South African Craig van der Wath claimed the men’s over-50 gold to become the first player in Masters Squash history to win six career titles ©Masters Squash

South African Craig van der Wath claimed a record breaking win in the men’s over-50 competition at the 2016 World Masters Squash Championships in Johannesburg.

The victory means van der Wath has become the first player in the event's 33-year history to win six career titles.

Johannesburg-based van der Wath, who won his first World Masters title in the over-35 tournament in 2001, was in impressive form as he beat England’s 2014 British Open over-45 champion Yawar Abbas 6-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-4 in the final.

A record 951 players competed in the World Squash Federation event in the South African city, which featured 19 men’s and women’s events from over-35 to over-80.

The tournament was held at The Wanderers Club, the Parkview Squash Centre and the County Club in Johannesburg.

Australia’s former world number one Sarah Fitz-Gerald won her third World Masters trophy on a busy day of finals.

Fitz-Gerald defeated England’s Andrea Santamaria, 11-4, 11-3, 11-5, in the women’s over-45 final.

Championship debutante Mohammed Abbas won Egypt's sole medal after he beat South African Gary Wheadon 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 in the men’s over-35 final.

"Masters squash is so different, it’s still tough but it’s so much fun too," said Abbas, the 35-year-old former world number 13.

"It’s been fantastic playing here in South Africa - all of the Egyptians have really enjoyed it, the facilities, the organisation, the crowd have all been great."

There was a successful homecoming for former South African international Natalie Grainger, who now represents the United States.

Grainger successfully defended her women’s over-35 crown after overcoming England’s Lauren Briggs 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 12-10 in the final.

Jersey’s Nick Taylor won gold in the men’s over-45 championship and received the honour of being named player of the tournament ©Masters Squash
Jersey’s Nick Taylor won gold in the men’s over-45 championship and received the honour of being named player of the tournament ©Masters Squash

Meanwhile, veteran campaigner Barbara Sanderson of Ireland claimed her fourth World Masters title after winning the inaugural women’s over-75 event.

Victories over South African duo Dawn Kaiser and Alma Cave as well as England's Joan Witton in a round robin format gave the Armagh-born 76-year-old her latest title after winning the over-65 crown ten years ago.

Adrian Wright, the 75-year-old Englishman, won his fourth title since 2006 when he beat South African Desmond Sacco 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10 in the men’s over-75 final.

There was further English success as compatriots Malcolm Gilham and John Woodliffe, aged 81 and 80 respectively, battled for a full 40 minutes before Gilham ultimately prevailed 9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6 to claim the men’s over-80 title.

Elsewhere, Jersey’s sole competitor in the event won gold in the men’s over-45 competition.

Second seed Nick Taylor progressed to the final without dropping a game but then had to come from 10-5 down in the first game of the final to overcome top-seeded South African Michael Tootill, 13-11, 11-3, 11-5 to win his first World Masters title.

Taylor also received the honour of being named player of the tournament.

In the final competition of the day, England’s Ann Manley won the women’s over-70 title after she beat compatriot Bett Dryhurst 6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5.

South Africa won the 2016 Nations Cup, a trophy awarded to the country whose men and women across all age-groups produce the best overall performance, with England in second place and Australia in third.