7:58 am
23 Jun 2024

England World Heroes Shine In Sheffield

16 Dec 2007

Within three days of successfully retaining the Men's World Team Championship title with a stunning victory over Australia in India, England squash heroes Nick Matthew, James Willstrop and Peter Barker were back to their winning ways in Saturday's first round of the Mamut English Open in Sheffield.

England No1 Nick Matthew, the US Open champion playing in his home city, scored the day's most emphatic win when he crushed compatriot Alex Stait, a qualifier from Manchester, 11-6, 11-2, 11-1 in just 23 minutes.

Fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop - who levelled the world final after Matthew went down in the opening match against former world champion David Palmer - battled to an 11-5, 11-10 (5-3), 4-11, 11-6 win over Italian No1 Davide Bianchetti in 58 minutes.

"I always knew it was going to be a tough match - I really had to dig in and fight as hard as I could," said the 24-year-old world No6 from Pontefract.

Peter Barker, the world championship debutant who clinched the world title for England by winning the decider in Chennai, faced fellow Essex player Daryl Selby at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. The 24-year-old world No13 won 11-5, 11-10 (3-1), 11-7 in 60 minutes to set up a surprise quarter-final clash with another fellow Englishman Chris Ryder, a qualifier.

The World University champion from Wolverhampton recovered from a game down to upset Welshman Alex Gough, the fifth seed, 6-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-1, 10-11 (2-4), 11-10 (5-3) in 69 minutes - in the event's biggest opening day shock.

"That's definitely my best result, by some distance," said Ryder, ranked 12 places below Gough, a World Open quarter-finalist earlier in the month. "It's one of the biggest tournaments I've had a big win in - I can't ask for more!"

Another upset later in the day saw Jonathan Kemp become the fifth Englishman to claim a place in the 5-star PSA Tour event's quarter-finals. The unseeded 26-year-old from Telford in Staffordshire twice had to come from behind to oust Bradley Ball, the eighth seed from Ipswich, 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5 in 42 minutes.

Kemp now faces second seed Nick Matthew in one of two all-English quarter-finals.

1st round:
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Davide Bianchetti (ITA) 11-5, 11-10 (5-3), 4-11, 11-6 (58m)
[7] Renan Lavigne (FRA) bt [Q] Scott Handley (ENG) 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (30m)
[4] Peter Barker (ENG) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-5, 11-10 (3-1), 11-7 (60m)
[Q] Chris Ryder (ENG) bt [5] Alex Gough (WAL) 6-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-1, 10-11 (2-4), 11-10 (5-3) (69m)
[6] Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 (27m)
[3] John White (SCO) bt [Q] Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 (32m)
Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt [8] Bradley Ball (ENG) 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5 (42m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Alex Stait (ENG) 11-6, 11-2, 11-1 (23m)