AJ Bell British National Masters Squash Championships 2020

Tuesday 11 February - Sunday 16 February 2020

General Info:

Registration Fees: This event will cost £32.50 for which you will receive:
  • a minimum of two matches.
  • an event t-shirt.
Age Groups: Men's Over 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80
Women's Over  35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75
Website: Website Link
Map: Map Link
Draw Type 
Finalists / Top Two 
Men's Over 3516 DrawSam Miller bt Phil Rushworth3-1 (11/9, 4/11, 12/10, 11/9)
Men's Over 4032 DrawDarren Lewis bt Stuart Ayton3-1 (16/14, 11/8, 8/11, 11/6)
Men's Over 4532 DrawNicholas Wall bt Paul Boyle3-0 (11/4, 11/9, 11/9 )
Men's Over 5032 DrawYawar Abbas bt Andrew Cross 3-0 (11/7, 11/5, 11/9 )
Men's Over 5532 DrawJon Foster bt Alex Betts 3-0 (11/7, 11/6, 11/8 )
Men's Over 6032 DrawNeil Harrison bt Allen Barwise3-1 (12/14, 11/5, 11/8, 11/7)
Men's Over 6532 DrawStephen Johnson bt Mark Cowley 3-1 (6/11, 12/10, 11/8, 12/10)
Men's Over 7016 DrawIan Graham bt Larry Grover 3-2 (11/6, 6/11, 8/11, 11/6, 11/6)
Men's Over 7516 DrawKenneth Johnson bt Mike Clemson3-2 (11/4, 8/11, 11/8, 3/11, 11/8)
Men's Over 803 Pool1st Vincent Taylor; 2nd Patrick KirtonPool
Women's Over 358 DrawSarah Campion bt Sarah-Jane Neller 3-0 (11/6, 11/2, 11/4)
Women's Over 404 DrawLauren Briggs bt Kate Bradshaw3-0 (11/1, 11.6, 11.1)
Women's Over 4516 DrawRachel Calver bt Rachel Woodward3-2 (13/11, 11/4, 9/11, 9/11, 11/7)
Women's Over 5016 DrawAndrea Santamaria bt Nikki Fowler3-0 (12/10, 13/11, 15/13)
Women's Over 558 DrawMandy Akin bt Hilary Kenyon3-2 (7/11, 11/9, 10/12, 11/4, 11/8)
Women's Over 6016 DrawSian Johnson bt Julie Field3-0 (11/7, 11/9, 11/6)
Women's Over 70Final OnlyAnn Manley bt Rebecca Czuczman3-2 ( 5/11, 4/11, 11/7, 11/1, 11/8)
Men's Over 40 1st Plate3 PoolPremil Pool 
Men's Over 50 1st PlateFinal OnlyPremil Match 
Men's Over 75 1st PlateFinal OnlyPremil Match 
Men's Over 75 2nd PlateFinal OnlyPremil Match 
Men's Over 35 Plate3 Pool1st Thomas Elgood; 2nd Paul JonesPool
Men's Over 40 PlateFinal OnlyTyran Close bt Philip Thomas3-2 (8/11, 11/4, 11/9, 9/11, 11/7)
Men's Over 45 PlateFinal OnlyJeff Davenport bt Dan Willets 3-0 (11/5, 11/1, 11/5)
Men's Over 504 DrawMatthew Theodoris bt Craig Mitchell 3-1 (11/8, 5/11, 11/9, 11/3)
Men's Over 55 Plate8 DrawStephen O’Neill bt Mal Leech 3-0 (11/5, 11/6, 12/10)
Men's Over 60 Plate8 DrawRipley Oyler bt Gordon Kerr 3-1 (11/7, 11/13, 11/9, 11/4)
Men's Over 65 Plate8 DrawPhilip Noble bt Keith Ragg3-0 (11/7, 11/4, 11/9)
Men's Over 70 Plate4 DrawRussell Foster bt Robert Smith3-1 (13/11, 12/10, 3/11, 11/9)
Men's Over 75 PlateFinal OnlyLeo Kingston bt Nigel Belle3-0 (11/6, 11/8, 11/6)
Women's Over 35 Plate3 Pool1st Reka Gay; 2nd Elaine RadcliffePool
Women's Over 40 PlateFinal OnlyJoanne Hilton bt Nicky Green3-2 (6/11, 11/4, 11/9, 7/11, 11/5)
Women's Over 45 Plate4 DrawRhiannon Davies bt Alison Goy 3-0 (11/5, 11/4, 11/8)
Women's Over 50 PlateFinal OnlyKath Gray bt Deborah Rogers 3-0 ( 11/4, 11/7, 11/5)
Women's Over 55 PlateFinal OnlySarah Howlett bt Polly Woodward3-0 (11/6, 11/2, 11/8)
Women's Over 60 Plate4 DrawLesley Sturgess bt Susan Pynegar3-2 (8/11, 11/5, 9/11, 11/5, 11/8)

Report Day 1 - Wednesday 12th February 2020

(Day 1 Photos)

The AJ Bell National Masters Championships 2020 got under way at Nottingham Squash Club today.

The Men’s 65s got things going and some of the seeded players were in action. Dorset’s John Pitt and Cumbrian Terry Belshaw progressed although the latter dropped a game to the unorthodox Satwant Marwaha (CHS). Local player John Forrester (NOT) secured a second round match after a tight 3/1 win against Phil Noble (CHS), 15/13 in the fourth.

In the 60s European Champion Allen Barwise overcame Scotland’s Gordon Kerr, but fellow Scot Robin Ridley fared better getting on the right end of a gruelling five game thriller against Hong Kong based James Barrington. Meanwhile, the seeding Committee seemed to be correct as Neil Harrison (DCL), George Kousseff (HPH) and Mark Taylor (AVN) all won through. There was a return to the Masters for Middlesex’s England star James Ockwell after a five year absence and he made it a winning return beating Robert Lammin (LCN) 3/0.

The Men’s over 55 group also saw some action for the seeded players. Herefordshire players Gary Raw and Marvin Rust join County colleague and second seed Eamonn Price in the last 16, while Cumbrian pair Davids Gray and Box also won through. Wales No. 1 Richard Murphy was also a winner beating Ian Portas (LCN) and the powerful form of Steve Calvert (NLD) overwhelmed Mal Leach (DCL).

The tournament will heat up tomorrow as all the top players begin their campaigns. As well as the prestigious National titles, ranking points are available for England International selection. England teams are selected at the end of this event.

Report Day 2 - Thursday 13th February 2020

(Day 2 Photos)

Things heated up at Nottingham Squash Club as all the top seeds got involved chasing the prestigious National Championship titles and valuable ranking points for England team selection.

The “elder statesmen” first. The Men’s 75s Derbyshire’s John Robertson removed last year’s England Captain Nigel Belle (KNT) and Durham’s Thomas Elves overcame Bev Boag (HPH). There were upsets in the 70s when three 5/8 seeds went out. Jonathan Firth (CHS) removed Martin Day (YKS), local star Dave Hardern accounted for Robert Smith (KNT) and making a rare appearance John Smith (NLD) beat England player Terry Norman (SOM) in five tight games.

The Men’s 65s top eight seeds all progressed, but Stuart Hardy (MDX) wasted a match ball in the third and had to win a fifth against John Forrester (NOT) and John Pitt (DOR) had a similar score line against David Matthews (CNL). Top seeds Mark Cowley (MDX) and Steve Johnson (LNH) moved ominously on.

The match of the 60s was an epic between George Kousseff (HPH) and Mark Taylor (AVN), both chasing England selection. Taylor took the first 16/14, Kousseff levelled. Won the third 13/11, Kousseff again levelled. Then early in the fifth Taylor tore a hamstring and had to withdraw. A shame to end such a great match like that. Some exciting matches are now in store as the main seeds progressed except Nick Gollaglee (SOM) who went down in five to the impressive Steve McBride (WKS) who now meets Neil Harrison (DCL).

Top seed in the 55s is Hampshire’s Jon Foster, new in the age group and looking very good. He got through comfortably as did No 2 seed Eamonn Price (HFD). An eagerly awaited match will be Alex Betts (MDX) and Steve Calvert (NLD) for a place in the semi-finals.

Serial champion and top seed in the Men’s 50s Yawar Abbas (DCL) progressed to the quarters and is due to meet the mercurial former champion David Youngs (NOR) in the final. Some stern tests await, however, as all the top seeds progressed and there are some keenly awaited match-ups such as Andy Murray (WKS) and Andy Cross (DCL) and Steve McLoughlin (HPH) with Phil Yerby (BUX) the 2019 champion due.

Former Champion Nick Wall (YKS) the No 1 seed in the Men’s 45s eased through and is favourite and now meets Nick Staunton (IRE) who survived a torrid five gamer with Matt Harford (CNL). Matt Stephenson (YKS) also won in five over James Powley (CBE) and now meets Jon Gallacher (DVN). 2019 Champion Paul Boyle (BUX) is second seed and he progressed untroubled.

The over 40 No 1 is the talented former circuit player Darren Lewis (LEC) and he had to work for a four game win over Surrey’s James Greenhead.  He now meets Tim Burrell (BRK) who had a five game win over Luke Rawlins (WOC). Nottingham club pro Nick Hargreaves had a popular win to set up a quarter with Middlesex’s Nick Freer. The longest match so far was the 67 minute battle between Scotland No 1 Stuart Ayton and Cornwall’s Philip Thomas, Ayton was 9/3 up in the fourth and 2/1 but Thomas staged a miraculous comeback saving a match ball and levelling the match. Ayton held his nerve and stayed ahead in the fifth for the win.

The 35s has some very strong players and top seed Sam Miller, the Army Champion, has some great opposition. Surrey stars Phil Nightingale and Phil Rushworth are in the line-up as well as Masters Circuit star Jamie Goodrich of Norfolk.

The Women’s entrants also got under way with Scotland’s Eunice Bond removing Jane Law (CHS) in the 60s and in the 50s Dorset pair Bev Vatcher and Sharnine Coleman won through.

The Women’s 45s saw Zoe Shardlow (SSX) book a match with top seed Rachel Woodward (NOT) while Fiona Oliver (NOT) upset the seeding by putting out Rhiannon Davies (WAL). Alex King (ESX) and Linda Pritchard (SPE) also took their places in the quarter finals.

Report Day 3 - Friday 14th February 2020

(Day 3 Photos)

Pat Kirton has more National Masters titles than anyone. 18. And a host of British Opens. He showed his class today beating current World O80 Champion Lance Kinder in straight games.

Another prolific champion is the Men’s 75s. Adrian Wright (YKS) is a four-time World Champion and has nine National titles. He overcame a spirited challenge from John Robertson (DYS) winning in four and will meet Ken Johnson (NLD) who squeezed past Thomas Elves in an all North East clash. In the other half British Open Champion Mike Clemson (YKS) will meet Scotland No 1 Ken Reid.

Top seed and former Open and National Champion Barry Featherstone (HPH) had a hard time against Jonathan Firth (CHS) in the Over 70s winning in four and now meets Ian Graham (SSX). They have each won once this season. The other semi will be between England captain Larry Grover (HPH) and Scotland No 1 Ian Ross, a former European Champion.

The top four seeds came through in the 65s. Stuart Hardy (MDX) the Masters Chairman had another 3/2 win – this over Terry Belshaw (CBA) and now has the pleasure of a match with top seed and five-time champion Mark Cowley (MDX). In the other half defending champion Steve Johnson (LNH) removed Geoff Redfern (WKS) in three close games and will play Simon Evenden (NHM) who proved too mobile for Paul Reader (HPH).

The match of the Men’s 60s was between a former champion Jeremy Goulding (AVN) and James Ockwell (MDX) back in his first event for five years. In a match full of some great squash Goulding saved the fourth and held on for a 12/10 in the fifth for the win. He meets Neil Harrison (DCL) in one semi while top seed and defending Champion Jon Evan (Wales) awaits. He overcame Scotland No 1 Robin Ridley and now plays European Champion Allen Barwise (LNH) who got a revenge win over George Kousseff (HPH).

Hampshire’s Jon Foster continues to impress in the 55s and now meets Ray Burke (LNH) who has been frantically training since Christmas and given up alcohol. It paid off as he saved match points and won a five-game thriller against Darren Withey (BUX). In the other half Alex Betts (MDX) tamed the powerful Steve Calvert (NLD) and meets his season’s nemesis in former champion Eamonn Price (HFD).

Four times National Champion Yawar Abbas (DCL) gave another master class in the Mens 50s and sets up a semi with Steve McLoughlin (HPH) who won an all action match against Phil Yerby (BUX) the defending National Champion in five, There was an upset in the other half as No 2 seed Dave Youngs (NOR) lost in four to Tim Clark (DCL) and he meets County colleague Andy Cross who made it three semi-finals out of four for Durham.

In a battle of the Nicks, the O45 top seed Nick Wall (YKS) survived by a slim 12/10 in the fifth against the talented Nick Staunton (IRE) the 2018 Champion. He now meets Matt Stephenson (YKS) who stunned Devon’s Jon Gallacher in a power-hitting match. The other half of the draw saw Ashley Bowling (OFE) book his semi-final with a 3/0 win over Wales No 1 Jonathan Davies and he plays defending champion Paul Boyle (BUX).

Former circuit pro Darren Lewis (LEC) stormed into the semi-finals of the Men’s 40s against Tim Burrell (BRK) and now plays local pro Nick Hargreaves who much to the delight of the home crowd came through against Nick Freer (MDX). The other half had former champion Matt Marshall (BUX) take on the powerful Mick Biggs (MDX) and Biggs went two games up before Marshall struck back and survived match points in the fourth before taking it 20/18 and then clinched the fifth 11/9 in a thriller of high class squash.

In the Blue Riband event the Men’s 35s top seeds showed their class. Top seed and Army Champion Sam Miller (WKS) beat Paul Stroud (LEC) and meets British Open Champion Phil Nightingale (SRY) who had too much for Keith Timms (HFD). Another Surrey pro Phil Rushworth, the No 2 seed, despatched Norfolk champion Matt Bolt and will meet another Norfolk star in Jamie Goodrich who had too much game for Surrey’s Tony Webb.

The Women’s events moved into full action. The 60s boasts three World Champions and two of them will meet in one semi as Julie Field (YKS) beat Scotland’s Eunice Bond while Jill Champion (MDX) won through against Lynne Davies of Wales. Meanwhile Karen Hume (KNT) removed Susan Pynegar (NOT) and will meet the very skilful Sian Johnson (WAL) the No 2 seed.

The defending Champion in the 55s is Mandy Akin (KNT) and she progressed smoothly and will meet Jackie Gregory (ESX) who upset the seedings beating Isobel Smith (HFD) in five. Meanwhile the woman with the most Regional titles, Fran Wallis (LCN), booked a semi-final against Hilary Kenyon (CHS) defeating Polly Woodward (CHS) while Kenyon beat Surrey’s Tammy Bennett.

European Champion Andrea Santamaria (YKS) is the one to beat in the Women’s 50s. Dorset’s Bev Vatcher gave her all and took the first but was then pegged back and overpowered. She plays Rackethon Champion Izzy Bramhall (NOT) who beat another Dorset player Sharmine Coleman.

The defending Champion in the Women’s over 45s is Rachel Woodward (NOT) and she had too much game for Zoe Shardlow (SSX) and now has a semi-final against Louisa Dalwood (HFD). The seeds in the other half survived and Sarah Parr (BKS) edged home in four against Linda Pritchard (SPE) and meets England teammate Rachel Calver (LEC) for a place in the final.

The Women’s 35s seeds all meet in the semi-finals. Sarah Campion (CHS) will meet county colleague Natalie Husdon. She beat Reka Gay (CBE) in straight games. Second seed Sarah-Jane Neller (ESX) proved too good for Elaine Radcliffe (SPE) and plays Sophie Beake (BRK) who defeated Gemma Barber (DOR) also in straight games.

The semi-finals will all be at Nottingham Squash Club on Saturday from 11 am. Spectators are welcome.

Report Day 4 - Saturday 15th February 2020

(Day 4 Photos)

The Men’s 80s continues to impress. Eighteen times champion and former GB star Pat Kirton took on Canadian Scot Vincent Taylor. In a terrific game of great skill, Taylor won 3/1 – 11/9 in the fourth.

There was a shock in the 75s as four-time World Champion Adrian Wright (YKS) lost to Durham’s Ken Johnson in straight games, the first two being very tight. He will meet Mike Clemson (YKS) in the final after he proved too lively for Scotland No 1 Ken Reid. This was the only group England lost (to Scotland) in the Internationals so will be hoping for revenge this year.

The top two seeds perished in the Men’s 70s – to the 3/4 seeds. Barry Featherstone (HPH) had two game points to level at two games each but went down 12/10 to former champion Ian Graham (SSX). In the other half Larry Grover (HPH) continued his fine form from the South of England Open that he won. He went two games up against former European Champion and Scotland No 1 Ian Ross only to be pulled back to 2 all. He controlled the fifth with some lovely length to take the match 3/2 and book his first National final.

Mark Cowley (MDX) has won World, European, British Open and National titles. Top seed here in the 65s was too strong for Masters Chairman Stuart Hardy (MDX) dispatching him in straight games. Current National, Open and European Champion Steve Johnson (LNH) has been dominant in the group and seeded two here. He had to battle to subdue a lively Simon Evenden (NHM) edging home in four.

The 3/4 seeds also prevailed in the Men’s 60s. 2018 Champion Allen Barwise (LNH) was 2/1 up against defending champion and Wales No 1 Jon Evans when the Welshman had to retire with a knee injury. Former champion Jeremy Goulding (AVN) has had it over Durham’s Neil Harrison (known as Wonky Backhand) recently. But today Harrison was inspired and won through a flurry of winners.

Former Army star Ray Burke MBE ended his great run in the semis finding the very talented Jon Foster (HPH) a step too far. The Winchester star, Foster will meet Queens Club’s Alex Betts (MDX) in the final of the 55s after he ended a string of defeats (3 Regional Finals and the Jesters Championship) this season by Eamonn Price (HFD). In a great game of all court Squash, Betts hung on to win in five grueling games.

Three of the four Men’s 50 semi-finalists were from Durham & Cleveland and they ended up with both finalists. Top seed Yawar Abbas had the edge over the athletic Steve McLoughlin (HPH) and clinched the third 13/11. Meanwhile Andy Cross confirmed his return to top form after a fallow period coming back from one down to beat Tim Clark 3/1. Abbas and Cross have played many times and a good final is guaranteed.

Nick Wall (YKS) had a near disaster yesterday but survived 12/10 in the fifth, but today he was rampant taking out fellow Yorkshireman Matthew Stephenson in straight games. Meanwhile Paul Boyle (BUX) the 2019 O45 Champion booked his final berth to defend his title beating Ashley Bowling (OFE) in three straight games.

In the Men’s 40s Nottingham club pro Nick Hargreaves took on top seed and former 35 Champion Darren Lewis (LEC). Lewis displayed his full range of talents giving Hargreaves no chance to use his athleticism and was taken out in straight games. Defending Champion Matt Marshall (BUX) faced Scotland No 1 Stuart Ayton with the Champion not having been very active on the circuit due to new baby commitments. Ayton went two up but was hauled back by Marshall to two games all. But it was Ayton who had the edge in the fifth 13/11 to book his place in the final.

The Men’s 35s is showing some very classy squash saw the top two seeds power through to the final. Top seed and Army Champion Sam Miller (WKS) controlled the court beautifully against Open Champion and Surrey pro Phil Nightingale. The Surrey man’s long reach was tested to the limit as he was forced to every corner of the court. No 2 seed Phil Rushworth also of Surrey gave a master class against Norfolk star Jamie Goodrich and with a breathtaking display of shot making won through also in straight games. Tomorrow promises a fantastic final between two superb players.

The Women’s 60s semis gave us two excellent semi-finals as a group with three World Champions would suggest. Top seed Julie Field (YKS) squeezed home in five games against Jill Campion (MDX). Then 2016 Champion Sian Johnson (Wales) had the same result against Karen Hume (KNT) recovering from 1/2 down to win in five.

In the 55s the top two came through but not without some excitement. Seven-time National Champion Mandy Akin (KNT) lost the first and took the second 12/10 before taking control and winning in four against Jackie Gregory (ESX). In the other semi Fran Wallis (LCN) took the first 15/13 against Cheshire’s Hilary Kenyon but lost the next three close ones. In Mandy’s match she put an easy drop in the tin and called out “Finish it!” The referee misheard and frantic explanations had the gallery very amused.

Andrea Santamaria (YKS) is European Champion and has three British Open and three National titles to go with a Silver Medal in the Worlds. Top seed in the Women’s 50s she had too much for Izzy Bramhall (NOT) and now meets Nikki Fowler (CHS) who proved too strong for England Captain Rachel Woolford (WKS).

The Women’s 45s will see defending Champion Rachel Woodward (NOT) face No 2 seed Rachel Calver (LEC) in the final. Woodward came through a tough encounter with Louisa Dalwood (HFD) taking the third 11/9 to go 2/1 up and then clinching the fourth. Calver meanwhile dropped the first to the elegant play of Sarah Parr (BRK) but then firmly took control to take the next three.

The Women’s 40s was only a small draw but the excellent Lauren Briggs (ESX) already has World, European, British Open and National titles. When she enters she is the favourite. Joanne Hilton (DCL) played gamely but went down 3/0. The final will be against Kate Bradshaw (CBE) who had a terrific match with Nicky Green (NOR) winning through in five competitive games.

Sarah Campion nee Kippax (CHS) has a great pedigree in the game and was a circuit player. Top seed here she dispatched Natalie Husdan (CHS) in straight games and in the final will pay Sarah-Jane Neller (ESX) who had a sterner test but a 3/0 win over Sophie Beake (BRK).

The finals will all be played at Nottingham Squash Club from 1020 hours on Sunday and there will be some fantastic squash stretching across all the age groups. Spectators are welcome.

Report Day 5 - Sunday 16th February 2020

(Day 5 Photos)

Sunday - And so, the culmination of much effort and sweat – the Finals of the A J Bell National Championships. Nottingham Squash Club has hosted an excellent event and the facilities at the club are superb.

The Women’s Events

W70s. Ann Manley (AVN) has won World and British Opens but only one National. Her opponent is the final was Rebecca Czuczman (KNT) who has seven Nationals.

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 …………………………..

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 event 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 3/4 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.

The Masters International teams will be selected in the next few days and the next event will be the Allam British Open Karakal Masters in Hull from 26 – 31 May 2020.

Stuart Hardy
England Squash Masters

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