9:02 am
15 Jul 2024

Barrington Edged Out In British Open Thriller

1 Nov 2004

Hopes of a second generation of Barrington successes in the world's most famous squash tournament ended after 87 minutes of gruelling action today at the Nottingham Squash Club when Frenchman Renan Lavigne emerged triumphant over England's Joey Barrington in five games in the first round of the Harris British Open.

It was 24 years ago that the legendary Jonah Barrington, Joey's father, last played in the tournament in which he achieved a record sixth title in 1973.

Barrington junior had qualified for the Open at his fourth attempt less than 24 hours earlier, in a match lasting 88 minutes - and would have relished a longer gap before his first round encounter against the 13th seed from Marseille.

After losing the first game, the 24-year-old from Glastonbury in Somerset won the second, but fell behind 2-7 in the third. "I started to think a bit more and play better rallies," said Barrington later. "I pushed hugely at that point in the game and saved two game balls to go 2/1 up - but it took a lot out of me and after about 75 minutes I was very, very tired.

"I am at the stage of my career when I am having to qualify for the big events, so I am used to the business of going straight into the first round after demanding preliminary matches, but I could certainly have done with an extra day's break - I must try and get my opponents off court more quickly in future," added Barrington after his 11-8 4-11 10-11 11-2 11-3 defeat.

Lavigne, who like Barrington used to be based at the host Nottingham club, now meets fellow Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the eighth seed from Aix-en-Provence. In his maiden appearance in the British Open, Gaultier took 70 minutes to quash Welshman Alex Gough, another ex-Nottingham player, 11-10 3-11 11-9 11-6.

The final men's match of the day was also the shortest - Yorkshire favourite Lee Beachill coasting to a straight games win over South Africa's Rodney Durbach in his first PSA Tour match on home soil as world No1.

"It was almost my perfect match," said Beachill, who suffered an abductor strain in his right leg in a non-ranking event just over a week ago, causing fears that he might have to withdraw from the Harris-sponsored event.

"I was more than happy with my movement throughout the match and wasn't aware of any problems at all," said the 26-year-old from Pontefract, who now faces his close friend and club-mate James Willstrop in the second round on the all-glass court at the Albert Hall in Nottingham on Tuesday.

"Once you get to the second round of the British Open, all matches are tough," conceded Beachill when asked about his next match. "But I admit that I would rather not be playing James at this stage of the event - and I'm sure he feels just the same way - but it's something we're obviously going to have to get used to, more and more."

There were no surprises in the first round of the women's event. Favourite and defending champion Rachael Grinham, the world No1 from Australia, cruised to a 9-0 9-5 9-3 victory over England's unseeded Stephanie Brind, from Kent, 9-0 9-5 9-3 to set up a second round match with Manchester's Vicky Botwright, the 12th seed who crushed compatriot Lauren Briggs, a qualifier from Essex, 9-3 9-4 9-1 in 22 minutes.

There was another 22-minute English triumph when Tania Bailey beat Danish qualifier Line Hansen 9-0 9-0 9-3 in her first appearance in the event since reaching the final against the odds two years ago. The 16th seed from Stamford in Lincolnshire, who is fighting back from a series of injury setbacks, now meets Malaysia's seventh seed Nicol David who despatched Canadian qualifier Runa Reta 9-3 9-5 9-2 in 27 minutes.

The remaining first round matches, in the lower halves of both the men's and women's draws, take place at the Nottingham club tomorrow (Monday).

Men's 1st round:
[1] Lee Beachill (ENG) bt Rodney Durbach (RSA) 11-2, 11-3, 11-9 (35m)
[9] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Borja Golan (ESP) 11-4, 11-9, 11-5 (37m)
[7] Joseph Kneipp (AUS) bt Wael El Hindi (EGY) 4-11, 11-6, 11-10 (2-0), 5-11, 11-3 (64m)
[16] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt [Q] Alex Stait (ENG) 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7 (60m)
[3] David Palmer (AUS) bt [Q] Raj Nanda (AUS) 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 (38m)
Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [12] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 11-9, 11-5, 11-10 (2-0) (39m)
[8] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Alex Gough (WAL) 11-10 (2-0), 3-11, 11-9, 11-6 (70m)
[13] Renan Lavigne (FRA) bt [Q] Joey Barrington (ENG) 11-8, 4-11, 10-11 (1-3), 11-2, 11-3 (87m)

Women's 1st round:
[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Stephanie Brind (ENG) 9-0, 9-5, 9-3 (39m)
[12] Vicky Botwright (ENG) bt [Q] Lauren Briggs (ENG) 9-3, 9-4, 9-1 (22m)
[7] Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Runa Reta (CAN) 9-3, 9-5, 9-2 (27m)
[16] Tania Bailey (ENG) bt [Q] Line Hansen (DEN) 9-0, 9-0, 9-3 (22m)
[3] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt Pamela Nimmo (SCO) 9-0, 9-4, 9-2 (26m)
[11] Jenny Tranfield (ENG) bt [Q] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) 10-8, 9-3, 9-0 (55m)
[8] Rebecca Macree (ENG) bt [Q] Engy Kheirallah (EGY) 9-6, 9-6, 9-5 (37m)
[10] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [Q] Manuela Manetta (ITA) 9-0, 9-4, 9-2 (33m)