England rule roost over world’s finest

Jamie Matthews
Jamie Matthews
Chloe Stopard-Baker racked up 25 points for Portsmouth Valkyries. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171669-1)

Valkyries hailed for ruthless streak

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England were in dominant form as Lee-on-the-Solent played host to the World Deaf Squash Championships.

The globe’s top deaf talent descended at the club in Manor Way to fight for honours in the prestigious five-day competition.

Players from South Africa, Holland and America were among those vying for various titles.

And the host nation underlined themselves as a powerhouse in their area of the sport with a string of wins.

Jamie Matthews lifted the men’s title in an all-English final against team-mate Phil Thomas.

Matthews was in dominant form as he justified his status as world number one with a 3-0 win.

That victory underlined Matthews’ class which he showed from start to finish, overcoming Michael Easton, Shane Pletts and Max Percival before his final win.

England were also victorious in the men’s team competition as they defeated Scotland in the final.

Matthews, Thomas, Max Percival, Dan Easton and Shane Pletts were the quintet who bagged the title.

All were winners except Pletts, who went down to a loss to Scotland’s Bernard Starkey in the highlight match of the final day.

Matt Hewitt was an English winner in the wooden rackets event – beating Scotland’s Eric Stevenson in the final.

South African Christine Ferreira emerged triumphant in the ladies’ competition. The tournament operated on a round-robin format, with Ferreira the class act in her category.

England’s Lesley Holdsworth’s clash with Kristal Koolhas was a nail-biter as she came back from 2-1 down to win.

Lee-on-the-Solent director of squash and England coach Tim Vail was proud to see the standard of squash from England as his club hosted the event.

Vail said: ‘It was a prestigious event for the club to hold and we were proud.

‘The competition went really well and there was some good squash to see.

‘We’re ranked one, two and three in the world in the men so it would have been a struggle to lose the team event!

‘Jamie was too good in the singles and no-one could get near him.

‘People from all over the world took part. We were pleased with how it went.’