Round Nine

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Round NINE:

10th Mar

Chapel-A and Duffield seal semi spots

On a night where the PSL clubs brought their big guns out to play in a bid to secure playoff places, Chapel Allerton and Duffield clinched semi-final berths in group A.

Chapel Allerton, in their first season in the league, hosted a strong Pontefract team and came away 5-0 winners to go top of the group with one match left to play. Duffield, champions in 2006 and 2007, won 3-2 away to Oxford to put themselves out of reach of the chasing pack. They meet next week to decide top place.

In group B table-toppers Bristol took a giant step towards the playoffs as they scored an away win at second-placed Exeter. Reigning champions Surrey beat bottom-placed Chichester 4-1 to take over second place with a 7-point lead over Exeter.
In next week's final round none of the top three play each other, so it will take a surprise defeat for Bristol or Surrey if Exeter are to make the playoffs.

Group A:                                               Latest Tables

Chapel Allerton 5-0 Pontefract

   Thierry Lincou3-2 James Willstrop                          7/11, 11/6, 11/2, 9/11, 11/9
   Alister Walker 3-1 Saurav Ghosal                           9/11, 11/9, 11/8, 11/9
   Aaron Frankcomb 3-1 Lee Beachill                         11/7, 9/11, 11/6, 11/5
   Chris Simpson 3-0 Neil Cordell                              11/5, 11/1, 11/4
   Jenny Duncalf 3-1 Vanessa Atkinson                      11/6, 11/6, 8/11, 11/8

Esporta Oxford 2-3 Benz-Bavarian Duffield
   Cameron Pilley 0-3 Nick Matthew                           9/11, 8/11, 12/14
   Borja Golan 3-2 Joey Barrington                            9/11, 11/7, 7/11, 13/11, 11/6
   Chris Ryder 3-1 Andrew Whipp                              11/1, 9/11, 11/8, 11/9
   Scott Handley 0-3 Peter Billson                               8/11, 1/11 rtd
   Madeline Perry 1-3 Tania Bailey                              0/11, 6/11, 11/8, 10/12

Group B:

Exeter Diamonds 2-3 Probuild Bristol

   David Palmer 2-3 Adrian Grant                               11/7, 11/5, 8/11, 9/11, 8/11
   Rob Sutherland 0-3 David Evans                             8/11, 6/11, 3/11
   Tom Pashley 3-1 Hadrian Stiff                                 11/6, 6/11, 11/9, 11/9
   Peter Creed 1-3 Peter Marshall                                6/11, 11/6, 4/11, 2/11
   Emma Chorley 3-0 Sarah-Jane Perry                       11/2, 11/4, 11/9

UniSport Guildford 3-2 TWP St George's Hill        
Mike Phillips & Ian Robinson on the blog

   Jesse Engelbrecht 1-3 Mark Krajcsak                        8/11, 5/11, 11/7, 6/11
   Stephen Meads 3-0 Neil Hitchens                              12/10, 11/4, 11/7
   Phil Rushworth 3-0 Philip Nightingale                         11/9, 11/7, 11/3
   Mick Biggs 2-3 Adam Fuller                                      10/12, 13/15, 11/8, 11/8, 9/11
   Alison Waters 3-0 Rachel Willmott                             11/4, 11/3, 11/5

PNH Properties Chichester 1-4 PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC
   Alex Gough 0-3 Wael El Hindi                                    8/11, 4/11, 9/11
   Tim Vail 0-3 Peter Barker                                         10/12, 6/11, 6/11
   Peter Genever 0-3 Davide Bianchetti                         6/11, 2/11, 5/11
   Olivier Pett 3-1 Adrian Waller                                    9/11, 11/4, 11/2, 11/7
   Dominique Lloyd-Walter 1-3 Vicky Botwright              11/6, 7/11, 9/11, 11/13

Heroic Grant Performance Boosts
Bristol's PSL Play-Off Hopes
Roundup from Howard Harding

England international Adrian Grant played the game of his life to record his first ever win over Australia's world No6 David Palmer and clinch victory for Probuild Bristol over west country rivals Exeter Diamonds in Tuesday's ninth and penultimate round of the Premier Squash League (PSL) - thus keeping alive the Avon club's hopes of a place in the semi-final play-offs of the world's most prestigious squash league.

Bristol maintain their lead in the Group B table, ahead of defending champions PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC and Exeter - with all three clubs lined up against lower placed teams in next week's final round to decide the top two play-off qualifiers.

By contrast, former champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield and league newcomers Chapel Allerton have already sealed places in the play-offs following contrasting wins over Esporta Oxford and Pontefract, respectively, in Group A

After beating Probuild Bristol 4/1 away from home in the first half of the season, Exeter Diamonds were looking forward to even greater success at home - especially led by twice world champion and four-time British Open champion David Palmer for the first time this season.  And the home club, in its maiden season in the PSL, looked in good shape after Emma Chorley beat the visitors' Sarah-Jane Perry, and Tom Pashley defeated the Bristol captain Hadrian Stiff.

But Bristol's Rob Sutherland, replacing the squad's anticipated No2 Mohamed El Shorbagy, the rapidly-improving teenager from Egypt, went down in straight games to fellow Welshman David Evans - leaving Palmer and Grant to play out the decider.

With six successive Tour wins over Grant stretching back to 2003 - most of which were in straight games - Palmer must have expected to extend his run, especially after taking a two-game lead.

But the plucky left-hander from London stuck to his task and ultimately crafted a sensational 7-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 victory which gave Bristol their seventh win of the season.

Title-holders PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC took a near full-strength squad to the Sussex coast to face PNH Properties Chichester in a repeat of the 2008 final.  Vicky Botwright, Davide Bianchetti and Peter Barker soon ensured a win for the Croydon club, following victories over the home side's Dominique Lloyd-Walter, Peter Genever and Tim Vail, respectively - but Chichester's local star  Olivier Pett, 20, from Sussex, gave the home crowd something to shout about when he beat Adrian Waller 9-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-7.

The top string clash saw Egyptian international Wael El Hindi extending the visitors' lead with an 11-8, 11-4, 11-9 win over the Chichester number one Alex Gough, the former world No5 now the CEO of the PSA.

The final Group B tie saw UniSport Guildford record their second successive PSL win with a 3/2 home victory over Surrey county rivals TWP St George's Hill.  It was the third string clash which proved to be the decider as Guildford part-timer Phil Rushworth - a full-time coach in Wimbledon - despatched Tour regular Philip Nightingale 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 in an impressive victory which earned the 25-year-old Yorkshireman the evening's 'Man of the Match' award.

It was an all-Yorkshire battle which saw the most comprehensive win of the night when Leeds club Chapel Allerton hosted and beat Pontefract 5/0.  It was a determined win by the PSL newcomers over a visiting side which could have been expected to have provided sterner opposition.

Chapel Allerton's new national champion Jenny Duncalf took four games to overcome Leeds-based Vanessa Atkinson, the former world champion from the Netherlands, 11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8 - and, later, Pontefract stalwart Lee Beachill, playing his first PSL match since announcing his premature retirement due to knee problems, showed that his movement is clearly far from 100% as he went down to the hosts' 23-year-old Australian Aaron Frankcomb in four games.

The final match saw an exhilarating display between two world top 10 rivals which could have gone either way.  But it was ultimately French star Thierry Lincou who prevailed, beating Pontefract's world No7 James Willstrop 7-11, 11-6, 11-2, 9-11, 11-9.

The other tie in Group A saw Benz-Bavarian Duffield, one of the league's most successful clubs of all-time, claim their fifth win of the season in a 3/2 victory at Esporta Oxford.  The hosts rued an uncharacteristically disappointing start by Madeline Perry, the Irish champion, who failed to score in the first game against Duffield's England international Tania Bailey

But after taking the third game, Perry looked to be finally in control - but Bailey squandered a couple of match-balls in the fourth before finally prevailing 11-0, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10.

It was England's top-ranked international Nick Matthew who clinched victory for his club when he beat Oxford's Australian international Cameron Pilley in straight games - but it was the earlier second string battle which was judged to have been the evening's outstanding match, when Spanish number one Borja Golan brought matters level by beating the visitors' Joey Barrington 9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 13-11, 11-6.

Round Ten Fixtures (17-Mar):

Duffield v Chapel Allerton        Surrey v Guildford
Pontefract v Nottingham          St George's v Exeter
                                             Bristol v Chichester


Tables after Round NINE
      Ties       Matches        Games    Pts

                         P   W   L    W    L     W     L


   Group A:


Benz-Bavarian Duffield         7   5   2   22   13    75    51   100

Chapel Allerton                7   4   3   24   11    79    49    99

Esporta Oxford                 8   3   5   17   23    66    87    81

MB Nottingham                  7   3   4   14   21    61    70    76

Pontefract                     7   3   4   13   22    53    77    68


   Group B:

Probuild Bristol               9   7   2   29   16    99    71   134

Surrey H&RC                    9   6   3   26   19    98    74   128

Exeter Diamonds                9   6   3   26   19    91    78   121

UniSport Guildford             8   3   5   18   22    73    77    88

TWP St George's Hill           9   3   6   16   29    70   107    85

PNH Properties Chichester      8   1   7   15   25    63    87    68



Round Nine

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