6:41 pm
19 May 2024

Rushworth Leads Qualifying Group Into British Nationals' Main Draw

8 Feb 2010

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 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.

Men's 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)

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)