3:06 am
15 Apr 2024

Matthew Makes It A Record 10th Nationals Final

12 Feb 2017

Yorkshireman Nick Matthew became the first player in the event's 43-year history to reach a 10th final when he defeated England Squash Academy opponent Declan James in straight games in the semi-finals of the Blowers Jewellers British National Championships in Manchester.

The 36-year-old from Sheffield proved too much for 23-year-old James, taking the match 11-6, 11-3, 11-5 in 44 minutes - and is now one win away from a record ninth title.

Matthew had special praise for his opponent. "I've seen the work Declan is putting in here with the England Squash Academy - day-in, day-out - and he has a big future; I just wanted to make sure it doesn't start tomorrow!"

Matthew will face surprise opponent Joe Lee, a 5/8 seed from Surrey. The 27-year-old from Weybridge overcame former junior rival and long-time friend Adrian Waller - also a 5/8 seed and aged 27 - 6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 in 68 minutes in the other semi to reach his maiden Nationals final.

"Everyone had been expecting another match between me and James [Willstrop]," added Matthew. "In some ways, this puts more pressure on me as I'm expected to win. Both Joe and Adrian had a huge opportunity today and it's going to be the match of Joe's life tomorrow."

Reigning champion Laura Massaro will face the in-form Sarah-Jane Perry to decide who takes home the women's trophy

Massaro, the world No.5 from Preston, fought back from a game down against first-time semi-finalist Emily Whitlock to win 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 in 44 minutes

Perry overcame a stern test from four-time champion Alison Waters, opening up a two-game lead before second seed Waters dragged herself back into the game. But Perry ultimately had too much for her England teammate, finishing the match 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7.

The men's Over-45 masters draw served up a treat with seven-time champion Nick Taylor facing former world No.2 Peter Marshall to complete Sunday's line-up on the all-glass show court at the National Squash Centre.

Second seed Marshall, from Nottinghamshire, brought an end to England Squash's Senior National Coach David Campion's run - taking half an hour to win 13-11, 11-4, 11-2.

He will now face Taylor, who has four over-35 and three over-40 titles to his name, after the Jersey-based 45-year-old beat Jamie Goodrich 11-0, 11-7, 11-5 in 20 minutes.

Second seed Ben Ford was eliminated in the semi-finals of the Over-35 championship - beaten 12-10, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4 in 53 minutes by last year's runner-up Darren Lewis. The 37-year-old from Leicester will face top seed Andy Whipp for the title.

Both the O40 & O50 events have gone according to seeding, with Peter O'Hara and Daniel Massaro to contest the final of the over-40s, and Yawar Abbas and Stephen McLoughlin advancing to the other final.

Top seed Mark Woodliffe progressed to the final of the O55 with ease, with an 11-2, 11-5, 11-9 victory over Alan Thomson - and now faces second seed John Parkes in the final.

Neither of the top two seeds will play any part in the final of the O60 event after both were beaten in the semi-finals. Top seed Rustom Bativala lost to Simon Evenden 15-10, 15-11, 15-5, while Stuart Hardy was beaten 15-8, 15-9, 15-8 by 3/4 seed Stephen Johnson.

O65 favourite John Rae was also knocked out in the last four in a match that went down to the wire. 3/4 seed Terry Belshaw won 12-15, 15-9, 15-5, 13-15, 15-7 in 38 minutes and now faces second seed Ian Graham in the final.

Top seeds Philip Ayton and Rodney Boswell will contest the O70 final, with Adrian Wright and Geoff Coe in the final of the O75.

Patrick Kirton must beat Lance Kinder to win the inaugural O80 event, after Malcolm Gilham withdrew from the 4-man round robin draw.

Lauren Briggs [1] and Natalie Lawrence [2] will contest the women's over-35 final.

Rachel Calver, second seed in the O40 event, was defeated 8-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6 by Keeley Johnson - who goes on to face top seed Shayne Baillie for the title.

Andrea Santamaria [1] will play Sam Mueller [2] in the final of the over-45s while Rose Bamber [1] and Fiona McLean [3/4] will contest the final of the over-50s.

Lesley Sturgess [3/4] will play Jill Campion [2] in the final of the over-55s, while the over-60s will be settled by the results of a round robin.