Nick Matthew’s all wasn’t enough to overcome the French General.
The opening rounds of the Allam British Open looked like the English players would struggle against the force of the in form Egyptians.
With James Willstrop crashing out in the first round to Mathieu Castagnet 3–1, and Declan James, Tom Richards, Adrian Waller, Charles Sharpe and Nathan Lake all joining him with first round defeats, it left only hope for Nick Matthew and Daryl Selby in the Men’s British Open.
Squash enthusiasts know the power that Egypt possess when it comes to the World Series Events, and with 6 of the African nation left in the tournament, including Mohammed El Shorbagy and Karim El Gawad, the mountain looked like a near impossible task for the English hopefuls.
The chance for an English British Open champion became even more slim when Selby collapsed under the pressure of Shorbagy whereas Matthew progressed through the second round beating Simon Rosner 3–1.
The four quarter finals saw 5 Egyptians, 2 French and 1 English player looking like an all Egyptian encounter in the final could be in store. However, a gruelling five set match for Matthew against Tarek Momen saw the English man keep his hopes alive to lift the trophy in Hull. Wins for Gaultier, Shorbagy and Ramy Ashour also set up the semi finals on the Saturday. Nick Matthew would be up against Shorbagy and Gaultier would face what looked like an injury free Ashour.
The squash on show in the semi finals showed concern when Gaultier cruised through yet another game with a default 3–0 after Ashour retired with injury in the first game.
Nick Matthew took a two nil lead over Shorbagy before the Egyptian clawed one back and with an 8–3 lead in the fourth game, it looked like Matthew had crumbled. But, with grit and determination Matthew won 8 points on the bounce to win in a very tough 3–1.
The final saw Gaultier much fresher than Matthew was as he had played a 9 minute semi final and also hadn’t dropped a game. But, a quick start from Nick saw the Englishman open up a large lead in the first game and just doing enough to overcome Gaultier 11–8 in the first. The quick pace of Gaultier soon became apparent in the tired legs of the English number 1 when he bounced back to level the game scores with an 11–7 second game win.
The class of Gaultier looked like a step above, Gaultier completed the 2017 Allam British Open 2017 winning the third and fourth game, 11–3.
Both the finalist’s are good friends off court with Matthew admitting they text regularly. Texts were exchanged stating that they needed to do it for the ‘old boys’ and they certainly did that.