Squash star Sarah-Jane enjoys a winning return at the England Championships

Kenilworth's Sarah-Jane Perry is now gearing up to defend the CIP PSA Black Ball Squash Open title next week

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 7:43 am
Kenilworth's Sarah-Jane Perry won the AJ Bell England Championship. Picture courtesy of Professional Squash Association

Sarah-Jane Perry has made a successful return to competition after she won the AJ Bell England Squash Championships in Manchester last month.

And the Kenilworth star is now gearing up for her next task of trying to defend the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open title next week.

World No.6 Perry went into the England Championships as the heavy favourite and duly delivered as she beat rising star Georgina Kennedy 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 in just 23 minutes in the final.

The four-day event provided an invaluable opportunity for England’s top players to get in some much needed competitive matches.

And Perry said: “We don’t normally have an English Championship, it’s normally a British Championships but with all the restrictions and everything, England Squash have done all they can to give us the opportunity to, firstly, train and they have worked hard to get the facilities open. And the next step was to try to get players matches and earning opportunities so they have been great on that.

“I went in as the favourite and ranked higher than the other players but a lot of them were young and up and coming players who are trying to break onto the tour.

“They had nothing to lose and in that situation, the pressure is always going to be on me.

“So it was up to me to produce good performances and keep the youngsters at bay! To do that was quite pleasing.”

Perry is now preparing to fly out to Cairo next week where she will try to defend the Black Ball Open title she won in December.

She has received a first-round bye and will then play either Egypt’s Mariam Metwally or Latvia’s Iveta Mackevica.

“I won it in December, it is the biggest tournament on the Tour and it is being held at the same venue again in Cairo,” she added.

“I fly out on March 10 and start on March 13 and the goal is to retain the title.

“We normally get a whole year to hold the title before we have to try to retain it but the fact it’s happening just a couple of months later is an example of where we are in the world at the moment.”