Big hitters progress through to third round qualifiers

2018-02-13T22:14:15+00:00 February 13th, 2018|Categories: 2018, NEWS, TODAY|Tags: |

By Max Chesterton

The Dunlop British National Championship 2018 qualifiers began on Tuesday with over forty men vying for their place in the main draw.

In the second round of qualifying matches, a number of juniors were pitted against a collection of established players seeking an elusive spot in the main draw.

Charlie Lee, brother of 2017 finalist Joe Lee and son of former World No.30 Danny Lee, made a commanding start to his British National campaign, overcoming Christian Ogden in a 3-0 victory.

The nineteen-year-old breezed to a 11-1, 11-2, 11-0 victory in just 17 minutes to book a place in the qualifying third round against 17-year-old Sheffield-born Nick Wall.

Speaking after the match, Lee said: “It’s nice to play on the main court and get settled into the tournament.”

“It is a chance to show the country what you are about and a chance to challenge yourself against the top players to qualify.

“I want to progress through to the main event and if I could get any further that would be fantastic.

“If I can emulate my brother’s success that would be great. It’s a shame he isn’t playing this year, but if I can do my family proud, that would be amazing.”

Lee’s next opponent Nick Wall, who trains with Nick Matthew, progressed with an 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (27m) victory over Elliot Morris Devred.

Top qualifying seed Patrick Rooney breezed through, completing a 3-0 victory over Liam Gutcher.

Scotland’s Rory Stewart also advanced to the qualifying semis after enduring a challenging match with 16-year-old Simon Herbert.

The Englishman had a 9-4 lead in the first game and a 9-5 lead in the second, before his Edinburgh opponent, seeded 5/8 in qualifying, battled back to earn a 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 win.

Underdog Arron Ken is also into the next round after an intriguing five-game encounter against Robert Thirst, winning 8-11, 11-2, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4 (45m).

After the match, Ken expressed his delight at progressing,

“It’s my first time in the Nationals, I just fancied it this year.

“I am happy with that – I have to play Lyell [Fuller] now, he’s a bit good but I’ll just enjoy this for a while.”

British National Junior champion Kyle Finch also progressed to the next round of the competition after battling to a 3-1 victory over Matt Sidaway.

Elsewhere, Welsh number 3/4 qualifying seed, Emyr Evans also progressed following a tough 11-7, 12-10, 11-7 (42m) victory over Manchester’s Josh Taylor.

The 21-year-old from Cardiff will face Charlie Cowie in his next match after he completed a three-game victory over Dylan Martens.

In other fixtures, Julian Tomlinson, Robert Dadds, Mike Lowery and Richard King each booked their place in the next round of this year’s tournament.

Follow all action with @nationalssquash on Twitter.