TODAY at the Nationals 2004
 John White (Scotland) bt  Lee Beachill (Yorks)
17-16, 17-14, 14-15,
White Takes First National Title
In today’s closely-contested men’s final of the British
National Squash Championships, Scotland’s John White edged out England’s
two-times champion Lee Beachill to win the title for the first time at the
National Squash Centre in Sportcity, Manchester.
Top seed White, the Nottingham-based world No3, had reached the final
after dropping games in the previous three rounds – in the quarter-finals
recording the longest match of the championships in avenging his defeat at
the same stage twelve months earlier by beating Welshman Alex Gough in
Beachill, however, reached his fourth successive final following straight
games victories – and in the semi-finals overcame Peter Nicol when the
defending champion retired with exhaustion after just two games.
Despite having game balls in the first two games, Yorkshireman Beachill
went down 2-0 after 52 minutes. Favourite White then had a match ball at
14-11 in the third when Beachill, the world No4 from Pontefract, upped his
game to take the match into a fourth. At 8-9, White won back the service
and went through to clinch the match 17-16 17-14 14-15 15-8 in 82 minutes.
“I’m a true Brit now,” exclaimed White, who was born in Queensland,
Australia, and took up Scottish nationality in 1998, based on his father’s
“To play Lee in the final and take him out in four games in virtually his
home court is fantastic,” said the new champion. “There was a great
atmosphere in the arena, particularly thanks to the vociferous Pontefract
supporters in the crowd – and that just spurred me on.”
When asked how it felt to be the British champion for the first time,
after only playing in the event on two occasions before, the 30-year-old
said: “It means a great deal to me – a lot comes with being British
champion and it’s certainly good for Scottish squash. I’ve been involved
with British squash for the last five years or so, and won the Scottish
national title before, but it’s a great feeling to be amongst the boys who
have won this British title.”
White gave particular credit to the help given to him by former Rugby
League star Ellery Hanley. “I met Ellery last summer during the English
Open in Sheffield, and have been staying with him during this event. He
has helped me a lot mentally, and I have benefited from the match
preparation techniques he has passed on to me.”
A dejected Beachill conceded afterwards that he had not played as well as
he had in earlier rounds: “I never felt I was too far from John, but the
way he played made it difficult for me. If I had won one of the first two
games, the whole picture might have been quite different.
“But considering the poor preparation I was able to give for this
tournament, with a poisoned blister on my foot, I guess I should be
pleased to have made the final,” Beachill added.
 Cassie Jackman (Norfolk) bt  Linda Charman (Sussex)
9-3, 9-1, 9-5
Jackman makes History
Norfolk’s Cassie Jackman wrote herself into the squash history books today
at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity, Manchester, when she beat
England team-mate Linda Charman in final of the British National Squash
Championships to claim the title for a record sixth time.
Jackman, who only returned to the international circuit just a year ago
after career-threatening back surgery for the second time in her life, was
in blistering form as she overcame her close friend 9-3 9-1 9-5 in 41
minutes. Only in the third game did Jackman’s remarkable eight-year
unbeaten record against Charman look threatened when the 32-year-old from
Eastbourne won five points in a row from 0-6 down.
“She did to me what I’ve been doing to others all week,” said Charman
afterwards. “Her length was so good she rarely let me into the game. I’ve
been feeling so good all week, I was really hoping this could be my year,
but Cassie was just too good,” added the England No2, now a runner-up in
the event on four occasions.
Jackman was in a jubilant mood after her historic victory: “I’m never set
any records before so it’s great to get into the record books with this
one. Now it’s there for someone else to beat,” Cassie told the packed
crowd surrounding the all-glass court on which she won two medals in the
2002 Commonwealth Games.
“I was pleased with the way I played, and with my movement,” added the
31-year-old from Norwich who reclaimed the world No1 ranking this month
after winning five titles on the WISPA World Tour last year, and
celebrating her 50th appearance in an international final.
“Winning this title last year gave me a great start to the year – then
getting back to the top of the world rankings, and being announced onto
the court as ‘world No1’, gives you a real buzz.
“I saw Linda’s match last night, and I knew I had to play well to beat her
– and I did. I was concentrating on every point. The National
Championships is a great event – all the players love to play here – and I
am absolutely delighted to win this sixth title.”
Jackman and Charman have been staying together in Manchester with Emma
Donaldson, a former Scottish international. Their perhaps
less-than-conventional pre-final preparation included baby-sitting for
their friend’s three children Georgie, Jessica and Charlie.
Jackman plans to celebrate her historic achievement when she returns to
Norwich on Monday, then heads to Doha for next week’s Qatar Airways
Challenge. She can then look forward to her next major milestone, her
wedding to fiancé Matt Thomas on 12th March.
Full women's draw