As Nick Matthew claims a record seventh title, Sarah Jane Perry stuns Laura Massaro to win her first
By Squash Mad Reporter
As Nick Matthew collected his seventh national title in Manchester, Sarah-Jane Perry claimed her first.
This was an occasion when the women’s final overshadowed the men’s. Matthew completed a straight-games victory over Daryl Selby, but Perry battled for 80 minutes to overcome former world champion Laura Massaro.
Having beaten reigning champion Alison Waters 3-2 in the semi-finals, this was Perry’s arrival at the top table.
A delighted Perry said: “I’ve beaten two players that I’ve never beaten before back to back and they are both in the top five in the world so I’m pretty proud of myself.”
It was a close affair in the opening game as Massaro and Perry traded points to reach a 10-10 tie break before the 24 year old broke clear to take the game 12/10. The second game was equally tight but Perry was able to push ahead and win the critical points to take a 2-0 lead.
In trademark fashion, Massaro battled back to win the next two games to draw level and take the match to a decider.
However, Warwickshire’s Perry wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip and raced to a 9-5 lead in the final game before taking a memorable win in front of a capacity crowd at the National Squash Centre.
“I said to myself be confident, trust your skills and go get it. I’ve had three five game matches in three days so it is pretty tough but that’s what we train for. I’m off to Toronto on Tuesday so not much time to celebrate!
“This is a very special achievement for me and hopefully it won’t be my last title,” added Perry.
It was a relatively straightforward victory for Matthew, who outpowered Essex’s Selby 11-5, 11-3, 11-2.
Matthew said: “It was a massive goal of mine to break the record, I’ve learnt a lot from the names on the trophy both men and women. I watched Cassie train when I was growing up so it means a lot to me to break the record.
“Daryl’s never beaten so I had to keep going. Even at 8-1 up in the final game I had to block out my emotion and stay focused.
“The win has made me feel young again, I’m always striving to improve and want to thank my team for helping me to keep at the top.”
National Championships, Manchester:
[3/4] Sarah-Jane Perry (Warwickshire) bt  Laura Massaro (Lancs) 12/10, 11/9, 7/11, 10/12, 11/7 (80m)
 Nick Matthew (Yorks) bt [3/4] Daryl Selby 11/5, 11/3, 11/2 (45m)
For more information visit: www.nationalsquashchamps.net
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)