 11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5 (43m)



British Nationals
Women's Draw
Round One
Wed 10th
Sat 13th
Sun 14th

[1] Jenny Duncalf (Yorkshire)
 11/7, 11/4, 11/4 (25m)
[Q] Deon Saffery (Wales)

Jenny Duncalf
11-5, 11-8, 11-2 (23m)
Lauren Briggs
Jenny Duncalf
11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5 (47m)
Madeline Perry
Jenny Duncalf
10-12, 11-7, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10 (65m)
Alison Waters
[6] Lauren Briggs (Essex)
6/11, 11/5, 15/13, 11/5 (55m)
[Q] Millie Tomlinson (Derbyshire)
[3] Madeline Perry (N.Ireland)
11/8, 11/6, 11/6 (27m)
Lauren Siddall (Yorkshire)
 Madeline Perry
6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (49m)
Tania Bailey
[5] Tania Bailey (Lincolnshire)
11/2, 11/8, 11/2 (19m)
Fiona Moverley (Yorkshire)
Victoria Lust (Bedfordshire)
 11/6, 11/5, 11/1 (23m)
[7] Sarah Kippax (Cheshire)
Sarah Kippax
12-10, 11-13, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7 (60m)
Laura Massaro
Laura Massaro
10-12, 11-5, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8 (71m)
Alison Waters
[Q] Carrie Ramsey (Yorks)
11/3, 11/4, 11/4 (21m)
[4] Laura Massaro (Lancashire)
Laura Hill (Derbyshire)
9/11, 7/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/7 (55m)
[8] Emma Beddoes (Warwickshire)
Emma Beddoes
11-4, 11-8, 11-7 (28m)
Alison Waters
[Q] Sarah-Jane Perry (Warks)
11/1, 11/4, 11/3 (19m)
[2] Alison Waters (Middlesex)

Women's 2nd qualifying round:

Leonie Holt (Warwicks) bt Victoria Bell (Cumbria) 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 12-14, 11-6 (38m)
Sarah-Jane Perry (Warwicks) bt Zephanie Curgenven (Hants) 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11 (30m)
Lauren Selby (Essex) bt Julianne Courtice (Glos) 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 (24m)
Carrie Ramsey (Yorks) bt Laura Mylotte (Ireland) 8-11, 11-2, 6-11, 15-13, 11-5 (50m)
Millie Tomlinson (Derbyshire) bt Brogan Lane (Herts) 11-3, 11-5, 11-7 (19m)
Emily Whitlock (Cheshire) bt Jenna Gates (Sussex) w/o
Annabelle Collins-Ballands (Kent) bt Kate Cadigan (Dorset) w/o
Deon Saffery (Wales) bt Kimberley Hay (Northumbria) 11-4, 11-7, 11-6 (20m)

Women's 1st qualifying round:
Victoria Bell (Cumbria) bt Katherine Quarterman (Oxon) 4-11, 6-11, 11-1, 11-3, 11-9 (31m)
Zephanie Curgenven (Hants) bt Gemma Davies (Wales) 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (19m)
Julianne Courtice (Glos) bt Heidi Walters (Notts) 11-2, 11-9, 11-9 (19m)
Carrie Ramsey (Yorks) bt Kirsty West (Cheshire) 11-9, 11-3, 11-6 (23m)
Emily Whitlock (Cheshire) bt Stacey Preece (Wales) w/o
Kimberley Hay (Northumbria) bt Natalie Pritchard (Wales) 11-6, 11-9, 12-10 (20m)

Masters results and Report click


Willstrop Sets Up Dream Nationals Final Against Matthew

Proving without doubt that his recent shoulder injury is well and truly behind him, former champion James Willstrop recovered from a  game down to beat rising star Daryl Selby in the semi-finals of the British National Squash Championships to set up a dream final against defending champion Nick Matthew – the first meeting on the all-glass showcourt at the National Squash Centre in Manchester since the Yorkshire rivals contested a controversial climax of the British Open last September.


Sixth seed Selby celebrated his first appearance in the semi-finals after upsetting fellow Essex player and close friend Peter Barker, the second seed, in the previous round.  And the 27-year-old world No15 showed his new found form by taking the opening game against Willstrop, the third seed.


But the 26-year-old from Leeds, who was forced to concede last Sunday’s Swedish Open final after sustaining a shoulder injury, raised his game to see off Selby 9-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-5 in 56 minutes - in a match which captivated the near capacity crowd at the National Centre at Sportcity.


“The first game was pretty brutal – but it was always going to be against Daryl, he’s in such good form,” said Willstrop, the 2007 and 2008 champion now in his fourth final.  “I had to stick with it and use all my skills to keep him at bay.


“If I can play a match like that after last week, that’s good news.  It was definitely looking a little ropey last Sunday.


“It was a real tough match to come through – and to do so is a confidence-booster, after the injury.


“We always have heavy battles,” added Willstrop when asked to comment on the ‘dream’ final.  “I suppose we’ve worked our way up to the top – he’s at two and I’m at six.  There’s big rivalry.


“But it’s exciting to be involved in a massive tournament like this,” concluded Willstrop.


In the earlier men’s semi, Nick Matthew took the opening game against England team-mate Adrian Grant - then fought back from 5-8 down in the second to take the score to nine-all when his opponent dived across the court in an attempt to retrieve the ball, and cut his hand. 


After a seven-minute ‘blood injury’ break, the pair returned to the court and Matthew moved to game ball at 11-10.  A freak bounce off the door handle at the back of the court gave the Yorkshireman the game – but Matthew insisted that a let was played, and the point was replayed.


Grant took the point to draw matters level again – only for the 29-year-old from Sheffield to win the game at his next attempt before easing through the third game to record an 11-6, 13-11, 11-5 victory in 70 minutes.


Matthew, the champion in 2006 and 2009, extends his unbeaten run in the event to 14 matches since 2005.


On discussing the injury disruption afterwards, Matthew agreed that there is never a good time for such a break to occur:  “It was quite hard to get the rhythm back - but if he’d won the second, it would have been game on! 


“I’ve told him before to stop diving,” joked the defending champion.


When asked to comment on the sensational recent form on the PSA World Tour which has taken him to a career-high world No2, Matthew responded:  “It’s now or never.  I’m 30 this year – I’ve not got a lot of time left so I’ve got to make the most of it!”


Asked about his sporting gesture in offering a let after the official had given him the second game, Matthew said:  “I’m sure he would have done the same – anyway, it was probably the worst shot I’ve played in my life, so I couldn’t take a win from it!”


Favourite Jenny Duncalf, the world number three from Harrogate, fended off opposition from third seed Madeline Perry in the opening women’s semi-final to beat the 11-time Irish champion 11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5 in 47 minutes.


“Madders hits the ball so well – she gets good pace on it,” said Duncalf, winner of the title in 2007 and 2009.  “She’s tough, quite a confident player.  She’s a real handful.  I had to get her out of her comfort zone.


“Yes, it’s been going well for the last few months, I’ve struck some good form.  Let’s hope I can continue the run.


“It feels great to be in the final – in fact it was difficult not to think about getting to the final when I still had a few matches to go!  But now I’m there, I can relax a bit more and enjoy it – whoever I play!”


Her opponent will be England team-mate Alison Waters – but the second seed from London was taken the full distance by fourth seed Laura Massaro before surviving her first five-game match in the tournament.


Massaro, who suffered two bruising WISPA World Tour defeats before the event – then battled with lower-ranked player opponents and her confidence to reach the semis – matched world No5 Waters shot for shot.


The underdog from Preston took the opening game, then fought back from 2/1 down to win the fourth. 


But after a 14-minute fifth game, it was Waters who prevailed, winning 10-12, 11-5, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8 in 71 minutes to reach the her fifth final in the past six years.


"I knew she had a tough match yesterday, but I wasn't going to take her lightly today,” said Waters.  “It was a tough game - we were both a bit loose at times, maybe because we both really wanted to win it so much.


"Sometimes matches like that become a bit of a scrap and it's a question of digging out the win.  I managed to do that today – I'm delighted to be in the final again."


A disconsolate Massaro tried to look on the bright side:  “I was pleased that I could battle it with her today – especially after what happened in the US before and after my long game yesterday,” said the 26-year-old world number nine.


Selby Sinks Barker In First Nationals Upset

After four days of action in the British National Squash Championships, sixth seed Daryl Selby produced the first upset when he beat close friend and fellow Essex man Peter Barker, the No2 seed in a four-game quarter-final at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.


The pair lined up for a place in the semi-finals only days after 27-year-old Selby scored a notable upset over world No7 Barker in a PSA Tour event in Canada.  And, in a 33-minute first game, the world No15 took Barker to a tie break, saving a game ball before clinching the game 14-12.


Selby took the second to extend his lead – but left-handed Londoner Barker battled back to reduce the deficit by winning the third.


Barker won six points from 2-8 down in the fourth, but Selby held off the challenge to win 14-12, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6 in 60 minutes to earn his first Nationals semi-final berth.


“It means a lot to me that I can beat someone who’s world number seven,” said a delighted Selby afterwards.  “But it’s a shame that we got drawn together – off-court we’re such good friends.


“The first game was crucial and I managed to get two decent shots to win it.  I think he got a bit frustrated in the second after losing the first – then he caught me off guard in the third,” added Selby.


“In the fourth I got a little nervous at 8-2 up – and thought ‘surely I can’t lose it from here!’


“It’s the first time I’ve come into this event genuinely believing I have an outside chance of doing well.


“And it’s always a good crowd here – appreciative of squash.  It’s a joy to play in front of this home crowd.


“Winning this title would be more of a dream than anything else – but if I did, it would be the biggest achievement in my career,” concluded Selby.


Showing no signs of ill effect from his recent shoulder injury, third seed James Willstrop earlier cruised into the semi-finals after a straight games win over Joey Barrington, the seventh seed from Somerset.


Winner of the premier domestic title in 2007 and 2008, the 26-year-old Yorkshireman was in full control for most of the match, wrapping up his 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 victory in just 38 minutes.


It was only five days ago that Willstrop was forced to retire from the final of the Swedish Open after sustaining an injury which ultimately manifested itself in his shoulder.


“I feel good – there were only a few minor confidence issues to deal with over the first part of the week,” said Willstrop after his third straight games win in the event.  “Whatever I did in Sweden, the body was completely out of kilter.


“Joey’s very tough, and fetches everything back so he’s difficult to play.  And he’s a good sport too,” added the world No6 from Pontefract.


Willstrop won his two Nationals titles on the all-glass court at the National Squash Centre – where he also reached the final of the British Open last year.  “I feel very at home here – Manchester’s been a great servant to the sport and it’s great to be back.


“There are a lot of Pontefract supporters here too which is fantastic – just like the old days.  Let’s hope they stick around for the weekend.”


In the opening women’s quarter-final, fourth seed Laura Massaro took on Sarah Kippax, the seventh seed from Cheshire who has not beaten the world No9 from Lancashire in 10 meetings since their junior days in 2001. 


But Chester-born Kippax recovered from a game down to win the next two games – her first ever pair against Massaro - to lead 2/1.


Massaro, bidding to reach the semis for the fourth year in a row, regained her composure to wrest back the fourth and five times clawed back leads by Kippax in the decider before winning 12-10, 11-13, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7 in 60 minutes.


“I don’t know what happened – my brain went,” said the shell-shocked 26-year-old from Preston afterwards.  “But Sarah’s playing really well – it’s the best she’s ever played against me.”


Massaro arrived in Manchester after two successive Tour defeats to lower-ranked Egyptian Raneem El Weleily.


“I had a couple of bad losses recently, so I was a bit flat,” explained the fourth seed.  “I was 9-5 up tonight in both games and she caught up, and then went 2/1 up – and I thought ‘here we go again’!


“She made me feel I didn’t have any rhythm.  I just had a really bad day – I’m really disappointed as I’ve been working at trying to think about playing and enjoying it.  I feel emotionally as if I’ve lost.”


Later, second seed Alison Waters claimed the last semi-final slot in the women’s competition when she defeated Warwickshire’s Emma Beddoes, the eighth seed from Nottingham, 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 in 28 minutes.


Londoner Waters is flying high after picking up two WISPA World Tour titles in a row over the past two weeks in the USA.


“I can’t complain,” said the 25-year-old world number five.  “I had a good couple of weeks in America.  I was seeded one in both events, but it was still tough – and my goal was to win both.


“I’m not going to step off when I play Laura tomorrow.  Being in the Nationals semi-finals is always a big occasion,” said the 2008 champion who is hoping to be in the final for the fifth time in six years.

Birthday Girl Perry Celebrates Maiden Bailey Win In British Nationals


Irish champion Madeline Perry celebrated her 33rd birthday in style in the opening women's quarter-final in the British National Squash Championships when she recorded her first ever tournament win over English rival Tania Bailey -  beating the 2006 champion in four games at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.


Bailey, the fifth seed from Lincolnshire still hampered by a long-standing knee injury, took the opening game against the third seed from Banbridge, near Belfast.  But Perry quickly regained the upper hand and after 49 minutes completed her breakthrough 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 victory.


"I hate to keep on going on about my injury, but the main thing tonight is that Madeline played really well - she was on top form and even at my best I would have found it difficult," said 30-year-old Bailey, a former world No4.


"I just wasn't used to playing at that pace - it's mainly my confidence.  I just didn't feel comfortable on that court.


"I definitely enjoyed the match, however - but there are so many things to work on. 


"I so much want to say that I'm feeling good and playing well - but my body isn't quite quick enough.  However, there are more positives to be taken out of the match than negatives!"


Perry, who has only ever beaten the Lincolnshire lass once before - in a Premier League match when Bailey was forced to retire injured - was happy to have won:  "She's still so strong and determined - I knew it was going to be tough.  I'm just relieved to get through."


The world No8 was playing her first tournament on the National Centre's all-glass showcourt since recording her career-best win over world number Nicol David in last year's British Open.


"This is my special court now.  I was pretty determined to win again after that memorable win last time," said the birthday girl.


"I find it tough to play Tania, so I knew I needed to stick in, try to keep her under pressure but play a basic game,  I tend to get drawn into her game too easily."


Perry, now in her third semi in four years, will play title-holder Jenny Duncalf after the favourite from Harrogate in Yorkshire cruised to an 11-5, 11-8, 11-2 win over Lauren Briggs, the sixth seed from Essex, in 23 minutes.


Duncalf is playing her first national event since recording two stunning victories on the WISPA World Tour over Nicol David, the Malaysian who has dominated the women's game since 2006. 


"I'm happy with the way I am playing at the moment - but the main thing is to keep that momentum going.  But those wins did give me confidence - and extra belief in myself," explained the 27-year-old world No3.


"But I've got a tough match coming up now against Madeline in the semi-finals - and I'm looking forward to that," added Duncalf, who has met the Irish number one in past three National championships.


In the opening men's quarter-final, Jonathan Kemp found himself two points away from a sensational straight games upset which would have seen the Shropshire lad make the semi-finals for the first time. 


The Halifax-based 28-year-old and fellow left-hander Adrian Grant have faced each other regularly since first meeting in the British Junior U16 Nationals' semi-finals in 1996 - with world No10 Grant boasting a 7-1 head-to-head lead.


And Londoner Grant, the fourth seed, ground out his eighth win tonight, beating seventh seed Kemp 5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-3 in 70 minutes to claim his fourth successive berth in the semi-finals.


"The standard's very high - Kempy's ranked in the twenties so there are no easy games at this stage," said relieved winner Grant.  "I couldn't find my rhythm for the first game and a half, but that was Kempy not letting me settle. 


"I got into it later on, but it was never easy, we were both looking to take control of the middle and hunting the volley.  It was maybe a bit scrappy, but I'll take a scrappy win!"


In the final match of the day, event favourite Nick Matthew took the first two games against close friend Alister Walker - then had a shock when the fifth-seeded underdog battled back to take the third and build up a 5-2, then 9-8, lead in the fourth.


But defending champion Matthew chased down everything that Walker could throw at him and ultimately clinched an 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 victory in exactly one hour.


"He's too good now," said world number two Matthew of his opponent, ranked ten places lower.  "He's feisty.


"I was struggling in parts of the game.


"But it is the same in practice - I win the first two games and he wins the third - so I'm used to it," added the 29-year-old from Sheffield.  "I told my Dad I didn't want that to happen again tonight, so I was quite annoyed at dropping that third again.


"Players like Ali are coming to their peak so it gets harder and harder."


Walker, 27, from Leeds, was downcast at the outcome:  "That's three tournaments in a row now where I've lost 12/10 in the fifth to Shabana; had chances against James; and now this one where I had chances again against the world number two.


"Hopefully I'm going to get one soon, I just have to get some consistency.


"I belong on the court with these guys now, I'm as good as them," added the defeated world No12.  "I just need to believe I can beat them.


"It's frustrating, but exciting!"

Barker Sets Up Selby Replay In British Nationals Quarters

Less than a week after losing to his close friend and Essex county team-mate in a PSA World Tour event in Canada, No2 seed Peter Barker will meet sixth seed Daryl Selby for a place in the semi-finals of the British National Squash Championships after both prevailed in straight games in the second round of the country's premier domestic event at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.

While Selby, the world No15 from Witham, eased to an 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 victory over former British Junior champion Adrian Waller in 36 minutes, Londoner Barker, ranked seven in the world, needed two minutes longer to see off the challenge of Leamington Spa-based Chris Ryder, the 10th seed and a former World University champion, 11-4, 11-8, 11-3.

"I know it's going to be tough - we're good friends and he's beaten me the last couple of times," said Barker as he contemplated Friday's quarter-final clash on the state-of-the-art all-glass showcourt at the National Centre.

"Of course, I hope it won't be three times in a row - but he's one of the top guys now, he'll soon be in the world top ten. And on their day, any one of the world's top ten can beat one of the others.

"I'm looking forward to moving onto the glass court - and I hope the fact that I've probably played on it more times than Daryl will give me a bit of an advantage.

"But it'll be who plays better on the day - and I hope it's me," concluded the left-hander.

Two upsets looked to be on the cards when outsiders Joe Lee, from Surrey, and Scot Alan Clyne opened up leads against higher-ranked opponents. But after marathon encounters lasting more than 80 minutes, Leeds-based fifth seed Alister Walker came out on top 13-15, 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9 against Clyne, and eighth seed Joey Barrington, from Glastonbury in Somerset, prevailed 5-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-8 over Lee.

"I started really well and won the first game comfortably - but he started to move better in the second and I lost a bit of width and length," explained 20-year-old Joe Lee after his first appearance in the event's second round.

"But I wasn't far off - and if I'd gone 2/0 up, it could have been a different story. I learned a lot from that. But it was good opportunity to get onto the glass court, so I'm disappointed I didn't make more of it.

"My coach Peter (Genever) told me to take a few gambles - and they paid off, but it was a little too late."

Joey Barrington, ranked 27 in the world, admitted that he had been stretched: "It was tough - but it was great to play him. Now I've got a day to practise on the glass court for my quarter-final against James Willstrop."

Walker's reward for surviving his 82-minute match against 13th seed Alan Clyne is a clash with Nick Matthew, the defending champion who is ranked two in the world.

"That's just what I needed before a likely quarter-final with Nick!" joked the 27-year-old from Gloucestershire as walked off court following his marathon battle.

"I'm just happy to be through, I'm relieved. He's very fit and gets a lot back. It's hard to play good squash on this court - and he played perfectly, he got his tactics absolutely right," added the Botswana-born world No12.

"It's all very well to beat players like (Amr) Shabana and (Gregory) Gaultier, but a winning a title like this would really set you apart. It's a title that everybody covets - it would be really nice to win it."

Nick Matthew, from Sheffield, survived his last sixteen clash shortly afterwards - but again the favourite was tested, this time by Tom Richards, the fast-improving world No34 from Surrey. After losing the first game, ninth seed Richards raced to a 7-2 lead in the second before Matthew steadied the ship and ground out an 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 victory in 51 minutes.

"When I saw the draw, I knew I had the toughest opponent in the second round," said the England number one. "He's steadied up his game a lot - he's got a lot fitter and stronger. He'll be in a top 20 player before long.

"I felt I was in control in the first half of the first game - then it was 50/50."

Halifax-based Jonathan Kemp secured his quarter-final place in the quickest time. The No7 seed from Shropshire took just 24 minutes to overcome Hull's 15th seed Laurence Delasaux 11-5, 11-5, 11-9.

And Londoner Adrian Grant, the Leeds-based fourth seed who was runner-up last year, earned his seventh successive quarter-finals berth by beating Guernsey's Chris Simpson 11-8, 12-14, 11-8, 11-5 in 58 minutes.

There were no shocks in the first round battles in the women's championship - though Emma Beddoes, the Nottingham-based eighth seed, had to fight back from two games down to beat determined Derbyshire outsider Laura Hill 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 in 56 minutes.

"I was 9-3 up in the first and never got another point," said Beddoes, from Warwickshire. "I don't really know what happened, but it's very easy to become too defensive on these courts. Laura's a great retriever and if you don't do something with the ball she's going to hang in and win the point.

"It wasn't the greatest squash and she was hitting a better length than me. I just had to stick in there, I've never made the quarters before so there was no way I was going to go down without a fight.

"I don't get to play on the glass court that much, so it will be brilliant to play on it, and I even get a day off!"

Top seeds Jenny Duncalf and Alison Waters wasted no time in claiming their places in the quarter-finals. Favourite Duncalf, the defending champion from Harrogate, despatched qualifier Deon Saffery, the Welsh number one, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 in 25 minutes, while Londoner Waters needed only 19 minutes to quash Warwickshire qualifier Sarah-Jane Perry 11-1, 11-4, 11-3.Willstrop Survives Opening Encounter In Manchester British Nationals
Just two days after a shoulder injury forced his retirement in the final of the Swedish Open, Yorkshireman James Willstrop came through the men's first round match in the British National Squash Championships in Manchester unscathed when he beat Irish champion John Rooney in straight games at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity.

Willstrop Survives Opening Encounter In Manchester British Nationals

After a nervous start, the two-time champion from Leeds began to impose himself on the game against Rooney, and went on to defeat the unseeded Irishman 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 in 38 minutes.
"It was great, under the circumstances - at first I was very tentative but I came through it OK," said the 26-year-old third seed. "I've done everything I can since Sunday - mostly intense work with my physio Alison in Leeds, trying to get things in my body back in place!
"But these things happen in squash - and there's no reason why you can't turn things round. Now I can forget about it and get on with it - it's good to erase some of the doubts."
Willstrop was being supported between games by England High Performance Coach David Campion. "It was good to have my brother with me - he's been through it as well. He knows the psychology of injury!"
Willstrop will now face Welshman Nic Birt, the only unseeded player to make it through to the last 16. The 28-year-old from Newport was heading back to Cardiff last night to resume his coaching duties after losing in the qualifying finals when he received a call from the organisers offering him a place in the first round as a 'lucky loser'.
Birt's luck continued today when he beat qualifying winner Phil Rushworth, also a coach, from Yorkshire, 11-9, 11-2, 10-12, 15-13 in a 73-minute marathon.
Earlier in the day top-seeded Yorkshireman Nick Matthew, the world number two, successfully began the defence of his title when he beat Shropshire qualifier Andrew Birks in straight games.
The 29-year-old from Sheffield took just 29 minutes to defeat Birks, a 22-year-old from Telford making his maiden appearance in the event, 11-3, 11-7, 11-4 as he bids to win his third title since 2006.
"Ever since I first played in the Nationals, it has been a priority event for me - in the early days, a good opportunity to get the scalp of a top player, just like my opponent today was trying to do," explained the England number one.
"It's a big thing to be the National Champion!
"It shows the standard of the event that I'll probably face Tom Richards tomorrow in the second round - a player who's pushing to get into the world's top 30. I'll have to up my level."
Matthew arrived in Manchester fresh from winning the Swedish Open for the second year in a row, beating England team-mate James Willstrop in the ill-fated final.
"It's good to get the cobwebs out of the system after a day of travelling. Andrew impressed me - he worked hard throughout the game, with no cheap shots," Matthew continued.
"After a tough period at the end of last year, I needed some time off over Christmas - so when I played in New York, I felt I was lacking a bit. But I felt a lot better in Sweden - and got better each day, even though the final was a bit of an anti-climax. So hopefully I have benefitted from the time off."
Matthew revealed that he has two major goals after defending his National crown: "My two targets this year are to do well in the Commonwealth Games and to reach number one in the world."
Two England 'veterans', both of whom made their debut in the 1987 championships, enjoyed differing fortunes at the National Squash Centre today.
Stephen Meads, the 1995 champion from Berkshire, was celebrating his 22nd appearance in the event - having only missed one year, 1993, since his debut. But the 39-year-old from Wokingham only lasted half a game against rising star Tom Richards - the ninth seed who was just one year old when Meads began his Nationals' run - when he suffered a back spasm after 10 minutes with the score standing at just 5-3.
On an adjacent court, 37-year-old Simon Parke was two points away from celebrating a stunning upset in his 50th match in the championships. The Yorkshireman, three times a finalist and winner of the trophy in 1998, fought back from 6-10 down to win the first game against seventh seed Jonathan Kemp - then secured the second before being poised at nine-all in the third.
But Shropshire lad Kemp's superior fitness eventually came into play as the Halifax-based 28-year-old summoned up a 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 victory after 62 minutes.
"It's always good to play Parkey - I enjoyed the whole match," said Kemp immediately afterwards. "I was in control in the first game and 10-6 up when he just decided to go for it. And even when I was ahead in the fifth, he never gave up.
"I was impressed - I didn't think he'd be able to play like that. That was his big match."
When reminded that his opponent first competed in the event in 1987, Kemp retorted: "I was six then - it's clear he's got more experience than I have!
"It's the first serious match I've played since December as I decided to concentrate on training over the past couple of months. Hopefully, now I've played a match, I'll remember how to play squash properly," concluded the world No21.
Parke was delighted with his performance: "I nearly got him! I've been playing quite well recently - but that was probably the best I've played for about a year. I definitely had the chance to take him - but just didn't have enough in the end."
Rueing the fact that he leaves the event empty-handed, as prize money starts with second round losers, Parke continued: "It's the only time I've had to pay £22.50, and my petrol money, for the honour of competing in the Nationals - so I needed to get my money's worth!
"I was disappointed not to be one of the top 16 seeds - and thought long and hard before deciding to play.
"And then I almost took out a top eight seed - so I think I proved myself!"

Rushworth Leads Qualifying Group Into British Nationals' Main Draw
Phil Rushworth became the first qualifier to claim a place in the men's main draw of the British National Squash Championships when he beat fellow Yorkshireman Sam Wileman in straight games in today's (Monday) qualifying finals at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.
The 26-year-old Bradford-born coach, now based in Surrey, despatched Leeds-based Wileman 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 in just 22 minutes.
"It's my second time in the main draw, but I got a 'lucky loser' last time, so it's good to get there properly this time," said a jubilant Rushworth.
There were mixed successes for 22-year-old Telford twins Andrew and Richard Birks. Andrew Birks, ranked 221 in the world, recorded a significant upset when he recovered from a game down to beat Sussex's 21-year-old world No 142 Tom Pashley 10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 to earn his first appearance in the main draw.
But Richard was unable to join him, beaten later 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8 by Oxfordshire's Dominic Hamilton, a 30-year-old based in Leeds who is celebrating his first time in the main draw at only his second attempt.
Hamilton, who was raised in Bradford but later moved to Oxford and ultimately played for the county, hoped to be drawn to play Nick Matthew, the top seed and defending champion. "We used to play on Yorkshire junior teams together, and I beat him when I was 12. He's got a bit better since then, but it would be good to play him again!"
Chris Hall, a Surrey-born 22-year-old who is based in Kenilworth, earned his first appearance in the main draw at his fifth attempt since 2004 when he beat Yorkshireman Andrew Widdison 11-8, 11-8, 11-9.
When asked to explain his mysterious recent absence from the circuit, Hall explained: "I was at University until last July, and now I coaching full time at three clubs in Warwickshire. But I'm starting to play some tournaments again."
A pair of Scots battling for places in the main draw enjoyed mixed results: Stuart Crawford, from Edinburgh, went down 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 to Merseyside's Stephen Siveter - but 23-year-old Jamie MacAulay, also from Edinburgh, beat Welshman Nic Birt 11-4, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8.
But Aberdeen-born MacAulay must now face another Scot in his maiden appearance in the British championships after being drawn to meet 13th seed Alan Clyne.
The final men's qualifying match produced the only local player to survive the 64-man qualifying draw when Manchester's Peter Billson defeated Yorkshireman James Earles 11-6, 8-11, 11-3, 11-2 in 39 minutes to earn his sixth successive appearance in the event's main draw.
The 29-year-old's reward is a first round clash with another Yorkshireman, Laurence Delasaux, the 24-year-old No 15 seed from Hull.
Billson Leads Local Interest In British Nationals' Qualifying

Peter Billson leads local interest in the men's qualifying competition of the British National Squash Championships after beating Dorset's Michael Hopkins in the first qualifying round of the country's leading domestic championships at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.
The Manchester-based 29-year-old, aiming to make the main draw for the sixth year in succession, battled for 43 minutes to overcome Hopkins 11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5.
The unranked Billson now faces Nottingham's 15-year-old Ollie Holland, the British Junior U117 champion ranked 368 in the world, for a place in the qualifying finals.
Cheshire's Adam Murrills will also compete in the second qualifying round after beating Darren Vickery 11-7, 11-3, 11-5. The 19-year-old former England junior international from Bowden will now take on fellow 19-year-old Joshua Harris, from County Durham.
Yorkshire's world number two Nick Matthew heads a star-studded men's field competing for the title of 2010 British National Champion. The 29-year-old defending champion from Sheffield boosted his chances of success for the second year in a row today when he won the prestigious Swedish Open title after beating fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop in the final.
The top two world-ranked Englishmen are expected to line up in next Sunday's British Nationals' final - but some doubt may now be cast on this dream final after Willstrop was forced to retire from the Swedish Open climax suffering with a shoulder injury.


Duncalf & Waters Set To Meet In Third British Nationals Final

Yorkshire's Jenny Duncalf and Londoner Alison Waters – ranked three and five, respectively in the world – are set to meet in the women's final of the British National Squash Championships in Manchester this month for the third time in the past three years, according to the draw.
The 2010 British National Squash Championships will take place at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity from 9-14 February.
Both women are at the top of their game: Defending champion Duncalf, winner of the title in 2007 and 2009, leapt to a career-high No2 in the world rankings in December after two successive wins over the sport's most dominant woman Nicol David, the Malaysian who has topped the rankings since August 2006.
Meanwhile Alison Waters, champion in 2008 and bidding to reach the final for the fifth time since 2005, has already notched up one WISPA World Tour title this year and – after hitting a career-best world No5 ranking this month - believes she is "playing some of the best squash I have played".
Favourite Duncalf opens her 2010 campaign against a qualifier – and is set to face 11-times Irish champion Madeline Perry, the third seed, in the semi-finals. The 32-year-old from Banbridge, near Belfast, also boasts a win over Nicol David – on the same National Squash Centre all-glass court, during last year's British Open – and ended a 45-month losing run by beating Duncalf in the Premier League last November.
Second seed Waters also lines up against a qualifier in the first round – and will expect a tough test in the semi-finals against England team-mate Laura Massaro, the fourth seed from Preston in Lancashire who will no doubt be the crowd's favourite.
World No2 Matthew & ToC Champion Willstrop Kept Apart In Nationals' Draw

A repeat of last year's historic British Open final between Englishmen Nick Matthew and James Willstrop is the dream prospect of the climax of next month's British National Squash Championships in Manchester, according to the men's draw.

The Yorkshiremen and England team-mates' rivalry is the liveliest talking point in British squash since the pair fell out after their acrimonious British Open clash on the National Squash Centre's all-glass court last September.

Matthew won the title and went on to reach two in the world rankings - while this week Willstrop celebrated one of the biggest title triumphs of his career by winning the celebrated Tournament of Champions crown in New York following successive defeats of three Egyptian world number ones - Amr Shabana, Karim Darwish and Ramy Ashour.
But while Matthew, from Sheffield, is named as top seed in the British National Championships, world number seven Willstrop is the third seed - behind Londoner Peter Barker, who is ranked one place higher.

However, the draw suggests that Willstrop and Barker will face each other in the semi-finals before the winner reaches a predicted showdown with Matthew in the final.
Nick Matthew begins the defence of his title against a qualifier before a projected quarter-final clash with close friend and England team-mate Alister Walker, the Leeds-based fifth seed from Gloucestershire who is ranked 12 in the world.

Another England team-mate is likely to stand in the 29-year-old Yorkshireman's way in the semi-finals - fourth seed Adrian Grant, the world No10 from London whom he beat in last year's final.

Tournament of Champions champion Willstrop, 26, from Leeds, takes on Irish champion John Rooney in the opening round before a possible quarter-final meeting with eighth seed Joey Barrington, son of the illustrious squash legend and former national champion Jonah Barrington.

Peter Barker opens his campaign against Derbyshire's Joel Hinds and would be expected to reach fellow Essex player Daryl Selby, the sixth seed, in the last eight.
The 2010 British National Squash Championships will take place at the National Squash Centre in Manchester from 9-14 February.