Matthew claims a tenth as Evans takes one for Wales
The 2018 Dunlop British National Squash Champions are Nick Matthew – claiming a tenth title as he beat long-time rival James Willstrop in four games – and Tesni Evans, who became the first ever Welsh winner as she despatched four-time champion Alison waters in straight games.
Matthew makes it ten
Playing in possibly his last Nationals, Nick Matthew won the title for the 7th time in a row and the 10th overall – a new record, of course – as he beat James Willstrop for the eighth time in the Nationals.
Matthew started strongly, opening up a 5-1 lead in the first game, and although Willstrop closed the lead down it was Matthew who took the game 11-7.
Willstrop was quickly behind in the second, but recovered from 2-6 to earn two game balls at 10-8, only to see a determined Matthew take the next four points to double his lead 12-10.
After an even opening to the third, it was Willstrop who moved ahead, from 5-all to 9-5, and this time he did convert, pulling a game back 11-8.
But Matthew wasn’t going to be denied tonight – Willstrop commented afterwards that he enjoyed the squash, not so much the other stuff, while Matthew admitted he could be quite nasty on court – and he forged ahead in the fourth to claim the title 11-6 on his first match ball, simultaneously dropping his racket and raising ten fingers in the air.
“When I started in the Nationals I didn’t I would get one title to be honest, let alone ten,” said Matthew.
“I had three goals this year, one of them was to win the World Championships, and the second was to try and get a tenth National title. I’m really happy to take this one, the Commonwealth Games is my third target.
“As James said I am a pretty horrible person on the court, but James is pretty tough on there as well you know. We are both tough and that is why we have had such a good rivalry over the years.”
It’s Tesni the first
Tesni Evans became the first ever Welsh player to become British National Champion as she despatched four-time champion Alison Waters in straight games in the women’s final in Manchester.
Evans was in irresistible form, opening up a 10-3 lead in the first before taking the lead 11-5, then going 6-0 and 8-3 up in the second.
Waters settled into the match, worked her way back to 9-all, but an error on the next point and a drop at the end of a long rally gave Evans the next two points and a two-nil lead.
Waters looked to be starting a comeback as she went 3-1 and 4-2 up in the third, but Evans wasn’t to be denied, chasing, hustling, and winning the points as she came back to lead 7-4, then 10-6 and converted her first match ball, completing a cull of three former champions in the final three rounds, all in straight games.
“I tried to say I was going into the match not feeling any pressure, but I did, I was very nervous,” she admitted.
“But I’m proud with how I played the match, and even prouder to become the first ever Welsh winner of the British Nationals!”