Team Chichester and Benz-Bavarian Duffield extended their unbeaten runs in the new Premier Squash League (PSL) season – but did so in contrasting styles in the third round of the world’s most prestigious squash league.
Chichester crushed UWE Bristol 5/0 in their second maximum points home win of the season – and leap to the top of the Group B table by an eight point margin.
Spurred on by the biggest home crowd for some time, Hannah Wright-Davies, Anthony Graham and Olivier Pett all clinched straight games wins before squad number two Robbie Temple battled for 81 minutes, fighting back from 2/1 down to overcome the visitors’ David Haley 11-7, 12-14, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8.
By contrast, team newcomer Jonathan Kemp won the first game against Irish number one Arthur Gaskin and was only six points into the second when the Bristol top string was forced to retire with an injury.
“We’re on a bit of a roll – it’s excellent news really,” said a jubilant Chichester team manager Mike Phillips. “I think our success is down to a pretty solid strength-in-depth squad. Jonathan is a really strong number one, and with players like Olly and Anthony at three and four we represent quite a threat. And Hannah’s a good club player – nobody really knows her but she can hold her own with most opposition.
“We’ve had a full house tonight – the momentum is building and people are already sensing the possibility of a play-off place at the end of the season,” Phillips concluded.
Former champions Duffield were taken the full distance in their home Group A tie against East Midlands rivals and fellow former champions MB Nottingham.
After England’s world No2 Laura Massaro put the Derbyshire club ahead with a straight games win over European junior champion and training partner Emily Whitlock, and Nottingham regulars Ollie Holland and Declan James took back the advantage for the visitors, it was left to Duffield stalwart Andy Whipp to bring the home team back into contention with an 8-11, 13-11, 2-11, 11-4, 11-8 win over Scot Greg Lobban.
The decider pitched experienced Scot Alan Clyne against Karim Ali Fathi, a 19-year-old UK-based Egyptian who was not only making his debut for Duffield but also his first appearance in the PSL.
Clyne took the opening game, but teenager Ali Fathi showed his promise by winning the next three games to claim a popular 5-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 victory – and Duffield a 3/2 win which takes the club to the top of the Group A table with a lead of 12 points.
The quickest tie of the night saw last season’s runners-up TWP St George’s Hill beat Winchester Racquets & Fitness5/0 at home to record their first win of the season. And the Surrey club did it in style, with Daryl Selby, Tom Richards,Joe Lee, Charles Sharpes and Dominique Lloyd-Walter all recording 3/0 wins in a total just over two hours of playing time!
“Normal order has been restored,” said a delighted St George’s team manager Danny Lee.
Elsewhere in Group B, the outcome was not decided until after midnight as Australian Steven Finitsis battled with higher-ranked England international Adrian Grant in a bid to salvage a consolation point for home team Exeter Diamondsagainst title-holders Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets.
The visitors had already taken a 4/0 lead through Alison Waters, Davide Bianchetti, Adrian Waller and Karim Abdel Gawad – Waller and Egyptian Abdel Gawad coming from behind to fend off Exeter opposition.
And in only his second appearance in the PSL, Queenslander Finitsis stemmed a fightback by Grant to beat the world No19 11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 7-11, 11-1 in 64 minutes to reduce the visitors’ win to 4/1.
2012/13 season newcomers Chapel Allerton claimed their maiden win in a 3/2 triumph at Oxford Health & Racquetswhich also saw the home side losing for the first time in the season. The Leeds club’s manager and veteran campaignerSimon Parke was forced to retire injured in the decider of his match against Oxford’s Kristen Johnson after twice cancelling leads by the home team player.
But after early Chapel Allerton wins by Jenny Duncalf and James Earles, it was a four-game victory by Dutchman Dylan Bennett over Oxford stalwart Scott Handley that ultimately proved decisive.
There was further Yorkshire success away from home when AJP Pontefract beat University of Birmingham to record their first win of the season. Home success seemed on the cards when Nathan Lake and Jaymie Haycocks both won, to cancel out the early lead set by the visitors’ Sarah Kippax.
But a commanding performance by Indian Siddharth Suchde over Welsh champion Peter Creed left the decider in the hands of Pontefract’s world number one James Willstrop. The 29-year-old from Leeds dropped the opening game to Birmingham’s Chris Ryder – but the wily Willstrop took control of the match thereafter, going on to win 8-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-9 to earn his club a 3/2 victory.
RESULTS: Premier Squash League, 3rd round, Tuesday 30 October 2012
Benz-Bavarian Duffield 3 MB Nottingham 2
Karim Ali Fathi bt Alan Clyne 5-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-5
Joel Hinds lost to Declan James 11-13, 12-10, 11-5, 8-11, 6-11
Andy Whipp bt Greg Lobban 8-11, 13-11, 2-11, 11-4, 11-8
Adam Murrills lost to Ollie Holland 8-11, 7-11, 15-13, 7-11
Laura Massaro bt Emily Whitlock 11-6, 11-4, 11-6
University of Birmingham 2 AJP Pontefract 3
Chris Ryder lost to James Willstrop 11-8, 3-11, 5-11, 9-11
Peter Creed lost to Siddharth Suchde 6-11, 11-4, 4-11, 8-11
Jaymie Haycocks bt Harinder Pal Sandhu 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-3
Nathan Lake bt Lee Beachill 11-8, 5-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7
Katherine Quarterman lost to Sarah Kippax 2-11, 4-11, 5-11
Oxford Health & Racquets 2 Chapel Allerton 3
Cameron Pilley bt Shaun le Roux 11-9, 11-7, 13-11
Scott Handley lost to Dylan Bennett 12-10, 7-11, 7-11, 8-11
Richard Birks lost to James Earles 5-11, 6-11, 9-11
Kristen Johnson bt Simon Parke 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 10-12, 3-1 ret.
Beverley Mackay lost to Jenny Duncalf 3-11, 1-11, 0-11
Team Chichester 5 UWE Bristol 0
Jonathan Kemp bt Arthur Gaskin 11-7, 2-4 ret.
Robbie Temple bt David Haley 11-7, 12-14, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8 (81m)
Olivier Pett bt Charlie Johnson 11-7, 13-11, 11-4
Anthony Graham bt Sam Ellis 11-6, 11-6, 12-10
Hannah Wright-Davies bt Rose Bamber 11-8, 12-10, 11-4
Exeter Diamonds 1 Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets 4
Steven Finitsis bt Adrian Grant 11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 7-11, 11-1 (64m)
Joey Barrington lost to Karim Abdel Gawad 7-11, 12-10, 0-11, 8-11 (44m)
Tim Vail lost to Adrian Waller 11-7, 3-11, 11-9, 5-11, 9-11 (62m)
Michael Harris lost to Davide Bianchetti 8-11, 5-11, 4-11 (32m)
Victoria Temple Murray lost to Alison Waters 9-11, 5-11, 4-11 (22m)
TWP St George’s Hill 5 Winchester Racquets & Fitness 0
Daryl Selby bt Stacey Ross 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (29m)
Tom Richards bt Robert Downer 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (36m)
Joe Lee bt Scott Fitzgerald 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (24m)
Charles Sharpes bt Alex Phillips 11-2, 11-3, 11-1 (18m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter bt Selina Sinclair 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 (22m)
PSL TABLES (after 3rd round):
|St George’s Hill||3||1||2||6||9||23||28||28|