Perfect start is ended but youngsters set up another Duffield win
THE closest match yet was expected and so it proved to be but Benz-Bavarian Duffield still came out of it with a 4-1 Premier Squash League victory.
Their third successive win to start the new campaign came at home against PSL newcomers Leicester, who are still looking for their first success.
Leicester’s one consolation from their trip to Derbyshire was that they became the first team to take a point from the Division A leaders.
However, 59 points out of a possible 60 is not bad from Duffield, though team manager Felix Frixou acknowledged that his team had to work harder for their victory than the scoreline suggests
“It really could have gone either way potentially,” he said.
Duffield needed comeback wins from the two youngest members of their team to beat Leicester.
Millie Tomlinson, a winner in the opening round of fixtures, was two games to one down in her match against former Duffield favourite Tania Bailey.
After a close opener, Tomlinson levelled by taking the second 11-4 but the manner of Bailey’s response in the third, which she took 11-4, left Frixou concerned.
“I did start thinking Millie might lose because Tania was taking control and using her experience to move Millie around the court as she liked,” he added.
“I thought Millie was giving her more respect than she should have and so I asked her how much respect she would have for herself when she lost the game.
“She started attacking and being more dominating after that. I still thought she would have to play one of the best games of her life to win it but she did that.
“This was a big scalp for Millie.”
Tomlinson took the match to a fifth with an 11-9 and her edge in fitness told in the decider as it went to the Duffield 22-year-old 11-6.
At the same time, Ashley Davies had a late change of opponent and was having a tough time against 34-year-old Darren Lewis.
Davies was taking on too many difficult shots and that cost him the first game 11-9 but as he began to get angry with himself, so the 19-year-old started to assert more authority and though there remained precious little between them, the next three games went narrowly to Davies.
At 2-0, Duffield really had the balance of the match in their hands but Andy Whipp was clearly off colour in the number three rubber.
A bout of tonsillitis almost meant he did not play at all and Whipp struggled through the first two games against newly-crowned British Under-19 champion George Parker, losing them 11-5, 11-8.
It took a huge effort of will for Whipp to charge back and take the next two games to three but the exertion took its toll and Parker, to his credit, held his nerve.
The fifth went to Leicester 11-7 but Frixou had no complaints.
“When Whippy was 2-0 down I would have been happy if he had managed to get us a point, so I was very pleased he managed to get two,” he said.
Then it was left for Nick Matthew to make his first appearance of the season and even though he has been out of competitive action for a few weeks, he saw off the challenge of England team-mate and world number 11 Daryl Selby almost dismissively at 11-6, 11-6, 11-1.
Matthew is unavailable when Duffield return to action on November 25 away to Coolhurst London, who are second in the division and are set to include Simon Rosner and Cameron Pilley at the top of their order.
That could be an even sterner challenge to Duffield, though they go in a very strong position.
Benz Bavarian Duffield 4-1 Everards Leicester (19-6)
Nick Matthew 3-0 Daryl Selby 11-6, 11-6, 11-1
Chris Simpson 3-0 Ben Coleman 11-7, 11-6, 11-6
Andy Whipp 2-3 George Parker 5-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-3, 7-11
Ashley Davies 3-1 Darren Lewis 9-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-9
Millie Tomlinson 3-2 Tania Bailey 9-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-9, 11-6