ElShorbagy defeats Makin to defend British Nationals crown

Mohamed ElShorbagy defended his British Nationals title with a stunning display of squash to defeat No.2 seed Joel Makin 11-7, 12-10, 11-5 in 53 minutes. 

The match started evenly, with both players trying to feel each other out and the scoreline ticking over to 3-3.

ElShorbagy didn’t feel the need to play at his typical high, relentless pace and instead exchanged it for deadly accuracy, taking Makin’s immense physicality out of the equation and forcing the No.2 seed into a couple of costly errors.

The 2017 World Champion moved into a 10-7 lead and closed out the opener at the first time of asking.

ElShorbagy’s shots continued to seemingly stick to the side walls like glue, with Makin having to work extremely hard to work his opponent off the ’T’. After falling 10-5 down, the Welshman did manage to take the backend of the game by the scruff of the neck, forcing a tiebreak, however it wasn’t quite enough to stop ElShorbagy taking the second 12-10.

ElShorbagy in action against Makin.
ElShorbagy in action against Makin.

2022 champion ElShorbagy continued to navigate his way around the court with ridiculous accuracy, hitting some sumptuous lines and lengths to creep ahead at the beginning of the third.

Makin managed to land a couple of blows of his own, including a brilliant counter-drop followed by a forehand smash straight into the nick, but ElShorbagy always managed to hold a significant buffer over the Welshman, moving into a 10-5 lead.

ElShorbagy finished the match in fitting style with a perfect forehand drop to claim his second successive British Nationals title.

Makin (right) plays a backhand shot against ElShorbagy (left).
Makin (right) plays a backhand shot against ElShorbagy (left).

After the match, ElShorbagy said: “I think the tactic before the match was to try and play [James] Willstrop [four-time British Nationals champion] tactics a little bit, with the ball control, with the accuracy. Nobody can do it like him, but I just tried to do it as close to him.

“I’m really happy to win the title. It’s such a historic event and I want to show how serious I am about this event and how important it is for me, being a national champion is a big thing for me.

“I am really looking forward to playing in Paris, what an event it will be. I think all of the players are very excited about it. There have been a lot of changes to the tour, a new sponsorship has been secured and it shows that the PSA is on the right track.

“I think it is such a great step from England Squash to have the Nationals at different events all across the country, and I will hope to be back again next year.”


[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bt [2] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-0: 11-7, 12-10, 11-5 (53m)