Sunday, July 14, 2024

Daryl Selby sinks Joe Lee in marathon opening match at Canary Wharf

Daryl Selby in action against Joe Lee
Daryl Selby in action against Joe Lee

England veterans Selby and Matthew see off young challengers  
By LEE HORTON and ALAN THATCHER at Canary Wharf 


Joe Lee has hopes of becoming the new young English gun on the block but his 77-minute scrap with England veteran Daryl Selby showed that a wise head can still hold sway over young legs.

Lee, 25, from the opposite end of the Thames to Essex man Selby, threw everything he had at the seasoned world number 17 but the the bearded battler never went close to folding, let alone going down.

In a gruelling match-up, Lee had no less than 14 game balls over two games, but managed to take just one. Seven went begging in a marathon second game finishing 17-15 to Selby and the routine looked liked being repeated in the third before the Surrey man took the game at the seventh time of asking 11-9.

Selby’s experience was always going to dictate play and the 32-year-old controlled a nervy opening game forcing Lee to ‘tin’ six times as he took it 11-7. It was a similar story, and score, in the crucial fourth after Lee had spent his energies over the attritional second and third.

Afterwards Selby played tribute to his younger opponent recognising that a changing of the guard is imminent.
“Joe is among a group of players waiting in the wings ready to take over from Nick, James Pete and myself. I’m lucky enough to train a lot with the younger players can see their potential. I’m hoping they can learn from the current incumbent of top players and take their game to a new level.

“Joe breezed through the qualifiers with a couple of 3-0 wins so I knew he would be relatively fresh. I thought that long second game would have hurt him but to his credit he came back brilliantly to deservedly take the third. It was a tough battle for sure but I’m glad to be through to Wednesday’s quarters.”

Despite the result, Lee was not too despondent. He said: “Of course I’m disappointed to lose, but I felt I played well for large parts of the match.

“It was irritating to lose that second game after having held so many game balls. It wasn’t like I was under pressure when I made those mistakes, but I had some very good advice between games from Robbie Temple after that.

Borja Golan has LJ Anjema at full stretch
Borja Golan has LJ Anjema at full stretch

“He told me to attack with pace at the start of the third game and that tactic worked very well. I built a good lead and held it all the way and that was a very good spell for me. But Daryl came back strongly in the fourth and showed his vast experience of playing in tournaments like this.”

Selby will face Spaniard Borja Golan next after the man from Pilgrimage city Santiago de Compostella kept faith with his high-octane, attacking style to take out Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema 3-1.

The third seed rattled through the first two in quick-time and completed the job 11-7, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7 after Anjema staged a spirited comeback in the third, but failed to build on that in the fourth.

Golan said: “I have been getting some really tough first round draws recently, with LJ here and Nick Matthew in Chicago. LJ beat me in China at the start of the season and has only just started playing again after injury.

“He made his comeback in Chicago three weeks and I couldn’t believe how much he has improved in that time. I was very happy to get the win on this beautiful new court.”

Nick Matthew leaps off the floor to volley against Eddie Charlton
Nick Matthew leaps off the floor to volley against Eddie Charlton

NICK MATTHEW is in danger of becoming an honorary Londoner, such is affection for picking up titles in the capital.

For a proud Yorkshireman, Dockland is one of his favourite hunting ground with four Canary Wharf Classic PSA titles already safely in the bank. And a fifth victory in six years appears a decent bet with the top seed and current world number three looking ominously sharp.

The three times former world champion opened his account in clinical style last night disposing of training partner Eddie Charlton. 

Charlton was handed a wild-card entry into the tournament, and gave a good account of himself before a packed crowd at the East Wintergarden. 

Charlton showed the kind of determination that would have earned the respect of his opponent, refusing to lie down in the closing stages of the third game and battling throughout a phenomenally long rally as Matthew finally won it in the front of the court to move to match ball.

The proceedings were over in 38 minutes with Matthew winning 11-4, 11-5, 11-7. He’ll face tougher battles ahead but it would be a brave man to suggest his domination of the event won’t be as watertight.

Matthew said: “It was important to get a good start at the beginning of each game. It was nice and warm on this brilliant new court and it’s always great to see this fabulous venue full up on the opening day.”

When asked about his recent form, he added: “It shows that if you look after yourself there is no reason why you can’t carry on playing well into your thirties.” It was a comment that clearly struck a chord with an audience full of enthusiastic squash players.

And when discussing the fact that he and James Willstrop have each won the Canary Wharf title four times, he quickly responded: “I’m saying it’s 4-2 to me because the first two years were non-PSA. Seriously, though, it took me a while to play well in this tournament and those first two years had most of the top eight players in the world competing.”

Fares Dessouki on the attack against Adrian Waller
Fares Dessouki on the attack against Adrian Waller

Matthew will now enjoy a well-earned rest day before his quarter-final appearance on Wednesday. Matthew will face the hugely talented 20-year-old Fares Dessouki, who powered his way past England’s Adrian Waller in straight games.

Dessouki won 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 in 34 minutes of high-quality, attacking squash. He hunted down the volleys, and buried plenty of crosscourt nicks in the front right corner.

He thoroughly enjoyed his Canary Wharf debut and said: “This is a wonderful venue, with a big crowd, and it’s a great place to play squash. I knew it would be a hard match against such a talented player as Adrian.

“He can control rallies if you let him and it felt good to get that result, Now I am looking forward to playing Nick in the quarter-finals and hope I can do well.”

Canary Wharf Classic, East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf, London.

First round:
(6) Daryl Selby (Eng) beat (Q) Joe Lee 11-7, 17-15, 9-11, 11-7 (77 mins)
(3) Borja Golan (Spain) beat Laurens Jan Anjema (Netherlands) 11-7, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7 (64 mins)
(1) Nick Matthew (Eng) beat Eddie Charlton (Eng) 11-4, 11-5, 11-7 (38 mins)
(8) Fares Dessouki (Egypt) beat Adrian Waller (England) 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 (34 mins).
Tuesday – Round One, Bottom Half:
[7] Max Lee (HKG) v Mazen Hesham (EGY)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [2] Peter Barker (ENG)
[4] Simon Rösner (GER) v Lucas Serme (FRA)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v [5] James Willstrop (ENG)


Pictures by BRYAN LINTOTT 


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