The opening day of action at the AJ Bell British National Championships in Nottingham saw top seeds Joel Makin and Sarah-Jane Perry book their place in the men’s and women’s quarter-finals whilst Scotland No.1 Greg Lobban fell to defeat at the hands of Englishman George Parker.
In the first upset of the day, Parker took nearly an hour to stun Greg Lobban 6-11, 11-6, 11-4, 1-11, 11-8 to set up a date with Daryl Selby on Valentine’s Day. Then in the evening session, England’s Richie Fallows got the better of compatriot and, 5/8 seed Tom Richards in straight games in 42 minutes.
His prize is a last eight clash with World No.20 Adrian Waller, a 3-0 victor over fellow Englishman Nathan Lake. Elsewhere at Nottingham Squash Rackets Club, World No.25 and 3/4 seed Selby was awarded a 3-0 victory against qualifier Olli Pett, who caught Selby in the eye at 2-1 in the first game, resulting in Selby being ushered off for medical attention.
Women’s No.1 seed Perry made light work of qualifier Kiera Marshall – who was making her Nationals debut – racing to a straight games victory in just 19 minutes.
“I knew she’d be nervous, I remember my first Nationals,” said Perry after her 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 victory.
“She played well, but I haven’t played on this court and we have a tough schedule coming up so I need to get as sharp and as efficient as possible.”
Men’s top seed Joel Makin – the sole Welsh player in either draw after defending women’s champion Tesni Evans withdrew – brought his best to the court as he overcame a third game scare to beat 16-year-old English talent Sam Todd.
Joel Makin (right) and Sam Todd (left) in action in Nottingham
“Sam was attacking freely and hitting some good winners, so I’m happy to get through that one,” said Makin, the World No.11.
“If I play like I can, I should get through the rounds, so I don't really think about being top seed.”
Makin’s Friday opponent will be Scottish 5/8 seed Alan Clyne, who kept his country’s flag flying with a comfortable 3-0 victory over qualifier Nick Wall.
No.2 seed and four-time champion Alison Waters survived a second-game blip against qualifier Lily Taylor to win 3-1 while men’s No.2 seed, defending champion James Willstrop, set up a quarter-final with World No.21 Declan James after his 3-0 win against qualifier Charlie Lee.
“I felt good on there, I may need to step it up against the big guns but I'm pleased to be winning and healthy,” said Willstrop, a three-time British National champion.
Nottingham 5/8 seed Declan James raced out the blocks against Patrick Rooney but had to face two opening game balls en route to a 3-0 triumph. Women’s 5/8 seed Julianne Courtice survived a gripping first encounter of the day against fellow Englishwoman Rachael Chadwick 3-1 to face Perry on Friday.
In the first match of the evening session – another all-English duel – [5/8] Jasmine Hutton lost the second game to qualifier Alice Green but prevailed 3-1 to set up a battle with Waters.
Elsewhere Millie Tomlinson saw off Kace Bartley 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 in 28 minutes to set up a quarter-final clash with Lucy Turmel, who beat qualifier Alicia Mead 3-0, while Victoria Lust was a late 3-1 winner over Scotland’s Alison Thomson, and will now face Emily Whitlock, a 3-0 victor over Anna Kimberley.
You can watch all the action from the rest of the week LIVE on SquashTV.
Results – First Round: Men’s Draw
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt [Q] Sam Todd (ENG) 3-1: 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 11-2 (41m)
[5/8] Alan Clyne (SCO) bt [Q] Nick Wall (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (33m)
Richie Fallows (ENG) bt [5/8] Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-6, 11-3 (42m)
[3-4] Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 13-11 (41m)
[3-4] Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [Q] Oliver Pett (ENG) 3-0: 1-2 match awarded
George Parker (ENG) bt [5/8] Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-2: 6-11, 11-6, 11-4, 1-11, 11-8 (58m)
[5/8] Declan James (ENG) bt Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-0: 13-11, 11-8, 11-5 (40m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Charlie Lee (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 (26m)
Results – First Round: Women’s Draw
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [Q] Kiera Marshall (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 (19m)
[5/8] Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt Rachael Chadwick (ENG) 3-1: 12-10, 11-9, 11-13, 11-7 (42m)
[5/8] Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt [Q] Alicia Mead (ENG) 3-0: 14-12, 11-6, 11-7 (34m)
[3-4] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bt Kace Bartley (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (28m)
[3-4] Victoria Lust (ENG) bt Alison Thomson (SCO) 3-1: 11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 (35m)
[5/8] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) bt [Q] Alice Green (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6 (33m)
[5/8] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt Anna Kimberley (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-2 (30m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt [Q] Lily Taylor (ENG) 3-1: 11-1, 9-11, 11-4, 11-4 (27m)
Men’s Quarter Final Draw
 Joel Makin (WAL) v [5/8] Alan Clyne (SCO)
Richie Fallows (ENG) v [3-4] Adrian Waller (ENG)
[3-4] Daryl Selby (ENG) v George Parker (ENG)
[5/8] Declan James (ENG) v  James Willstrop (ENG)
Women’s Quarter-Final Draw
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v [5/8] Julianne Courtice (ENG)
[5/8] Lucy Turmel (ENG) v [3-4] Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
[3-4] Victoria Lust (ENG) v [5/8] Jasmine Hutton (ENG)
[5/8] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v  Alison Waters (ENG)