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END OF SEASON LEAGUE TABLE

Duffield Play their Get Out of Jail Card  Play Off Preview

Results

Reports

Final Results

Final Report 

Semi Final Results

Semi Final Report 

Final Round Results

End Of Season Report 

10th Round Results

10th Round Report

9th Round Results

9th Round Report

8th Round Results

8th Round Report

7th Round Results

7th Round Report

6th Round Results

6th Round Report

5th Round Results

5th Round Report

 

Finals
Duffield Clinch Dramatic PSL Final

Benz-Bavarian Duffield clinched the 2006 Premier Squash League title in a dramatic final tonight (Saturday) at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.  The Derbyshire club led 2/0 before Churchill Edgbaston Priory staged a mighty fight back to draw level – then, to the delight of the vociferous East Midlands supporters, claimed the PSL trophy for the first time since 1998 when team No1 Nick Matthew, the British champion, beat the Birmingham club's Australian star Stewart Boswell in the decider.

 

"It was a fantastic team effort," said long-time Duffield manager Brian Hargrave at the presentations afterwards.  "There were two occasions earlier in the season where we failed to capitalise on match balls which would have won us the ties – and I thought to myself earlier tonight, 'surely we can't do this a third time?'."

 

Yorkshireman Laurence Delasaux gave Duffield an early lead in the finale of the THB Clowes-sponsored league when he beat Hadrian Stiff in four games.  Delasaux, from Hull, was making his PSL final debut - but Stiff, a Bristol-based Devonian from Exeter, knows what it's like to compete in the league climax:  The 33-year-old England No18 did so in 1998 – when he led tonight's opponents Duffield to the title for the first time!

 

Delasaux, at 20, the youngest player in the final, recovered from a game down to triumph 9-6, 5-9, 9-3, 9-6 over his Priory opponent - and was delighted with his relatively error-free performance in his first ever meeting with the experienced Englishman:  "All credit to Hadrian, he made me work hard for my victory – but I managed to keep a good length throughout the match and came through OK.  Playing for a team always puts that extra pressure on you – which makes you want to go that extra yard."

 

The star women's match between England team-mates and Commonwealth Games bronze medal-winning women's doubles partners Tania Bailey and Vicky Botwright took more than an hour to resolve on the all-glass showcourt at the NSC.  And again Edgbaston took the opening game through Botwright - before the Duffield crowd screamed for joy when Bailey fought back to win 6-9, 9-2, 9-6, 9-1 to open up a 2/0 lead for the Derbyshire club.

 

Bailey, the 26-year-old world No9 from Stamford in Lincolnshire who became British National champion for the first time in February, was recently elevated to England No1 – though Botwright is ranked five in the world.  "I'm thrilled to be called England number one, but I think of Vicky as the country's number one as she's ranked higher than me in the world," said Bailey.

 

"I knew I had to play well to beat Vicky tonight – I felt comfortable on the court and feel a lot fitter than I have done for a long time.  This may be Vicky's 'local' court as she's based here in Manchester, but I always play well on it – it's where I won my national title earlier in the year - and winning that, and doing well in the Commonwealth Games, has given me a real boost."

 

It was only shortly after Bailey's game ended that Duffield's lead was pared back as Priory's newly-capped England international Peter Barker raced to a straight games victory over Welsh international Gavin Jones.  Barker, the only player in the final to boast a 100% turnout for his club this season, failed to put a foot wrong as he wrapped up his 9-2, 9-4, 9-2 win in just 27 minutes.

 

But Jonathan Kemp then put in a blistering performance which raised Duffield's hopes of an early triumph when he opened up a two-game lead against fellow left-hander Adrian Grant, the third England international in the Edgbaston squad.

 

Grant, the world No16 from London who is ranked 10 places higher than his Duffield opponent, admitted later that he had to raise his game in the third game – but Kemp pulled back in the fourth to reach match-ball.  Grant saved that, and fought on to gain three game balls before finally pushing the match into a fifth game. 

 

To the relief of the Edgbaston section of the crowd, Grant eventually claimed the match 6-9, 9-11, 9-4, 13-11, 9-3 after 77 agonising minutes to leave a mouth-watering decider between the two top strings.

 

Boswell and Matthew have enjoyed parallel careers, with both playing major parts in their respective countries' international team successes – most recently in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne - and both in fine form.

 

But it was Matthew, the world No7 from Sheffield, who had the upper hand throughout the decider – and Boswell, despite leading his club to victory in the league in both 2001 and 2003, who this time capitulated.

 

"I was really up for it tonight," said the delighted Duffield No1 after his 9-5, 9-7, 9-7 victory in 37 minutes.  "I wanted to make sure I got a good early lead, and by the time I'd won the second game, I was confident I was there," said Matthew.

 

"I felt I'd lost a few crucial matches early in the season, and I said to manager Brian before the match that I wouldn't do it tonight!"

 

It was an emotional Brian Hargrave who clasped the trophy for the second time since 1998, following the club's third appearance in the final. 

 

"There's been a tremendous team spirit this season and our supporters have been simply fantastic – in fact they've probably contributed towards a good few points tonight," explained Hargrave.  "But ultimately it's the players who do it on court – and I'm very proud of them tonight."

 

Hargrave paid tribute to Benz-Bavarian, sponsors of the team for the past nine years.  Felix Friloux, of Benz-Bavarian, echoed his appreciation of the success:  "Two wins in nine years?   That's really special – it's been really good to have been involved – you just couldn't ask more of the players than they achieved tonight.

 

"For a small village like Duffield in Derbyshire to produce a team like this is great – it will undoubtedly inspire more kids to get involved, and that's what it's all about," added Friloux.

 

But Duffield's Jonathan Kemp – interestingly, a member of Edgbaston Priory's title-winning squad five years ago – perhaps summed the evening up best:  "It's days like this that you play squash for – the big crowd and the big occasion. There's nothing like it."

 

 

 

Premier Squash League Final, National Squash Centre, Manchester

 

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 3  Churchill Edgbaston Priory 2

     Nick Matthew bt Stewart Boswell  9-5, 9-7, 9-7 (37m)

    Jonathan Kemp lost to Adrian Grant 9-6, 11-9, 4-9, 11-13, 3-9 (77m)

    Gavin Jones lost to Peter Barker  2-9, 4-9, 2-9 (27m)

    Laurence Delasaux bt Hadrian Stiff  9-6, 5-9, 9-3, 9-6 (42m)

    Tania Bailey bt Vicky Botwright  6-9, 9-2, 9-6, 9-1 (66m)

 


Semi Finals, Thursday 18th May

Strings & Chichester Deride PSL North/South Divide

Southern teams Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury and Team Chichester shocked Churchill Edgbaston Priory and Benz-Bavarian Duffield, respectively, in tonight's first semi-finals legs of the Premier Squash League (PSL) – taking their fancied northern opposition the full distance at home before each going down 2/3 in dramatic ties 48 hours before the teams meet again in the reverse second leg fixtures.

 

Strings Tewkesbury, runners-up in the South Group, entertained the mighty Priory squad which won all but one of its North Group ties over the season and finished way out in front of all-comers in the end-of-season group table.

 

The Birmingham club opened up an early lead when England international Vicky Botwright, the world No5 from Manchester, beat the home team's Pakistan number one Carla Khan 9-5 9-0 9-2, and Hadrian Stiff defeated Welshman Rob Sutherland, also in straight games.

 

But the Oberthur-sponsored underdogs fought back in dramatic fashion.  On adjacent courts, home heroes Daryl Selby and Alex Stait faced higher-ranked England internationals Adrian Grant and Peter Barker.  Selby, the 23-year-old world No46 from Essex, climbed back from two games down to beat Grant, the world No15, 8-10, 3-9, 9-7, 9-5, 12-10 – and Stait, the Manchester-based world No58 prevailed in five close games against Barker, the world No23, to win 10-8, 11-13, 6-9, 10-8, 9-5.

 

Both matches were decided on strokes - and both finished almost simultaneously!

 

The visitors' Australian international Stewart Boswell denied a fairy-tale ending for Strings, beating fellow Australian Cameron Pilley 9-1, 9-7, 9-7 in the top string decider as Edgbaston Priory secured their 3/2 win.

 

"I'm really proud of my team – the way they all played was magnificent," said Strings manager Wendy Maitland.  "The crowd was treated to brilliant squash here tonight – and it was certainly one in the eye for those who thought we would be hammered by Priory!

 

"I was especially pleased for Daryl and Alex, who produced fantastic results - in both cases probably the best scalps of their careers," added Maitland.

 

The other fixture also produced its share of outstanding results – with the top string encounter again providing the tie-decider.  The opening women's match between Chichester's Linda Elriani and Duffield's Tania Bailey was always certain to set the tone for the evening's entertainment ahead – and the England team-mates did not disappoint.

 

Elriani, the world No8 from Eastbourne out for revenge for her defeat by the Lincolnshire lass from Stamford in this year's British National Championship final, took the first game.  But Bailey, who replaced Elriani as No1 in the latest England rankings, fought back to take the next three games - and the match – 7-9, 9-1, 10-8, 9-0.

 

Yorkshire's Laurence Delasaux stretched the Derbyshire club's lead by beating the hosts' Tom Richards in five games – but Chichester came back with a vengeance, club stalwart Peter Genever beating world-ranked Jonathan Kemp 9-7, 6-9, 9-5, 2-9, 9-7, and club coach Tim Vail overcoming Duffield's French international Renan Lavigne 9-5, 11-9, 3-9, 11-9.

 

It would have been a tall order for Chichester's Ben Garner to make a serious impression against the visitors' world number seven-ranked Nick Matthew – but the world No39 from Surrey took a close-fought second game to level the match before Matthew, Duffield's second British National champion, imposed his authority to win 9-4, 8-10, 9-4, 9-6.

 

Results:  Semi-finals, 1st leg

 

Team Chichester 2  Benz Bavarian Duffield 3

    Ben Garner lost to Nick Matthew                          4-9, 10-8, 4-9, 6-9

    Peter Genever beat Jonathan Kemp                   9-7, 6-9, 9-5, 2-9, 9-7

    Tim Vail beat Renan Lavigne                                9-5, 11-9, 3-9, 11-9

    Tom Richards lost to Laurence Delasaux          9-5, 3-9, 7-9, 9-4, 5-9

    Linda Elriani lost to Tania Bailey                          9-7, 1-9, 8-10, 0-9

Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury 2  Churchill Edgbaston Priory 3

    Cameron Pilley lost to Stewart Boswell              1-9, 7-9, 7-9

    Daryl Selby beat Adrian Grant                               8-10, 3-9, 9-7, 9-5, 12-10

    Alex Stait beat Peter Barker                                   10-8, 11-13, 6-9, 10-8, 9-5

    Rob Sutherland lost to Hadrian Stiff                    8-10, 8-10, 5-9

    Carla Khan lost to Vicky Botwright                        5-9, 0-9, 2-9

 

 

Semi-finals, 2nd leg, Thursday 18 May 2006

 

Benz Bavarian Duffield v Team Chichester

    Nick Matthew v Ben Garner                                   

    Jonathan Kemp v Peter Genever                         

    Renan Lavigne v Tim Vail                                     

    Gavin Jones v Tom Richards                               

    Tania Bailey v Suzie Pierrepont                           

Churchill Edgbaston Priory v Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury

    Stewart Boswell v Cameron Pilley                      

    Adrian Grant v Rodney Durbach                          

    Peter Barker v Alister Walker                                

    Hadrian Stiff v Philip Nightingale                         

    Vicky Botwright v Selina Sinclair


End Of Season
Duffield Celebrate Return To PSL Play-Offs

Benz-Bavarian Duffield stunned Manchester/Pontefract supporters at their home courts at the National Squash Centre in Manchester by beating the 2004 champions in the final round of the Premier Squash League (PSL) to claim the last place in the end-of-season finals play-offs.

 

The 4/1 victory takes the Derbyshire club ahead of the trans-Pennine cooperative in the North Group" denying the finalists for the past two years a chance to compete for the national title for a third time.  Duffield, in the play-offs for the first time in four years, join Group winners Churchill Edgbaston Priory" and will meet the top two teams in the South Group.

 

With Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury already assured of a place, it took a 3/2 win for Team Chichester over University Sport Birmingham to push the Sussex club ahead of Tewkesbury in the final South Group placings" leaving the Gloucestershire club to face Edgbaston Priory, and Chichester to take on Duffield.

 

With just two points separating Manchester/Pontefract and Duffield before the tie, a simple win was all that was required.

 

England team-mates Jenny Duncalf and Tania Bailey faced each other in the opening clash.  Duffield's Bailey, hot from winning her first WISPA World Tour title for six years, took the opening game" but Duncalf, ranked two places higher at world No8, delighted home supporters by moving 2/1 ahead.

 

Bailey was not to be denied, however, and persevered for 84 minutes to carve out a 9-1, 7-9, 6-9, 9-0, 9-4 victory to give Duffield the lead.

 

Fast-rising Welshman Gavin Jones needed just 37 minutes to extend Duffield's grip, beating the home club's long-standing team stalwart Nick Taylor 13-11, 10-8, 9-6. 

 

Frenchman Renan Lavigne then mounted a second remarkable comeback for the visitors when he recovered from 0/2 down to beat Manchester/Pontefract's former British Open champion David Evans 4-9, 6-9, 9-7, 9-6, 9-7 in 57 minutes" sealing a victorious night for Duffield.

 

The home club gained a consolation point when Lee Beachill coasted to a 9-5, 9-5, 9-7 win in 24 minutes over Jonathan Kemp.  In the final 'dead' rubber - which was as 'live' as it was possible to be - Nick Matthew defeated his Commonwealth Games doubles partner and England team-mate James Willstrop 9-4, 10-8, 7-9, 5-9, 9-7 in 60 minutes to extend Duffield's winning margin to 4/1.

 

"We really got ourselves out of jail a couple of times tonight," said a delighted Duffield manager Brian Hargrave after his team's astonishing win.  "Gavin was 8/4 down in his second game, but came back to win it, and Tania threw everything she had into her final game to survive her tough match.

 

"And we knew Renan's would be a crucial match, and probably would be won on stamina" and that's what happened.  After his disappointing match last week, he was really fired up tonight.  Everybody was really delighted for him" it was probably his best ever match for us.

 

"Overall, the rub of the green just seemed to go for us tonight" at last - and I'm delighted for the team and all our loyal supporters," added Hargrave.

 

The other North Group battle also produced a significant outcome" if little to do with play-off positioning.  Title-holders Wolverhampton entertained 1999 champions Nottingham and registered a 5/0 win" their first in five years in the league.  The victory also signalled the west midlands club's final match in the PSL.

 

"What a great way to sign off," said team manager Stephen Russell afterwards.  "We've had five very successful years in the league" including winning the title last year" but it's time to do something else, perhaps organising professional tournaments at our club."

 

Russell paid respects to his loyal team members and thanked "everyone who has supported the team over the five years both home and away."

 

Team Chichester confirmed their place in the play-offs for the fourth successive year with a 3/2 win at University Sport Birmingham" clinching victory after the first three matches with wins from Linda Elriani, Tom Richards and team captain Tim Vail.

 

The Birmingham University hosts salvaged the next two rubbers when Joel Hinds" fresh from taking England through to the finals of the European Junior Team Championships in Switzerland" beat Chichester stalwart Peter Genever 9-4, 9-5, 9-11, 9-5, and Joey Barrington defeated the Sussex squad's number one Ben Garner 9-1, 7-9, 9-5, 9-5.

 

Final round results:

 

         North Group:

Wolverhampton 5  Nottingham 0

Anthony Ricketts beat Simon Parke
9-7, 4-9, 9-6,9-4 (49m)

Alex Gough beat Duncan Walsh
9-3, 9-6, 9-3

Scott Handley beat James Wright
9-5, 7-9, 11-9, 9-5

Chris Ryder beat Arthur Gaskin

9-4, 9-6, 9-4

Shelley Kitchen beat Sarah Kippax.
9-7, 9-2, 9-3

Manchester/Pontefract 1  Benz-Bavarian Duffield 4

James Willstrop lost to Nick Matthew 
4-9, 8-10, 9-7, 9-5, 7-9 (60m)

Lee Beachill beat Jonathan Kemp 
9-5, 9-5, 9-7 (24m)

David Evans lost to Renan Lavigne 
9-4, 9-6, 7-9, 6-9, 7-9 (57m)

Nick Taylor lost to Gavin Jones 
11-13, 8-10, 6-9 (37m)

Jenny Duncalf lost to Tania Bailey 
1-9, 9-7, 9-6, 0-9, 4-9 (84m)

 

         South Group:

University Sport Birmingham 2  Team Chichester 3

Joey Barrington beat Ben Garner 
9-1, 7-9, 9-5, 9-5

Joel Hinds beat Peter Genever 
9-4, 9-5, 9-11, 9-5

Steve Coppinger lost to Tim Vail 
2-9, 9-2, 7-9, 1-9

Chris Truswell lost to Tom Richards 
8-10, 1-9, 9-6, 5-9

Laura-Jane Lengthorn lost to Linda Elriani 

1-9, 6-9, 9-3, 7-9



Play off preview
Former Champions In Final Battle For PSL Play-Offs

Former champions Manchester/Pontefract (2004) and Benz-Bavarian Duffield (1998) go head-to-head tonight (Tuesday) in the final round of the Premier Squash League (PSL) in a battle for second spot in the North Group – and a place in the end-of-season finals play-offs.

 

Just two points separate the two clubs – but a simple win will decide the outcome of the team which will join North Group leaders Churchill Edgbaston Priory in the play-offs against the top two teams from the South Group, Team Chichester and Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury .  Whilst Tewkesbury have completed their 'qualifying' campaign, Chichester are also in action tonight – taking on University Sport Birmingham in a bid to win at least six points to go ahead of the current Group leaders to be sure of avoiding Edgbaston Priory in the play-offs.

 

The National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester will host the Manchester/Pontefract & Duffield tie – which boasts no fewer than five players ranked in the top 10 in the world, and seven players who competed in the recent Commonwealth Games.   Manchester ’s home advantage, and full-strength squad, makes them clear favourites.

 

The travelling loyal band of Duffield supporters will be hoping to get their just reward - provided that Nick Matthew has fully recovered from the sickness which forced him to retire last Tuesday.  The world No7 from Sheffield takes on higher-ranked fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop, the home team's No1 whom he beat twice last month.

 

The women's rubber will see England team-mates Jenny Duncalf and Tania Bailey face each other.  Duffield's Bailey is ranked two places lower than world No8 Duncalf – but Bailey is in fine form having just won her first WISPA World Tour title in six years at the Vassar College Class of 1932 Open in the USA.

 

The other North Group tie taking place tonight sees title-holders Wolverhampton entertain Nottingham .  The full-strength hosts will be led by Australia's world No5 Anthony Ricketts, while long-time Nottingham star Simon Parke will hope that his win in last week's Colets Open in Surrey will inspire him and his team to their first PSL victory of the season.

 

Final round, Tuesday 18 April 2006

 

         North Group:

Wolverhampton v Nottingham

    Anthony Ricketts v Simon Parke

    Alex Gough v Duncan Walsh

    Scott Handley v James Wright

    Chris Ryder v Arthur Gaskin

    Shelley Kitchen v Sarah Kippax

Manchester/Pontefract v Benz-Bavarian Duffield

    James Willstrop v Nick Matthew

    Lee Beachill v Jonathan Kemp

    David Evans v Renan Lavigne

    Nick Taylor v Gavin Jones

    Jenny Duncalf v Tania Bailey

 

         South Group:

University Sport Birmingham v Team Chichester

    Joey Barrington v Ben Garner

    Joel Hinds v Peter Genever

    Jonathan Harford v Tim Vail

    Steve Coppinger v Tom Richards

    Laura Lengthorn v Linda Elriani

 

 

10th Round Report 11th April 2006
Commonwealth Games Hero Nicol Fails To Lift Croydon Into PSL Play-Offs

England's Commonwealth Games hero Peter Nicol gave Surrey Health & Racquets a much-needed win in their tenth and final round of the Premier Squash League (PSL) at Team Chichester – but it wasn't enough to carry the Croydon club into the PSL play-offs in their debut season as the Sussex side claimed the other four rubbers to earn a 4/1 tie victory.

 

Surrey H&RC plummet to third place in the South Group table, behind Chichester and Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury – both of whom are now assured of play-off places.  The Gloucestershire club beat University Sport Birmingham 4/1to top the table – but Chichester have next week's delayed ninth round tie in hand and could yet overtake Tewkesbury.

 

There was high drama in the North Group where Churchill Edgbaston Priory hosted Manchester/Pontefract and beat the 2004 champions 4/1 to avenge their defeat earlier in the season.  The Birmingham club finished their season a massive 41 points ahead of all-comers to ensure a play-off place for the fifth time in six years. 

 

Elsewhere, 1998 champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield slumped to a 2/3 defeat by title-holders Wolverhampton to hold onto third place in the group, just four points behind Manchester/Pontefract.  The two teams will now battle for the second play-off place in the group when they meet next week in Manchester for the rearranged ninth round fixture.

 

Team Chichester made a strong start against the PSL newcomers when England international Linda Elriani whitewashed the Croydon club's Jane Gardner, and Tom Richards recovered from two games down to beat the visitors' former European Junior champion Chris Simpson 4-9, 6-9, 10-8, 9-7, 9-7.  Chichester stalwarts Tim Vail and Peter Genever extended the club's lead with straight games wins over Surrey H&RC's Tim Garner and Phillip Barker, respectively, to ensure a place in the play-offs for the fourth year in a row.

 

But the in-form Nicol made sure of potentially valuable consolation points for the Surrey side.  In his first match on home soil since winning two gold medals in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, then reaching the final of the PSA Masters in Bermuda, the 33-year-old former world No1 beat Ben Garner 9-6 8-10, 9-5 9-6.

 

Despite managing the Strings Tewkesbury team throughout the season, Wendy Maitland left it to the last fixture before making her season's debut as a player – but failed to convert a match ball in the fourth game against Georgina Stoker before going down 7-9, 9-4, 9-7, 9-10, 5-9 to the University Sport Birmingham fifth string.

 

Maitland's squad, however, made up for her disappointing start by picking up the remaining rubbers to clinch the club's second successive place in the play-offs.

 

It was nip and tuck throughout the well-attended tie in Derbyshire between Duffield and Wolverhampton – with the home club's newcomer Jennifer Knibbs recovering from a nervous start to beat the visitors' Fiona Moverley 5-9 9-2 9-5 9-2.

 

A lame performance by Duffield's Laurence Delasaux saw the club quickly lose their advantage when Chris Ryder despatched the hosts' fourth string 9-4 9-2 9-2.  A similarly unsettling experience for long-suffering Duffield manager Brian Hargrave came later when Frenchman Renan Lavigne squandered two match balls in the fourth game to lose 9-5, 6-9, 9-2, 12-14, 3-9 to Wolverhampton's Scott Handley.

 

But Hargrave was quick to gain comfort from an unexpected 9-6, 9-7, 9-2 win by Jonathan Kemp over experienced and in-form Welsh international Alex Gough.

 

Local hopes were raised in the decider when Duffield's England international Nick Matthew took the first game against Australia's world No5 Anthony Ricketts.  But the mood changed when, after a game lasting only seconds, Matthew threw in the towel complaining of sickness – and Ricketts claimed an 8-10 9-3 9-0 (ret.) win, and Wolverhampton a 3/2 victory.

 

Edgbaston Priory were in commanding form in their home tie against Manchester/Pontefract – though it was the trans-Pennine cooperative which recorded the first victory when Lee Beachill came back from 1/2 down to beat Australia's Stewart Boswell 9-2 3-9 3-9 9-3 9-6.  Priory players demonstrated strength of character when both Adrian Grant and Vicky Botwright both recovered from losses of the first two games to triumph in five – Grant against long-time Manchester team stalwart Nick Taylor and Botwright against England team-mate Jenny Duncalf.

 

The late final battle between Priory's David Palmer and the visitors' James Willstrop – ranked two and three, respectively, in the world – providing a fitting climax to the night.  Palmer prevailed 10-8, 9-7, 7-9, 9-6, much to the delight of the packed Priory gallery.

 

10th round results 11th April 2006

 

         North Group:

Churchill Edgbaston Priory 4  Manchester/Pontefract 1

    David Palmer beat James Willstrop              10-8, 9-7, 7-9, 9-6

    Stewart Boswell lost to Lee Beachill             2-9, 9-3, 9-3, 3-9, 6-9

    Adrian Grant beat Nick Taylor                         7-9, 8-10, 9-4, 9-7, 9-2

    Peter Barker beat Andrew Whipp                   9-2, 9-7, 9-7

    Vicky Botwright beat Jenny Duncalf               2-9, 7-9, 9-7, 9-3, 9-3

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 2  Wolverhampton 3

    Nick Matthew lost to Anthony Ricketts           10-8, 3-9, 0-9 ret.

    Jonathan Kemp beat Alex Gough                  9-6, 9-7, 9-2

    Renan Lavigne lost to Scott Handley            9-5, 6-9, 9-2, 12-14, 3-9

    Laurence Delasaux lost to Chris Ryder        4-9, 2-9, 2-9

    Jennifer Knibbs beat Fiona Moverley            5-9, 9-2, 9-5, 9-2

 

         South Group:

Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury 4  University Sport Birmingham 1

    Cameron Pilley beat Joey Barrington            9-7, 10-8, 10-8

    Daryl Selby beat Jonathan Harford                9-0, 10-8, 9-6

    Alex Stait beat Steve Coppinger                     7-9, 9-5, 8-10, 10-8, 9-6

    Rob Sutherland beat Chris Truswell             9-5, 9-3, 10-8

    Wendy Maitland lost to Georgina Stoker       7-9, 9-4, 9-7, 9-10, 5-9

Team Chichester 4  Surrey H&RC Croydon 1

    Ben Garner lost to Peter Nicol                        6-9, 10-8, 5-9, 6-9

    Peter Genever beat Phillip Barker                  9-4, 9-6, 9-6

    Tim Vail beat Tim Garner                                 9-6, 9-3, 9-7

    Tom Richards beat Chris Simpson              4-9, 6-9, 10-8, 9-7, 9-7

    Linda Elriani beat Jane Gardner                    9-0, 9-0, 9-0

 


 

 


 

9th round, Tuesday 4 April 2006

 

Surrey Health Move Up In PSL, Despite Guildford Defeat

 

In the only ninth round Premier Squash League (PSL) tie played on Tuesday, UniSport Guildford beat county rivals Surrey Health & Racquets Club 3/2 away from home in a victory which avenged their earlier 5/0 drubbing by the Croydon club and rounded off their 2005/06 season in impressive style.

 

Despite the absence of squad No1 Peter Nicol, England's double gold medal hero of last month's Commonwealth Games in Australia who is now competing in the PSA Masters in Bermuda, Surrey Health move into top place in the South Group points table" with next week's tenth round tie at Team Chichester set to decide the two teams which will go forward from the group to the semi-final play-offs against the top two clubs from the North Group.

 

Alison Waters, also a member of England's successful Games squad in Melbourne, put the University of Surrey team into the lead with a straight games win over the hosts' Lauren Briggs. Ben Ford levelled the tie with a 9-6 9-5 9-6 victory over Guildford's Neil Frankland.

 

But it was the third string clash which Surrey H&RC team manager Pete Smith conceded was "always going to be the one which would decide the outcome of the night"" and so it proved to be as Germany's rising teenager Simon Rosner battled for five games against Guildford's experienced Zimbabwean No1 Jesse Engelbrecht.

 

It was nip and tuck throughout the exchanges, but it was Engelbrecht who ultimately emerged triumphant to record a 10-8, 1-9, 9-2, 4-9, 9-6 victory to put the visitors ahead.

 

UniSport stalwart Stephen Meads, who had only just stepped off a plane from Hong Kong where he had been coaching the country's national squad, clinched victory for Guildford with a 12-10 9-7 9-7 win over the home team captain Tim Garner, runner-up in the weekend's BSPA Grand Prix event at the Croydon club.

 

Italian number one Davide Bianchetti beat Stacey Ross 9-5, 9-7, 9-5 in the final top string rubber to earn three further vital points for PSL debutants Surrey H&RC.

 

South Group:
Surrey H&RC Croydon 2 UniSport Guildford 3

Davide Bianchetti beat Stacey Ross 9-5, 9-7, 9-5

Tim Garner lost to Stephen Meads 10-12, 7-9, 7-9

Simon Rosner lost to Jesse Engelbrecht 8-10, 9-1, 2-9, 9-4, 6-9

Ben Ford beat Neil Frankland 9-6, 9-5, 9-6

Lauren Briggs lost to Alison Waters 3-9, 4-9, 1-9


8th Round Report, Tuesday 7th March 2006

Edgbaston Priory Stretch North Lead, While Strings Tighten Up In South

 

A last ditch win by Churchill Edgbaston Priory in tonight's (Tuesday) eighth round of the Premier Squash League (PSL), sponsored by insurance specialists THB Clowes, extends the Birmingham club's lead to 30 points in the North Group" and virtually assures their place in the end-of-season play-offs. A similar nail-biting 3/2 victory by Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury sees the Gloucestershire regain top position in the South Group, a single point ahead of Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon whose 3/2 win pushes former group leaders Team Chichester into third place.

 

A long-awaited first win of the season looked on the cards for former champions Nottingham as the hosts forged a 2/1 lead against Edgbaston Priory" squad third and fourth strings James Wright and Arthur Gaskin beating Priory's Adam Stevenson and Peter Creed, respectively, after the visitors' Rebecca Botwright fought off a string challenge from Sarah Kippax, ranked 11 places lower in the world, before beating the Nottingham player 9-10 9-1 9-5 10-8 in 56 minutes.

 

Devonian Hadrian Stiff levelled the tie for the West Midlands visitors, before rising English star Peter Barker beat Nottingham stalwart Simon Parke 9-6 9-7 11-9 to clinch victory for Edgbaston, their sixth of the season.

 

Manchester/Pontefract, Priory's main rivals for the North Group title, suffered their second defeat of the season" going down 4/1 to PSL champions Wolverhampton. Both teams were fielding depleted squads, with many of the world's top players currently undergoing final Commonwealth Games preparations in Melbourne. Hosts Wolverhampton were already celebrating victory" boosted by "the result of the night" when veteran Mark Cairns beat the visitors' 24-year-old Andrew Whipp 6-9 9-2 9-6 9-6" before Welsh Commonwealth Games team-mates Alex Gough and David Evans took to the court for the top string clash.

 

Wolverhampton team manager Stephen Russell introduced the pair to the packed crowd by thanking the players for "postponing their trip to play a more important match tonight!". In what was only his second win against his long-time national rival in more than seven years, Gough beat Evans 9-3 9-4 9-7 in 41 minutes to seal the 4/1 victory for Wolverhampton.

 

Both ties in the South Group kept the crowds on the edges of their seats until the final balls were struck. Fresh from her success in the Swiss Open in Geneva on Sunday, Lauren Briggs caused a major upset when she defeated world No13 Laura-Jane Lengthorn" ranked 15 places higher" 9-7 5-9 9-7 9-7 to put Surrey H&RC into an early home lead against University Sport Birmingham. Club debutante Simon Rosner, the first German to compete in the league, extended the Croydon club's lead with an impressive 9-3 9-11 9-4 9-4 win over Joel Hinds" but the Birmingham University side came back to level the tie thanks to notable victories by Jonathan Harford and Steve Coppinger.

 

The decider was a 74-minute marathon in which Italian Davide Bianchetti, leading the Croydon squad for the first time, romped to a 2/0 lead against Joey Barrington" but the fast-rising English star battled back to force the match into a fifth game. Bianchetti maintained his focus to win 9-3 9-3 1-9 6-9 9-6 to take Surrey HR&SC into a close second position in the table.

 

There was even greater drama in the other South Group clash when UniSport Guildford entertained Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury. Victories by Pakistan No1 Carla Khan and Alex Stait for the visitors, and by Neil Frankland for Guildford meant that a win by second string Stephen Meads was essential if the home team's hopes were to be kept alive. The 35-year-old former Tour pro was facing fast-rising Daryl Selby, the 23-year-old from Essex whom he edged out in Sunday's semi-finals of the North of Scotland Open in Aberdeen.

 

The score reached 2-2 in games and 8-8 in the decider when Meads caressed a drop shot into the front backhand corner" and, in trying to reach the ball, Selby's elbow accidentally struck Meads on the back of the head. The match came to a halt for ten minutes while team-mates tried to stop the bleeding from Meads' wound. On the resumption of the match, plucky Meads won the first point after a long rally, before Selby took the next to bring it back to 9-9. But it was Meads who forced the ultimate advantage by winning the next two points to earn a courageous 9-6 8-10 9-7 4-9 11-9 victory" before heading off to the local hospital for treatment.

 

In the tie decider, Tewkesbury's Australian No1 Cameron Pilley proved too strong for Guildford's Stacey Ross, winning 12-10 5-9 9-1 6-9 9-4 to give Strings a 3/2 victory.

 

8th Round Results

Tuesday 7 March 2006

 

North Group:

Nottingham 2 Churchill Edgbaston Priory 3

Simon Parke lost to Peter Barker 6-9, 7-9, 9-11 (42m)

Duncan Walsh lost to Hadrian Stiff 4-9, 1-9, 1-9 (25m)

James Wright bt Adam Stevenson 9-4, 9-1, 9-6 (21m)

Arthur Gaskin bt Peter Creed 10-8, 9-0, 8-10, 9-6 (38m)

Sarah Kippax lost to Rebecca Botwright 10-9, 1-9, 5-9, 8-10 (56m)

Wolverhampton 4 Manchester/Pontefract 1

Alex Gough bt David Evans 9-3, 9-4, 9-7 (41m)

Scott Handley bt Nick Taylor 8-10, 9-11, 9-6, 9-7, 9-2

Mark Cairns bt Andrew Whipp 6-9, 9-2, 9-6, 9-6

Chris Ryder bt Shaun le Roux 9-2, 5-9, 9-2, 9-6

Fiona Moverley lost to Jenna Gates 4-9, 1-9, 2-9

 

South Group:

UniSport Guildford 2 Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury 3

Stacey Ross lost to Cameron Pilley 10-12, 9-5, 1-9, 9-6, 4-9

Stephen Meads bt Daryl Selby 9-6, 8-10, 9-7, 4-9, 11-9

Jesse Engelbrecht lost to Alex Stait 6-9, 4-9, 4-9

Neil Frankland bt Philip Nightingale 9-6, 4-9, 9-3, 9-4

Rachel Willmott lost to Carla Khan 3-9, 1-9, 3-9

Surrey H&RC Croydon 3 University Sport Birmingham 2

Davide Bianchetti bt Joey Barrington 9-3, 9-3, 1-9, 6-9, 9-6 (74m)

Phillip Barker lost to Jonathan Harford 3-9, 2-9, 7-9 (29m)

Simon Rosner bt Joel Hinds 9-3, 9-11, 9-4, 9-4 (49m)

Chris Simpson lost to Steve Coppinger 6-9, 9-7, 6-9, 9-5, 5-9 (47m)

Lauren Briggs bt Laura-Jane Lengthorn 9-7, 5-9, 9-7, 9-7 (69m)

 

 


 

7th round Report, Tuesday 21 February 2006

Edgbaston Priory & Chichester Extend PSL Leads

Churchill Edgbaston Priory and Team Chichester extended their leads in the North and South Groups, respectively, after tonight's (Tuesday) 7th round ties in the Premier Squash League (PSL) – the Birmingham club defeating West Midlands rivals Wolverhampton 4/1 and the Sussex coast club edging a 3/2 away victory at UniSport Guildford.

The most comprehensive win was achieved by Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon, who celebrated their first outing of the New Year by beating last season's South Group champions Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury 5/0. Meanwhile, 1999 champions Nottingham failed to register their first win of the season, going down 1/4 at home to East Midlands rivals Benz-Bavarian Duffield.

Edgbaston players built up a healthy lead for the hosts against Wolverhampton, with Hadrian Stiff and Peter Barker winning in four games, and England No1 Vicky Botwright playing her first match since sustaining a foot injury in New York at the beginning of the month – and comfortably beating Wolverhampton's Emma Chorley 9-1 9-0 9-2 in 29 minutes. The visitors gained a consolation point after a 74-minute marathon between Adrian Grant and Wolverhampton's Alex Gough. Grant drew level after Gough forged a 2/0 lead, but it was the 35-year-old Welshman Gough who survived the 28-minute fifth game to record a notable 9-3 10-8 6-9 3-9 9-6 upset.

Stewart Boswell, however, was Edgbaston's star performer. The 27-year-old Australian, who spent most of last year fighting back from a long layoff with a mystery back ailment, was playing at top string for the first time this season. He faced compatriot Anthony Ricketts, the in-form Wolverhampton No1 and world No4 who reached last week's Canary Wharf Classic final in London. Boswell was in stunning form, and defeated Ricketts for the first time in almost four years 9-6, 9-3, 5-9, 9-1 in 45 minutes to clinch the home side's 4/1 victory.

Derbyshire club Duffield kept alive their hopes for a place in the end of season semi-final play-offs by moving up to second place in the North Group points table after beating Nottingham. The tie provided the first opportunity for the 1998 champions to show off their two British National champions – and both players duly delivered championship performances: Women's champion Tania Bailey did not allow her opponent a single point as the Lincolnshire lass crushed Nottingham's Sarah Kippax 9-0 9-0 9-0 in just 20 minutes.

After the hosts picked up their sole point when Irish international Arthur Gaskin beat Duffield's Paul Hargrave 9-6, 9-6, 6-9, 9-6, it was left to the visitors' recently-crowned British men's champion Nick Matthew to finish the tie with a flourish – repeating his win over Simon Parke in the Nationals in Manchester by beating his Yorkshire county colleague 10-8 9-7 9-6.

In fourth place in the South Group on the eve of the tie against Strings, Surrey H&RC Croydon leapt up to second place after their 5/0 drubbing of the Gloucestershire club. Part-timer Stephanie Brind scored a significant win for the visitors, beating Pakistan No1 Carla Khan 9-7 1-9 9-4 9-5. Fresh from his triumph in the British Junior U19 Championships at the weekend, Hampshire's Chris Simpson beat Surrey's Philip Nightingale 9-6 9-4 13-11 to extend the Croydon club's lead.

But Croydon star Peter Nicol, the former world No1 and world champion, provided an appropriate climax for the visitors, beating the Tewkesbury club's South African No1 Rodney Durbach 11-9 9-6 5-9 9-2 to ensure maximum points for the league newcomers.

In the other South Group clash, it was neck-and-neck throughout the evening with three matches going to fifth-game deciders before the final match was left to decide the winners of the tie. Hosts UniSport Guildford took an early lead when Londoner Alison Waters beat opponent Suzie Pierrepont after the Team Chichester star suffered a thigh strain midway through the third game which caused her to concede the match at 9-2 9-2 2-2 in Waters' favour.

The University of Surrey squad's 'man-of-the-match' award winner Jesse Engelbrecht put in an impressive performance to beat Chichester's in-form Tim Vail 9-7, 9-7, 6-9, 2-9, 9-7. In the top-string decider, Guildford's Stacey Ross delighted the packed crowd when he took the opening game against the visitors' Surrey champion Ben Garner. But Garner pulled back the deficit, then Ross suffered seven unforced errors in the third game which soon gave his opponent a 2/1 lead. The pair battled in the fourth, but it was Garner who ultimately prevailed 6-9 10-8 9-2 9-7 to give Chichester the 3/2 win which stretched their lead in the points table to 12 points ahead of Croydon and Tewkesbury, both of whom are level on 70 points.

 

7th round Results, Tuesday 21 February 2006

 

North Group:

Nottingham 1-4 Benz Bavarian Duffield

Simon Parke lost to Nick Matthew 8-10, 7-9, 6-9 (43m)

Duncan Walsh lost to Gavin Jones 6-9, 4-9, 7-9 (29m)

James Wright lost to Laurence Delasaux 9-5, 10-8, 6-9, 7-9, 5-9 (57m)

Arthur Gaskin beat Paul Hargrave 9-6, 9-6, 6-9, 9-6 (42m)

Sarah Kippax lost to Tania Bailey 0-9, 0-9, 0-9 (20m)

Churchill Edgbaston Priory 4-1 Wolverhampton

Stewart Boswell beat Anthony Ricketts 9-6, 9-3, 5-9, 9-1 (45m)

Adrian Grant lost to Alex Gough 3-9, 8-10, 9-6, 9-3, 6-9 (74m)

Peter Barker beat Scott Handley 6-9, 9-2, 9-2, 9-4 (35m)

Hadrian Stiff beat Chris Ryder 4-9, 11-9, 9-6, 9-7 (49m)

Vicky Botwright beat Emma Chorley 9-1, 9-0, 9-2 (29m)

 

South Group:

UniSport Guildford 2-3 Team Chichester

Stacey Ross lost to Ben Garner 9-6, 8-10, 2-9, 7-9

Stephen Meads lost to Peter Genever 6-9, 9-6, 5-9, 9-4, 7-9

Jesse Engelbrecht beat Tim Vail 9-7, 9-7, 6-9, 2-9, 9-7

Neil Frankland lost to Tom Richards 5-9, 9-5, 6-9, 12-10, 6-9

Alison Waters beat Suzie Pierrepont 9-2, 9-2, 2-2 ret.

Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury 0-5 Surrey H&RC Croydon

Rodney Durbach lost to Peter Nicol 9-11, 6-9, 9-5, 2-9

Daryl Selby lost to Davide Bianchetti 6-9, 8-10, 9-7, 6-9

Rob Sutherland lost to Phillip Barker 3-9, 7-9, 9-7, 5-9

Philip Nightingale lost to Chris Simpson 6-9, 4-9, 11-13

Carla Khan lost to Stephanie Brind 7-9, 9-1, 4-9, 5-9

 

 

6th Round Report

Edgbaston Keep Manchester/Pontefract At Bay – And Chichester Bounce Back

 

Churchill Edgbaston Priory and Manchester/Pontefract resumed their campaigns for success in the Premier Squash League in the New Year with identical 4-1 wins in tonight's (Tuesday) sixth round ties, with the Birmingham club maintaining their three-point lead over the trans-Pennine cooperative at the top of the North Group points table. The lead has changed, however, in the South Group after Team Chichester pulled off a 3-2 home win over rivals Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury to replace the Gloucestershire club at the top of the table.

 

Edgbaston Priory hosts Benz-Bavarian Duffield took a quick lead when full-time firewoman and part-time squash player Laura Hill scored a stunning 9-2 9-10 9-2 9-4 win for the Derbyshire club over Manchester-based world No27 Rebecca Botwright. It turned out to be a good night for non-full-timers when Edgbaston's Hadrian Stiff, a 33-year-old from Devon who last played on the PSA Tour three years ago, held off the challenge of Duffield's fast-improving world No40 Gavin Jones, beating the 25-year-old Welshman 11-9 4-9 6-9 9-1 10-8 in 53 minutes.

 

Priory stalwarts Peter Barker and Stewart Boswell also recorded notable wins for the visitors – over Frenchman Renan Lavigne and Englishman Jonathan Kemp, respectively – leaving team-mate David Palmer, the world No4 from Australia, to contest the final rubber against Duffield No1 Nick Matthew.

 

The pair met only 24 hours earlier in a Super League clash – but Palmer reversed that result to ensure the vital extra points needed by Edgbaston to maintain their North Group lead, and beat the English world No9 10-8 6-9 9-5 11-9 in 58 minutes.

 

Manchester/Pontefract also lost the opening match in their tie at Pontefract against bottom-placed Nottingham when the visitors' Sarah Kippax beat Kirsty McPhee 6-9 9-4 9-7 9-3. But it was downhill for the hosts thereafter as Andrew Whipp, Nick Taylor and David Evans all gained straightforward wins over their Nottingham opponents to leave home hero James Willstrop to face long-time Nottingham stalwart Simon Parke in the end-of-evening top string battle.

 

The Yorkshire pair always provide an entertaining spectacle for the loyal crowd – and tonight was no exception. Willstrop, focused on success in next week's British National Championships in Manchester, battled for four games to keep Parke at bay, eventually taking 38 minutes to win 9-7 10-8 2-9 9-7 to strengthen his team's position in second place in the North Group – 14 points ahead of Duffield and 54 ahead of bottom-placed Nottingham, who are still looking for their first PSL win of the season.

 

Coming into tonight's tie, Team Chichester were in third place in the South Group table. But fine early performances by Sussex players Linda Elriani and Tim Vail, and Surrey's Tom Richards, put the hosts into a 3/0 lead over league leaders Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury – British champion Elriani crushing the visitors' Selina Sinclair in 14 minutes for the loss of just a single point.

 

The Gloucestershire club, national semi-finalists in their debut season last year, reduced the deficit when Daryl Selby fought back from two games down to beat Chichester star Peter Genever 6-9 7-9 9-3 13-11 9-5, then South African Rodney Durbach held off the challenge of Chichester's Ben Garner to win 9-6 9-11 9-7 10-8.

 

The 3-2 result takes Chichester to the top of the table by the narrowest margin over Strings – both teams sharing 66 points but the Sussex clubs holding a better 'games lost' figure than their rivals.

 

The other South Group battle saw the league's two University sides battle for honours in the West Midlands, with University Sport Birmingham hosting UniSport Guildford. Matches were shared going into the top string clash – with the hosts claiming the early lead through wins by Laura-Jane Lengthorn and Steve Coppinger and the University of Surrey squad fighting back with confident straight games victories by Scotland's Neil Frankland and Zimbabwe's Jesse Engelbrecht.

 

The decider was an exhilarating display of squash – with Guildford's ex-pro Stephen Meads taking on the fast-improving young Joey Barrington. Meads was in excellent form, fresh from national coaching duties in Hong Kong – but Barrington, the 26-year-old son of the legendary Jonah Barrington, was untouchable – and soon despatched his opponent 9-3 9-2 9-4 to give the Birmingham squad a notable 3-2 win.

 

6th round, Tuesday 31 January 2006

 

North Group:

Manchester/Pontefract 4-1 Nottingham

James Willstrop beat Simon Parke 9-7, 10-8, 2-9, 9-7 (38m)

David Evans beat Duncan Walsh 9-4, 9-2, 9-3 (22m)

Nick Taylor beat James Wright 9-7, 7-9, 10-8, 9-2 (38m)

Andrew Whipp beat Arthur Gaskin 9-5, 9-4, 9-3 (19m)

Kirsty McPhee lost to Sarah Kippax 9-6, 4-9, 7-9, 3-9 (45m)

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 1-4 Churchill Edgbaston Priory

Nick Matthew lost to David Palmer 8-10, 9-6, 5-9, 9-11 (58m)

Jonathan Kemp lost to Stewart Boswell 5-9, 4-9, 3-9 (22m)

Renan Lavigne lost to Peter Barker 8-10, 9-7, 8-10, 7-9 (51m)

Gavin Jones lost to Hadrian Stiff 9-11, 9-4, 9-6, 1-9, 8-10 (53m)

Laura Hill beat Rebecca Botwright 9-2, 9-10, 9-2, 9-4 (49m)

 

South Group:

University Sport Birmingham 3-2 UniSport Guildford

Joey Barrington beat Stephen Meads 9-3, 9-2, 9-4

Jon Harford lost to Jesse Engelbrecht 7-9, 8-10, 4-9

Joel Hinds lost to Neil Frankland 4-9, 6-9, 6-9

Steve Coppinger beat Phil Rushworth 9-5, 9-6, 9-5

Laura-Jane Lengthorn beat Rachel Willmott 9-2, 9-5, 9-1

Team Chichester 3-2 Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury

Ben Garner lost to Rodney Durbach 6-9, 11-9, 7-9, 8-10

Peter Genever lost to Daryl Selby 9-6, 9-7, 3-9, 11-13, 5-9

Tim Vail beat Greg Tippings 5-9, 9-3, 9-4, 9-4 (29m)

Tom Richards beat Rob Sutherland 6-9, 9-6, 8-10, 9-6, 9-3

Linda Elriani beat Selina Sinclair 9-1, 9-0, 9-0 (14m)

Premiership Battles Reconvene In Sixth Round PSL Ties

Tonight's resumption of the 2005/06 Premier Squash League, with the sixth round ties providing the first action of the New Year, will give Churchill Edgbaston Priory and Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury the chance to strengthen their grips on leadership of the North and South Group points tables, respectively.

 

Edgbaston Priory, led by Australia's world No4 David Palmer, visit Benz-Bavarian Duffield – but the Birmingham squad, champions in 2003, will be keeping a close eye on action in Pontefract where Manchester/Pontefract, just three points adrift of Priory in second place, host Nottingham.

 

Derbyshire club Duffield are themselves only six points behind their visitors in the North Group points table, and both teams approach the fixture having lost only one tie out of four played so far this season. Duffield will be led by Yorkshire's world No9 Nick Matthew.

 

Yorkshireman James Willstrop, who celebrated a career-high world No2 ranking last month and led England to success in the World Team Championships in Pakistan, will lead the Manchester/Pontefract attack tonight at his own home club. The 22-year-old faces Nottingham No1 Simon Parke, who is also from Yorkshire.

 

The highlight of the South Group fixtures will be the clash between Strings and hosts Team Chichester, who are in third place in the group, eight points behind their Gloucestershire opponents. The Sussex squad will be led by Surrey's Ben Garner, who will face the Strings' No1 Rodney Durbach, from South Africa. Just four world ranking positions separate these two PSA Tour players.

 

The other tie in the group is an academic clash between the two University squads in the league – with University Sport Birmingham hosting UniSport Guildford. Joey Barrington will face the University of Surrey's No1 Stephen Meads in the top string battle.

 

6th round, Tuesday 31 January 2006

North Group:

Manchester/Pontefract

v

Nottingham

James Willstrop

v

Simon Parke

David Evans

v

Duncan Walsh

Nick Taylor

v

James Wright

Andrew Whipp

v

Arthur Gaskin

Kirsty McPhee

v

Sarah Kippax

Benz Bavarian Duffield

v

Churchill Edgbaston Priory

Nick Matthew

v

David Palmer

Jonathan Kemp

v

Stewart Boswell

Renan Lavigne

v

Peter Barker

Gavin Jones

v

Hadrian Stiff

Laura Hill

v

Rebecca Botwright

South Group:

University Sport Birmingham

v

UniSport Guildford

Joey Barrington

v

Stephen Meads

Jon Harford

v

Jesse Engelbrecht

Joel Hinds

v

Neil Frankland

Steve Coppinger

v

Phil Rushworth

Laura Jane Lengthorn

v

Rachel Willmott

Team Chichester

v

Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury

Ben Garner

v

Rodney Durbach

Peter Genever

v

Daryl Selby

Tim Vail

v

Greg Tippings

Tom Richards

v

Rob Sutherland

Linda Elriani

v

Selina Sinclair

 

 

5th Round
Chichester Shock Surrey In Round Five of the PSL
The conclusion of the first half of the Premier Squash League season could have seen Edgbaston and Surrey take control of their Northern and Southern groups, but in the event both groups were left with everything to play for in the second half.

In Manchester the 2004 and 2003 champions, Manchester/Pontefract and Churchill Edgbaston, met to decide who would lead the Northern group. Unbeaten Edgbaston knew they had a battle on their hands when the home team took both the opening ties 3-2 - Nick Taylor and Jenny Duncalf getting the hosts off to a great start - and guaranteeing a late-night finish.

Peter Barker pulled one back for Edgbaston, but James Willstrop's 3-2 win over Adrian Grant sealed the win for Man/Pont before Lee Beachill added an extra point with another five-game victory over Edgbaston's David Palmer.

Meanwhile in Wolverhampton the defending champions were fielding their 2005 final-winning team at home for the first time. But Benz-Bavarian Duffield were in no mood to join in the party, and when Renan Lavigne and Paul Hargrave put the visitors 2-0 up Wolverhampton clearly had a task on their hands.

Lawrence Delasaux and Tania Bailey completed the win for Duffield before Anthony Ricketts earned a consolation point for Wolverhampton, who will need a miracle in the second half if they are to retain the title.

In the Southern group Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury went to the top of the table as they won 3-2 away at newcomers University Sport Birmingham, thanks to an unexpected - and unpredicted - away win by Chichester at Surrey Health and Racquets.

At the University courts hosts Birmingham took the first and last matches of the evening, but Strings, winners of the Southern group last season, sealed the match with wins by Daryl Selby, Alex Stait and Alister Walker.

At Surrey Health & Racquets, Team Chichester came up with probably the shock result of the season. Linda Elriani, in her first competitive match for two months, beat world number three Nicol David in straight games to set up a possible upset. Aaron Franckomb put Chichester ahead with another upset win against Tim Garner, and when Tim Vail outlasted Phillip Barker Surrey's hopes of topping the group were over.

So, both groups are left with "all to play for" in the second half, with the next round of matches on 31st January.

 

Benz Bavarian Duffield Get Out of Jail and Return to PSL Play-Offs
Benz-Bavarian Duffield stunned Manchester/Pontefract supporters at their home courts at the National Squash Centre in Manchester by beating the 2004 champions in the final round of the Premier Squash League (PSL) to claim the last place in the end-of-season finals play-offs.
 
This tie paraded no fewer than five players ranked in the top 10 in the world and 7 players who were involved in the recent Commonwealth Games. Manchester’s home advantage made them clear favourites. With just two points separating Manchester/Pontefract and Duffield before the tie, a simple win was all that was required. The travelling loyal band of Duffield supporters had to change their route when Taro reported that the Mancunian Way was closed. This provided the ideal opportunity for the merry band to enjoy the muddy congestion on the A6 at the Flagge “point to point” races and sights of Denton before reaching the Manchester stadium. The Chairman has now started his 2006 Christmas list with Satnav top of the agenda.

Supporters in place the contest began 30 minutes later than scheduled
 
The crystal ball had predicted that all five rubbers could go either way with much depending on how the players have recovered from their recent travels.
 
First on court was Welsh No 2 Gavin Jones playing Nick Taylor Manchester’s favourite son who had come close to beating Adrian Grant in the previous round. A nip and tuck first game saw Taylor save on 2 game points before Jones squeezed home 13-11. The second game seemed destined to go the other way as Taylor established leads of 6-2 and 8-4. Jones threw caution to the Manchester wind and reeled off 6 consecutive points without a hand out to take the game 10-8. Jones always had the edge in the third game and after 37 minutes had put the first point on the board in favour of the visitors.

Meanwhile on the show court England team-mates Jenny Duncalf and Tania Bailey faced each other in the opening clash.  Duffield's Bailey, hot from winning her first WISPA World Tour title for six years, impressively took the opening game 9-1 and raced to a 5-0 lead in the second before jet lag and possibly a little over celebrating after her USA triumph took their toll. Errors began to creep in and the tin became a target. Duncalf grew in confidence and took the second game 9-7 and the third followed a similar pattern as Duncalf, ranked two places higher at world No 8, delighted home supporters by moving 2-1 ahead.

Nick Mathew gave his team mate some sound advice between games. The encouragement from the noisy Duffield supporters seemed to inspire Bailey and strength returned her legs with the result she took the fourth 9-0. Bailey raced to a 5-2 lead in the fifth which was pegged back to 5-4 before Bailey finally broke Duncalf’s brave resistance.  Bailey has played much better but she showed why she is National champion by grinding out a great result for her team and her perseverance over  for 84 minutes was rewarded by a victory to give Duffield a 2-0  lead.

On the outside court Renan Lavigne was really fired up after feeling distraught last week after failing to take advantage of two match balls. Lavigne was determined to make amends. The game plan was to rely on Renan's stamina and rally David Evans hoping that the Welsh Giant would tire and that's what happened.  Evans had to work hard to take the first two games 9-4 9-6 in 20 minutes and stood 7-5 up in the third. Lavigne, as ever fought like a tiger, and somehow took the game 9-7 as Evans shook his head in disbelief. The fourth reached 7-6 to Lavigne with never more than one point advantage but again Lavigne frustrated the Welshman thanks to a fluke shot which made his manager start to think this could be Duffield’s night. T

The Duffield supporters had now amassed behind the outside court sensing this was Duffield’s best ever chance of making the play offs. Lavigne battled as Evans demonstrated that his racket skills had not deserted him even though his legs were starting to wilt. The score reached 6-5 in favour of Evans but Lavigne levelled and established 2 match points at 8-6. Player and manager exchanged glances with Lavigne afterwards admitting that he thought your truly looked relaxed whilst deep down he was anything but. Evans saved the first match ball and thoughts of “deja vou” went through the mind. Lavigne held his nerve took the game and match 9-7 to clinch the play off spot. Lavigne did a French jig and a high five and Duffield were in the play offs. Hand shakes all round and with great sportsmanship displayed by the Manchester players and management.

This was without doubt Lavigne’s best performance in a Duffield shirt and what better time for the charismatic Frenchman to win in style. Everybody was really delighted for him

Jon Kemp had the unenviable task of going in court with the play off place secured but having to face Lee Beachill who saw him off in 24 entertaining  minutes 9-5 9-5 9-7
 
In the final 'dead' rubber - which was as 'live' as it was possible to be - Nick Matthew defeated his Commonwealth Games doubles partner and England team-mate James Willstrop 9-4, 10-8, 7-9, 5-9, 9-7 in 60 minutes to extend Duffield's winning margin to 4/1.This was one of the most skilful and competitive dead rubbers ever seen and a credit to both players. The racket skills and court coverage was unbelievable. The competitiveness was reflected by a mid court collision which could have badly injured either player.   It finally went 9-7 to Matthew in the fifth to add icing to the absent Massarella cake. .  


It was a night when Duffield could have walked on water. Overall he rub of the green just seemed to go for us tonight – at last - and I'm delighted for the team and all our loyal supporters and a reward for the Squash Committee’s support even though the Treasurer may have to revise his budget.

The sportsmanship throughout was exemplary. The refereeing was consistent and fair very. The hospitality and presentation was superb and despite Mr Cubbins predicted a result 2.5 to 2.5 when I had predicted 3-2 with a final rubber decider and the bias hope that on this occasion the small village Club from Derbyshire would prevail against the Manchester- Pontefract consortium big guns.

The 4/1 victory took  the Derbyshire club ahead of the trans-Pennine cooperative in the North Group – denying the finalists for the past two years a chance to compete for the national title for a third time.  Duffield, in the play-offs for the first time in four years, join Group winners Churchill Edgbaston Priory – and will meet the top two teams in the South Group.
 
With Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury already assured of a place, it took a 3/2 win for Team Chichester over University Sport Birmingham to push the Sussex club ahead of Tewkesbury in the final South Group placings – leaving the Gloucestershire club to face Edgbaston Priory, and Chichester to take on Duffield.

The Duffield supporters are now making plans to visit Mr Crabtree country in Chichester a repeat of the 1998 play offs, when Duffield went on to take the title after a count-back on games won over two legs winning in Chichester but losing at home. First leg away to Chichester on Tuesday 16 May. The second leg is home at Duffield on Thursday 18 May
 
Additional match Sponsor contacts most welcome!
 

 

LEAGUE TABLE (End of Season PSL)

Ties

Matches

Games

Pts

P

W

L

W

L

W

L

GROUP A: NORTH

Edgbaston Priory

8

7

1

28

12

101

55

136

Manchester-Pontefract

8

5

3

24

16

85

64

110

Duffield

8

4

4

22

18

84

72

104

Wolverhampton

8

4

4

18

22

69

83

89

Nottingham

8

0

8

8

32

40

105

40

GROUP B: SOUTH

Strings Tewkesbury

8

6

2

24

16

86

66

116

Team Chichester

8

5

3

21

19

81

75

106

Surrey H&RC Croydon

8

4

4

22

18

79

68

99

Uni Sport Guildford

8

3

5

17

23

70

83

85

Birmingham University

8

2

6

16

24

64

87

74

FULL REPORT Round 5
Manchester/Pontefract Beat Priory, But Birmingham Club Stay Ahead In PSL
In a dramatic fifth round Premier Squash League clash at the National Squash Centre in Manchester between 2004 champions Manchester/Pontefract and 2003 winners Churchill Edgbaston Priory, the home side pulled off a 4-1 victory - but failed to dislodge the hitherto unbeaten Birmingham club from top of the North Group points table. There was also a shock result in the South Group where league newcomers Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon went down 2-3 at home to Team Chichester, leaving Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury to reclaim pole position in the group.

The secret to Edgbaston Priory’s surprise ‘success’ in their seemingly heavy defeat in Manchester was in picking up maximum possible points in the four matches they lost - all by 3/2 margins! In the first women’s match covered by the www.psalive.tv streaming - which provided live worldwide coverage of the PSL for the first time - the hosts’ Jenny Duncalf twice came from behind to beat England team-mate Vicky Botwright 2-9 9-4 7-9 9-4 10-8 in 82 minutes to reverse the result of her last meeting with the Manchester star on the same court two months ago.

Further Manchester wins by Nick Taylor and James Willstrop ensured victory in the tie for the hosts, but squad number one Lee Beachill extended the margin to 4-1 with a 6-9 9-7 6-9 9-1 9-2 triumph in 57 minutes over the Edgbaston top string David Palmer, the world No7 from Australia.

Elsewhere in the North Group, title-holders Wolverhampton suffered their third defeat of the season – going down 1-4 at home to 1998 champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield. Australia’s British Open champion Anthony Ricketts, the world No3, was the hosts’ sole winner – beating England’s world No11 Nick Matthew 9-3 9-3 9-1 – but Duffield stalwarts Renan Lavigne, Laurence Delasaux, Paul Hargrave and Tania Bailey all triumphed to keep the Derbyshire club’s league title hopes alive, just three points behind second-placed Manchester/Pontefract.

Led by in-form world stars Peter Nicol and Nicol David, Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon were widely fancied to topple Team Chichester and finish the first half of season at the top of the South Group. But England No1 Linda Elriani, playing in her first match since a hamstring injury layoff, gave the Chichester visitors the perfect start to the evening when she took on Malaysia’s world No3 Nicol David, fresh from the best run of her career which included winning the British Open title and Carol Weymuller Open trophy in New York last month. Elriani, the world No6 from Eastbourne, crushed David 9-6 9-1 9-6 in 37 minutes.

Chichester’s Australian newcomer Aaron Frankcomb and squad stalwart Tim Vail also claimed significant wins to clinch the tie for the Sussex club – but top string Peter Nicol recovered some Croydon pride when he beat the visitors’ Ben Garner, the younger brother of the Croydon third string Tim Garner, 4-9 9-6 9-7 9-3 in 26 minutes.

It was Oberthur Strings Tewkesbury’s middle order that provided the might to overcome University Sport Birmingham 3-2 in the other tie in the South Group. Fast-improving Gloucestershire stars Alister Walker and Alex Stait beat the home side’s Joel Hinds and Steve Coppinger, respectively, after Essex’s rising star Daryl Selby defeated the Birmingham University squad No4 Jaymie Haycocks 9-6 -6 3-9 9-4.

Winners of the South Group last year in their maiden season in the PSL, Strings now approach next year’s second half of this season at the as group points table, seven points ahead of Croydon.

PREMIER LEAGUE RESULTS
Tuesday 15 November
Round FIVE

North Group:

Manchester-Pontefract 4-1 Churchill Edgbaston Priory

Lee Beachill 3-2 David Palmer 6-9, 9-7, 6-9, 9-1, 9-2 (57m)
James Willstrop 3-2 Adrian Grant 9-6, 5-9, 9-6, 8-10, 9-7 (50m)
David Evans 0-3 Peter Barker 6-9, 2-9, 3-9 (35m)
Nick Taylor 3-2 Hadrian Stiff 5-9, 9-4, 4-9, 9-4, 10-8 (53m)
Jenny Duncalf 3-2 Vicky Botwright 2-9, 9-4, 7-9, 9-4, 10-8 (82m)

Wolverhampton 1-4 Benz-Bavarian Duffield
Anthony Ricketts 3-0
Nick Matthew 9-3, 9-3, 9-1
Alex Gough 1-3 Renan Lavigne 6-9, 7-9, 9-3, 2-9
Scott Handley 1-3 Lawrence Delasaux 10-8, 4-9, 6-9, 3-9
Mark Cairns 0-3 Paul Hargrave 8-10, 9-11, 3-9
Shelley Kitchen 1-3 Tania Bailey 6-9, 4-9, 9-7, 2-9

South Group:

University Sport Birmingham 2-3 Oberthur Strings

Joey Barrington 3-2 Rodney Durbach 10-8, 6-9, 9-6, 8-10, 9-5
Joel Hinds 1-3 Alister Walker 1-9, 9-11, 9-5, 7-9
Steve Coppinger 0-3 Alex Stait 6-9, 8-10, 6-9
Jaymie Haycocks 1-3 Daryl Selby 6-9, 6-9, 9-3, 4-9
Laura Lengthorn 3-0 Jenny Wright 9-4, 9-3, 9-0

Surrey H&RC Croydon 2-3 Team Chichester
Peter Nicol 3-1 Ben Garner 4-9, 9-6, 9-7, 9-3 (26m)
Phillip Barker 2-3 Tim Vail 9-7, 10-12, 4-9, 9-5, 3-9 (51m)
Tim Garner 0-3 Aaron Franckomb 8-10, 8-10, 6-9 (42m)
Chris Simpson 3-0 Martin Greenslade 9-2, 9-7, 9-4 (20m)
Nicol David 0-3 Linda Elriani 6-9, 1-9, 6-9 (37m)



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