Qualifier faces all-Essex quarter-final with Daryl Selby
By NATHAN CLARKE
Tournament qualifier Richie Fallows pulled off what he described as his ‘biggest ever win’ as he overcame a gap of 49 places on the PSA World Rankings to dispatch fellow Englishman and World No.31 Tom Richards on the opening day of action at the 2016 AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix.
Fallows had to come through two testing qualification battles just to reach the main draw of the PSA M70 tournament taking place at the National Squash Centre, Manchester, and the 21-year-old managed to hold off any big-stage nerves to complete a 3-1 victory that sees him set up a quarter-final encounter with World No.16 Daryl Selby.
Playing on the front foot and with an aggressive style Fallows recovered from dropping the opening game to complete the win, which sees him become the first qualifier to reach the quarter-final stage of this tournament since 2011.
“To beat someone like Tom, who I’ve seen from a young age, means everything to me,” said Fallows.
“Staying in the moment was so important. I had to not worry about my opponent and just focus on my own game and I’m really pleased. I’m looking forward to the quarters now, Daryl is a good mate and a fellow Essex-man, so hopefully it will be good especially because the crowd really get behind you here.”
Joining Fallows as a surprise quarter-finalist is Manchester-based Malaysian Nafiizwan Adnan after the 30-year-old produced a superb fightback to overturn a two-game deficit against England’s Chris Simpson to emerge triumphant after a punishing 96 minute battle.
Simpson stormed out of the traps and charged into a 2-0 lead as Adnan failed to respond to the 29-year-old’s brilliance but a change in intensity saw the Malaysian surge back into contention and he took the next three games without reply to complete a 4-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 triumph, which will see him face World No.1 Gregory Gaultier in the next round.
Pictures by PATRICK LAUSON
“I’m really, really glad I won, at 2-0 down I was just telling myself it’s all about me, he [Simpson] was really good in the first and second, but I gave him that opportunity,” said Adnan.
“In the third, fourth and fifth I just kept pushing, and in the fourth I got a cramp, but that didn’t stop me, I just carried on. It’s all about passion, I’m a player that plays in the quicksand, I slow it down and make them hurry and that has worked for me. A win is a win, it’s not about how long it takes.”
Meanwhile top English hopes James Willstrop, Daryl Selby and three-time World Champion Nick Matthew came through their first round encounters courtesy of straight-forward 3-0 victories, with Matthew, who is aiming to lift this title for the fourth time in his career, negotiating a potentially tricky affair with wildcard Joel Makin.
“I’m so happy to still be playing at the level that I am at this stage of my career,” said Matthew.
“Manchester is a happy hunting ground for me and I have a lot of great memories here, but I’m trying to start each week fresh and take it one round at a time, but I am here to try and win it and I’m not here to just make the final.
“I don’t know how many of these events I’ve got left ,so I’ve got to enjoy it, do my best and focus on my own game and see where that takes me.”
2016 AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix, Manchester, England.
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 (32m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt  Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-2: 4-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (96m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Declan James (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-6 (40m)
 Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-2 (43m)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [Q] Joshua Masters (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 (38m)
[Q] Richie Fallows (ENG) bt  Tom Richards (ENG) 3-1: 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9 (50m)
 Max Lee (HKG) bt [Q] Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 11-6 (39m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [WC] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 (52m)
Tickets for the 2016 AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix are available to purchase on the door.
More information regarding the 2016 AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix can be found at: www.ajbellsquashgrandprix.com
Pictures by PATRICK LAUSON