Underdog Joe Lee to face eight-time champion Nick Matthew for Nationals title

2018-01-27T10:05:25+00:00 February 11th, 2017|Categories: 2017, NEWS, Uncategorised|

Unlikely finalist Joe Lee will have the chance to win the British National title against eight-time champion Nick Matthew in Manchester.

Reigning champion Laura Massaro will face the in-form Sarah-Jane Perry to decide who takes home the women’s trophy in the Blowers Jewellers National Squash Championships.

The men’s over-45s masters draw served up a treat with seven-time champion and Nick Taylor [1] facing former World No.2 Peter Marshall [2] to complete the line-up on the all-glass show court at the National Squash Centre.

In the main draw, World No.45 Lee [5/8], 27, of Surrey, overcame his old junior rival and long-time friend Adrian Waller [5/8], also 27, of Middlesex, 6/11, 12/10, 11/8, 11/9 in 68 minutes in the semi-final. He had progressed past twice champion James Willstrop [2] in the previous round, who retired with the match level at 2-2 due to illness.

Lee will face tournament favourite 36-year-old Matthew – a former World No.1, three-time Commonwealth gold medallist, three-time British Open winner and three-time world champion – in the final on Sunday. Matthew faced promising England Squash Academy player Declan James [5/8] in the semi-final. And The veteran proved too much for 23-year-old James, taking the match 11/6, 11/3, 11/5 in 44 minutes to reach his tenth Nationals final.

WATCH: See the finals live online here

Matthew reserved special praise for his opponent. He said: “I’ve seen the work Declan is putting in here with the England Squash Academy day-in, day-out and he has a big future; I just wanted to make sure it doesn’t start tomorrow.”

On his final against Lee, he said: “Everyone has been expecting another match between me and James [Willstrop]. In some ways, this puts more pressure on me as I’m expected to win. Both Joe and Adrian had a huge opportunity today and it’s going to be the match of Joe’s life tomorrow.”

In the women’s draw, three-time champion Massaro [1] fought back from one game down against Emily Whitlock [3/4] for a shot at retaining the trophy she won last year. The final score in the 44-minute match was 7/11, 11/7, 11/4, 11/4.

Massaro will face World No.8 Perry [3/4] in the final, who she beat in the semi-final of the Tournament of Champions last month. Perry overcame a stern test from four-time champion Alison Waters [2] to reach the final, opening up a two-game lead before Waters dragged herself back into the game. But Perry ultimately had too much for her England teammate, finishing the match victorious with a 11/6, 11/8, 9/11, 11/7 scoreline.

Both main draw finals will be streamed live via England Squash’s YouTube channel.

As well as the professionals, there has also been some scintillating squash across all age groups in the masters events. Nottinghamshire’s Peter Marshall brought an end to England Squash’s Senior National Coach David Campion’s [5/8] run towards the final in the over-45s category, requiring half an hour to win 13/11, 11/4, 11/2. He will face Nick Taylor, who has four over-35 and three over-40 titles to his name, after he beat Jamie Goodrich [3/4] 11/0, 11/7, 11/5 in 20 minutes.

Second seed Ben Ford was eliminated in the semi-final of the over-35s by Darren Lewis [3/4] 12/10, 11/6, 7/11, 11/4 in 53 minutes; he will face top seed Andy Whipp for the title on Sunday. Both the over-40s and over-50s draws have gone according to seed, with Peter O’Hara [1] and Daniel Massaro [2] to contest the final of the over-40s draw and Yarwar Abbas [1] and Stephen McLoughlin [2] advancing to the final of the over-50s.

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Top seed Mark Woodliffe advanced to the final of the over-55s with ease, with a 11/2, 11/5, 11/9 victory against Alan Thomson [3/4] that took just 17 minutes. He faces second seed John Parkes in Sunday’s final.

Neither of the top two seeds will play any part in the final of the over-60s after both were beaten in the semi-finals. Top seed Rustom Batilava lost to Simon Evenden 15/10, 15/11, 15/5, while Stuart Hardy [2] was beaten 15/8, 15/9, 15/8 by Stephen Johnson [3/4] in 25 minutes.

And John Rae [1] was also knocked out in the last four of the over-65s in a match that went down to the wire, which was won by Terry Belshaw [3/4] 12/15, 15/9, 15/5, 13/15, 15/7 in 38 minutes. He faces second seed Ian Graham in the final. Top seeds Philip Ayton [1] and Rod Boswell [2] will contest the over-70s final, with Adrian Wright [1] and Geoff Coe [2] in the final of the over-75s. Patrick Kirton must beat Lancelot Kinder to win the over-80s draw, after Malcolm Gilham withdrew from the round robin event.

Lauren Briggs [1] and Natalie Lawrence [2] will contest the women’s over-35 final. Rachel Calver, the over-40 draw’s second favourite, was knocked out in the semi-final 8/11, 11/4, 7/11, 11/6, 11/6 by Keeley Johnson [3/4] in 39 minutes. Johnson faces top seed Shayne Baillie in the final. Andrea Santamaria [1] will play Samantha Mueller [2] in the final of the over-45s while Rose Bamber [1] and Fiona McLean [3/4] will contest the final of the over-50s. Lesley Sturgess [3/4] will play Jill Campion [2] in the final of the over-55s, while the over-60s will be settled by the results of a round robin.