Saturday, March 2, 2024

Top seeds march on in Manchester

Nick Matthew turns on the power against Ashley Davies

Nationals shock as Haycock halts Coleman
By DONNA HELMER in Manchester


Tournament favourites Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro cruised through their first round matches as they began their quest to defend their Nationals titles.

Matthew overcame qualifier Ashley Davies, a regular training partner in Sheffield, while Massaro comfortably dispatched Deon Saffery at the National Squash Championships in Manchester.

Thursday brought the first glimpse into the main hall and the all-glass show court, with three-time champion Massaro first to take to the court. She required just 24 minutes to beat Saffery, of Wales, 11/2, 11/6, 11/3.

Alison Waters [2], who has four Nationals titles to her name, Sarah-Jane Perry and Emily Whitlock [3/4] all also advanced to the quarter finals with ease but two-time tournament winner Jenny Duncalf [5/8] was taken to a fifth in her match against World No.35 Millie Tomlinson, emerging victorious after 62 minutes, 11/8, 7/11, 11/5, 6/11, 11/7.

Jenny commented, “That was a bit of a scrap. We play different games, Millie plays a lot of length and I like to go short more, so finding the right balance between attack and defence is tricky, and I was maybe trying to force it too much at times.”

Meanwhile, Nick Matthew is on the hunt for a record ninth title at the competition, sponsored by Blowers Jewellers. His opponent Ashley Davies, of Derbyshire, came through a five-game thriller against England Squash Academy player George Parker on Wednesday evening. World No.4 Matthew only required three to seal the first round tie, winning 11/7, 11/2, 11/7 in 37 minutes.

Yorkshire’s James Willstrop [2] also advanced to the quarter finals, beating qualifier Mark Fuller, of Nottinghamshire, 11/5, 11/8, 11/5 in 31 minutes.

The day’s main upset came between 5/8 seed Ben Coleman and Jaymie Haycocks, of Warwickshire, with the unseeded player needing 49 minutes to claim a 7/11, 11/9, 11/6, 11/3 victory and reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 13 attempts.

“I just had to battle my way into the match, trying to break him out of his rhythm, and thankfully I managed to get back into it.” Haycocks said. “I knew he’d been out for a while so I tried to make it hard and it paid off. Really pleased to be through to the quarters for the first time.”

A final between two of the most exciting veterans in the game remained on course in the men’s over-45s after seven-time masters champion and former over-35s British Open winner Nick Taylor [1] and former World No.2 Peter Marshall both advanced through to the quarter finals on Friday. They will be joined by England Squash’s Senior National Coach David Campion.

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The men’s over-40s draw went according to seed with Peter O’Hara [1] and Daniel Massaro [2] both safely into the next round.

Meanwhile, top seed Yawar Abbas, of Durham and Cleveland, made it through to the quarter final of the over-50s while there were no upsets in the over-35s or over-70s.

Number two seed Mandy Akin, of Kent, required just 21 minutes to book her place in the quarter finals of the women’s over-50s draw with a 15/1, 15/11, 15/4 win against Bev Vatcher, of Dorset.

Mark Woodliffe [1], of Gloucestershire, will play Neil Harrison [5/8], of Durham and Cleveland, after beating Mark Taylor, of Avon, 11/4, 14/12, 11/3 in the over-55s.

Rustom Bativala, of Warwickshire, the favourite for the men‘s over-60s title, came through a major scare in the second round. After five games – and 59 minutes – he eventually beat Brian Duke, of Durham and Cleveland, with a nervy finish to the fifth and final game. The final score was 13/15, 15/9, 12/15, 15/11, 17/15. Bativala now faces David Clarke, of Surrey, in the quarter finals.

And there were no surprises in the over-65s draw either, with John Rae [1], of Scotland, and second seed Ian Graham [2], of Sussex, both through.

British National Championships, Manchester, England.

Men’s Round One:
[1] Nick Matthew 3-0 [Q] Ashley Davies 11/7, 11/2, 11/7 (37m)
Jaymie Haycocks 3-1 [5/8] Ben Coleman 7/11, 11/9, 11/6, 11/3 (49m)
[5/8] Declan James 3-1 Dougie Kempsell 12/10, 9/11, 11/9, 11/4 (74m)
[¾] Tom Richards 3-0 Richie Fallows 13/11, 12/10, 11/8 (48m)

[¾] Alan Clyne 3-0 [Q] Patrick Rooney 11/9, 11/4, 11/2 (29m)
[5/8] Adrian Waller 3-0 Andy Whipp 11/7, 12/10, 12/10 (34m)
[5/8] Joe Lee 3-1 [Q] Rory Stewart 12/10, 5/11, 11/5, 11/9 (53m)
[2] James Willstrop 3-0 [Q] Mark Fuller 11/5, 11/8, 11/5 (31m)

Women’s Round One:
[1] Laura Massaro 3-0 Deon Saffery 11/2, 11/6, 11/3 (24m)
[5/8] Fiona Moverley 3-1 [Q] Lily Taylor 8/11, 11/5, 11/4, 16/14 (39m)
[5/8] Jenny Duncalf 3-2 Millie Tomlinson 11/8, 7/11, 11/5, 6/11, 11/7 (62m)
[¾] Emily Whitlock 3-0 [Q] Victoria Temple-Murray 11/5, 11/6, 11/4 (23m)

[¾] Sarah-Jane Perry 3-0 [Q] Julianne Courtice 11/4, 11/7, 11/8 (24m)
[5/8] Victoria Lust 3-1 Sarah Campion 9/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/9 (39m)
[5/8] Tesni Evans 3-0 Alison Thompson 11/5, 11/2, 11/2 (26m)
[2] Alison Waters 3-1 [Q] Kace Bartley 11/3, 11/9, 11/5 (20m)

Visit the official website for the full results, draws & photos: The main draw semi-finals and finals will be streamed via the official website. 

Pictures courtesy of England Squash 


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