Sheffield’s Nick Matthew starts the season in style

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SHEFFIELD’S Nick Matthew had the best possible start to the new squash season with victory at the British Grand Prix in Manchester last night.

Playing in his 50th Professional Squash Association final, Matthew beat Yorkshire rival James Willstrop 3-1 (4/11, 11/6, 11/9, 11/6). World No2 Matthew, aged 32, is trying to reclaim the No1 spot from Pontefract-based Willstrop and despite losing the first game he was always in control once he’d edged ahead after a tense third game.

He told The Star that Willstrop’s marathon 118 minute semi-final against France’s Greg Gaultier on Sunday was a factor in the final result.

He said: “It’s fantastic to get the season off to a winning start. Obviously I had Greg to thank for pushing James all the way on Sunday as it was questionable if my squash would have been good enough today had James been fresh.

“I’m delighted to get the result that mattered in the end.”

Matthew’s next tournament is likely to be the $115,000 US Open in Philadelphia (October 6-12) where he was runner-up last year.