Squash ace Chris Simpson revels in St George’s title glory ahead of World Championships quest

Chris Simpson
Chris Simpson

Harrogate squash player Chris Simpson claimed the biggest scalp of his career after winning the St George’s Hill Classic last week.

Simpson beat top seed and world number 15 Daryl Selby in the final of the $25,000 competition in Surrey to record his first tournament win of 2015.

In what he described as his greatest tournament victory, the 28 year-old could not hold back his excitement.

“It’s an amazing feeling to have won the tournament while also being a big relief,” he said.

“It gives me great confidence for the rest of the year.”

Simpson was seeded second for the PSA Tour event which gave him an advantageous draw throughout the week in Weybridge.

After seeing off Welshman Peter Creed 11-4, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6 in the first round, the 28-year-old was taken to the brink by Denmark’s Kristian Frost Olesen in the second round.

In an 82 minute thriller, Simpson ground his opponent down to win 5-11, 11-2, 12-14, 11-4, 11-4 and set up a semi-final showdown with compatriot Tom Richards.

The last four clash was a more comfortable experience for the Guernsey-born player, and he won in straight games in 48 minutes.

Top seed Selby was Simpson’s opponent in the final and he overcame the hot favourite 11-8, 11-2, 9-11, 11-1 to cap his first tournament win since lifting the Jersey Classic in May 2014.

The success boosted Simpson’s world ranking of 23 but also gave him a welcome lift after enduring “mixed” tournament success this year.

He even cited a possible change of tactics to overcome his bad luck in the tournament draws.

Simpson, who represented his native Guernsey during the 2014 Commonwealth Games, said: “It can be very hard in the tournaments since you can draw anyone at any time.

“In the British Grand Prix last month, I drew world number two Nick Matthew in the first round. That’s just the luck of the draw though.

“I’m thinking about entering some mid-level tournaments to face some players more around my rank. If I can build some momentum against players my rank it can only improve my confidence and put me in good stead for the future.”

Before that, though, Simpson faces up against world number 10 Marwan Elshorbagy in the Men’s Qatar Classic prior to heading to Seattle for the Men’s PSA World Championship where he has been drawn against South African number one Stephen Coppinger.

“It’s a really good opportunity for me” said Simpson.

“With a lot of the tournaments you often find yourself playing the same venues over and over again.

“With the world championships being played in the United States it’s something different and adds a new element. I’m extremely excited for it.”