Oxford & Surrey Health To Contest PSL Final
Esporta Oxford pulled off a stunning 4/1 home win over
TWP St George's Hill in tonight's semi-final play-offs to earn
their maiden appearance in the final of the world's most
prestigious squash league where they will face 2008 champions
and fellow Esporta club Surrey Health & Racquets.
It was a night of high drama in which Croydon club Surrey Health
had to wait until the final match of their home clash against
1999 champions MB Nottingham before top string Peter Barker, the
world No8 from London, finally clinched his 11-4, 7-11, 11-8,
11-9 victory in 73 minutes over Dutch star Laurens Jan Anjema,
the world No11, to secure the club's place in next month's
The hosts romped into the lead when French number one Camille
Serme beat her English rival Sarah Kippax 2-11, 11-8, 12-10,
11-7 then top-ranked Scot Alan Clyne despatched Nottingham
late-comer Mark Fuller 11-9, 11-7, 11-8.
Nottingham mounted a mighty recovery when club stalwart Simon
Parke, the former world No3 who led Nottingham to title success
11 years ago, beat fellow 37-year-old and former great Peter
Nicol 8-11, 11-8, 11-7 14-12 after 72 minutes left-hander
Nicol, the former world number one and world champion, failing
to convert four game-balls in the fourth game.
Then Nottingham pulled level when their Malaysian star Ong Beng
Hee extended his unbeaten record over Davide Bianchetti by
beating the top Italian 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8.
"Peter Barker was awesome in the decider," said a jubilant
Surrey Health team manager Pete Smith after their 3/2 win. "It
was always going to be a close call, and I knew it could go down
to the last match.
"We knew it would need someone like Pete to pull it off for us
and he did us proud. It was always going to be a very special
The Esporta Oxford squad was clearly inspired by home advantage
but after Irish number one Madeline Perry gave the hosts a
solid lead following her 11-1, 11-2, 11-3 win over the Weybridge
club's Julie Peachey, St George's top-rated Hungarian Mark
Krajcsak levelled the tie with a four-game win over Oxford
stalwart Scott Handley.
The Oxford number three Chris Ryder, aged 29, then faced the
night's youngest player Nicolas Mueller, one of the Tour's
fastest-rising players from Switzerland. Undeterred by dropping
the first game and losing to the youngster in the their
previous encounter Ryder played the game of his life to beat
Mueller 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 6-11.
Inspired by his team-mate's extraordinary performance, Oxford's
top-ranked German Simon Rosner continued the rout by beating the
visitors' top England prospect Tom Richards 11-6, 14-12, 13-11
in 50 minutes to take his club into their first final.
By now the 'dead' top-string clash was certain to be an
anticlimax and the home club's Australian international
Cameron Pilley earned his first career win over Daryl Selby, the
Essex 27-year-old boasting a best-ever world No9 ranking, 11-6,
11-5, 11-9 in 34 minutes.
"There's something about wanting to win in front of a home
crowd," said Oxford team manager Jason Martin later. "Chris
Ryder was just awesome he came off after losing the first
game, and you could see that he knew he needed to get back and
get in front, for the sake of the crowd.
"And once he got the bit between his teeth, he was unbeatable -
and Simon Rosner was the same. They were two incredible
performances," added Martin.
Esporta Oxford, in only their fourth season in the PSL, were
celebrating their first appearance in the semi-final play-offs
after coming top by a single point of Group A.
"When we first came into the competition, we always wanted to
win and knew we could," Martin continued.
"And the fact that it will be an all-Esporta final is
incredible. Of the 55 Esporta clubs around the country, only 11
have squash facilities.
"Let's hope our success in the PSL will now help lift the
profile of the sport within the group!"
Esporta Oxford 4-1
TWP St George's Hill
Cameron Pilley 3-0 Daryl Selby
11-6, 11-5, 11-9 (34m)
Simon Rφsner 3-0 Tom Richards
11-6, 14-12, 13-11 (50m)
Chris Ryder 3-1 Nicolas Mueller
10-12, 11-5, 11-7, 11-6
Scott Handley 1-3 Mark Krajcsak
7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 6-11
Madeline Perry 3-0 Julie Peachey
11-1, 11-2, 11-3
Surrey Health & Racquets 3-2
Peter Barker 3-1 Laurens
11-8, 11-9 (73m
Davide Bianchetti 1-3 Ong Beng Hee
11-8, 8-11, 4-11,
Peter Nicol 1-3 Simon Parke
11-8, 8-11, 7-11,
Alan Clyne 3-0 Mark Fuller
11-9, 11-7, 11-8
Camille Serme 3-1 Sarah Kippax
Final Group Tables