Rising England stars dazzle in Sheffield final
By SEAN REUTHE
World No.46 Declan James claimed an incredible fourth successive PSA World Tour title with a dramatic 3-2 victory over fellow Englishman George Parker in the final of the Courtcraft Nick Matthew Academy Steel City Open, PSA M10 tournament.
Nottingham-born James came through a gruelling five-game-thriller with compatriot Richie Fallows in the semi-final while Parker caused a big upset in his last four clash, coming back from a two-game deficit to down second seed Jaymie Haycocks.
James took the opener 11-8 in a highly-charged first game which delighted the crowd at the Hallamshire Tennis and Squash Club but Parker, who was celebrating breaking into the world’s top 100, battled back impressively to restore parity.
World No.98 Parker then took a surprise lead in the third as an exciting game finished with an 11-8 result in the number seven seed’s favour.
James, who is in the midst of some of his greatest ever form, amassed three game balls in game four but Parker showed great tenacity as he drew level. A number of mammoth rallies then played out with James narrowly winning 14-12 to send the match into a climactic fifth game.
An absorbing start saw the game finely poised at 5-5 but top seed James pulled away to seal an 11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 14-12, 11-6 victory, bringing a stunning spectacle to an end and lifting his eighth PSA World Tour crown in the process.
“It was a brutal final against George today,” said James. “I just managed to come out on top at the end but was made to work seriously hard for it. It was a good fight.”
Result – Courtcraft Nick Matthew Academy Steel City Open 2015
 Declan James (ENG) bt  George Parker (ENG) 3-2:11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 14-12, 11-6 (84m)
Pictures by TREVOR DAVIES