James Willstrop: Matthew on top at National Championships

THIS time of year is usually kept free for a week or two to make way for individual country federations to hold their National Closed Championships.

Nick Matthew. PIC: squashpics.com
Nick Matthew. PIC: squashpics.com

The British Nationals is first-rate competition, and a long-standing event on the world stage.

This is due to British squash being so strong, and also to the commitment that Manchester, the city council, the organising team and the players have shown over many years.

Nick Matthew and Sarah Jane Perry emerged as winners of the men’s and women’s events on Sunday.

There was Yorkshire interest in the Masters events, which are supported by hundreds of players each year.

Julie Field missed out in the final of the women’s 55 to Jill Campion and the men’s 70 final was an all-Yorkshire contest: Mike Clemson beat Adrian Wright.

In France, Mathieu Castagnet continued his fine form by winning his first National French title by beating Lucas Serme in three games.

World-class Camille Serme won the women’s in five games beating Coline Aumard.

In the Netherlands, Sebastiaan Weenink and Milou van der Heijden won their respective Dutch titles.

The Premier Squash League is back tonight. Pontefract travel down to Coolhurst in London.

From a World Tour perspective, many pros are heading back over the Atlantic again in the next week or two.

The Windy City Open in Chicago is the next World Series instalment for the men and women, and the Canary Wharf Classic is once again set for late March.

Happily, Dr Assem Allam has confirmed he will be supporting the British Open in Hull for a further three years.

This really is positive news for the world’s most prestigious event, and for squash in Yorkshire and England.