British Nationals Day Two – Tuesday 12th Feb
Men’s qualifying concluded today at the National Squash Centre, with two more rounds to decide the eight players to join the main draw. Women’s qualifying started, but with only four places available today’s winners will need to win two more matches tomorrow to reach the last sixteen.
It all added up to a busy day at the National Squash Centre …
Men’s Qualifying Finals:
Peter Billson bt Steve London 11/8, 11/4, 11/8 (28m) v Clyne
David Haley bt Tom Ford 11/6, 11/7, 12/10 (29m) v Simpson
Chris Tasker-Grindley bt Rory Pennell 11/7, 11/4, 11/7 (27m) v Charlton
Adam Auckland bt Mark Thomason 11/6, 11/3, 11/3 (19m) v Richards
Alex Ingham bt Nick Wall 12/10, 11/8, 11/8 (42m) v Barker
Dougie Kempsell bt Chris Fuller 11/8, 4/11, 11/6, 11/6 (68m) v Sharpes
James Earles bt Matt Sidaway 10/12, 11/8, 11/6, 11/3 (51m) v Matthew
Kevin Moran bt Lyell Fuller 11/8, 11/6, 11/7 (33m) v Selby
Billson first through, Welsh and Scots boost tally
Back in Manchester after a spell coaching in Sheffield, Peter Billson was the first successful qualifier at the National Squash Centre as he continued to impress with another straight-games win, this time against Steve London.
Dominant in the first two, Billson had to knuckle down at 4/7 in the third which, much to London’s frustration, he did.
“I haven’t played in this for three years, but it’s been a tough couple of days, none of my three matches were in any sense easy,” said Billson.
“It’s nice to know I can still compete at this level though, and even though I haven’t really looked at the main draw it would be nice to get Nick [Matthew] as we grew up playing together.”
Having been 2-0 down this afternoon before Nick Taylor’s injury, David Haley took full advantage of that good fortune to become the 14th Welshman to make the Nationals main draw as he overcame Tom Ford in straight games.
Like Billson, Haley had to recover from a third game deficit to complete the win, taking it 12/10 on his third match ball.
“The first game was really tough for both of us, but after Tom cut his finger he didn’t seem to have the same focus,” explained the winner. “I had to make sure I kept my concentration, which apart from a couple of spells in the middle of games I did well.
“It’s great to qualify in my first outing here, to be honest I hadn’t even looked past the second round of the qualifying draw!”
Chris Tasker-Grindley was the recipient of a very lucky [LL] spot a few years back – “I lost very quickly and was already in the pub when I got the call” he recalls – but tonight he made it through by right with a solid three-nil win over Rory Pennell.
Pennell had his chances, but a few errors at the wrong time only added to his evident frustration. “I think Rory was expecting to play better,” said the winner, “but since I’m not fully fir I was going for my shots more and they were generally coming off. A couple of errors at the right time for me helped too.
“This might be my last tournament for a while,” explained Chris, “I’m going to need a second hip operation soon – I was out for a year with my first one but it’s deteriorated as the season’s gone on, so if this does turn out to be my last tournament it’s good to go out on a high by qualifying.
Qualifying for the first time in three attempts, Adam Auckland was equally delighted with his straight-games win over Mark Thomason. “There have been a few draw changes, and although this afternoon’s match with Ashley [Davies] was really tough, I think it worked out for me tonight.
“Against Ashley it was a question of who kept their concentration better, and coming through that gave me a lot of confidence for tonight’s match. I’m really pleased to qualify, I hope I draw someone like Nick Matthew to get a measure of where I am compared to the top guys.
“Anyway you have to start beating them sometime, so why not now!”
Alex Ingham finished the day winning six games to nil, but three of them were 12/10 and three 11/8 ! Afted edging past Paul Rawden at lunchtime, Ingham qualified with a 12/10, 11/8, 11/8 win over Nick Wall that was every bit as the scoreline makes it sound.
“It’s been hard work today, but wins are wins,” said a relieved Alex. “I’ve missed out on the Nationals for the last couple of years, playing PSA events to try to improve my ranking, but it fell nice for me this year so it’s good to be back, and good to come fully through qualifying for the first time.
Dougie Kempsell and Kevin Moran made it a good day for the Scottish contingent as they doubled their main draw representation with contrasting wins. Kempsell ground out a tough four-game victory over Chris Fuller while Moran made it two quick wins on the day as Lyell Fuller was unable to repeat his morning heroics when he upset Ollie Holland in five.
Kempsell finished off a tough match with a ball that died in the front wall nick. “I felt bad winning it that way,” he admitted, “but I couldn’t have timed it better really! I knew iot was going to be a tough match, so to come through it in four and to qualify at the first attempt feels pretty good.”
“He played the best I’ve seen him play against me for the first game and a half,” admitted Earles, “but I managed to slow it down and impose my game, kept it to the back and waited for opportunities, and kept it going to the end. I thought he was getting tired in the third so I made sure I made the end of the game hard and it paid off in the fourth.”
Earles’ reward is to play Nick Matthew for the second year in a row. “I think he beat me last time,” admitted James.
Jessica Davies bt Roxana Keshavarz 11/7, 11/3, 11/3 (16m)
Rachel Chadwick bt Sam Ward 14/12, 11/3, 13/11 (26m)
Julianne Courtice bt Lily Taylor 11/7, 6/11, 11/6, 12/10 (39m)
Jessica Winder bt Eleanor Lake 4/11, 8/11, 11/9, 11/6, 11/7 (36m)
Anna Kimberley bt Olivia Howell 11/6, 10/12, 13/11, 11/9 (40m)
Lucy Beecroft bt Chloe Harrison 11/4, 11/4, 11/9 (19m)
Kirsty West bt Rhianne O’Donnell 8/11, 11/6, 11/2, 11/4 (26m)
Harriet Ingham bt Laura Mylotte 11/7, 11/9, 9/11, 6/11, 11/4 (43m)
Nada Elkalaawy bt Catherine Finlayson 11/5, 11/4, 11/6 (23m)
Lucy Townley bt Katrina Burrows 11/8, 11/7, 6/11, 11/13, 11/8 (44m)
Men’s Qualifying Round Three:
David Haley bt Nick Taylor 6/11, 9/11, 0/1 rtd (31m)
Tom Ford by Youseff Abdalla 11/6, 11/7, 11/4 (42m)
Peter Billson bt Reuben Phillips 11/9, 11/7, 8/11, 11/7 (38m)
Steve London bt George Parker 8/11, 14/12, 11/7, 3/11, 11/6 (68m)
Chris Tasker-Grindley bt Morgan Hibberd 11/9, 11/7, 11/8 (40m)
Rory Pennell bt Daniel O’Hara 11/6, 11/9, 13/11 (37m)
Mark Thomason bt Adam Pritchard 11/7, 11/6, 11/5 (21m)
Adam Auckland bt Ashley Davies 11/8, 8/11, 11/9, 11/5 (60m)
Alex Ingham bt Paul Rawden 11/8, 12/10, 12/10 (48m)
Nick Wall bt David Barnett 9/11, 14/12, 11/6, 11/6 (53m)
Chris Fuller bt Nick Murrills 11/5, 11/6, 11/7 (34m)
Douglas Kempsell bt Richard Johnson 11/1, 11/3, 11/5 (19m)
Matt Sidaway bt Robbie Williamson 11/7, 11/8, 11/4 (29m)
James Earles bt Tom Partington 11/3, 11/3, 11/3 (19m)
Lyell Fuller bt Oliver Holland 11/7, 9/11, 9/11, 12/10, 11/6 (56m)
Kevin Moran bt Chris Longman 11/2, 11/3, 11/4 (26m)
Full Coverage: www.nationalsquashchamps.net