Stewart so close to shock win in Nottingham
By DONNA HELMER – Squash Mad Correspondent
England’s Daryl Selby survived an epic scare in the first round of the AJ Bell British National Squash Championships, fighting from 2-0 down to overcome Scotland’s Rory Stewart: 9-11, 12-14, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8.
The pair fought it out on court for a gruelling 87 minutes which saw 2011 champion Selby hold his nerve at 4-9 down in the fourth to book a quarter-final tie against England’s Chris Simpson [5/8].
Speaking after the intense encounter, Selby hailed Stewart as a “dangerous player” but admitted he was pleased with the grit and determination he showed en route to clinching a victory which early on, looked seemingly unlikely.
Tom Richards (Eng) [3/4] also needed five games to see off Patrick Rooney (Eng) after storming back from a two-game deficit to claim a 7-11, 6-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 triumph and set up a last-eight clash with Adrian Waller [5/8].
But there was no early scare for top seed James Willstrop who made quick work of dispatching fellow Englishman Harry Falconer, with the Commonwealth Games gold medalist cruising to a straight game victory in just 22 minutes to set up a quarter-final with Nathan Lake (Eng) [5/8].
“If it’s any consolation to Harry, that’s about as good as a 20 minutes of squash as I’ve ever put together, everything was working – even the lucky shots,” said Willstrop after the game.
Meanwhile, Greg Lobban [5/8] remains the only non-Englishman left in the draw. He will face Richie Fallows (Eng), the only unseeded player to remain in the men’s competition.
The opening day of the women’s draw saw no major upsets as top seed and seven-time finalist Laura Massaro once again underlined her dominance on home turf to book her place in the last eight, overcoming a valiant effort from Scotland’s Alison Thomson with an 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 victory. The four-time champion will face England’s Millie Tomlinson [5/8] in tomorrow’s quarter-final.
Speaking after the match, Massaro said: “I’m pretty happy with my performance overall and I’ll try and build on that tomorrow.
“It was my first competitive match on that court so it was great to get a win under my belt.
“I really want to do well here this year here – I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”
Welshwoman Tesni Evans [3/4] remains on course to defend her British Nationals crown after reaching the quarter-finals with a comprehensive victory over English qualifier Alicia Mead – winning 11-2, 11-2, 11-5 in just 23 minutes.
The result means Evans – who last year became the first Welsh champion in the tournament’s history – could meet Massaro in a repeat of last year’s semi-final.
But first Evans will lock horns with France’s Juliette Courtice [5/8] in the last eight, while second seed Alison Waters (Eng) overcame a feisty challenge from Scotland’s Georgia Adderley 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 to face Fiona Moverley (Eng) [5/8].
Elsewhere in the draw, Kace Bartley overpowered English youngster Lucy Turmel [5/8] in a high-scoring 12-14, 16-14, 11-9, 11-4 encounter to fix a quarter-final tie with Emily Whitlock (Eng) [5/8].
AJ Bell British National Squash Championships 2019, Nottingham, England.
Men’s Round One results:
 James Willstrop (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Harry Falconer (Eng) 11-2, 11-2, 11-2 (22m)
[5/8] Nathan Lake (Eng) 3-0 Robert Downer (Eng) 11-1, 11-4, 11-0 (31m)
[5/8] Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-0 [Q] Nick Wall (Eng) 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (40m)
Richie Fallows (Eng) 3-0 [LL Josh Owen (Eng) 11-4, 13-11, 11-7 ( 28m)
[3/4] Tom Richards (Eng) 3-2 Patrick Rooney (Eng) 7-11, 6-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 (46m)
[5/8] Adrian Waller (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Mark Fuller (Eng) 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (21m)
[5/8] Chris Simpson (Eng) 3-1 Josh Masters (Eng) 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 (51m)
 Daryl Selby (Eng) 3-2 [Q] Rory Stewart (Sco) 9-11, 12-14, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (87m)
Women’s Round One results:
 Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0 Alison Thomson (Sco) 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 (30m)
[5/8] Millie Tomlinson (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Leonie Holt (Eng) 11-5, 11-3, 11-1 (23m)
[5/8] Julianne Courtice (Eng) 3-0 Sarah Campion (Eng) 11-7, 11-6, 17-15 (20m)
[3/4] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-0 [Q] Alicia Mead (Eng) 11-2, 11-2,11-5 (23m)
[3/4] Emily Whitlock (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Elise Lazarus (Eng) 11-7, 11-2, 11-6 (28m)
Kace Bartley (Eng) 3-1 [5/8] Lucy Turmel (Eng) 12-14, 16-14, 11-9, 11-4 (46m)
[5/8] Fiona Moverley (Eng) 3-0 Jasmine Hutton (Eng) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (26m)
 Alison Waters (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Georgia Adderley (Sco) 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (25m)
Report by DONNA HELMER (England Squash). Edited by ALAN THATCHER.
Pictures by STEVE CUBBINS courtesy of England Squash