Commonwealth Games 2014: Olympics must allow us in says Nick Matthew after taking epic squash final

The sport lost out to the reintroduction of wrestling at the last vote in 2013 and must wait until 2028 at the earliest for an Olympic introduction

The Scotstoun Stadium

The Commonwealth Games served up a match worthy of an Olympic final on Monday, if only the International Olympic Committee saw the world the same way. What’s not to like, the No 2 and No 6 in the squash world rankings going at it with inhospitable ferocity in a glass cage visible from all sides?

The ancient Olympians would have thrown garlands of laurel around the necks of the gold medallist Nick Matthew and beaten finalist James Willstrop without a second thought. They were only sharpened racket frames from gladiatorial warfare in an epic contest lasting an hour and 40 minutes, Matthew taking the match 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5.

The sport lost out to the reintroduction of wrestling at the last vote in 2013 and must wait until 2028 at the earliest for an Olympic introduction. Bonkers on this evidence. “We have done the sport justice,” said Matthew. “This is the Commonwealth Games but that was a world- standard final. We have both been world No 1. Hopefully, the IOC were watching and go, ‘wow we need to get this sport in’. It had everything.”

No arguments from this quarter. There is no great love passing between these very different Yorkshiremen, but plenty of respect. Willstrop, at 30, four years the junior, must be wondering what on earth he has to do to register a first victory in seven years against his great rival.

 

The head-to-head count stands at 42-11 in Matthew’s favour. The champion admitted that had it been a boxing contest the ref might have stopped it in his opponent’s favour. “I never felt I had one bit of control in the whole match. He had me under so much pressure. It was testament to my fighting ability that I stuck in there. He was playing great squash and I had to be attritional. I exhausted Plan A, B, C and so on. I think I was on Plan Z by the end.”

Matthew’s victory was the more remarkable given the knee operation he underwent just five weeks ago. “I’m a stubborn so-and-so. I’m a Yorkshireman, an only child and a Leo. Put that lot together and you have one hell of a stubborn character.”

Willstrop had problems of his own. The hip condition he has been nursing these past six weeks requires surgery, but he did not make that an excuse. As Matthew generously acknowledged, Willstrop reached the greater heights, the point to level at 4-4 in the fourth game typical of his vision, flair and touch. He added the next two to take control of the game and, ultimately, the match into a decider.

Nicol David celebrates winning the women’s final against Laura Massaro Nicol David celebrates winning the women’s final against Laura Massaro (Getty)

Typically, after periods of almost unanswerable artistry Willstrop would behave like a kettle that had just boiled. The cooling was not rapid but enough to allow Matthew to insinuate his way back into the match. He was quickly into the fifth game, taking the first two points. Willstrop’s 6ft 4in frame seemed to sag a little, as if he knew his chance had gone.

It had. Matthew took it 11-5, and with it his second Commonwealth gold. “I gave everything I could. I haven’t got a good record against him. I’m used to it,” Willstrop said. “There was a point in the fourth when I thought, ‘this is as good a chance as you are going to get. This is it’. He is not at his peak physically, but it didn’t work out. We have had some antagonistic matches in the past but there is respect there, despite us being very different characters.

“He was humble at the end, he usually is after matches. He was very sincere but then it is always easy to be sincere when he has beaten me, but that is fine. He won the match. It was a great match. If you had said we might produce that five weeks ago when we were both in a mess we would have been pleased with that.” 

In the women’s singles the world No 1 Nicol David of Malaysia beat England’s world No 2 Laura Massaro in three games to take gold. Massaro wasted game point in the first and never recovered, losing 12-10, 11-2, 11-5. “I was disappointed not to convert that game ball,” Massaro said. “Things like that can turn matches. After that she settled down very well and it was always going to be difficult”

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?