Round Five

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Round FIVE:

 

Tue
2nd Dec

 

Group A:                                                             Latest Tables

Chapel Allerton 1-4 Duffield  Mike Dickens & Andy Whipp report
   Alister Walker 0-3 Nick Matthew                                      7/11, 9/11, 1/11
   Aaron Frankcomb 0-3 Joey Barrington                           9/11, 10/12, 8/11
   Scott Arnold 1-3 Andrew Whipp                               5/11, 11/7, 9/11, 8/11
   Laurence Delasaux 3-1 Joel Hinds                        7/11, 11/5, 11/5, 14/12
   Jenna Gates 0-3 Laura Hill                                               5/11, 1/11, 2/11

Nottingham 2-3 Pontefract    Malcolm Willstrop & David Coghlan report
  
Ong Beng Hee 2-3 James Willstrop                  12/10, 4/11, 6/11, 11/9, 4/11
   Renan Lavigne 2-3 Lee Beachill                          6/11, 11/5, 11/6, 9/11, 4/11
   Simon Parke 3-0 Neil Cordell                                              11/4, 11/5, 11/7
   Lewis Walters 2-3 Harinder Pal Sandhu            4/11, 4/11, 13/11, 11/9, 5/11
   Emma Beddoes 3-1 Kirsty McPhee                             7/11, 11/6, 11/5, 11/4

Group A:  
 
Guildford 2-3 Surrey
  
Jesse Engelbrecht 0-3 Peter Barker                                   8/11, 3/11, 6/11
   Stacey Ross 2-3 Davide Bianchetti                15/13, 11/6, 3/11, 8/11, 1/11
   Steve Meads 3-2 Adrian Waller                       11/7, 3/11, 11/9, 8/11, 11/6
   Mick Biggs 3-2 Steve Richardson                   17/19, 11/7, 11/9, 2/11, 11/7
   Harriet Ingham 0-3 Vicky Botwright                                3/11, 5/11, 3/11

Exeter 2-3 St George's      Danny Lee reports
   Stewart Boswell 3-1 Daryl Selby                              11/7, 11/9, 7/11, 11/7
   Jonathan Kemp 3-2 Tom Richards                   7/11, 11/7, 4/11, 11/8, 11/6
   James Snell 2-3 Neil Hitchens                       9/11, 9/11, 11/6, 11/8, 11/13
   Tom Pashley 1-3 Philip Nightingale                        17/15, 6/11, 6/11, 6/11
   Emma Chorley 1-3 Rachel Willmott                          11/8, 6/11, 7/11, 8/11

Chichester 2-3 Bristol    Mike Phillips reports
  
Azlan Iskandar 1-3 Adrian Grant                             2/11, 4/11, 11/9, 6/11
   Alex Gough 0-3 David Evans                                                 5/11, 1/6 rtd
   Tim Vail 3-2 Hadrian Stiff                                9/11, 11/9, 5/11, 11/4, 11/5
   Robbie Temple 0-3 Peter Marshall                                   8/11, 7/11, 6/11
   Dominique Lloyd-Walter 3-0 Vicky Hynes                       11/4, 11/5, 11/6

 

 

Tables turned before Christmas break
Quick Roundup from Steve Cubbins

The fifth round of the PSL season marked the half-way point of the group stages, and saw the leaders of both groups beaten at home as Duffield and Surrey - champions in the last two seasons - took over the top positions on a night when all five away teams went home happy.

In Group A Chapel Allerton, surprise leaders in their first season in the PSL, hosted a strong Duffield side, and it was the three-time champions who came away with a 4/1 win to go to the top of the table for the first time.

The group A table closed up as Pontefract, bottom at the start of the evening, won away to Nottingham. It was a close-run thing though, with Harinderpal Sandhu, Lee Beachill and James Willstrop all taken to five games before sealing the win for Pontefract. Pontefract stay bottom, but Nottingham's 12 points - the maximum a losing team can get - lifts them into third spot and still in playoff contention.

In group B reigning champions Surrey looked in trouble at 2-1 down in their away match at Guildford, especially when in the fourth tie Stacey Ross led Davide Bianchetti 2-1 and 6-2. But the Italian fought back, taking the fifth 11/1 to put the match on level terms, leaving it to Peter Barker to win the deciding tie and put Surrey back on top of the table.

Overnight leaders Exeter - also in their first PSL season - tasted defeat for the first time, at the hands of a travelling St George's Hill team who started the day at the bottom of the table. Rachel Willmott, Neil Hitchens and Phil Nightingale put the visitors 3/0 up, and although Daryl Selby and Stewart Boswell won the last two matches for the home side, it wasn't enough as St George's Hill moved off the bottom of the table.

On a great night for the away teams, Bristol came from 2/1 down to thwart Guildford's hopes of moving into a playoff position. With Chichester leading 2/1, Alex Gough took to court in an all-Welsh battle against David Evans, but was forced to retire with a leg injury during the second game, leaving the match tied at two-all. Adrian Grant won the decider for Bristol, beating Azlan Iskandar - who Grant overtook in today's new world rankings - in four games.

Having reached the halfway stage the PSL takes a break until Jan 13th when the race for playoff places resumes ...


Tables after Round Five
 (TBC)     Ties       Matches     Games    Pts

                         P   W   L    W    L     W     L

         Group A:

Benz-Bavarian Duffield         4   3   1   13    7    44    30    59

Chapel Allerton                4   2   2   13    7    42    28    52

MB Nottingham                  4   2   2    8   12    38    41    48

Esporta Oxford                 4   1   3    8   12    36    43    41

Pontefract                     4   2   2    8   12    28    46    38

 

          Group B:

Surrey H&RC                    5   4   1   16    9    57    40    77

Exeter Diamonds                5   4   1   15   10    53    43    73

Probuild Bristol               5   3   2   13   12    50    41    65

TWP St George's Hill           5   2   3   10   15    40    57    50

UniSport Guildford             5   1   4   11   14    43    51    48

PNH Properties Chichester      5   1   4   10   13    42    53    47

   

 



Bristol snatch the win at Chichester
Mike Phillips reports

Round 5 of the PSL took place at Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club this week with pnh Properties Team Chichester playing Probuild Bristol.

Team Chichester, still smarting from the 5.0., defeat against defending champions, Surrey Health & Rackets in Round 4, looked to make amends and go into the Christmas break with a certain amount of their confidence restored.

A battle between the team captains was first on the glass back court; Tim Vail playing against Hadrian Stiff. The match was a 5-game thriller. Stiff dominated the first part of the match and went 1/2 up before Vail came into his own and confidently took the 4th game. In the 5th Vail managed to stay ahead in the early exchanges before he made a surge with some great nicks from counter drops to win the final game and the match, 11/5.

One up to Chichester

On the adjacent court the Chichester’s Dominique Lloyd-Walter, boosted by her recent win in the USA Ohio Open, played positive, confident squash against Vicky Hynes. The 11/4, 11/5, 11/6 score line showed that Lloyd-Walter was always in command, whereas her opponent struggled to cover the Chichester player’s boasts to the front.

Two-nil - the cushion Chichester needed.

Next on court, Team Chichester’s Robbie Temple faced the former World No. 2, Peter Marshall. This was a game of missed opportunities for Chichester with several unforced errors and against Marshall, who still displays consistent and accurate hitting, Temple could not afford any errors. The match was competitive but Marshall’s consistency won the day in straight games.

Bristol was back in the match – 2-1.

Next on the championship court, battle commenced between the best players to come out of Wales; David Evans (Bristol) against Alex Gough. In the first game Evans played well – making Gough work hard for his 5 points in the game. During the first rally of the second Gough appeared to pull up and later on, at 1/6 down he retired injured giving the match a potentially great climax at 2 all.

The World No.12, Mo Azlan Iskandar (Chichester) played World No. 13, Adrian Grant, to decide the final outcome of the match.

The match started off slowly for Iskandar, with Grant keeping the ball tight and playing almost error-free squash; anticipating Iskandar’s cross courts well. Grant forged a 2/11, 4/11 – 2 game lead. Iskandar steadfastly fought back well in the third and battled well to narrowly take it 11/9. Match on. Grant, however, gained his composure again in the 4th. Iskandar became increasingly frustrated by his own play and Grant took advantage of this to win the game 6/11.

2-3 to Bristol.

Not the Christmas present Chichester would have liked but hard training and regrouping is needed over the festive season to prepare for, hopefully, a better 2nd half of the season for pnh Properties Team Chichester.

 

   
 

Chapel-A "Duffed up"
Mike Dickens reports

It was fantastic to see National Premier Squash back at Chapel Allerton after a 25 year absence. A packed crowd battle the weather and were rewarded with top quality squash throughout the evening.

Duffield's Laura Hill proved too strong and experienced for Jenna Gates. Laura took the ball early and controlled many of the rallies during the match. Duffield took this match 3-0.

At number four for Chapel A was Laurence Delasaux who is back on the road to rekindling his squash promise. He took on the very fit and athletic Joel Hinds. Joel came flying out the blocks to take the first game but Laurence reeled him in with some superb skill and great hold on the backhand side. Dela stayed strong to win 3-1.

Number 3 was Scott Arnold against Andy Whipp. Whippy proved once again to be one of the leagues most consistent performers and came out at a hectic pace. Scott got into his stride in the second game to tie his match at one all but Whippy was too strong and won through 3-1

Playing 2 for Chapel A was another Australian, Aaron Frankcomb, against Joey Barrington. This matched match mirrored their game in the Worlds ( a long 3-0 to Joey). Joey had that little bit extra in every game on the big points.

The number 1 match was contested by the established top ten player Nick Matthew and the up and coming number 21 in the world Chapel A professional Ali Walker. The first two games were closely contested then Nick found his stride in the third to finish the match strongly. 3-0 to Nick.

4-1 to Duffield.

It was a great night of squash enjoyed by all and especially 8 year old Ben Merchant who won the England Team shirt signed by Nick, Ali and Joey. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Duffield Management and supporters who made the trip in very difficult weather conditions.

Mike Dickens

DUFFIELD BACK WHERE WE BELONG!
Andy Whipp reports

A good night for Duffield, seeing us beat surprise leaders Chapel Allerton to swap positions in the table to finish off the first half.

SOMEBODY PUT HER OUT, LAURA'S ON FIRE!

Laura won this match in super quick time and style. The result came about by some sizzling form from the Duffield local and also by a twinge in the back which hampered Jenna in the second and third games. Like myself, Laura was unusually looking for her first win to start off her Premier League season. She played some excellent squash along the way and demolished poor Jenna, so watch out, Laura's up and running. Grrrrrr

LAURENCE RETURNS TO HAUNT HIS OLD FAITHFUL

Laurence was making his return to squash after a year out fiddling around with the property business in Hull. I had heard rumours a few months ago that he was back training full time and was going to go for it again after Christmas. I just thought they were rumours, like people slipping on banana skins. I have never personally seen, or even seen documentary footage of anyone ever slipping on a banana skin.

Well unfortunately for Joel, Christmas came early for the once legend of junior squash! The first game saw Joel play at a high pace and volley shots which had barely come off the front wall, he was standing about a metre from the front wall at times volleying drop shots, it was hilarious. He did get a little carried away, but still after the first game all anyone could see was a Joel win. Joel struggled in the next three games, not getting a length at all and hitting 6 foot drops and boasts, not a clever tactic against anyone, especially someone as skilful with the racket as Della.

The next two games were quite comfortable for the Comeback Kid, the third Joel was 5-0 up and lost in 11-5! In order for Joel to turn this around he just had to "guts it out". He tried and tried and the fourth proved to be an epic. Del Boy went 6-2 up, and then got it back to 7 all from which they traded points all the way to Laurence winning 15-13 after his 32nd match ball! Joel will be very disappointed, but a great effort for Laurence to win a match of that quality on his first outing, still proving he's got all the racket control anyone could need, it's just a shame it had to happen against the team that were so good to him for so many years, traitor!!

WAHAY, WHIPPY WINS!

Like Laura I was surprisingly looking for my first win of the Premier League season and I got it. Scott and I played a good entertaining match. Scott was playing well and was showing much more confidence at the front of the court taking in his backhand counter drop really well, keeping it tight and accurate. I was playing alright, but just went through a few a patches of "one up, one down" squash but managed to keep it up toward the end of the games. A relief to win and things were looking good for Duffield.

JOEY RALLIES TO JOY

Anyone who saw or heard about their match a few months ago in the worlds, 3-0 in 400 minutes, knew this was going to be a match of long rallies. Not quite as long as before but still pretty lengthy, but Joey again came away with the 3-0 win. Aaron got close forging out two point leads at the ends of the games but couldn't see them through as Joey reeled him in to seal the match for Duffield to take us top at Christmas.

NICK DEFLATES ALI

Ali, at an all time high ranking of 21 will have felt good going into the match. Nick edged out the first two games with a lot of lob and drop squash. Nick was then brilliant in the third, and like Jeff Capes spying a banquet across the room, Nick sped to the finishing line. I'm not sure if Ali was tired or just demoralised after losing the opening two games, but Nick trotted through the last with style and some all round great squash.

So, Duffield back where they belong but the night will be remembered by Della's return to top squash after a year away. Good night all round, and great for Chapel A to have a home National League match after 25 years! Let's hope they're here to stay is it's one of, if not the nicest club in the country, although the pork pie and mushy peas dinner did throw me off slightly.

 
 

Pontefract win a thriller
Malcolm Willstrop reports

Even without Vanessa Atkinson, Saurav Ghosal and Lauren Siddall, Pontefract were able to field a competitive enough side to make the match with Nottingham look a close-run thing.

Kirsty McPhee, now working for England Squash as a Development coach and as my assistant at Pontefract - and a good job she is making of it all - deputised for Siddall, who was unable to play because of a leg injury. Against the capable and persistent Emma Beddoes she won the first, but from then on Beddoes took control and went on to win 3-1.

Meanwhile Simon Parke, urged on by his ever-loving fiancee, Jane, almost as legendary as Robin Hood in these parts, with the packed crowd acclaiming his every success, was beating Neil Cordell 3-0.The score makes it look easy, but it doesn't tell the whole tale, as Cordell controlled phases of each game. He couldn't press on ,though and Parke hunted the ball up with relish recalling days of yore.

2-0 to Nottingham, but Pontefract's latest Indian acquisition, Harinder Pal Sandhu went 2-0 up in style and led 7-4 in third before Lewis Walters staged a fine recovery and levelled the match. However the promising young Indian international re-asserted and won the fifth in style.

Lee Beachill, whose medial ligament problem hasn't been solved, but who is cleared to play with no risk of further damage, was 2-1 and 7-0 down to the industrious Renan Lavigne when one of the more raucous Nottingham supporters, presumably hired from one of the two football clubs in the city, shouted 'easy'. Beachill's movement is impaired, but that was all he needed. He swept through to two all and won the fifth imperiously.

Nottingham should ban that supporter - he almost certainly cost them the match. So everything on the top string match.

James Willstrop, fresh from his semi in Hong Kong and apparently over his ankle problems and the itinerant Malaysian Ong Beng Hee, now based in Nottingham. And what a decider it was! Willstrop played extremely well - even he was pleased and he's not easy to please - and he so dominated the first game it was inconceivable that Ong would win it. But he did on a tiebreak 12-10. Willstrop continued to play squash of a high order and much to his credit Ong stood up to it remarkably. Taking a 2-1 lead and ahead in the fourth, Willstrop looked 'home and hosed' in racing parlance, but once again Ong fought back to level the score.

That was as far as he could go, though and the Pontefract man won the fifth easily to win the match for his team. He will be greatly encouraged by the way he played and Ong should feel equally good about taking him the full distance.

MB Nottingham’s sixth player…
David Coghlan reports

A crunch match for MB Nottingham against Pontefract, record gate sales, 138 people through the door, The MB Nottingham crowd was our much needed sixth player hoping to help our players to achieve victory.

Simon Parke Bt Neil Cordell 11/4, 11/5, 11/7

Things started well on the show court as Nottingham legend Simon Parke managed to contain young Cordell, although not as comfortably as the score line may suggest. Cordell had a plan. To work Parkey he fired the ball in short, keeping him moving and chasing the ball down. However Parkey didn’t get to world No. 3 for nothing, in relentless fashion he chased down every ball and kept Cordell honest, counter attacking well and forcing errors from the youngster running out a 3-0 winner.

Emma Beddoes Bt Kirsty McPhee 7/11, 11/6, 11/5, 11/4

Meanwhile on the backcourt things started less well. McPhee was out of the blocks quickly, keeping the tempo high and stepping up the court forcing errors from her opponent and hitting some sweet winners to wrap up the first in double quick time 11/7. Beddoes regained her composure in the second, minimising errors and neutralising McPhee’s attacks. Playing more patiently, Beddoes was happy to move McPhee out of position before firing in her own winners to level the tie 11/6. Beddoes looked much the more settled player in the third and fourth, despite some outstanding winners from McPhee, Beddoes didn’t look in much trouble as she took the match 11/5, 11/6 to give MB Nottingham a 2-0 match lead.

Lewis Walters Lst Harinder Pal Sandhu 4/11, 4/11, 13/11, 11/9, 5/11

Very much a game of two halves, the first two games were an exhibition by the young Indian player, picking off Walters loose balls and burying them into the front court nicks. A change of plan needed for the home player. Playing less aggressively and reducing the pace that Harinder had thrived on in the first two started to bear fruit. Reading Harinders short game much better, Walters began to take control of the T and force errors from the previously impervious Indian. Walters saved match ball with a winner to level at 11/11 quickly followed by a stunning cross court volley nick, a tin from Harinder and Walters had the game 13/11 to the noisy delight of the assembled crowd.

The fourth was even to 9/9 with Walters continuing to minimise Harinders attacking options, a winner gave Walters game point and after two incredible rallies both ending in lets Walters finally got over the line with another winning drop. So with the crowd sensing victory and the momentum very much with the home player the fifth should have been very different. Three errors to start gave Harinder a 5/2 lead followed by two outrageous winners and two more errors and Harinder was 9/3 up. Walters patient neutralising game had been swapped for an attacking short game and Harinder loved it. Another winner gave Harinder match ball and after a short come back Harinder closed the deal 11/5 much to the dismay of the home crowd.

Renan Lavigne Lst Lee Beachill 6/11, 11/5, 11/6, 9/11, 4/11

While the drama with Lewis Walters was playing on the backcourt I had only kept a cursory eye on this match and after the first game grumblings from audience members it seemed to be going with the formbook. However, with Beachill’s heavily bruised and strapped knee it seemed Lavigne knew he had to keep on the pressure and extend the rallies. Lavigne soaked up what Beachill threw at him chasing the ball down, twisting and turning Beachill and forcing errors from the former World number 1.

Glancing over the balcony to see Lavigne 2/1 up and 8/1 up in the fourth I contented myself that the match was in the bag and I could go back to watching the tense affair on the backcourt. Big mistake. When I re-joined the empty show court expecting Willstrop and Beng Hee to start knocking up, the grimaces on the faces of the crowd told me what had really happened. Beachill had battened down the hatches given Lavigne no free points and with Lavigne mentally off the court and in the shower the impossible had happened Beachill levelling 11/9.

The fifth was painful, Beachill had renewed vigour minimising his errors and playing patient tight squash, Lavigne clearly aggrieved to have lost the fourth made errors that merely fuelled the downward spiral. Beachill wrapped it up 11/4 with a grin at the crowd having performed the great escape and scuppered MB Nottingham’s chance of victory.

Ong Beng Hee Lst James Willstrop 12/10, 4/11, 6/11, 11/9, 4/11

All down to the last match and what a match. The squash had been top class all evening but this was a fitting end to a great night. Willstrop dominated the first game, standing up the court and keeping the pace high, Beng Hee used height to slow the pace and try to move Willstrop from the T, however anything loose was simply put away by the World No. 5. With Willstrop at 10/6, a lapse in concentration that had afflicted Lavigne earlier came to haunt Pontefract. A tin, two winners from Beng Hee and a stroke, suddenly from no-where the game was level at 10/10. A tin from Willstrop and another stroke and Beng Hee had the first in the bag and a ray of hope for MB Nottingham.

The second and third saw no such lack of concentration, Willstrop was simply awesome, retrieving everything that Beng Hee could throw at him and showing no mercy, executing winner after winner at the front of the court.

The fourth continued at this frantic pace, both players putting absolutely everything into the match however Willstrop couldn’t extend a lead as Beng Hee worked hard to close down every ball and stay in the rally. His efforts were rewarded at 9/9 as a tight back hand drop couldn’t be scraped off the wall by Willstrop to give Beng Hee game ball, while an acrobatic jumping cross court volley nick levelled the match and got the crowd jumping out of their own seats!

The effort to win the fourth seemed to drain Beng Hee, who couldn’t deal with Willstrop in the fifth who again stood up the court dominating the court and keeping the ball just beyond the end of Beng Hee’s racket. Willstrop ran out an 11/4 winner to another late night standing ovation at Nottingham Squash Rackets Club.

No win for Nottingham, but a ‘maximum’ losing points haul still keeps us in contention for the playoffs. The next half will be crucial and difficult as we play 3 of our 4 matches away. However with the support we’ve seen from the MB Nottingham faithful don’t be surprised to find a bus load of Nottingham fans at your club in 2009.

 
 

TWP ST GEORGE'S V EXETER DIAMONDS
Danny Lee Reports

TWP St George's Hill showed their fighting character in defeating PSL league leaders Exeter Diamonds by three matches to two at the Devon and Exeter Club. The TWP tail truly wagged with numbers 3, 4 and 5 Neil Hitchins, Phil Nightingale and Rachel Willmott all defeating higher ranked opponents to secure a famous victory for the Weybridge club.

Rachel Willmott the former British Junior Champion played intelligently but lost a close first game against her old rival Emma Chorley the World number 61. Willmott added greater variety and more aggression to win a pivotal second game and managed to shrewdly mix her tactics to hold out for her first win of the season.

Meanwhile on the large show court, facing local youngster James Snell who was backed by a noisy , partisan home crowd, TWP's Essex import Neil Hitchins played in a calm attacking manner to take the first two games. Snell clawed his way back into contention and held match ball in the deciding fifth game. Hitchins fought hard and ultimately deserved his narrow win after 76 minutes of gruelling squash.

TWP's giant number 4 Phil Nightingale, a man with a plethora of apt nicknames, recorded one of the best wins of his career against former top junior Tom Pashley. "Pashley" looked slightly off his game but all credit to Nightingale who overcame a one game deficit to seize control of the centre of the court and the match ultimately cruising to a 3-1 win sealing the match for the visitors.

Exeter Diamonds were still fighting both for points and pride and their number two Jonathan Kemp set off at a furious pace. TWP's Tom Richards managed to match him shot for shot and emerged victorious from the first game quick fire shoot out. Kemp's answer was to play even faster and Richards suddenly struggled to find a length. Kemp duly took the second game. Richards metaphorically put his foot on the ball in the third game to retain control of the match. He built up a decent 8-4 lead in the fourth game but slightly lost his way as the frenetic Kemp regained momentum and ultimately the flow of the match. Kemp controlled the deciding fifth game and put paid to Richards' brave challenge.

The battle of the number ones promised plenty but was a dour,edgy match where both players showed flashes of brilliance which acted as mere puntuation to an encounter which never flowed. Stuart Boswell who has been ranked as high as number 4 in the World in the end had too much experience for Daryl Selby who looked a little tired. Selby rallied well to take the third game but Boswell's class prevailed.

A great win for the TWP team which takes them to fourth place in the Southern Section of the PSL. Exeter's setback puts them back in second place and the division looks wide open for the second half of the season.
 

   

Round Five

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