British National Squash Championships 2014  •  10-16 February  •  Manchester


#7: Tom Richards

While the smart money points towards a sixth National crown for Nick Matthew next weekend, Tom Richards is using Daryl Selby’s surprise 2011 success as his inspiration for a first National title.

Selby upset Matthew 3/2 in a thrilling 84-minute final three years ago to claim the trophy, after twice coming from behind.

“You’d be foolish to look past Nick for the title with the form he’s in at the moment,” said Richards, who is seeded 5/8 in Manchester.

“However, there are several players who on their day can produce an upset. Daryl’s victory three years ago has given hope that it is possible to upset the odds and win.”

Coincidentally, it is Selby whom the 27-year-old from Surrey is scheduled to meet if he wins his first two matches.

“It’s a similar draw to last year in that I’m seeded to play Daryl in the quarters after two tough matches against young hungry players in the previous rounds,” said Richards, who plays Tom Ford first.

“Every year the strength of the draw shows the depth of England squash and this year is no different. It goes without saying that every match will be tough.

“It’s a cliche, but I’ll take it match by match. I hope I can reach the quarters and play Daryl, as we always have tough but fair matches.”

Richards defeated Selby in the quarters last year, only to fall to Matthew, the eventual champion, 3/1 in the semis after taking the first game.

A lot has happened since then, though, with injuries leading to Richards’ ranking falling from 12 this time last year to 26 currently.

However, the four-time PSA Tour tournament winner pointed out: "I feel like I’m back close to the form that saw me reach 12 in the world.

“Last year was a tough year with injuries and perhaps I underestimated the length of time it would take to recapture my form, but since the start of the year I’ve been playing well in training. Whilst I’ve lost 3/0 to both Greg [Gaultier] and Nick in my previous two tournaments, I felt I competed well.”

Richards, who also reached the National semi-finals in 2011, would love to progress a stage further.

“The Nationals are very important to me,” he said. "The list of past champions is littered with greats of the game, so to add my name to that would be a dream come true.

“It’s also a chance to play in front of appreciative crowds in familiar settings, which is always a pleasure.”


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