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Six wins out of six as England begin Birmingham 2022 campaign

Team England made a perfect start to their Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games campaign with straight-game victories for every member of the six-strong contingent.

On the showcourt, defending Commonwealth Games singles champion James ‘the Marksman’ Willstrop wowed a passionate crowd at the University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre with a trademark display of deadly squash that his opponent, Gibraltar’s Christian Navas, had no answer to.

Willstrop took the first game 11-1 before drawing gasps in the second with a trademark ‘windmill’ shot as he opened up a 2-0 lead with an 11-2 win.

Despite the gulf between them, 44-year-old Navas was clearly relishing his time on court and celebrated enthusiastically - and to raucous cheers from the crowd - when he took a 1-0 lead in game three.

Though the lead did not last, the two battled well, with the popular Gibraltarian limiting Willstrop to 11-6 in the third. Willstrop said:

“I don’t think I’ve walked into an atmosphere like that for a long time, possibly ever. That was his first ever match on glass I think, so I’ve no idea how he handled it because I was nervous walking into that. It was an amazing reception, really.

“I’m under no pressure at all. The pressure was in getting here. I really wanted to get here and the pressure was all season getting the points to get here and now I’m just trying to enjoy every day.”

While all six English players went in as favourites today, safely progressing through to the third round will be a welcome relief for the trio of Commonwealth Games debutants; 3/4 seed Patrick Rooney from St. Helens, 3/4 seed Georgina Kennedy from London, and 5/8 seed Lucy Turmel from Ipswich.

Turmel, 22, was the first English player involved today, with all six players receiving round one byes yesterday, but showed few jitters in her match against Papua New Guinea’s Amity Alarcos. Turmel settled into the match with an 11-5 win in game one before bringing things to a swift conclusion with a pair of 11-1 wins in games two and three. Turmel said:

“Naturally, I had a few nerves at the beginning. A lot of people came to watch me today which was really nice. I’m glad that match is over with and tomorrow’s match can’t come soon enough, I’m ready to go!”

Rooney and Kennedy enjoyed similarly scare-free passage through to the next round, with Rooney earning an 11-2, 11-6, 11-6 win over Julian Jervis of the Cayman Islands and Kennedy beating Sri Lanka’s Yeheni Kuruppu 11-1, 11-1, 11-1. Rooney said:

"The games have been pretty surreal, especially the opening ceremony, it's something I'm not used to at all. That was a good start to the tournament with great pace and quality and I'm happy to be through,”

Kennedy added: “I'm on the late shift tonight so I've been eagerly waiting all day to get on court. I'm really happy to get going and start my campaign off and I was feeling really good out there. It's a dream of mine to even be here."

Elsewhere, Birmingham native and No.2 seed Sarah-Jane Perry quickly put Jade Pitcairn of the Cayman Islands to the sword 11-1, 11-3, 11-5 as she looks to improve on her 2018 silver medal, while Adrian Waller - playing at his first Commonwealth Games singles event - dispatched Pitcairn’s compatriot Jake Kelly 11-4, 11-3, 11-3.

Afterwards, Perry said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many people here getting behind all the players and enjoying the squash. I’m sure there are many who are new to it and I hope they’re having a great time. There’s a Kenilworth flag over here which is awesome, thank you!

“It’s been a long time coming and I’m really happy to play on this court in front of an amazing crowd."

Waller concluded: “A 3-0 victory is always what you want to start a tournament. It’s nice to get the ball rolling in the Commonwealth Games and to see a real buzz with a lot of English fans around.”

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Round Two Women’s Results:

[5/8] Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt Amity Alarcos (PNG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-1, 11-1 (15m)
[3/4] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt Yeheni Kuruppu (SRI) 3-0: 11-1, 11-1, 11-1
[2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Jade Pitcairn (CAY) 3-0: 11-1, 11-3, 11-5

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Round Two Men’s Results:

[5/8] Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Jake Kelly (CAY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 (25m)
[3/4] Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Julian Jervis (CAY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-6, 11-6
[5/8] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Christian Navas (GIB) 3-0: 11-1, 11-2, 11-6

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Round Three Women’s Draw:

[5/8] Lucy Turmel (ENG) v [9/16] Jess Turnbull (AUS)
[3/4] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) v [9/16] Nicole Bunyan (CAN)
[2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v [9/16] Chan Yiwen (MAS)

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Round Three Men’s Draw:

[5/8] Adrian Waller (ENG) v Christopher Bonnie (JAM)
[3/4] Patrick Rooney (ENG) v [9/16] Rory Stewart (SCO)~
[5/8] James Willstrop (ENG) v Nasir Iqbal (PAK)

Follow the action from day 3 from 12pm as Team England's men and women fight for a place n the quarter-finals. Visit the dedicated site for news, results and reaction at