All in on day three
The Nationals moved up a few gears today, with men’s round one – half of the matches on the all-glass court for the first time – women’s qualifying comes to a conclusion, and the Masters join in too. That definitely added up to a busy day at the National Squash Centre …
Men’s Round One: Nick Matthew bt [Q] James Earles 11/2, 11/3, 11/3 (28m)
Jaymie Haycocks bt Peter Creed 12/10, 11/7, 10/12, 11/8 (60m)
Robbie Temple bt Ben Coleman 7/11, 11/7, 11/3, 11/9 (65m)
[5/8] Alan Clyne bt [Q] Peter Billson 11/5, 11/5, 11/8 (28m)
Greg Lobban bt [LL] Nick Wall w/o
[3/4] Daryl Selby bt [Q] Kevin Moran 11/3, 11/8, 11/6 (25m)
Eddie Charlton bt [Q] Chris Tasker-Grindley 11/2, 10/12, 11/9, 11/6 (48m)
[5/8] Tom Richards bt [Q] Adam Auckland 11/6, 11/3, 11/3 (26m)
Adrian Waller bt Nathan Lake 11/4, 11/6, 11/7 (47m)
[5/8] Adrian Grant bt Andy Whipp 11/4, 12/14m 11/2, 11/8 (49m)
Charles Sharpes bt [Q] Dougie Kempsell 11/5, 11/7, 22/20 (52m)
[3/4] Peter Barker bt [Q] Alex Ingham 11/5, 11/3, 11/7 (34m)
Olivier Pett bt Declan James 11/3, 11/5, 11/7 (35m)
[5/8] Chris Simpson bt [Q] David Haley 11/3, 11/5, 11/7 (28m)
Joe Lee bt Joel Hinds 7/11, 11/3, 11/6, 11/7 (46m)
 James Willstrop bt Anthony Graham 11/4, 11/4, 11/7 (30m)
Top seeds safely through opening day
The men’s main draw kicked off with eight matches from the bottom half, and it was a clean sweep for the seeded players with only Adrian Grant and Joe Lee dropping games as they made their way through to their anticipated last sixteen berths.
Grant was pegged back to one-all by local favourite Andy Whipp before easing away for a 3-1 win while Lee dropped the first game to Declan James before taking the next three.
There were some uncannily similar scorelines, with Chris Simpson and Olly Pett both winning 3, 5, 7 while Peter Barker won 5, 3, 7 and James Willstop 4, 4, 7.
Charles Sharpes won his match against Scottish qualifier Dougie Kempsell 3-0, but after looking to be cruising through in the early stages of the third, ended up having to save several game balls before finishing it off 22-20.
The same pattern applied in the evening session as the qualifiers continued to fall. Eddie Charlton was pushed hard by Chris Tasker-Grindley and Robbie Temple was extended for over an hour by Ben Coleman, but most of the other seeds, including former champion Daryl Selby and defending champion Nick Matthew, came through their opening encounters easily enough.
“It would have been a much tougher match against James [Earles] on a traditional court like when we played last year,” admitted Matthew, “but we get to play on the glass courts all the time, and while the youngsters like James need the experience of playing the top guys in these conditions, it definitely works in our favour.”
Selby is set to face a second Scottish opponent in a row – after beating qualifier Kevin Moran he now meets Greg Lobban, who enjoyed a walkover against not-so-lucky-loser Nick Wall who couldn’t get over the Snake pass due to adverse weather in the Pennines.
Alan Clyne made sure there were two Scots in the last sixteen as he eased past local favourite Peter Billson in straight games.
The final match of the round promised the first upset as in-form Jaymie Haycocks took a two-game lead over Welshman Peter Creed and held match ball in the third too. Creed, diving around the court, pulled a game back but couldn’t stop Haycocks producing the only upset of the round as the Birmingham man went through in four games in exactly an hour.
“We’re best of mates and we’ve played a lot of tournaments together over the last few years,” said Haycocks, “so it wasn’t the best draw for either of us really. We’ve both been playing well but I’m having probably my best season ever and I’m pleased to get through that one.
“If I’m playing Nick Matthew next I’d better get some practice booked on the glass court ,” concluded Haycocks.
Women’s Qualifying Complete
The women’s main draw was completed with two qualifying rounds today, and it was a mixture of youth and experience who took the four available places.
Dominique Lloyd-Walter, a regular Nationals quarter-finalist and sometimes semi-finalist over the last few seasons, made a return to the main draw as she beat fellow ‘veteran’ Amina Helal in four games. “We haven’t played each others since Juniors,” Amina revealed before the match. It turns out that their last match was in the European Junior final, “something like 15 years ago, it brought back a lot of the old feelings,” remembered Dom. “She won that one too,” added Amina after the match.
“It would have been nice to make the main draw without qualifying, but I’ve had a good couple of games to get myself back into it,” said Lloyd-Walter, who faces two-time champion Jenny Duncalf tomorrow.
A second former European Junior Champion, Carrie Ramsey, took the next spot as she beat Julianne Courtice – herself a former British Junior Champion – in straight games.
“I’m really pleased to get through in three,” said Ramsey, “we played each other lots in juniors and it was always close. I had to try to not let her get into a rhythm, and I was really pleased with how it went.”
Ramsey, who jokingly put her performance down to her new black hair, now meets Sarah-Jane Perry.
Leonie Holt came through two five-setters to claim her place in the last sixteen, finally overcoming Victoria Temple-Murray 14/12 in the fifth in the second of those matches.
“There’s hope for me after all with my mental state and my game,” quipped Leonie. “This is usually my worst tournament of the year, I always seem to find a way throw it away rather than claw it back! This is the first time I’ve managed to qualify in about five attempts so I’m really pleased. There’s no easy matches in the main draw, but I’m just relieved to finally get through to be honest.”
Leonie’s reward -drawn out of the hat by her own fair hand – is a meeting with defending champion Laura Massaro.
Nada Elkalaawy has been waiting for five years too – not to qualify on court as this is her first Nationals appearance, but to qualifiy by virtue of living in England for the last five years.
“I finally made it here, it’s been a long time,” said the delighted 17-year-old former Egyptian who beat Lucy Beecroft and then Lucy Townley, both in four games, to clinch her main draw place.
“I don’t think I played my best but I managed to finish trhe matches off, and tomorrow’s another day,” added Nada. Tomorrow will see her face Alison Waters, the second seed.
Dom Lloyd-Walter bt Amina Helal 9/11, 11/4, 11/6, 11/3 (34m)
Carrie Ramsey bt Julianne Courtice 11/5, 11/7, 11/1 (26m)
Leonie Holt bt Victoria Temple-Murray 11/9, 9/11, 9/11, 11/7, 14/12 (70m)
Nada Elkalaawy bt Lucy Townley 11/6, 11/6, 9/11, 11/4 (24m)
Lloyd-W v Duncalf, Ramsey v SJ Perry, Holt v Massaro, ElKalaawy v Waters
Women’s Qualifying Round Two:
Dom Lloyd-Walter bt Jessica Winder 11/7, 11/5, 11/4 (17m)
Amina Helal bt Jessica Davies 11/6, 11/6, 11/1 (29m)
Julianne Courtice bt Harriet Ingham 10/12, 11/7, 12/10, 11/6 (38m)
Carrie Ramsey bt Rachel Chadwick 11/2, 11/9, 11/8 (23m)
Leonie Holt bt Kirsty West 8/11, 11/5, 11/7, 4/11, 11/8 (39m)
Victoria Temple-Murray bt Anna Kimberley 11/9, 11/8, 11/5
Nada Elkalaawy bt Lucy Beecroft 11/3, 11/5, 6/11, 11/7 (32m)
Lucy Townley bt Victoria Bell w/o