Defending champion Declan James and home hero Danielle Letourneau triumphed in their respective final clashes against Peruvian Diego Elias and Japan’s Misaki Kobayashi to become the 2016 Nash Cup champions at the London Squash and Fitness Club in Canada.
World No.39 James, who overcame Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in last year’s final, took the Men’s title after a series of assured displays saw him down Jaymie Haycocks, Jan van den Herrewegen and World No.50 Ben Coleman to set up a encounter with Elias, a two-time World Junior Champion, in the final of the PSA M15 event.
In the pair’s first meeting on the PSA World Tour, Elias, who beat Michael McCue, Andrew Schnell and Olli Tuominen en route to the final, took an early lead in the opening game, before a determined James battled back to build up a 1-0 advantage.
James eased to victory in game two to double his lead, but Elias responded with a more patient approach, which paid immediate dividends as the 19-year-old clawed the third game back for the loss of two points, before claiming the fourth to level the scores and set up a decider.
Nottingham-born James steadied himself at the outset of the fifth game, with the 23-year-old storming 7-2 ahead, and he fended off Elias’s attempts to work his way back into the match to close out an 11-9, 11-5, 2-11, 6-11, 11-6 victory, capturing his ninth PSA World Tour title in the process.
“I’m feeling great, to be champion for a second year is amazing,” said James.
“I hope that I can come back for the hat-trick. Tonight was so tough against Diego, it was 90 minutes of attacking, hard squash. We are both very young, so I hope this is the first of many battles on the way to the top 10.
“It’s been an amazing week here in London, what an amazing club and atmosphere. This is why all the players come back year after year and more and more come. The hospitality is amazing here.”
The Women’s PSA W10 title, meanwhile, ended up in the hands of Calgary-based World No.65 Letourneau after a nail-biting clash with third seed Kobayashi saw four of the five games go to dramatic tie-breaks.
A 16-14 victory for Letourneau in game two, sandwiched by wins for Kobayashi in the first and third games, left the player from Japan on the cusp of victory as she aimed for a first PSA World Tour title since June 2015.
But, with a vocal home crowd behind her, Letourneau battled back, taking the fourth to restore parity before holding her nerve in a climactic 18-16 tie-break victory in the fifth to claim her second Tour title of the year.
“This is my biggest tournament win ever,” said Letourneau, who also beat compatriots Hollie Naughton and Samantha Cornett during the event.
“It’s my first 10k victory, I am still in a bit of a daze at the moment. Beating the number two, three and four seeds, including 2 Canadian ladies, is amazing. I was very focused the entire tournament and just kept my head down and played squash.
“I am happy to have just ground it out at the end, it was obviously one of those matches with basically every game a tie-break, so it could go either way. I felt fine physically, even at the end, the adrenaline and the crowd just kept me going. When there’s so much energy from the crowd, you don’t even feel your body.”
Result – Final: Men’s Nash Cup 2016
 Declan James (ENG) bt  Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 11-9, 11-5, 2-11, 6-11, 11-6 (90m)
Result – Final: Women’s Nash Cup 2016
 Danielle Letourneau (CAN) bt  Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) 3-2: 9-11, 16-14, 11-13, 14-12, 18-16 (65m)