After some extremely close matches but ultimately too many disappointments during last season’s PSL fixtures, The University of Birmingham team have much higher hopes for the coming season and have made some key signings in an attempt to strengthen the team.
Currently world ranked at 13 the big Australian gives the University team a new strength to both the top of the order and in depth, and as such Pilley must surely be seen as one of the marquee signings of the summer along with Daryl Selby (Chapel Allerton), Simon Rosner (Coolhurst London), Omar Mossad (Exeter Diamonds), and of course the mercurial Frenchman Greg Gautier (Winchester Health & Rackets).
Other additions to the University of Birmingham line up include the Maltese falcon Bradley Hindle who is now on the road to recovery after a career threatening hip operation, and Czech Republic National Champion Olga Ertlova. Both of these players are now living and training in Birmingham, and both bring a depth of experience that perhaps has arguable been lacking over the past two seasons.
With the spine of last years team being retained in Chris Ryder, Jaymie Haycocks, Peter Creed, Nathan Lake, Deon Saffery, and the ever rising English starlet Sarah-Jane Perry (WR14), and with most of the other squad players at career high PSA or WSA rankings the spectators heading down to the Munrow Sports Centre on Tuesday are probably more than hopefully that the team will be much more competitive this time around.
The team’s task in the opening fixture will not be an easy one however, and the opposition Chapel Allerton will arrive in Birmingham with a strong line up full of experience and will be no doubt be expecting a win.
They certainly seem to have made their intentions clear that their desire is to look to improve on their performance from last season, and are no doubt looking to upset last years Northern Group winners Duffield by reaching the end of season PSL finals.
As alluded to already they signalled their intent by making one of the signings of the summer in capturing the 2011 British National Champion and current World Number 14 Daryl Selby from St George’s Hill, and it is indeed possible that the tie could be decided by the performance of the two top players?
Round One, Tue 22nd Oct:
University of Birmingham v Chapel Allerton
1) Cameron Pilley v Daryl Selby
2) Chris Ryder v Chris Simpson
3) Jaymie Haycocks v Shaun Le Roux
4) Peter Creed v James Earles
5) Olga Ertlova v Carrie Ramsey
Whatever happens it looks like a great tie in prospect tomorrow evening, and with some tickets still available to buy at the University make sure that if you are in the area you head down and watch what promises to be a great evening of squash …