English ace faces world No.1 in first round
By NATHAN CLARKE
England’s World No.16 Daryl Selby will look to maintain his recent fine form when he competes in the Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill between December 8-12 in Weybridge.
Harlow-born Selby reached the final of the inaugural tournament last year, ultimately losing out to compatriot Chris Simpson in the final, but he has made a superb start to the 2016-17 season, ending a four-year PSA World Tour title drought at the Macau Open, before reaching a first World Series semi-final since 2012 at last month’s Qatar Classic.
The 34-year-old, who has now reached three semi-finals in a row after making it to the last four of the Edmonton Open and AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix in the intervening weeks, is full of confidence after his recent performances and says that his goal is to carry his fine form into the tournament held at the St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club.
“I’m fairly over the moon with my recent form. I planned my tournaments and season carefully this year and I think it’s paid off so far,” said Selby
“I put in some really good work again in the summer and that’s showed through the last few weeks. I really just want to try and keep this form up for as long as possible, as I’m aware that it’s difficult over a long period of time.
“We are lucky now that so many people and clubs have been able to put on PSA tournaments in the UK over the last few years. It’s fantastic to see that there is the appetite and demand for it. I love playing on home soil and St.Georges Hill will be no different.”
Selby, who represented the club for 14 years in the Professional Squash League (PSL), will compete in a talented draw which also features big names such as World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy, his brother, World No.6 Marwan, former World No.1 James Willstrop and Colombian World No.13 Miguel Angel Rodriguez.
The increase in prize money – with the $100,000 prize fund a 300 per cent increase on last year – has helped the tournament attract some of the sport’s star names and, despite the draw throwing up a difficult fixture for Selby against Mohamed ElShorbagy in round one, he is encouraged by the growth of the tournament.
“It’s great that the tournament has been able to increase the prize money so quickly, and the quality of the draw shows that,” he said.
“On paper, and in reality, it’s obviously the toughest draw I could have got. But I’ve had some pretty tough draws recently, and I’ve just concentrated on trying to play good squash and not worry about the result. We’ve had some good matches over the last few seasons, and it’s always a good test to play the World No.1.
“I guess I have mixed memories from last year, I’m disappointed not to win, but Chris played well all week and deserved the title. I’m really looking forward to the tournament, I’m sure it will be a great week of squash for the players and the fans.”
Qualification for the 2016 Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill takes place between December 6-7, with the main draw getting under way a day later and running up until the final on December 12.
The tournament is the second biggest PSA World Tour event to take place in Europe after the iconic British Open, and title sponsor Channel VAS has also committed to donating 100 per cent of the ticket sales to children’s charity CLIC Sargent, who offer cancer support for young people.
Tickets for the tournament are priced from £10-£45 and can be booked online here: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/ChannelVASSquash
Main Draw, First round:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
 Borja Golan (ESP) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
 Max Lee (HKG) v Qualifier
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Qualifier
 Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v [WC] Joe Lee (ENG)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Qualifier
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Qualifier
Qualifying First Round:
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 12-10, 5-11, 11-0, 11-7 (40m)
Nathan Lake (ENG) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3 (66m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Matthew Broadberry (ENG) 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 (33m)
Paul Coll (NZL) bt Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 11-4, 11-9, 11-2 (30m)
Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 11-5, 11-6 ret. (16m)
Nicolas Müller (SUI) bt Tristan Eysele (RSA) 11-9, 11-9, 11-4 (28m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 6-11, 11-0, 11-8, 11-6 (53m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Declan James (ENG) 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (37m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v Nathan Lake (ENG)
Lucas Serme (FRA) v Paul Coll (NZL)
Nicolas Müller (SUI) v Charles Sharpes (ENG)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Pictures by PATRICK LAUSON (www.patricklausonphotography.co.uk)