Matthew turns to Plan Z as England win squash 1-2-3

ENGLAND’S Nick Matthew admits he was forced to draw on all of his natural stubbornness in order to beat team-mate James Willstrop and retain his Commonwealth Games squash singles title yesterday in Glasgow.

World champion Matthew saw off his rival 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5 after Peter Barker had taken bronze, as England ensured a second successive podium clean sweep in the event, having also dominated the medal places four years ago.

Matthew, who carried the English flag at the opening ceremony, conceded he showcased very little flair during his gold medal winning performance, a repeat of his 2010 final success over Willstrop.

“I went through Plans A, B and C and was on about Plan Z by the end, but it worked,” said Matthew.

“He was playing the great squash and I was being attritional. I can’t play good squash against him – he brings out the worst in me. All I can do is whack it to the back because he’s running everywhere.

“I’m a Yorkshireman, an only child and a Leo, so put that together and you’ve got one hell of a stubborn guy.”

England’s world No2 Laura Massaro had to settle for silver after losing to Malaysia’s defending champion Nicol David 12-10, 11-2, 11-5 in the women’s final, which also mirrored that at the last Games in Delhi. Despite heading into the clash with World Open and British Open titles to her name this year, Massaro believed second place was all she merited.

“Ultimately my goal was to get a medal and I didn’t try to put a colour on it,” said Massaro. “A silver is probably what I deserved as I’m second in the world and my performance wasn’t good enough to win gold.”

England also took silver in badminton’s mixed team event after losing to Malaysia in the final, and it was a similar story in the men’s team table tennis as Singapore retained their crown with a 3-1 success, another repeat of the 2010 final.