Matthew breaks national title record

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN: Nick Matthew celebrates winning the National Squash Championships for a record seventh time in Manchester. Picture courtesy of squashpics.com.
MAGNIFICENT SEVEN: Nick Matthew celebrates winning the National Squash Championships for a record seventh time in Manchester. Picture courtesy of squashpics.com.
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SHEFFIELD’S Nick Matthew created more National Squash Championships history yesterday by clinching his seventh title in dominant style in Manchester.

The 34-year-old took 45 minutes to get the better of Daryl Selby at the National Squash Centre, securing a win that surpasses his own and Cassie Jackman’s record of six titles.

While 2011 winner Selby enjoyed fleeting moments of superiority, it was a relatively straightforward victory for the top seed and current world No 3, winning 11-5 11-3 11-2.

“It was a massive goal of mine to break the record,” said Matthew. “I’ve learnt a lot from the names on the trophy - both men and women. I watched Cassie train when I was growing up so it means a lot for me to break the record.

“Daryl’s never beaten so I had to keep going even at 8-1 up in the final game and I had to block out my emotions and stay focused.

“The win has made me feel young again, I’m always striving to improve and want to thank my team for helping me to keep at the top.”

Matthew, whose first title came in 2006 before a remarkable run of six in the last seven years, made it through to yesterday’s final having beaten Harrogate-based Chris Simpson in the semi-finals on Saturday, the two battling it out on the glass showcourt for 51 minutes before the tournament favourite emerged an 11-9 11-8 11-6 winner.

Selby, the man to interrupt Matthew’s dominance in recent years by beating him in the 2011 final, made it through after getting the better of Adrian Waller over five games in an hour-long tussle.

In the women’s final, Sarah-Jane Perry stunned top seed Laura Massaro as she continued her giant-killing run by beating the world No 3 to take her maiden Nationals title 12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 10-12, 11-7 in 80 minutes.

Perry had beaten world No 5, defending champion and four-time winner Alison Waters by the same 3-2 margin in the semi-final to reach her first final.

“I’ve beaten two players that I’ve never beaten before back to back and they are both in the top five in the world - I’m pretty proud of myself,” said Perry.