Round NINE

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Tue 15th Mar 2011 - Round NINE
Semis almost decided

St George's and Surrey are definitely in the semi-finals, with St George's needing just one point from their last match to top Group B. Chapel A and Duffield are almost certain to qualify from Group A - Oxford can qualify with a 20-0 win over the leaders in the final round - or a comprehensive win combined with a heavy defeat for Duffield - but, sorry Oxford, Crystal Ball doesn't see that happening ... 

Group A:

Pontefract 4-1 Nottingham
 
James Wilstrop 3-2 Eddie Charlton               4/11, 11/13, 11/6, 11/9, 13/11
  Simon Parke 3-0 Lewis Walters                                        11/5, 11/4, 11/6
  Neil Cordell 3-1 Chris Truswell                               8/11, 11/9, 11/6, 12/10
  Karan Malik 0-3 Mark Fuller                                            11/13, 9/11, 6/11
  Vanessa Atkinson 3-0 Emma Beddoes                            11/9, 15/13, 13/11

Chapel Allerton 1-4 Duffield
  Renan Lavigne 0-3 Nick Matthew                                        4/11, 6/11, 2/11
  Chris Simpson 1-3 Jonathan Kemp                           12/14, 11/7, 6/11, 7/11
  Laurence Delasaux 2-3 Andy Whipp               10/12, 11/9, 3/11, 13/11, 6/11
  Shaun Le Roux 3-2 Matthew Karwalski           8/11, 12/10, 11/9, 12/14, 11/8
  Carrie Ramsey 0-3 Jacklyn Hawkes                                    3/11, 5/11, 1/11

Group B:

St Georges Hill 3-2 Surrey H & R 
 
Daryl Selby 3-0 Karim Abdel Gawad                           11/8, 11/7, 11/8 (47m)
  Tom Richards 2-3 Peter Nicol                  8/11, 11/3, 11/5, 9/11, 11/13
  Joe Lee 0-3 Adrian Waller                                              6/11, 0/4 rtd
  Stephen Meads 3-1 Tim Garner                       11/8, 7/11, 11/6, 12/10
  Dominique Lloyd-Walter 3-1 Victoria Lust           11/7, 11/5, 6/11, 11-3

Chichester 4-1 Exeter Diamonds
  Max Lee 2-3 Campbell Grayson                      11/7, 4/11, 9/11, 11/8, 9/11
  Olly Pett 3-0 Jonny Harford                                             11/9, 11/6, 11/8
  Tim Vail 3-0 Peter Creed                                                 11/6, 11/9, 11/9
  Alex Gough 3-0 Mike Gregory                                          11/8, 11/5, 11/6
  Nicolette Fernandes 3-0 Victoria Temple-Murray                 11/6, 11/4, 11/2
 
Winchester 5-0 Bristol
  Dylan Bennett 3-0 Michael Harris                               11/4, 11/8, 11/7 (22m)
  Stacey Ross 3-1 Daniel West                          11/4, 9/11, 11/8, 14/12 (48m)
  Mark Cairns 3-0 Ben Rodgers                                    11/3, 11/3, 11/3 (29m)
  Kirby Sinclair 3-1 Wojciech Nowisz                     11/0, 4/11, 11/9, 11/9 (33m)
  Lauren Selby 3-0 Anna Jurkun                                    11/4, 11/2, 11/4
  

Selby Secures PSL Play-Off Place For St George's Hill

England international Daryl Selby notched up his first win since becoming British National champion for the first time a month ago when he clinched the deciding match which ensures TWP St George's Hill a place in next month's semi-final play-offs of the Premier Squash League (PSL), the world's most prestigious squash league.

The Weybridge club were hosting county rivals Surrey Health & Racquets, the title-holders whose squad featured Peter Nicol, the now-retired former world number one and world champion.  The home side set the early pace in the crucial ninth round Group B clash, with Dominique Lloyd-Walter and Stephen Meads claiming four-game victories over the visitors' opposition.

But the Croydon club struck back  Adrian Waller reducing the deficit when St George's stalwart Joe Lee was forced to withdraw midway through the second game with a back injury, then Nicol taking on new England internationalTom Richards in a match described by St George's team manager Danny Lee as 'the best game of squash ever seen at the club'.

Richards, the 24-year-old world No29 fresh from making his England debut at last week's World Cup in India, recovered from a game down to open up a 2/1 lead over his experienced opponent.  But Nicol, 13 years his senior, refused to bow down taking the fourth game and saving three match-balls from 7-10 down in the decider to win 11-8, 3-11, 5-11, 11-9, 13-11 in 64 minutes.

Eager to recover from a three-match losing streak for his club since beating world number one Nick Matthew in February's British National Championship final, Selby chose the perfect occasion to rediscover his earlier form to beat Surrey Health's rising Egyptian star Karim Abdel Gawad 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 

The 3/2 victory takes St George's Group B points haul for the season to 147 - 19 points ahead of Surrey Health.  But both clubs have done enough to make the end-of-season play-offs with St George's simply needing two points from their final tenth round tie against Exeter Diamonds to guarantee a top-of-the-table finish.

Elsewhere in Group B, Team Chichester moved up to third place after beating Exeter Diamonds 4/1, and PSL newcomers IGT Winchester celebrated their first 5/0 win of the season with a comprehensive home victory over UWE Bristol.

A three-horse race has developed in Group A where former champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield battled to a 4/1 away win over LEBC Group Chapel Allerton to leave the two clubs heading the table just three points apart.

But CLFS Esporta Oxford, not in ninth round action, lurk less than 20 points behind and are still in contention for an all-important finish in the group's top two.

World champion Nick Matthew led Duffield to away success at Chapel Allerton, the 2009 champions from Leeds.  A stalwart of the Derbyshire club for eight seasons, Matthew beat Frenchman Renan Lavigne 11-4, 11-6, 11-2 but it was arguably team-mate Andy Whipp who exhibited the bravest Duffield performance, the 30-year-old part-timer holding off the challenge of Chapel Allerton's Laurence Delasaux by beating the 25-year-old world No77 12-10, 9-11, 11-3, 11-13, 11-6.

Duffield, PSL champions in 1998, 2006 and 2007, began the night 16 points behind top-placed Chapel Allerton but are now just three points adrift of the Leeds club.

Fellow Yorkshire club Courtcraft Pontefract celebrated their fourth PSL victory in a row with a 4/1 win over bottom-placed MB Nottingham.  Before a crowd described by Pontefract team manager Malcolm Willstrop as "the biggest I've ever seen at the club it was jam-packed", there were various standout performances by home team players including an 11-7, 15-13, 13-11 win over Nottingham's Emma Beddoes by Dutch star Vanessa Atkinson. 

The indefatigable Yorkshire legend Simon Parke, now 38, defeated full-timer Lewis Walters 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 - and team number one James Willstrop, who led England to the WSF World Cup final in Chennai at the weekend, dug deep to recover from two games behind, and 5-10 down in the decider, to overcome Eddie Charlton 4-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11.


Crystal Ball

It's the penultimate round and if results go the right way some teams can clinch their semi-final places tonight.

Pontefract and Nottingham have been out of the race for a while, but Ponte will be keen to keep their recent winning streak going, and should send Nottingham home still rooted to the bottom.

Duffield travel to leaders Chapel A and need to make good use of their game in hand over the resting Oxford. CB predicts a 4-1 away win which will put the pair all but out of of Oxford's reach.

Down South, top two St George's and Surrey meet, both capable of reaching the 140 points which would guarantee their semi-final places.

It's a tough one to call though, so CB chickens out with a "3-2 either way" verdict.

Only a 5-0 win could keep Chichester in with a shout, but Exeter need points too. Another 3-2 either way, with both likely to have knocked the other out of contention by the end of the night.

Winchester and Bristol battle it out at the bottom, and despite Bristol fielding the Polish #1 man and woman they're destined to go home pointless.

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Round NINE

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