Melbourn member Bradshaw just misses out on first national title

Melbourn's Kate Bradshaw and final opponent Hannah Wright-Davies

Melbourn's Kate Bradshaw and final opponent Hannah Wright-Davies - Credit: Brian Brock/England Masters Squash

Melbourn Squash Club's Kate Bradshaw came up just short of a first national title in the final of the Women’s Over-40s section of the 2022 iProSports British Masters Championships at Nottingham Squash Club.

Bradshaw reached the final after two contrasting matches, putting in a scintillating performance to annihilate former national runner-up Natalie Townsend (Warkwickshire) 11-3, 11-2, 11-1 in just 10 minutes.

She then faced Mandy Akin (Kent), who was seeded lower than Townsend but was playing down a couple of age groups from her regular category, where she has won multiple National Championships and put up a stern fight.

Akin's tough match play took Bradshaw all the way before the Cambridgeshire player finally triumphed 6-11, 11-2, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6.

The title match pitted Bradshaw against one-time Welsh no.1 Hannah Wright-Davies, who Bradshaw had beaten before, but she found her usual movement frustrated by her opponent’s physical approach and lost 8-11, 7-11, 7-11.

"Hannah was just too strong, both mentally and physically for me," she said.

"I didn't do enough to upset her flow and couldn’t take control of the ‘T’ often enough. Even when I did work the rallies and create opportunities, the finish wasn’t quite there for me – but that’s also a result of the pressure she creates for you on the court. 

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"The game scores were close, but I was disappointed not to challenge her more. It wasn’t the result I’ve been working towards, but I was still happy to make it to another Nationals final and to see so many familiar and friendly faces here, especially after the last two years we’ve all had away from the circuit."

Bradshaw being presented with her runner-up Trophy by Andy Murray of tournament sponsors iProSports

Melbourn's Kate Bradshaw being presented with her runner-up trophy by Andy Murray of tournament sponsors iProSports - Credit: Brian Brock/England Masters Squash

Bradshaw ended the season top of the over-40 rankings, which inform England selectors for Home Internationals this spring, and saw her selected to captain the over-35s - a second chance to lead her country after a previous occasion fell foul to the pandemic.

"I'm so pleased to be able to captain the team this season after the 2020 event was cancelled," she added.

"All the players are always proud to represent their country, but I think this year will hold that much more meaning for everyone. It will be a real celebration of a return to playing a sport we love after so many restrictions over the last two years."

The Masters Finalists from all categories (Bradshaw is front row, fourth from the right)

The Masters Finalists from all categories, with Kate Bradshaw front row, fourth from the right - Credit: Brian Brock/England Masters Squash

*Melbourn Squash Club is based at Melbourn Sports Centre on the site of Melbourn Village College and is open to new members. 

As well as teams playing in County Leagues, Melbourn Squash Club has an active internal league and runs a casual Club Night each Sunday. 

Club coach Chris Shaw is qualified to England Squash Level 2 and offers coaching for adults and juniors, including non-members. For more information visit the club website melbourn-squash.co.uk or email melbournsquashclub@gmail.com.