The championships usually involve masters events in age groups from O35 to O80, but due to the delay in this year’s event, ongoing COVID restrictions and the crowded August calendar, there will be no Masters events this year.
British Nationals 2020 : Masters Finals
And so, the culmination of much effort and sweat – the Finals of the AJ Bell National Championships. Nottingham Squash Club has hosted an excellent event and the facilities at the club are superb.
M35  Sam Miller (Wks) 3-1  Phil Rushworth (Sry) 11/9, 4/11, 12/10, 11/9
M40  Darren Lewis (Lec) 3-1 [3/4] Stuart Ayton (Sco) 16/14, 11/8, 8/11, 11/6
M45  Nick Wall (Yks) 3-0  Paul Boyle (Bux) 11/4, 11/9, 11/9
M50  Yawar Abbas (Dcl) 3-0 [5/8] Andrew Cross (Dcl) 11/7, 11/5, 11/9
M55  Jon Foster (Hph) 3-0 [3/4] Alex Betts (Mdx) 11/7, 11/6, 11/8
M60 [3/4] Neil Harrison (Dcl) 3-1 [3/4] Allen Barwise (Lnh) 12/14, 11/5, 11/8, 11/7
M65  Stephen Johnson (Lnh) 3-1  Mark Cowley (Mdx) 6/11, 12/10, 11/8, 12/10
M70 [3/4] Ian Graham (Ssx) 3-2 [3/4] Larry Grover (Hph) 11/6, 6/11, 8/11, 11/6, 11/6
M75 [3/4] Ken Johnson (Nld) 3-2  Mike Clemson (Yks) 11/4, 8/11, 11/8, 3/11, 11/8
M80 RR 1st Vincent Taylor (Sco), 2nd Pat Kirton (n/a)
W35  Sarah Campion (Chs) 3-0  Sarah-Jane Neller (Esx) 11/6, 11/2, 11/4
W40  Lauren Briggs (Esx) 3-0 [3/4] Kate Bradshaw (Cbe) 11-1, 11-6,11-1
W45  Rachel Calver (Lec) 3-2  Rachel Woodward (Not) 13/11, 11/4, 9/11, 9/11, 11/7
W50  Andrea Santamaria (Yks) 3-0  Nikki Fowler (Chs) 12/10, 13/11, 15/13
W55  Mandy Akin (Knt) 3-2  Hilary Kenyon (Chs) 7/11, 11/9, 10/12, 11/4, 11/8
W60  Sian Johnson (Wal) 3-0  Julie Field (Yks) 11/7, 11/9, 11/6
W70  Ann Manley (Avn) 3-2  Rebecca Czuczman (Knt) 5/11, 4/11, 11/7, 11/1, 11/8
The Women’s Events
W70s. Ann Manley (AVN) has won World and British Opens but only one National. Her opponent in the final was Rebecca Czuczman (KNT) who has seven Nationals, but it was Manley who took the match in five.
W60s. Yorkshire’s Julie Field is a four-time World Champion as well as having seven National titles. In a group with many champions she is probably on top. Wales No 1 and former National Champion Sian Johnson is renowned for her skilful play. The Wales star produced a beautiful game of high deep squash and kept Field at bay.
W55s. Mandy Akin (KNT) is a seven-time champion and was favourite in the match against Hilary Kenyon. But it was a real battle with some great rallies. Kenyon edged the third 12/10 to go 2/1 up but Akin’s renowned athleticism got her through the next two for a five-game victory.
W50s. There are not many 3/0 matches like this final. Two very accomplished players although Andrea Sanatamaria (YKS) is the one with higher profile, Nicky Fowler (CHS) is very good indeed, and a three-time champion. The scores say it all. 12/10, 13/11, 1513. A great contest and Andrea’s fourth National.
W45s. A battle of the Rachels! Defending Champion Rachel Woodward (NOT) was slight favourite but Rachel Calver (LEC) had other ideas and took the first two. She has one National title and been close a few times. Woodward struck back and took the next 11/9. It was Calver who broke through in the fifth and hung on to take her second National.
W40s. Lauren Briggs (ESX) has every major title in the Masters game and there was no stopping her here. Kate Bradshaw (CBE) is a fine player but had no way of upsetting the former World top 20 player. 3/0 to Briggs. Her sixth National title in six outings.
W35s. This evnet also had an exceptional player in the form of Sarah Campion (CHS) formerly Kippax. A top player on the tour she was a class apart. In the final the talented Sarah-Jane Neller (ESX) gave her all and played some fine squash but there was only going to be one winner and Campion stormed through 3/0 to take the title.
The Men’s Events
M75s. After his shock defeat of four-time World Champion Adrian Wright (YKS) yesterday Ken Johnson (NLD) was ready for British Open Champion Mike Clemson (YKS). In a match that swung from one to the other, Johnson’s strong hitting overcame Clemson’s mobility. 3/2. A first National title for Johnson.
M70s. Ian Graham (SSX) and Larry Grover (HPH) both removed a top seed yesterday. In an excellent contest it moved back and forth. Grover went 2/1 up but Graham, slightly quicker, began to make inroads and took the next two to win 3/2 and get his second National title.
M65s. The top two seeds and the top two in the world in this age group deservedly met in the final. Mark Cowley (MDX) took the first but Steve Johnson (LNH) hit back to take the second 12/10. There was a lot for the referee to do in this match as the players tried to dominate the court, with both players on the floor several times. There was also some sublime squash but it was Johnson who found his way through 12/10 in the fourth.
M60s. The two ¾ seeds met in the final and in a match with some great squash, fine movement and good sportsmanship. Allen Barwise (LNH) the 2017 Champion took the first 14/12 but Neil Harrison (DCL) struck back and managed to just keep ahead. There was only the odd points in it, but Harrison took the Championship to remedy losses when in the Over 45s!
M55s. After his heroics finally beating his nemesis Eamonn Price yesterday, Alex Betts (MDX) had it all to do again against top seed Jon Foster (HPH) who had moved through the tournament untroubled. Betts produced some great squash in his usual all-action style but Foster was always in charge. 3/0 and a first National title for him.
M50s. Durham & Cleveland produced three of the four semi finalists and both finalists. Yawar Abass and Andy Cross have played each other a fair amount and Abass is ahead on their head to heads. So, it proved here with Abass able to move Cross around the court and play into the gaps. A great result for Cross to get to the final in a very competitive group. A sixth National title for Abass.
M45s. 2019 Champion Paul Boyle (BUX) played very well again to get to the final but Nick Wall (YKS) was a different proposition and he had the class to always be ahead and make Boyle try and catch up. A terrific game of squash, though as Wall clinched the second and third games 11/9 for the title.
M40s. Scotland star Stuart Ayton had notched up some great wins to reach the final including the longest match of the week, well over and hour. He met former Circuit pro Darren Lewis (LEC) in the final who took a vital first game 16/14. Ayton took the third but couldn’t do more as Lewis ran out in four competitive games for a title to go with his 35s one in 2015.
M35s. What a match! The best two players produced an absolute cracker of a contest that showed Squash at its very best. Fantastic hitting, incredible movement and great sportsmanship. It was a pleasure to watch two such great athletes. Army Champion Sam Miller (WKS) took the first but Wimbledon pro Phil Rushworth (SRY) struck back to level. He got to 10/7 in the third but Miller moved into overdrive to clinch it 12/10 saving four game points. The fourth continued point for point with both players hurtling round the court to cover the most deft drops and powerful drives. Miller took it 11/9. A truly great match.
The presentations were made by Keir Worth, CEO of England Squash and Mark Jeffery a Board Member of England Squash. Thanks were given to the Nationals sponsors AJ Bell, Nottingham Squash Club for being terrific hosts, especially Manager Nick Hargreaves and his bar and catering staff. Also to the Referees, the assistance of all tournament staff, Brian Brock the Events Manager in particular, and Roz Featherstone who helped on the tournament desk all week.