Premier League 2006/7


The World of Squash
at Your Fingertips

HOME
NEWS
RESULTS 
CALENDAR
EVENTS
PLAYERS
CLUBS
RULES
LINKS
MAGAZINE
FEATURES
PRODUCTS
DIRECTORY
WORKSHOP
OFFERS
FEEDBACK
CONTRIBUTORS
About SP
Squash on TV
Search
 
UK Counties
World Links
Online Store
Books, Subs, Videos

Squash Directory
Where to get it all

Classified Section
Job, Jobs, Jobs ...Something to sell...

LEAGUE TABLE
 

FIXTURES
 

Results

Reports

FINAL Duffield 3 Redwood 2 Final Report
Semi-Final Leg 2: Results Semi-Final Leg 2: Report
Semi-Final Leg 1: Results Semi-Final Leg 1: Report
Final League Table
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
4th Round Results 4th Round  Report
3rd Round Results 3rd Round Report
2nd Round Results 2nd Round Report

1st Round Results

1st Round Report

2005 Reports and Tables

Final Report

Duffield Retain PSL Title In Nottingham

Derbyshire club Benz Bavarian Duffield beat event newcomers Redwood Probuild Bristol 3/2 in tonight's (Tuesday) Premier Squash League (PSL) final at Nottingham Squash Club to not only extend their unbeaten run to 15 ties, but also became the first club for ten years to successfully defend the title.

 

Both teams were at full strength for the climax of the England Squash league sponsored by Clowes Insurance:  Duffield fielded three players who clinched the 2006 title in Manchester - England number ones Nick Matthew and Tania Bailey, and Jonathan Kemp - while the Bristol squad featured two players making their fourth appearances in PSL finals, Adrian Grant, a former Edgbaston Priory player, and David Evans who appeared in the 1999 final for 2007 final hosts Nottingham!

 

Lincolnshire's Tania Bailey put the champions ahead with a 9-6, 9-6, 10-8 defeat of rising Australian star Kasey Brown.  "She's a really good player, so I knew I'd have to play well to beat her," said the world No4 of her opponent, ranked 12 places lower.

 

On an adjacent court, Duffield stalwart Andrew Whipp beat Bristol captain Hadrian Stiff 10-12, 9-6, 9-5, 9-6 to give the title-holders a 2/0 lead.

 

But PSL veteran David Evans, the former British Open champion from Wales who has represented the mid-order strength of league debutants Bristol, pulled back the deficit when he despatched Duffield's newly-married Lee Drew 9-4, 9-2, 9-5.

 

However, squad No2 Jonathan Kemp - in his 10th appearance for Duffield this season - clinched the title for his club when he edged out Australian Joseph Kneipp 9-6, 9-4, 7-9, 10-8.

 

England team-mates Nick Matthew and Adrian Grant faced each other in the best-of-three 'dead rubber' which completed the evening - Grant securing a further consolation point for the west country side by dismissing his higher-ranked national team-mate Matthew 9-6, 9-5 in just 17 minutes.

 

"I'm glad my team did the important work before I got on court, as Adrian was on fire tonight," said Matthew later.

 

The Yorkshireman went on to pay tribute to Duffield team manager Brian Hargrave, who was celebrating his third Premier League title for the club since 1998.  "Brian does an amazing job - he seems not only to run our club, but the league and the rest of the clubs too - it's a fantastic effort."

 

Hargrave put his team's success down "a real squad effort."

 

"Throughout the season, if one player didn't quite perform, others would excel and lead the team to overall success.  It is a team in every sense of the word.

 

"And the supporters have been outstanding too.  They have been with us throughout the season, home and away, and this encourages the players - and is probably worth a couple of extra points for each match," Hargrave explained.

 

The manager also paid tribute to long-time sponsors Benz-Bavarian:  "Company owner Felix Frixou has been with us for ten years now - he is very generous.  We couldn't have done it without him," added Hargrave.

 

Despite narrowly losing out, Bristol driving force Hadrian Stiff also had much to be proud of - helping his club become the first ever to reach the final in its debut season:  "Our secret was having a squad of players mainly based in the UK - and comprising a nucleus of players who are not playing on the international tour and can therefore focus on our league commitment," said the Devonian who recently set up his base at Redwood Lodge in Bristol.

 

"But, despite having eight courts at Redwood, we desperately need a glass-back court at the club if we are going to capitalise on this fantastic first season in the PSL," explained the England No19.

 

"For some time, my aim has been to build a strong squad of elite players here in Bristol - and it would be good to think that this success will help us achieve this soon and attract more top-level squash to the south west," added Stiff.

 

Final result:  Tuesday 15 May

 

Benz Bavarian Duffield 3  Redwood Probuild Bristol 2

    Nick Matthew lost to Adrian Grant         6-9, 5-9 (17m)

    Jonathan Kemp bt Joseph Kneipp         9-6, 9-4, 7-9, 10-8 (32m)

    Lee Drew lost to David Evans                4-9, 2-9, 5-9 (24m)

    Andrew Whipp bt Hadrian Stiff              10-12, 9-6, 9-5, 9-6 (44m)

    Tania Bailey bt Kasey Brown                9-6, 9-6, 10-8 (43m)

 

 
Semi-Final Leg 2: Report

Newcomers Bristol & Champions
Duffield To Contest PSL Final


Champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield and event newcomers Redwood Probuild Bristol will contest the Premier Squash League (PSL) final next month after contrasting second leg semi-final wins tonight (Thursday) in the England Squash league sponsored by Clowes Insurance.

The manner of the teams' successes could not have been more different: Bristol, going into the home tie with a 4/1 advantage over University of Birmingham from the first leg 48 hours earlier, comfortably took the first two matches of the night to put the overall result beyond doubt.

Duffield, the Derbyshire club which won the title last year and have remained unbeaten throughout this season, journeyed south to take on Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon - holding a slender 3/2 lead.

And it was a gutsy performance from the visitors' Laura Hill - the full-time Derbyshire fire-fighter unable to play in the first leg due to injury - who twice came from behind in the superb opening women's match against Croydon's trainee policewoman Stephanie Brind, then saved two match-balls to win 7-9, 9-2, 7-9, 9-5, 11-9!

The score was soon one-all as Croydon's Ben Ford beat Laurence Delasaux 7-9, 9-7, 9-6, 5-9, 9-6 - then the hosts moved ahead after another dramatic match which went the full distance when Bradley Ball avenged his first leg loss to Andrew Whipp to beat the Duffield stalwart 4-9, 9-7, 9-6, 6-9, 9-7.

A second stunning performance in two days by Jonathan Kemp against the higher-ranked Italian number one Davide Bianchetti put the first straight games score on the results board as Duffield not only delighted in drawing level - but also in a 9-4, 9-4, 9-3 scoreline which did not give any valuable game points to the opponents!

On paper the decider was a banker for the visiting champions - but everybody in the arena knew that Duffield's British Open champion and world No8 Nick Matthew would not be given an easy time by the now-retired legend that is Peter Nicol MBE. The indefatigable Nicol stretched his opponent to a game-ball in the opening game, but was unable to convert it as Matthew kept his cool to forge a 12-10, 9-5, 9-7 victory which gave Duffield their 14th successive tie win - and took the club into the final for the second year in a row.

It was an impressive performance from the Duffield No1 who not only clinched the decider in the first leg, but also the decider in last year's two semi-final clashes - AND in the final!

A delighted Duffield team manager Brian Hargrave was not only full of praise for his victorious squad, but also for the performance of the home side's Peter Nicol: "Nick Matthew has played some tough matches for us this season, but two of his hardest must have been the two this week against Peter. He may be retired, but he played out of his skull on both occasions - he really is one hell of a guy!

"But we owe it to Laura Hill - the fire-fighter fighting for her life against Stephanie Brind in a superb women's match. If Laura had lost that, we wouldn't be in the final!"

Nick Matthew refused to take credit for his successive decisive victories for Duffield: "I just happen to comeon last - but it's the other guys who've survived the five-setters - particularly Andy Whipp on Tuesday and Laura tonight," said the modest Yorkshireman. "They're the ones who deserve the credit."

Bristol team captain Hadrian Stiff and squad number one Adrian Grant will also be looking forward to a second successive year in the final - but this time it will be representing Redwood Probuild Bristol, the Avon club enjoying a sensational maiden season in the PSL.

It was Stiff's 6-9, 9-1, 9-4, 9-2 victory over the Birmingham visitors' Jaymie Haycocks, and team newcomer Daniela Schumann's 11-9, 9-7, 9-7 win over Leonie Holt, that relieved the early pressure in the other semi-final tie in Bristol.

The University of Birmingham team fought back to level the tie when the squad's South African star Stephen Coppinger beat the home side's former British Open champion David Evans 9-3, 9-4, 6-9, 9-4, and 19-year-old Joel Hinds recorded an impressive 9-5, 12-10, 4-9, 10-12, 9-5 win over experienced Australian Joseph Kneipp - both Birmingham players avenging first leg defeats.

In the evening's decider, Bristol's Adrian Grant also made up for a surprise loss on Tuesday when he beat the visitors' Joey Barrington 5-9, 9-7, 9-5, 9-1.


Semi-Final Leg 2: Results

Semi-Finals, 2nd leg Results:

Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon 2 Benz-Bavarian Duffield 3
Peter Nicol lost to Nick Matthew 10-12, 5-9, 7-9
Davide Bianchetti lost to Jonathan Kemp 4-9, 4-9, 3-9
Bradley Ball bt Andrew Whipp 4-9, 9-7, 9-6, 6-9, 9-7
Ben Ford bt Laurence Delasaux 7-9, 9-7, 9-6, 5-9, 9-6
Stephanie Brind lost to Laura Hill 9-7, 2-9, 9-7, 5-9, 9-11

Duffield win 6-4 on aggregate

Redwood Probuild Bristol 3 University of Birmingham 2

Adrian Grant bt Joey Barrington 5-9, 9-7, 9-5, 9-1
Joseph Kneipp lost to Joel Hinds 5-9, 10-12, 9-4, 12-10, 5-9
David Evans lost to Stephen Coppinger 3-9, 4-9, 9-6, 4-9
Hadrian Stiff bt Jaymie Haycocks 6-9, 9-1, 9-4, 9-2
Daniela Schumann bt Leonie Holt 11-9, 9-7, 9-7

Bristol win 7-3 on aggregate

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Semi-Final Leg 1: Report
Champions Duffield & Newcomers
Bristol Take Early Advantage In PSL Semis


Event newcomers Redwood Probuild Bristol and title-holders Benz-Bavarian Duffield hold the early advantage after tonight's (Tuesday) first leg semi-finals in the Premier Squash League (PSL) - the west country debutants securing a valuable 4/1 away win at University of Birmingham, while the Derbyshire club clinched a 3/2 home win over Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon.

The teams will meet again in reverse fixtures on Thursday (26 April) in the second semi-final legs - to decide the line-up of the final of the England Squash league sponsored by Clowes Insurance on 15th May.

It was a night of pure drama in Duffield where the champions were hoping to maintain the unbeaten record which stretches back to last season. But Tim Garner, a last-minute stand in for Ben Ford, celebrated his 37th birthday in some style when he put Croydon into the lead with a 7-9, 9-6, 9-7, 9-5 win over former European Junior champion Laurence Delasaux. "I kept telling myself it was a long way to come to lose on my birthday!" said the Sussex champion afterwards.

Duffield bounced back when Jonathan Kemp - a stalwart of last season's title-winning squad - scored a notable win over Italian No1 Davide Bianchetti, twice coming from behind to beat the opponent ranked five places higher in the world 8-10, 9-3, 7-9, 9-7, 9-1 in 45 minutes.

"We're both a bit tired from playing three tournaments in a row, so I wanted to go out fast, step up the court and play at a fast pace," said Kemp. "It was working and not working equally, I was making too many errors, so I decided to try to slow it down, cut out the mistakes, and that was more effective."

Another stunning win came Duffield's way when part-timer Andrew Whipp came back from two games down to beat the Surrey club's world No32 Bradley Ball 6-9, 2-9, 9-2, 9-5, 9-3. "I can't really explain what happened," said Ball, candidly, later.

The delighted victor joked: "I'm a bit of a slow starter these days, someone suggested I should play a match before my match."

Duffield's lead was brief, however, as Croydon's soon-to-be policewoman Stephanie Brind showed that she still possesses some of the flair that took her to No4 in the world five years ago by beating the hosts' Vicky Hynes 9-6, 9-6, 9-7.

And so the top string clash between former England team-mates Nick Matthew, Duffield's reigning British Open champion, and the now retired former world number one Peter Nicol, was to be the decider. The packed crowd was treated to a gripping display of world-class squash as Nicol summoned every drop of skill and magic he could to keep at bay the 'youngster' whom he beat six times out of eight when on the Tour. Miraculously, Nicol clinched the third game - but victory came after 47 minutes to the home star as Matthew won 9-3, 9-3, 6-9, 11-9 to keep alive Duffield's chances of reaching a second successive final.

It was a much more one-sided affair in Birmingham where both sides were experiencing semi-final action for the first time. Bristol charged into the lead as team captain Hadrian Stiff and Germany's Daniela Schumann, making her debut for the visitors, beat the University side's Jaymie Haycocks and Leonie Holt, respectively.

Welshman David Evans, the former British Open champion, piled on the pressure by beating Birmingham's Stephen Coppinger 9-7, 9-7, 9-3 to clinch victory for the visitors - then Australian regular Joseph Kneipp stretched Bristol's lead with a 4-9, 10-8, 3-9, 9-4, 9-3 win over Joel Hinds.

Perhaps the most surprising result - but one which gave the home team some consolation - was when Birmingham number one Joey Barrington inflicted the first PSL defeat of the year on Adrian Grant. The former Birmingham student beat Bristol's world No15, ranked 12 places higher, 9-2, 5-9, 6-9, 10-9, 9-3 in 54 minutes - saving a match-ball in the fourth game.


Semi-Final Leg 1: Results
Semi-Finals, 1st leg Results:

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 3 Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon 2
Nick Matthew bt Peter Nicol 9-3, 9-3, 6-9, 11-9 (47m)
Jonathan Kemp bt Davide Bianchetti 8-10, 9-3, 7-9, 9-7, 9-1 (45m)
Andrew Whipp bt Bradley Ball 6-9, 2-9, 9-2, 9-5, 9-3 (36m)
Laurence Delasaux lost to Tim Garner 9-7, 6-9, 7-9, 5-9 (35m)
Vicky Hynes lost to Stephanie Brind 6-9, 6-9, 7-9 (20m)

University of Birmingham 1 Redwood Probuild Bristol 4
Joey Barrington bt Adrian Grant 9-2, 5-9, 6-9, 10-9, 9-3 (54m)
Joel Hinds lost to Joseph Kneipp 9-4, 8-10, 9-3, 4-9, 3-9 (51m)
Stephen Coppinger lost to David Evans 7-9, 7-9, 3-9 (38m)
Jaymie Haycocks lost to Hadrian Stiff 6-9, 2-9, 2-9 (29m)
Leonie Holt lost to Daniela Schumann 5-9, 8-10, 9-6, 9-6, 3-9 (37m)




Round 10 Report

Bristol, Croydon & University of Birmingham Join Duffield In PSL Play-Offs 

Three clubs claimed places in the play-offs of the Premier Squash League (PSL) for the first time after a night of dramatic action in the tenth and final round of the group stages of the England Squash league sponsored by Clowes Insurance.

 

Defending champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield, leaders of Group A and already assured of a play-off place, stormed to a 5/0 win at Esporta Oxford - which not only extended the Derbyshire club's unbeaten run this season, but denied Oxford a place in the play-offs in their debut season in the league.  The other tie in the group saw University of Birmingham, in only their second season in the PSL, battle to a 4/1 home win over former champions Nottingham to secure runners-up position - and the second place in play-offs.

 

The balance of power in Group B was finely poised throughout the evening.  But when Redwood Probuild Bristol overturned a 1/0 deficit to beat Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon - leaders of the group for most of the season - 4/1 away from home, it became clear that both teams would qualify, Bristol finishing on 113 points and Croydon with 109.

 

Elsewhere in Surrey, Luxfords St George's Hill had home advantage as they reversed an early match defeat to claim a hard-fought 4/1 win over county rivals UniSport Guildford.  According to Guildford team manager Ian Robinson, the result could easily have been 4/1 in the visitors' direction.  But it was a disappointed St George's Hill team manager Danny Lee who eventually conceded that, despite also finishing with more than 100 points in the season, and sharing five winning ties over the season with both Bristol and Croydon, they would not be experiencing play-off action in their maiden PSL season.

 

England number one Tania Bailey was in powerful form as she put Duffield in the driving seat against Esporta Oxford with a 9-3, 9-3, 6-9, 9-5 win over Irish champion Madeline Perry.  Lee Drew then avenged his loss to World University champion Chris Drew in the teams' earlier clash in the season when he beat the Oxford No3 9-6, 7-9, 9-7, 5-9, 9-2.

 

In the final two matches, Jonathan Kemp and squad No1 Nick Matthew both repeated their mid-season victories over the home side's Scott Handley and Cameron Pilley, respectively, to ensure maximum points for Duffield.

 

There was jubilation at the University of Birmingham when it became clear that their 4/1 win over Nottingham would take the young squad into the play-offs in their first season in the country's elite league.  And nowhere was the determination more in evidence than in the opening match between the home team's Laura-Jane Lengthorn and Nottingham's Dominique Lloyd-Walter, ranked 10 and 20, respectively, in the world and separated by only two positions in the English list.  Incredibly, it was the longest match of the tie, with Lancashire's Lengthorn prevailing 6-9, 10-8, 10-8, 7-9, 9-5 in 53 minutes.

 

Nottingham's Peter Marshall, the former world number two making his competitive comeback after five years of 'retirement', was in devastating form to clinch the second game against Birmingham's Stephen Coppinger, but the fast-improving South African ultimately got the upper hand to win 9-5, 0-9, 9-5, 9-6.

 

Joel Hinds, the 19-year-old squad No3 from Derbyshire clinched the all-important tie victory for the hosts, beating Irishman Arthur Gaskin 9-5, 9-7, 9-1 - but Nottingham stalwart Simon Parke restored some pride for the visitors when he beat world No27 Joey Barrington 9-6, 9-3, 4-9, 3-9 9-5 in the final match.

 

When Malaysia's world No1 Nicol David beat Australia's up-and-coming Kasey Brown 9-7, 9-6, 9-5, it looked as if Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon would extend their leadership of the Group B points table to clinch the group's top place in the play-offs.  But visitors Redwood Probuild Bristol arrived with strength in depth - and Chris Clare, team captain Hadrian Stiff and Welshman David Evans took out Chris Simpson, Tim Garner and Bradley Ball, respectively, to ensure their play-of place - Evans beating world No28 Ball for the second time in 24 hours!

 

In the final top string match, Italian number one Davide Bianchetti needed a straight games win in order for Croydon to pip Bristol by a single point.  But it was the visitors' Australian international Joseph Kneipp who prevailed, winning 9-5, 8-10, 10-8, 9-6 to ensure Redwood Probuild's top place finish.

 

Despite being out of the running for a play-off place, UniSport Guildford made a powerful start against play-off hopefuls Luxfords St George's Hill when England international Alison Waters crushed the home side's Isabelle Tweedle 9-0, 9-2, 9-1.  The visitors showed determination in the remaining clashes, but all went to the hosts - the most dramatic of which saw Guildford's Stephen Meads fail to convert more than ten match balls against Alister Walker before the St George's Hill world No32 finally pulled through in an incredible 9-4, 2-9, 7-9, 17-15, 15-13 scoreline!

 

"I thought that our team played their hearts out," said a dejected Danny Lee afterwards.  "Alister battled through a scrappy match with Meadsy, saving tons of match balls. John Rooney got us off to a magnificent start and Daryl maintained his excellent form against Jesse.  Renan fought like a man possessed to nick it from Stacey in the fifth and thanks to Isabelle for being brave enough to stand in against the top class Alison Waters.  We are gutted not to make the play-offs - but thanks to the team for all their efforts and to our sponsors Luxfords for their support."

 

 


10th round Results, Tuesday 27 March 2007
 

      Semi-finals Play-offs line-up:

Benz-Bavarian Duffield v Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon

Redwood Probuild Bristol v University of Birmingham

 

1st leg:  Tuesday 24 April

2nd leg:  Thursday 26 April

 

 

10th round results

       Group A:

University of Birmingham 4  Nottingham 1

    Joey Barrington lost to Simon Parke                             6-9, 3-9, 9-4, 9-3, 5-9

    Jonathan Harford bt Jethro Binns                                  9-7, 11-9, 9-1

    Joel Hinds bt Arthur Gaskin                                            9-5, 9-7, 9-1 (34m)

    Stephen Coppinger bt Peter Marshall                          9-5, 0-9, 9-5, 9-6 (41m)

    Laura-Jane Lengthorn bt Dominique Lloyd-Walter    6-9, 10-8, 10-8, 7-9, 9-5 (53m)

Esporta Oxford 0  Benz-Bavarian Duffield 5

    Cameron Pilley lost to Nick Matthew                             7-9, 6-9, 7-9

    Scott Handley lost to Jonathan Kemp                           5-9, 2-9, 9-7, 9-4, 5-9

    Chris Ryder lost to Lee Drew                                         6-9, 9-7, 7-9, 9-5, 2-9

    Kristen Johnson lost to Andrew Whipp                        10-12, 4-9, 6-9

    Madeline Perry lost to Tania Bailey                               3-9, 3-9, 9-6, 5-9

 

       Group B:

Luxfords St George's Hill 4  UniSport Guildford 1

    Renan Lavigne bt Stacey Ross                                      9-3, 7-9, 6-9, 9-7, 9-6

    Alister Walker bt Stephen Meads                                   9-4, 2-9, 7-9, 17-15, 15-13

    Daryl Selby bt Jesse Engelbrecht                                  9-5, 6-9, 9-7, 9-5

    John Rooney bt Phil Rushworth                                    9-5, 9-3, 9-4

    Isabelle Tweedle lost to Alison Waters                        0-9, 2-9, 1-9

Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon 1  Redwood Probuild Bristol 4

    Davide Bianchetti lost to Joseph Kneipp                     5-9, 10-8, 8-10, 6-9

    Bradley Ball lost to David Evans                                    7-9, 3-9, 5-9

    Tim Garner lost to Hadrian Stiff                                      5-9, 3-9, 4-9

    Chris Simpson lost to Chris Clare                                9-5, 6-9, 3-9, 4-9

    Nicol David bt Kasey Brown                                            9-7, 9-6, 9-5

 

 

PSL TABLES (after 10th and final round)

                               Ties       Matches     Games     Pts

                             P   W   L    W    L     W     L

   Group A:

Benz-Bavarian Duffield       8   8   0   30   10   101    49   141

University of Birmingham     8   4   4   24   16    83    61   103

Esporta Oxford               8   4   4   19   21    76    73    96

Nottingham                   8   4   4   19   21    66    77    86

Pontefract                   8   0   8    8   32    39   105    39

 

   Group B:

Redwood Probuild Bristol     8   5   3   25   15    88    63   113

Surrey H&R Croydon           8   5   3   23   17    84    65   109

Luxfords St George's Hill    8   5   3   22   18    80    78   105

Tinos Homes Chichester       8   4   4   19   21    75    82    95

UniSport Guildford           8   1   7   11   29    56    95    61

 

 

PSL TABLES (after 9th round)

                               Ties       Matches     Games     Pts
                             P   W   L    W    L     W     L
   Group A:
Benz-Bavarian Duffield       7   7   0   25   10    86    44   121
Esporta Oxford               7   4   3   19   16    71    58    91
University of Birmingham     7   3   4   20   15    69    55    84
Nottingham                   7   4   3   18   17    60    63    80
Pontefract                   8   0   8    8   32    39   105    39
 
   Group B:
Surrey H&R Croydon           7   5   2   22   13    79    53   104
Redwood Probuild Bristol     7   4   3   21   14    76    58    96
Tinos Homes Chichester       8   4   4   19   21    75    82    95
Luxfords St George's Hill    7   4   3   18   17    68    70    88
UniSport Guildford           7   1   6   10   25    48    83    53

Round 9 Report
Duffield Deliver While Chichester
Choke In Penultimate PSL Round

 
In a dramatic evening of action in the ninth and penultimate round of the Premier Squash League (PSL), defending champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield made sure of finishing the season at the top of the Group A table - and guaranteeing a play-off place for the second year running - by beating Pontefract 3/2.  But Tinos Homes Chichester, Group B leaders before the tie, suffered a shock 5/0 whitewash at Redwood Probuild Bristol in their final tie in the group stages - a result which rules the Sussex side out of making the play-offs in the England Squash league sponsored by Clowes Insurance for the first time for five years.
 
The other tie in Group A saw Esporta Oxford sneak a 3/2 away win over Nottingham - leaving both teams in the running, with University of Birmingham (who did not play tonight), for the runners-up position behind Duffield for the other play-off position. 
 
Like Chichester, bottom-placed UniSport Guildford are also out of contention for a play-off position from Group B.  The Surrey squad went down 1/4 at home to county rivals Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon - who now top the points table, and will battle with Bristol and tonight's absentees Luxfords St George's Hill for the group's two play-off places.
 
Last-minute injuries and illnesses caused a variety of line-up changes in the Duffield squad as the title-holders prepared for their final home clash of the season.  Their three newcomers suffered mixed fortunes - Vicky Hynes going down in five games to Pontefract's Kirsty McPhee and England international Peter Barker losing the top string clash with long-time rival James Willstrop. 
 
But Leeds-based South African Carl Hampson, in his first ever appearance in the PSL, began the winning run for the Derbyshire club, beating the visitors' Andrew Cross 9-4, 8-10, 9-4, 9-6.  Later straight games wins by Andrew Whipp and Laurence Delasaux sealed the overall tie victory for Duffield.
 
PSL newcomers Esporta Oxford secured their fourth victory of the season - but left it late against former champions Nottingham.  At 2/1 down, Oxford stalwart Scott Handley levelled the tie by beating Nottingham's Jethro Binns 9-2, 9-4, 10-8. 
 
A packed Nottingham crowd looked forward to Simon Parke - billed in the programme as the club's 'Squash God' - producing the desired climax with a win in the top string decider.  But the Nottingham stalwart failed to live up to his billing, going down to the visitors' Australian star Cameron Pilley 3-9, 5-9, 7-9 as Esporta claimed a 3/2 win - and a move to second place in the Group A table, 30 points adrift of Duffield.
 
In fourth position in the Group B table at the beginning of the evening, Redwood Probuild Bristol leapt into second place after their 5/0 drubbing of Tinos Homes Chichester.   Team debutante Kasey Brown, the fastest-improving Australian woman on the WISPA Tour, set the scene for the hosts, beating Chichester's Danish No1 Line Hansen 9-7, 9-3, 9-6 in just 28 minutes.
 
But after team captain Hadrian Stiff added to the tally with a four-game win over Tom Pashley, it was undoubtedly the Avon club's third string David Evans who provided the most impressive result of the day.  The former British Open champion from Wales fought back from 0/2 against Tim Vail to end the Chichester captain's unbeaten run this season with an 11-13, 7-9, 9-5, 9-3, 9-7 victory in 41 minutes.  Later, Australian Joe Kneipp and England international Adrian Grant recorded four-game wins to give Bristol maximum points.
 
UniSport Guildford and Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon both suffered last-minute squad changes due to late injuries - but the University of Surrey hosts were clearly more disadvantaged than their visitors.  Siblings Alex and Harriet Ingham, aged 16 and 14, respectively, were overwhelmed by the power and experience of Croydon's Ben Ford and Stephanie Brind as the Surrey H&R squad took an early lead.
 
Guildford regular Jesse Engelbrecht failed to capitalise on match balls in both the third and fourth games against Chris Simpson before going down 10-8, 9-3, 8-10, 8-10, 5-9 to the Croydon club's third string.  But Guildford salvaged a consolation point when squad number one Stacey Ross beat Italian No1 Davide Bianchetti - ranked 20 places higher in the world - 9-6, 6-9, 9-4, 9-11, 9-3, his match-winning point coming on a conduct stroke awarded against the Italian.

9th round results
 
     
Group A:
Benz-Bavarian Duffield 3  Pontefract 2
    Peter Barker lost to James Willstrop 5-9, 9-5, 5-9, 2-9
    Andrew Whipp bt Ryan Thompson 9-6, 9-0, 9-7
    Laurence Delasaux bt Colin Ramasra 9-1, 9-0, 9-2
    Carl Hampson bt Andrew Cross 9-4, 8-10, 9-4, 9-6
    Vicky Hynes lost to Kirsty McPhee 9-6, 8-10, 6-9, 9-3, 3-9
Nottingham 2  Esporta Oxford 3
    Simon Parke lost to Cameron Pilley 3-9, 5-9, 7-9
    Jethro Binns lost to Scott Handley 2-9, 4-9, 8-10
    Arthur Gaskin bt Kristen Johnson 9-7, 3-9, 12-10, 9-7
    Lewis Walters lost to Darren Lewis 7-9, 6-9, 3-9
    Sarah Kippax bt Deon Saffery 9-1, 11-9, 9-3
 
     
Group B:
Redwood Probuild Bristol 5  Tinos Homes Chichester 0
    Adrian Grant bt Alex Gough 9-4, 9-11, 9-2, 9-6 (50m)
    Joseph Kneipp bt Peter Genever 7-9, 9-7, 9-6, 9-6 (46m)
    David Evans bt Tim Vail 11-13, 7-9, 9-5, 9-3, 9-7 (41m)
    Hadrian Stiff bt Tom Pashley 10-8, 6-9, 9-2, 9-1 (40m)
    Kasey Brown bt Line Hansen 9-7, 9-3, 9-6 (28m)

UniSport Guildford 1  Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon 4
    Stacey Ross bt Davide Bianchetti 9-6, 6-9, 9-4, 9-11, 9-3
    Stephen Meads lost to Bradley Ball 8-10, 9-7, 2-9, 6-9
    Jesse Engelbrecht lost to Chris Simpson 10-8, 9-3, 8-10, 8-10, 5-9
    Alex Ingham lost to Ben Ford 3-9, 0-9, 5-9
    Harriet Ingham lost to Stephanie Brind 3-9, 4-9, 2-9

Round 8 Report
Matthew & Pierrepont Celebrate Successful
Comebacks As PSL Pressure Heats Up


Returning to competitive action after long injury layoffs, Nick Matthew and Suzie Pierrepont both made successful comebacks in Tuesday's eighth round of the Premier League (PSL) - Matthew helping Benz-Bavarian Duffield extend their Group A leadership after crushing Nottingham 5/0 at home, and Pierrepont enabling Tinos Homes Chichester to clinch a 3/2 win over Luxfords St George's Hill to take the Sussex side to the top of the Group B table for the first time in the season.

Elsewhere in the England Squash league sponsored by Clowes Insurance, University of Birmingham recorded a notable 4/1 away win over Pontefract to catapult the west midlands side up two places to second position in Group A, while event newcomers Redwood Probuild Bristol fought back from two matches down to beat UniSport Guildford 3/2 at home in Group B.

A serious ligament tear in his right ankle in January prevented Sheffield's Nick Matthew from defending his British National title in Manchester last month. But it was a confident comeback performance which saw the England No1 beat fellow Yorkshireman Simon Parke, the Nottingham top string, 5-9, 11-9, 9-5, 9-5 to ensure the maximum points victory for Duffield which extended the Derbyshire club's lead at the top of the table. Earlier, another former British National champion Tania Bailey had kick-started Duffield's lead with a powerful 9-1, 9-1, 9-1 win over Nottingham's Sarah Kippax.

There was further disappointment for Pontefract when the Yorkshire club slumped to its seventh successive PSL loss this season. With many of its star players on international duty, the home club's lower-ranked players fell in straight games to the near full-strength University of Birmingham squad. But, cheered on by the loyal home crowd, Pontefract No1 Lee Beachill showed that he has fully recovered from his recent neck injury when he defeated the visitors' top string Joey Barrington 10-8, 9-4, 7-9, 9-3 to give the hosts a valuable consolation point.

A heel injury sustained by Suzie Pierrepont following a fall during the qualifiers at last November's Women's World Open in Belfast prevented the 22-year-old from Sussex from playing competitive squash until this week. But the former European Junior Champion eased to a 9-6, 9-5, 9-4 victory over South African Adel Weir as Tinos Homes Chichester mounted their home campaign against Surrey rivals Luxfords St George's Hill. Team captain Tim Vail was an early star for the hosts, extending his unbeaten PSL run for the season by beating Irishman John Rooney - winner of last week's Salzburg Open in Austria - 9-4, 6-9, 6-9, 9-5, 9-5.

But final honours were earned by Mohd Azlan Iskandar when the Malaysian beat the visitors' Frenchman Renan Lavigne 11-9, 9-2, 9-4 in the fifth match decider to give Chichester their 3/2 win - and pole position in Group B!

A dramatic and close-fought 3/2 victory by Redwood Probuild Bristol over visitors UniSport Guildford was not enough to lift the west country club off fourth position in the Group B tables - but the tie threw up two significant upsets. A star of the future for Guildford, 16-year-old Alex Ingham had yet to claim a win in five appearances this season for the Surrey University squad. But it was sixth time lucky for the promising teenager who battled hard for five close games to beat Bristol's 19-year-old James Snell 7-9, 8-10, 10-8, 10-8, 9-7 - thus avenging the PSL defeat by his older opponent earlier in the season.
But, later, Bristol's retired Welshman David Evans showed some of the skills which took him to the British Open title in 2000. Competing against Guildford's Jesse Engelbrecht, Evans came from 1/0 and 2/1 down, then rallied back from 6-3 behind in the fourth to overcome the determined Zimbabwean full-timer 2-9, 9-4, 4-9, 9-6, 9-4.


Results Week 8
Group A:
Pontefract 1 University of Birmingham 4

Lee Beachill bt Joey Barrington 10-8, 9-4, 7-9, 9-3
Ryan Thompson lost to Jonathan Harford 4-9, 6-9, 10-12
Andrew Cross lost to Joel Hinds 2-9, 2-9, 6-9
Adam Taylor lost to Jonathan Tate 5-9, 3-9, 5-9
Kirsty McPhee lost to Laura-Jane Lengthorn 2-9, 4-9, 5-9

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 5 Nottingham 0
Nick Matthew bt Simon Parke 5-9, 11-9, 9-5, 9-5
Jonathan Kemp bt Jethro Binns 9-3, 9-5, 9-5
Andrew Whipp bt Arthur Gaskin 9-7, 9-4, 9-6
Laurence Delasaux bt Eddie Charlton 9-7, 9-4, 9-3
Tania Bailey bt Sarah Kippax 9-1, 9-1, 9-1

Group B:
Tinos Homes Chichester 3 Luxfords St George's Hill 2
Mohd Azlan Iskandar bt Renan Lavigne 11-9, 9-2, 9-4
Alex Gough lost to Daryl Selby 9-7, 1-9, 9-4, 2-9, 8-10
Peter Genever lost to Tom Richards 6-9, 8-10, 9-4, 3-9
Tim Vail bt John Rooney 9-4, 6-9, 6-9, 9-5, 9-5
Suzie Pierrepont bt Adel Weir 9-6, 9-5, 9-4

Redwood Probuild Bristol 3 UniSport Guildford 2
Adrian Grant bt Stacey Ross 9-4, 13-11, 9-2
Joseph Kneipp bt Stephen Meads 9-4, 9-7, 10-8
David Evans bt Jesse Engelbrecht 2-9, 9-4, 4-9, 9-6, 9-4
James Snell lost to Alex Ingham 9-7, 10-8, 8-10, 8-10, 7-9
Lisa Aitken lost to Alison Waters 1-9, 0-9, 1-9

Round 7 Report
British Champion Willstrop Maintains
Winning Ways For Pontefract In PSL

Just two days after becoming British National Champion for the first time in Manchester, James Willstrop maintained his winning ways for his club in the seventh round of the Premier Squash League (PSL) - but the 23-year-old was the sole victor as Pontefract slumped to a 4/1 home defeat in Group A to league newcomers Esporta Oxford, leaving the Yorkshire club still awaiting their first success of the season in the England Squash league sponsored by Clowes Insurance.
 
League champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield, in their first outing of the second half of the season, reclaimed their leadership in Group A after clinching a 3/2 away win at University of Birmingham - while Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon held onto top position in Group B, despite losing 4/1 at Tinos Homes Chichester.  Second-placed Luxfords St George's Hill narrowed the gap behind their Surrey rivals by beating Redwood Probuild Bristol 3/2 at home.
 
Pontefract were planning to unleash their two heavyweights Willstrop and Lee Beachill side-by-side for the first time this season in their hosting of the Oxford squad.  But Beachill, the three-times British National champion who was forced to give up his 2007 campaign at the semi-final stage after suffering a freak training injury, was still incapacitated by the trapped nerve in his neck - and unavailable for service. 
 
Esporta Oxford duly scythed through the Yorkshire club opposition as Irish champion Madeline Perry, Scotland's Kristen Johnson, World University champion Chris Ryder and local star Scott Handley picked up straight games wins. 
 
In the evening's climax, it took four games for Willstrop to overcome the Oxford top string Cameron Pilley - the England star despatching the world No21 from Australia 9-5, 6-9, 9-5, 9-3 as the local crowd cheered home their new champion.
 
Duffield team manager Brian Hargrave predicted a 3/2 win for his Derbyshire club's visit to Birmingham - and, despite the last -minute absence of their leading stars, former British champions Nick Matthew and Tania Bailey, as a result of ankle injury and sinus troubles, respectively, his forecast proved correct.
 
Bailey's replacement Laura Hill, the local star fresh from a first-ever quarter-final appearance in last week's British Nationals, faced the in-form Laura-Jane Lengthorn, a first-time semi-finalist in Manchester.  Lengthorn crushed Hill 9-0, 9-4, 9-5 in 25 minutes to give the home cub an early lead.  But visitors Laurence Delasaux, Andrew Whipp and Lee Drew fought back to ensure overall victory for the PSL title-holders - before Birmingham number one Joey Barrington reduced the deficit with a 9-6, 9-6, 6-9, 9-5 victory over Duffield's Jonathan Kemp in the final match.
 
League newcomers Luxfords St George's Hill registered their fourth successive PSL win of the season by beating Redwood Probuild Bristol - and are now just five points shy of their Croydon rivals in the Group B standings. 
 
It was predictably one-all when up-and-coming England star Daryl Selby faced Welshman David Evans, the former British Open champion and world No3.  The experienced Bristol third string took the opening two games - but plucky Selby fought back to record an impressive 6-9, 9-11, 9-7, 9-3, 9-1 win to give the hosts a significant advantage.
 
When Gloucestershire's Alister Walker - another England star of the future - defeated the visitors' Australian international Joseph Kneipp 9-6, 10-8, 6-9, 9-3, it clinched the home club win which team manager Danny Lee described as "a great result for Luxfords St George's".
 
Malaysia's world No17 Mohd Azlan Iskandar's return to the Tinos Homes Chichester squad after a season's absence signalled the Sussex club's best home win of the season - against group leaders Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon.  Team captain Tim Vail, who last week became the first unseeded player to reach the British Nationals quarter-finals for eight years, kicked off the Chichester night in fine style, beating Irishman Steve Richardson 9-4, 10-8, 9-7.
 
Club stalwart Peter Genever and indefatigable Welshman Alex Gough chalked up important five-game victories to ensure a home win - Gough against another Manchester Nationals' star Ben Ford.  But Iskandar was in sparkling form on his return to the south coast club, despatching Italian No1 Davide Bianchetti 9-7, 9-2, 9-3 to ensure a 4/1 win for the hosts.
 
7th round, Tuesday 20 February 2007
 
      Group A:
Pontefract 1  Esporta Oxford 4
    James Willstrop bt Cameron Pilley                     9-5, 6-9, 9-5, 9-3
    Ryan Thompson lost to Scott Handley                5-9, 5-9, 3-9
    Sam Wileman lost to Chris Ryder                        5-9, 2-9, 5-9
    Adam Taylor lost to Kristen Johnson                   3-9, 1-9, 4-9
    Kirsty McPhee lost to Madeline Perry                   5-9, 0-9, 4-9
University of Birmingham 2  Benz-Bavarian Duffield 3
    Joey Barrington bt Jonathan Kemp                      9-6, 9-6, 6-9, 9-5 (43m)
    Jonathan Harford lost to Lee Drew                      2-9, 9-11, 9-7, 10-12 (55m)
    Joel Hinds lost to Andrew Whipp                         11-9, 4-9, 2-9, 5-9 (46m)
    Tom Power lost to Laurence Delasaux               6-9, 4-9, 1-9 (21m)
    Laura-Jane Lengthorn bt Laura Hill                     9-0, 9-4, 9-5 (25m)
 
     Group B:
Tinos Homes Chichester 4  Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon 1
    Mohd Azlan Iskandar bt Davide Bianchetti          9-7, 9-2, 9-3
    Alex Gough bt Ben Ford                                          9-7, 7-9, 4-9, 9-2, 9-1
    Peter Genever bt Shahid Khan                             9-0, 3-9, 9-11, 9-6, 10-8
    Tim Vail bt Steve Richardson                                9-4, 10-8, 9-7
    Line Hansen lost to Lauren Briggs                      6-9, 5-9, 7-9
Luxfords St George's Hill 3  Redwood Probuild Bristol 2
    Renan Lavigne lost to Adrian Grant                     8-10, 9-6, 3-9, 9-6, 1-9
    Alister Walker bt Joseph Kneipp                          9-6, 10-8, 6-9, 9-3
    Daryl Selby bt David Evans                                    6-9, 9-11, 9-7, 9-3, 9-1
    John Rooney bt Hadrian Stiff                                 6-9, 9-0, 9-4, 9-7
    Adel Weir lost to Tegwen Malik                             4-9, 0-9, 4-9
 

Round 6 Report
 

Nottingham Top PSL Group Table For First Time In Season

A thundering 5/0 home win over Pontefract in the sixth round of the Premier Squash League (PSL) takes former champions Nottingham to the top of the Group A points table for the first time this season.  By contrast, Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon suffered their first defeat of the season - losing 2/3 at home to county rivals Luxfords St George's Hill - yet maintain their leadership in Group B of the England Squash league sponsored by Clowes Insurance.

 

Elsewhere, Esporta Oxford recorded their second win of the season, beating University of Birmingham 4/1 and now share the same number of Group A points as their West Midlands rivals.  But UniSport Guildford failed to lift themselves off the bottom of the Group B table after slumping 1/4 at home to Tinos Homes Chichester.

 

It was a confident Pontefract squad that arrived in Nottingham, led by world No12 Lee Beachill fresh from his appearance in the final of the Virginia Pro Championship in the USA.  However, Pontefract-based New Zealand star Shelley Kitchen withdrew from the squad at the last minute, leaving local player Kirsty McPhee to face up to Nottingham's world top 20-ranked Dominique Lloyd-Walter.

 

Spurred on by local supporters, Lloyd-Walter beat McPhee 9-5, 8-10, 9-6, 9-6 - and wins by team-mates Jethro Binns and Arthur Gaskin confirmed Nottingham's victory.  But local hero Simon Parke extended the club's lead after beating Pontefract's Indian national champion Saurav Ghosal 10-8, 5-9, 9-7, 10-8, and Malaysian star Ong Beng Hee overcame a perhaps jet-lagged Beachill 9-4, 9-3, 10-8 to give the hosts maximum points.

 

Another Malaysian star in action could have been forgiven for feeling the effects of jet lag.  But Nicol David, the world number one and World Open champion who flew into Europe only today from a three-week training session in Melbourne with Australian legend Sarah Fitz-Gerald showed no signs of tiredness as she despatched St George's Hill's Adel Weir 9-2, 9-1, 9-3 as Surrey H&R Croydon opened up an early lead.

 

But the advantage was short-lived as the two final matches of the night provided marathon wins for the visitors - Essex's Daryl Selby, with two PSA Tour titles under his belt over the past ten days, beating Croydon's experienced team manager Tim Garner 9-5, 10-12, 9-5, 6-9, 9-5 in 54 minutes - and Leeds-based Alister Walker defeating Italian Davide Bianchetti, ranked four places higher in the world, 12-10, 6-9, 10-12, 9-5, 9-6 in 73 minutes.

 

University of Birmingham made a powerful start in their visit to Esporta Oxford when rising English star Laura-Jane Lengthorn conquered Irish No1 Madeline Perry, ranked three places higher in the world, 9-6, 8-10, 9-2, 9-3.  But this turned out to be the visitors only win as Oxford newcomer Thomas Phipps beat Chris Truswell in four games and club heroes Scott Handley and Mark Cairns - both long-time Oxfordshire stalwarts - repelled up-and-coming talents Stephen Coppinger and Jaymie Haycocks, respectively.

 

In the final match, Australian Cameron Pilley delighted the Esporta club fans by beating Joel Hinds 9-5, 9-5, 3-9, 9-4 to end the night on a high note.

 

It was a similar tale for UniSport Guildford when Alison Waters opened the account for the Surrey hosts with a convincing 9-1, 9-6, 9-3 victory over Chichester's Dane Line Hansen.  But the England international's club mates were unable to back her up as the visitors' Tom Pashley, Tim Vail and Peter Genever earned controlled four-games wins over their host opponents.

 

The final encounter proved to be a close-fought clash between two of the game's most experienced players - but it was Chichester's Welsh No1 and British Open O35 champion Alex Gough who ultimately prevailed, beating the Guildford club's top string Stacey Ross 13-11, 10-8, 6-9, 9-6.

 

6th round results (Tuesday 6 February 2007)

 

      Group A:

Nottingham 5  Pontefract 0

   Ong Beng Hee bt Lee Beachill  9-4, 9-3, 10-8

   Simon Parke bt Saurav Ghosal  10-8, 5-9, 9-7, 10-8

   Jethro Binns bt Stuart Crawford  9-7, 4-9, 9-5, 9-4

   Arthur Gaskin bt Andrew Cross  9-5, 9-3, 9-1

   Dominique Lloyd-Walter bt Kirsty McPhee  9-5, 8-10, 9-6, 9-6


Esporta Oxford 4  University of Birmingham 1

   Cameron Pilley bt Joel Hinds  9-5, 9-5, 3-9, 9-4

   Scott Handley bt Stephen Coppinger  9-6, 9-3, 10-8

   Mark Cairns bt Jaymie Haycocks  9-5, 9-4, 5-9, 9-5

   Thomas Phipps bt Chris Truswell  10-8, 9-1, 5-9, 9-7

   Madeline Perry lost to Laura-Jane Lengthorn  6-9, 10-8, 2-9, 3-9

 

     Group B:

UniSport Guildford 1  Tinos Homes Chichester 4

   Stacey Ross lost to Alex Gough  11-13, 8-10, 9-6, 6-9

   Stephen Meads lost to Peter Genever  3-9, 3-9, 9-7, 7-9

   Phil Rushworth lost to Tim Vail  6-9, 3-9, 9-1, 7-9

   Alex Ingham lost to Tom Pashley  9-11, 2-9, 9-4, 5-9

   Alison Waters bt Line Hansen  9-1, 9-6, 9-3
 

Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon 2  Luxfords St George's Hill 3

   Davide Bianchetti lost to Alister Walker  10-12, 9-6, 12-10, 5-9, 6-9 (73m)

   Tim Garner lost to Daryl Selby  5-9, 12-10, 5-9, 9-6, 5-9 (54m)

   Chris Simpson bt Tom Richards  7-9, 9-5, 9-7, 9-1

   James Robbins lost to John Rooney  1-9, 7-9, 4-9

   Nicol David bt Adel Weir  9-2, 9-1, 9-3

 

 

PSL TABLES (after 6th round)

                               Ties       Matches     Games     Pts

                             P   W   L    W    L     W     L

   Group A:

Nottingham                   5   4   1   16    9    53    38    73

Benz-Bavarian Duffield       4   4   0   14    6    49    28    69

University of Birmingham     5   2   3   14   11    48    42    58

Esporta Oxford               5   2   3   12   13    48    49    58

Pontefract                   5   0   5    4   21    26    67    26

 

   Group B:

Surrey H&R Croydon           5   4   1   17    8    58    35    78

Luxfords St George's Hill    5   3   2   13   12    49    48    64

Tinos Homes Chichester       5   2   3   12   13    46    52    56

Redwood Probuild Bristol     4   2   2   11    9    40    34    50

UniSport Guildford           5   1   4    7   18    34    58    39

 

 

Round 5 Report
 

Duffield & Surrey Health Extend Mid-Season Premier League Leads

 

Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon and Derbyshire's Benz-Bavarian Duffield cemented their positions at the top of the two groups at the end of the first half of the Premier Squash League (PSL) season following convincing 4/1 victories in Tuesday's fifth round of the England Squash league sponsored by Clowes Insurance.

 

In Group A, national champions Duffield beat PSL newcomers Esporta Oxford at home, with local hero Nick Matthew – the British Open champion – delighting the loyal Duffield crowd by fighting back from 0/2 to beat the visitors' top string Cameron Pilley in the closing match.  Meanwhile, Nottingham – who failed to secure a single victory last season - clinched an impressive 3/2 home win over University of Birmingham to finish in second place in the group.

 

Also making up for a disappointing season last year, Surrey H&R Croydon stretched their lead over Redwood Probuild Bristol in Group B, with a 4/1 victory over the west country club – while league newcomers Luxfords St George’s Hill beat Surrey neighbours UniSport Guildford 3/2 to move into third place in the group.

 

British National champion Tania Bailey made a powerful start for Duffield, beating Oxford's Deon Saffery 9-4, 9-2, 9-2.  Team-mates Laurence Delasaux and Jonathan Kemp soon established an unassailable lead for the Derbyshire hosts - but only after being stretched to five games in their matches against Oxfordshire stalwarts Kristen Johnson and Scott Handley, respectively.

 

Chris Ryder, the recently crowned World University Champion, brought some consolation to the visitors with a 3-9, 9-5, 4-9, 9-7, 9-7 win over Duffield's Lee Drew.

 

But Nick Matthew ended the night – and the first half of the season – on a high for the Duffield supporters with his courageous 'fight-back' victory over Cameron Pilley, beating the Australian 7-9, 3-9, 9-6, 9-6, 9-6.

 

World No1 Nicol David demonstrated the awesome form which saw her retain her Women's World Open title in such style in Belfast last month when she brushed aside Emma Chorley 9-5, 9-0, 9-2 to give Surrey H&R Croydon an early lead against hosts Redwood Probuild Bristol.

 

Later, the Malaysian's name-sake Peter Nicol went down in a rare PSL defeat to Oxford's Joseph Kneipp, losing 9-5, 4-9, 9-7, 9-4 to the Australian to give Redwood their sole point.  In the final match of the day, the home side's Adrian Grant failed to convert his 8-4 advantage against Anthony Ricketts in the fifth and final game between the two top strings as Ricketts clinched his 9-1, 4-9, 9-7, 5-9, 10-8 win to see the Croydon club claim the tie by a 4/1 margin.

 

UniSport Guildford made a poor start against Luxfords St George’s Hill in their bid to raise themselves from the foot of the Group B table.  Rachel Willmott lost 7-9, 8-10, 3-9 to the visitors' South African Adel Weir, then the newly-crowned Irish Junior Open champion Alex Ingham was unable to convert his match-ball opportunity in the third game against St George's Hill's Joe Lee before going down 9-7, 9-6, 9-11, 6-9, 3-9.

 

Daryl Selby clinched victory for the Luxfords-sponsored side with a hard-fought 14-12, 9-5, 10-12, 7-9, 9-6 win over the home team's Stephen Meads – but the night finished on a high for Guildford when squad No1 Stacey Ross upset higher-ranked Frenchman Renan Lavigne 9-6, 10-8, 9-7.

 

A packed Nottingham crowd enjoyed seeing the home team make up for last season's disappointment by winning its third tie of the new season.  However, the hosts were 1/2 down to University of Birmingham when club stalwart Simon Parke – who led Nottingham to national title success in 1999 – beat Birmingham regular Jonathan Harford 9-7, 9-7, 9-1 to level the tie.

 

The crowd were then treated to a masterful performance by club newcomer Ong Beng Hee, the world No18 from Malaysia, who beat rising England star Joey Barrington 9-5, 9-7, 9-7 to clinch the tie – and maintain his 100% record for Nottingham.

 

5th round, Tuesday 5 December 2006

 

      Group A:

Nottingham 3  University of Birmingham 2

    Ong Beng Hee bt Joey Barrington                        9-5, 9-7, 9-7

    Simon Parke bt Jonathan Harford                        9-7, 9-7, 9-1

    Jethro Binns lost to Stephen Coppinger             4-9, 1-9, 3-9

    Arthur Gaskin lost to Jonathan Tate                     9-4, 3-9, 12-10, 3-9, 10-12

    Emma Beddoes bt Georgina Stoker                   9-7, 10-8, 9-3

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 4  Esporta Oxford 1

    Nick Matthew bt Cameron Pilley                           7-9, 3-9, 9-6, 9-6, 9-6

    Jonathan Kemp bt Scott Handley                         10-12, 9-5, 9-5, 8-10, 9-2

    Lee Drew lost to Chris Ryder                                9-3, 5-9, 9-4, 7-9, 7-9

    Laurence Delasaux bt Kristen Johnson             5-9, 9-3, 9-1, 7-9, 9-6

    Tania Bailey bt Deon Saffery                                 9-4, 9-2, 9-2

 

      Group B:

UniSport Guildford 2  Luxfords St George’s Hill 3

    Stacey Ross bt Renan Lavigne                            9-6, 10-8, 9-7

    Stephen Meads lost to Daryl Selby                      12-14, 5-9, 12-10, 9-7, 6-9

    Jesse Engelbrecht bt Tom Richards                   9-4, 9-11, 10-8, 4-9, 9-5

    Alex Ingham lost to Joe Lee                                  9-7, 9-6, 9-11, 6-9, 3-9

    Rachel Willmott lost to Adel Weir                         7-9, 8-10, 3-9

Redwood Probuild Bristol 1  Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon 4

    Adrian Grant lost to Anthony Ricketts                   1-9, 9-4, 7-9, 9-5, 8-10 (51m)

    Joseph Kneipp bt Peter Nicol                               9-5, 4-9, 9-7, 9-4 (41m)

    Hadrian Stiff lost to Bradley Ball                           3-9, 8-10, 6-9 (29m)

    James Snell lost to Chris Simpson                     6-9, 5-9, 6-9 (25m)

    Emma Chorley lost to Nicol David                       5-9, 0-9, 2-9 (30m)

 

PSL TABLES (after 5th round)

 

                               Ties       Matches     Games     Pts

                             P   W   L    W    L     W     L

   Group A:

Benz-Bavarian Duffield       4   4   0   14    6    49    28    69

Nottingham                   4   3   1   11    9    38    35    53

University of Birmingham     4   2   2   13    7    42    29    52

Esporta Oxford               4   1   3    8   12    35    43    40

Pontefract                   4   0   4    4   16    23    52    23

 

   Group B:

Surrey H&R Croydon           4   4   0   15    5    48    25    68

Redwood Probuild Bristol     4   2   2   11    9    40    34    50

Luxfords St George's Hill    4   2   2   10   10    39    38    49

Tinos Homes Chichester       4   1   3    8   12    34    45    39

UniSport Guildford           4   1   3    6   14    27    46    32

 

Round 4 Report
 

Champions Duffield Parry Pontefract Power In PSL

After a match described by both managers as one of the best they'd ever seen, champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield clinched a 3/2 win over a near full-strength Pontefract in Tuesday's fourth round of the Premier Squash League (PSL) to take over leadership of the Group A table for the first time this season.

 

The Group B table also has a new club in top position after Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon fought out a 4/1 home win over home county rivals UniSport Guildford.  The remaining ties also produced dramatic encounters which went right to the wire as Esporta Oxford squandered a 2/0 lead to see visitors Nottingham prevail 3/2, and event newcomers Redwood Probuild Bristol fell to their first loss of the season when veteran Welshman Alex Gough fought back from 0/2 down in the tie decider to give Tinos Homes Chichester a memorable maiden win of the season.

 

With Pontefract fielding its two home-grown stars James Willstrop and Lee Beachill – ranked four and eight in the world, respectively – for the first time this season, the Yorkshire club signalled its intention to chalk up its first triumph.  Beachill duly delivered, beating Duffield's Jonathan Kemp 4-9, 9-4, 9-1, 9-1.

 

However, the hosts were already down after Duffield's Tania Bailey - fresh from a quarter-final berth in the Women's World Open Championships in Belfast - and team-mate Laurence Delasaux recorded comfortable wins to put the visitors ahead.

 

Beachill's win, plus that of Indian national champion Saurav Ghosal, put the eagerly-awaited home victory in the hands of Willstrop – who was lined up against Duffield's top string Nick Matthew, the reigning British National and British Open champion.

 

Since beating his county compatriot in the Windy City Open in Chicago in January, Willstrop has lost six times in a row to Matthew.  And the 23-year-old was unable to stop the run being extended to seven as Matthew claimed supremacy in a sensational match.

 

"It was one of the best games I've ever seen in the PSL, absolutely unbelievable," said Duffield team manager Brian Hargrave after his player's 9-5, 3-9, 10-8, 11-9 win.   "An absoluter classic, the quality was right up there," agreed the home side's manager Malcolm Willstrop.  "It was fantastic attacking squash, a match right up there with the best I've ever seen!"

 

After a dismal last season in which they failed to win a single tie, Nottingham celebrated their second win of the new season at newcomers Esporta Oxford.  With a capacity crowd cheering on their star local players, the home team established a healthy 2/0 lead – with Irish champion Madeline Perry, fresh from her starring role in last week's world championships in her home city of Belfast, and adopted Oxfordshire player Kristen Johnson securing popular wins.

 

Oxfordshire stalwart Mark Cairns, a former British champion now well into 'retirement' from the pro circuit, fought bravely to come back from 0/2 down to level the match against Nottingham's Jethro Binns.  But Welshman Binns clinched victory in the fifth, and Nottingham stalwart Simon Parke then levelled the tie with an impressive 9-5, 9-11, 9-7, 9-4 win over Oxfordshire regular Scott Handley.

 

In the decider, Malaysian Ong Beng Hee extended his unbeaten run for Nottingham with a 9-6, 9-7, 9-11, 10-8 win over Esporta's Cameron Pilley – described by Oxford manager Jason Martin as "a great game to finish off a great night of squash – but a disappointment that we couldn't capitalise on our great start and give our huge home crowd a win!"

 

Alex Gough was the Chichester hero who gave the south coast club their first win of the season – against visitors Redwood Probuild Bristol in Group B.  But Line Hansen and club stalwart Tim Vail provided the two earlier successes for the Sussex side – Vail toppling former British Open champion David Evans 4-9, 9-4, 9-7, 4-9, 9-5 in an impressive 45-minute display.

 

Bristol's Adrian Grant, the Londoner ranked 13 in the world, took the opening two games against Gough, the reigning British Open Over-35 champion.  But the plucky Welshman refused to give up – outplaying his left-handed opponent to record a sensational 6-9, 6-9, 9-5, 9-6, 9-5 win in 73 minutes.

 

Despite losing 1/4 to Surrey county neighbours Surrey H&RC Croydon, UniSport Guildford manager Ian Robinson was upbeat about his team's performance.  "I was impressed with the squad's effort – they really fought got every point!"

 

Londoner Alison Waters gave the Guildford visitors an early lead with her straight games win over former top four player Stephanie Brind.   However, the home team's fire-power was too strong – though in the final rubber Guildford's Stacey Ross, just inside the world top 50, saved a match-ball in the third game against the hosts' Anthony Ricketts and went on to eliminate the world number six's two-game lead.

 

But the Australian star recovered his form in the decider to beat Ross 9-7, 9-6, 13-15, 6-9, 9-4 to maintain the Croydon club's unbeaten PSL record this season.

 

4th round results (Tuesday 28 November 2006)

 

      Group A:

Pontefract 2  Benz-Bavarian Duffield 3

    James Willstrop lost to Nick Matthew                  5-9, 9-3, 8-10, 9-11 (52m)

    Lee Beachill bt Jonathan Kemp                           4-9, 9-4, 9-1, 9-1 (34m)

    Saurav Ghosal bt Andrew Whipp                          2-9, 10-8, 9-6, 12-10 (41m)

    Ryan Thompson lost to Laurence Delasaux     5-9, 4-9, 9-11 (29m)

    Rebecca Botwright lost to Tania Bailey               3-9, 5-9, 2-9 (22m)

Esporta Oxford 2  Nottingham 3

    Cameron Pilley lost to Ong Beng Hee                6-9, 7-9, 11-9, 8-10

    Scott Handley lost to Simon Parke                       5-9, 11-9, 7-9, 4-9

    Mark Cairns lost to Jethro Binns                          7-9, 7-9, 9-5, 9-7, 5-9

    Kristen Johnson bt Arthur Gaskin                        8-10, 14-12, 9-7, 9-4 (48m)

    Madeline Perry bt Sarah Kippax                            9-2, 9-3, 9-1

 

      Group B:

Tinos Homes Chichester 3  Redwood Probuild Bristol 2

    Alex Gough bt Adrian Grant                                    6-9, 6-9, 9-5, 9-6, 9-5 (73m)

    Peter Genever lost to Joseph Kneipp                  3-9, 2-9, 9-2, 6-9 (41m)

    Tim Vail bt David Evans                                          4-9, 9-4, 9-7, 4-9, 9-5 (45m)

    Tom Pashley lost to Hadrian Stiff                         3-9, 3-9, 6-9

    Line Hansen bt Helen Gould                                9-4, 9-3, 9-1

Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon 4  UniSport Guildford 1

    Anthony Ricketts bt Stacey Ross                          9-7, 9-6, 13-15, 6-9, 9-4

    Davide Bianchetti bt Jesse Engelbrecht             9-4, 9-5, 9-4

    Bradley Ball bt Phil Rushworth                             9-1, 9-3, 9-4

    Tim Garner bt Alex Ingham                                    9-6, 9-5, 9-4

    Stephanie Brind lost to Alison Waters                 4-9, 2-9, 4-9

 

PSL TABLES (after 4th round)

                               Ties       Matches     Games     Pts

                             P   W   L    W    L     W     L

   Group A:

Benz-Bavarian Duffield       3   3   0   10    5    35    19    50

University of Birmingham     3   2   1   11    4    36    18    46

Nottingham                   3   2   1    8    7    27    29    37

Esporta Oxford               3   1   2    7    8    26    29    31

Pontefract                   4   0   4    4   16    23    52    23

 

   Group B:

Surrey H&RC Croydon          3   3   0   11    4    35    20    50

Redwood Probuild Bristol     3   2   1   10    5    35    21    45

Tinos Homes Chichester       4   1   3    8   12    34    45    39

Luxfords St George's Hill    3   1   2    7    8    28    28    33

UniSport Guildford           3   1   2    4   11    17    35    22


Round 3 Report

 

Barrington Blasts Willstrop For Table-Toppers Birmingham In PSL

Less than 48 hours after reaching the semi-finals of a PSA Tour event in Pakistan, Joey Barrington led the University of Birmingham to a 4/1 home win over Pontefract in Tuesday's third round of the Premier Squash League (PSL) after twice coming from behind to beat England No1 James Willstrop in a sensational upset in the England Squash event sponsored by Clowes Insurance.

 

The Birmingham team has extended its lead at the top of the Group A points table – while league newcomers Redwood Probuild Bristol crushed PSL veterans UniSport Guildford 5/0 to clinch top spot in Group B for the first time.  League champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield maintained their unbeaten run this season with a 4/1 away win at Nottingham, while first-timers Luxfords St George’s Hill delighted their home Surrey crowd with a 4/1 victory over Tinos Homes Chichester.

 

Lancashire's Laura-Jane Lengthorn set the tone for the University of Birmingham's triumphant evening by beating Pontefract's Shelley Kitchen 9-7, 9-0, 9-4 in her career-first victory over the New Zealander ranked 15 in the world. 

 

Joel Hinds and Jaymie Haycocks continued the assault for the hosts until Pontefract struck back with an impressive display from Saurav Ghosal, the 20-year-old Indian champion who fought back from two games down to beat Jonathan Harford 5-9, 1-9, 9-7, 9-6, 9-4 to secure a consolation point for the visitors.

 

But the showpiece encounter rounded off the night when Barrington, the 26-year-old son of squash legend Jonah Barrington, shrugged off jet-lag to record a 7-9, 9-6, 7-9, 9-7, 9-5 win in 57 minutes over James Willstrop, the world No4. 

 

"I should obviously spend more time eating nuts, raisons, crackers and protein shakes as I did in Pakistan," said Barrington to the delighted crowd afterwards.  "I always enjoy playing James – he plays such a fair game."

 

The other tie in Group A saw title-holders Duffield, from Derbyshire, disappoint a packed crowd in the East Midlands derby at Nottingham.  In her first match for Duffield this season, British champion Tania Bailey put the visitors into the lead with a 9-3, 9-0, 9-5 win over Sarah Kippax – and shortly afterwards Andrew Whipp and Lee Drew made certain of victory for Duffield with wins over Duncan Walsh and Jethro Binns, respectively.

 

But the home team scored a notable victory at the end of the evening when Malaysian star Ong Beng Hee, in his first season for Nottingham, clinched his first win over Duffield's Nick Matthew for more than two years when he beat the British champion and world No7 10-8, 13-11, 9-6.

 

Redwood Probuild Bristol set about the task of maintaining their unbeaten record since joining the PSL this season in quick fashion when Welsh champion Tegwen Malik despatched Guildford's last-minute replacement for England international Alison Waters – Sussex teenager Rachel Willmott – 9-2, 9-0, 9-1 in just 17 minutes.

 

In a performance later described by Guildford team manager Ian Robinson as "disastrous", the hosts continued to be outplayed by the rampant west country newcomers – and, after a 50-minute battle between two now retired touring professionals David Evans and Stephen Meads (in which Welshman Evans ultimately prevailed 9-4, 10-12, 9-5, 9-3), Australian Joseph Kneipp made it a Bristol whitewash when he defeated Guildford No1 Stacey Ross 9-6, 9-6, 9-4.

 

There was better fortune elsewhere in the county of Surrey where league newcomers Luxfords St George’s Hill secured their first home win of the season, against Sussex visitors Tinos Homes Chichester.  Once again, Australia's record five-times world champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald made a mockery of her retirement from full-time squash more than three years ago by despatching Chichester's Suzie Pierrepont, the world No30 from Brighton, 9-0, 9-1, 9-0 in just 14 minutes.

 

St George's Hill's own star-of-the-future Joe Lee,  the 17-year-old reigning British U17 champion, dug deep to overcome a two-game deficit to beat the visitors' Stephen Wykes 8-10, 7-9, 9-2, 9-2, 9-4 in 42 minutes. 

 

Chichester captain Tim Vail, the unranked 28-year-old standing in as top string in the absence of the injured Peter Genever, scored an impressive scalp at the end of the evening – and ensured at least one point on the scoreboard for the visitors – when he fought back from 1/2 down to beat France's world No33 Renan Lavigne 9-6, 4-9, 1-9, 9-7, 9-5 in 32 minutes.

 

3rd round, Tuesday 7 November 2006

 

      Group A:

University of Birmingham 4  Pontefract 1

    Joey Barrington bt James Willstrop                     7-9, 9-6, 7-9, 9-7, 9-5 (57m)

    Jonathan Harford lost to Saurav Ghosal             9-5, 9-1, 7-9, 6-9, 4-9 (44m)

    Joel Hinds bt Andrew Cross                                 9-5, 9-6, 9-7 (29m)

    Jaymie Haycocks bt Nathan Cole                        9-3, 9-1, 9-4 (21m)

    Laura-Jane Lengthorn bt Shelley Kitchen          9-7, 9-0, 9-4 (32m)

Nottingham 1  Benz-Bavarian Duffield 4

    Ong Beng Hee bt Nick Matthew                            10-8, 13-11, 9-6

    Simon Parke lost to Jonathan Kemp                   6-9, 8-10, 9-5, 4-9

    Jethro Binns lost to Lee Drew                               3-9, 7-9, 9-7, 3-9

    Duncan Walsh lost to Andrew Whipp                  0-9, 10-12, 3-9

    Sarah Kippax lost to Tania Bailey                         3-9, 0-9, 5-9

 

      Group B:

Luxfords St George’s Hill 4  Tinos Homes Chichester 1

    Renan Lavigne lost to Tim Vail                             6-9, 9-4, 9-1, 7-9, 5-9 (32m)

    Daryl Selby bt Tom Pashley                                   11-9, 8-10, 9-7, 9-5 (36m)

    Tom Richards bt Matt Holland                              9-4, 9-1, 9-3 (14m)

    Joe Lee bt Stephen Wykes                                    8-10, 7-9, 9-2, 9-2, 9-4 (42m)

    Sarah Fitz-Gerald bt Suzie Pierrepont                 9-0, 9-1, 9-0 (14m)

UniSport Guildford 0  Redwood Probuild Bristol 5

    Stacey Ross lost to Joseph Kneipp                     6-9, 6-9, 4-9 (28m)

    Stephen Meads lost to David Evans                    4-9, 12-10, 5-9, 3-9 (50m)

    Jesse Engelbrecht lost to Hadrian Stiff               2-9, 4-9, 7-9

    Alex Ingham lost to James Snell                          6-9, 6-9, 9-5, 8-10 (50m)

    Rachel Willmott lost to Tegwen Malik                  2-9, 0-9, 1-9 (17m)

 

 

PSL TABLES (after 3rd round)

 

                               Ties       Matches     Games     Pts

                             P   W   L    W    L     W     L

   Group A:

University of Birmingham     3   2   1   11    4    36    18    46

Benz-Bavarian Duffield       2   2   0    7    3    24    12    34

Nottingham                   2   1   1    5    5    17    19    22

Esporta Oxford               2   1   1    5    5    16    19    21

Pontefract                   3   0   3    2   13    16    41    16

 

   Group B:

Redwood Probuild Bristol     2   2   0    8    2    25    11    35

Surrey H&RC Croydon          2   2   0    7    3    23    15    33

Luxfords St George's Hill    3   1   2    7    8    28    28    33

Tinos Homes Chichester       3   0   3    5   10    24    35    24

UniSport Guildford           2   1   1    3    7    12    23    17

 

 

 

Round 2 Report

Croydon & Birmingham Extend PSL Leads

University of Birmingham and Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon, both of which clubs made their debuts in the league last season, extended their group leads in the new season of the Premier Squash League (PSL) after contrasting results in Tuesday's second round of the England Squash event sponsored by Clowes Insurance.

 

In a dramatic conclusion to their home tie against Tinos Homes Chichester in Group B, the Croydon club twice saw their top string Anthony Ricketts, the world No4 from Australia, fight back from behind before finally clinching an 8-10, 9-2, 8-10, 10-8, 9-2 victory over Welsh 'veteran' Alex Gough, the British O35 Open champion, to win the tie 3/2.

 

Earlier, the Surrey club seemed to be coasting to a comfortable win over their south coast visitors when Lauren Briggs and former European Junior champion Chris Simpson secured four-game wins.  But Chichester drew level when club stalwarts Peter Genever and Tim Vail secured notable victories – Genever beating Italy's world No29 Davide Bianchetti 9-4, 12-10, 6-9 9-4 in 56 minutes and Vail defeating former Sussex champion Tim Garner 4-9 9-5 9-4 9-1 in a 70-minute marathon.

 

The Birmingham University squad also competed in a tie which went to the wire – but, despite going down 3/2 to Derbyshire's defending champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield, still accrued enough points to extend their lead at the top of the Group A points table!

 

Duffield fire-fighter Laura Hill put up a brave fight against the visitors' Laura-Jane Lengthorn, extending the world No11 for 55 minutes before going down                 2-9, 7-9, 9-1, 8-10.   And the University team took a second match when South African Stephen Coppinger stemmed a fight back from Duffield's Lee Drew to beat the player ranked more than 240 places higher in the world 9-5 9-3 2-9 7-9 9-5!

 

However, Yorkshire's British National champion Nick Matthew ultimately came to the rescue of his Derbyshire club with a focused 9-6 9-7 9-7 win over the Birmingham University No1 Joey Barrington to give title-holders Duffield a win in their first outing of the season.

 

The other tie in Group A saw PSL newcomers Esporta Oxford achieve a confidence-boosting 5/0 win in their first home game of the season, against league veterans Pontefract.  Irish champion Madeline Perry, hot off the plane from a creditable quarter-final finish in the Hong Kong Open, delighted the capacity Oxford crowd with a 10-8, 9-1, 9-4 win over the Yorkshire club's Kirsty McPhee.

 

Three Oxford regulars Scott Handley, Mark Cairns and Kristen Johnson added to the Esporta points tally with impressive wins – none more notable than that of former British champion Mark Cairns, playing in his first PSL match since becoming a father for the first time earlier in the month!

 

"It was not only a great result – but a great final match which couldn't have pleased the crowd more," said a very happy Oxford team manager Jason Martin after squad No1 Cameron Pilley fought back from 1/2 down to beat Pontefract's Indian champion Saurav Ghosal 9-6, 7-9, 5-9, 9-2, 9-7 in 52 minutes.

 

There was a similar tale for PSL first-timers in Group B, where Redwood Probuild Bristol enjoyed success in their first home tie in the league, beating fellow newcomers Luxfords St George’s Hill 3/2.  Fresh from her triumph in the women's Over-35 event in the World Masters Championships in South Africa, Australia's Sarah Fitz-Gerald crushed the Wales No1 Tegwen Malik 9-2 9-2 9-0 in 20 minutes to put the Surrey visitors into the lead. 

 

But Bristol Redwood Lodge club stalwarts Chris Clare and Hadrian Stiff recovered the advantage for the hosts with crowd-pleasing victories over Joe Lee and Tom Richards, respectively.

 

When Bristol's David Evans got the 32nd birthday present he did not want – a four-game defeat by St George's Hill's Daryl Selby – it was left to top string Adrian Grant to seal victory for the home club.  It took the left-hander from London five games to secure the vital result, which he did after 67 minutes in a 7-9, 9-6, 7-9, 9-7, 9-6 win over Frenchman Renan Lavigne.

 

2nd round, Tuesday 24 October 2006

 

      Group A:

Esporta Oxford 5  Pontefract 0

    Cameron Pilley bt Saurav Ghosal                        9-6, 7-9, 5-9, 9-2, 9-7 (52m)

    Scott Handley bt Ryan Thompson                        9-2, 9-3, 11-9

    Mark Cairns bt Neil Cordell                                   9-2, 3-9, 9-2, 9-4

    Kristen Johnson bt Adam Taylor                          9-5, 6-9, 9-6, 9-1

    Madeline Perry bt Kirsty McPhee                          10-8, 9-1, 9-4

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 3  University of Birmingham 2

    Nick Matthew bt Joey Barrington                           9-6, 9-7, 9-7

    Jonathan Kemp bt Joel Hinds                              9-3, 9-7, 9-6

    Lee Drew lost to Stephen Coppinger                  5-9, 3-9, 9-2, 9-7, 5-9

    Andrew Whipp bt Jaymie Haycocks                     7-9, 9-6, 9-3, 9-5 (35m)

    Laura Hill lost to Laura-Jane Lengthorn             2-9, 7-9, 9-1, 8-10 (55m)

 

      Group B:

Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon 3  Tinos Homes Chichester 2

    Anthony Ricketts bt Alex Gough                            8-10, 9-2, 8-10, 10-8, 9-2

    Davide Bianchetti lost to Peter Genever              4-9, 10-12, 9-6, 4-9 (56m)

    Tim Garner lost to Tim Vail                                    9-4, 5-9, 4-9, 1-9 (70m)

    Chris Simpson bt Tom Pashley                           9-7, 9-6, 6-9, 9-3 (45m)

    Lauren Briggs bt Line Hansen                             9-1, 6-9, 9-0, 9-2

Redwood Probuild Bristol 3  Luxfords St George’s Hill 2

    Adrian Grant bt Renan Lavigne                             7-9, 9-6, 7-9, 9-7, 9-6 (67m)

    David Evans lost to Daryl Selby                            7-9, 7-9, 9-7, 1-9 (38m)

    Hadrian Stiff bt Tom Richards                               9-6, 9-7, 7-9, 11-9 (36m)

    Chris Clare bt Joe Lee                                           9-5, 9-3, 9-1 (22m)

    Tegwen Malik lost to Sarah Fitz-Gerald               2-9, 2-9, 0-9 (20m)

 

PSL TABLES (after 2nd round)


                               Ties       Matches     Games     Pts

                             P   W   L    W    L     W     L

   Group A:

University of Birmingham     2   1   1    7    3    22    13    27

Esporta Oxford               2   1   1    5    5    16    19    21

Nottingham                   1   1   0    4    1    12     7    17

Benz-Bavarian Duffield       1   1   0    3    2    12     7    17

Pontefract                   2   0   2    1    9    11    27    11

   Group B:

Surrey H&RC Croydon          2   2   0    7    3    23    15    33

Tinos Homes Chichester       2   0   2    4    6    18    21    18

UniSport Guildford           1   1   0    3    2    10     8    15

Luxfords St George's Hill    2   0   2    3    7    14    22    14

Probuild Redwood Bristol     1   1   0    3    2    10     9    15

 

1st Round Report
Newcomers Subdued In PSL Debuts

Newcomers Esporta Oxford and Surrey's Luxfords St George's Hill made disappointing debuts in the new season of the Premier Squash League (PSL) after losing to University of Birmingham and Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon, respectively, in Tuesday's first round of the England Squash event.

But St George's Hill debutante Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the record five-times world champion from Australia making her return after a two-season absence from the league, put the home team ahead with a confident 9-2 9-3 9-0 win over the Croydon club's Lauren Briggs, the Mamut English Open champion who is ranked 23 in the world.

It was downhill for the hosts thereafter, however, as visitors Surrey Health & Racquets took charge to record a 4/1 win which takes them to top of the Group B points table.

The Croydon club's most decisive victory was delivered by Peter Nicol, the distinguished four-times Commonwealth Games gold medallist who retired from the professional circuit last month. On the day that he chalked up an incredible and unparalleled 150 successive months (more than 12 years) in the world's top ten rankings, Nicol crushed Daryl Selby 9-4, 9-6, 9-2.

The other Group B tie saw league veterans UniSport Guildford clinch a 3/2 win over long-time south coast rivals Tinos Homes Chichester. Londoner Alison Waters, who has just returned from Canada where she played a significant part in England 's triumphant win in the Women's World Team Championships in Edmonton , put the Surrey visitors ahead with a 9-7, 9-7, 9-4 win over Chichester 's Danish debutante Line Hansen.

Team veteran Stephen Meads clinched victory for Guildford with a 15-13, 9-6, 4-9, 9-5 victory over Ben Garner, the Chichester stalwart playing his last match for the club before taking up a coaching role in Baltimore in the USA .

Welsh No1 Alex Gough, the newly-crowned British Open Over-35 champion making his Chichester debut, scored a late consolation point for the hosts when he beat the Guildford No1 Stacey Ross 3-9, 9-5, 9-5, 9-3.

It was a less-than-full-strength Esporta Oxford which arrived in Birmingham to take on the University team in their second season in the PSL. Lancashire 's Laura-Jane Lengthorn put the student squad in the driving seat with a 9-1, 9-4, 9-3 win over the visitors' Deon Saffery.

Later, Jonathan Harford and Joel Hinds – members of the title-winning Great Britain squad in last month's World University Championships - beat Rob Sutherland and Kristen Johnson, respectively, to extend the Birmingham team's lead, before Joey Barrington made it maximum points for the hosts with a 9-4, 9-3, 9-6 victory in the top string clash with Scott Handley. The whitewash takes University of Birmingham to top of the Group A points table.

Elsewhere in the Group, Nottingham achieved something they failed to do all last season – win a tie! The East Midlands team visited Pontefract, the Yorkshire club playing in the PSL for the first without their previous seasons' 'partners' Manchester . New Zealand No1 Shelley Kitchen, now based in Pontefract, score the home club's sole point by beating England 's Dominique Lloyd-Walter 9-4, 9-4, 9-0.

Nottingham newcomer Hardeep Reel, the Kenyan No1, began the recovery for the visitors with a 9-6 9-3, 9-3 win over Pontefract's Andrew Cross. Nottingham stalwart Simon Parke took 65 minutes to earn another valuable point for his club with a hard-fought 7-9, 9-5, 11-9, 6-9, 9-4 over Leeds University student Saurav Ghosal, the new Indian national champion.

But Nottingham's standout result was at top string where Malaysian Ong Beng Hee, making his first PSL appearance for the club, beat Pontefract-based world No5 James Willstrop 9-5, 7-9, 10-8, 9-6 in 44 minutes. It was the Yorkshireman's first competitive match since undergoing surgery on his racket hand following his appearance in the Dunlop British Open last month.

1st round results:

Group A:
Pontefract 1 Nottingham 4
James Willstrop lost to Ong Beng Hee 5-9, 9-7, 8-10, 6-9 (44m)
Saurav Ghosal lost to Simon Parke 9-7, 5-9, 9-11, 9-6, 4-9 (65m)
Stuart Crawford lost to Jethro Binns 4-9, 6-9, 11-9, 4-9 (37m)
Andrew Cross lost to Hardeep Reel 6-9, 3-9, 3-9 (33m)
Shelley Kitchen bt Dominique Lloyd-Walter 9-4, 9-4, 9-0 (33m)

University of Birmingham 5 Esporta Oxford 0
Joey Barrington bt Scott Handley 9-4, 9-3, 9-6 (39m)
Jonathan Harford bt Rob Sutherland 6-9, 10-8, 9-5, 9-4 (45m)
Joel Hinds bt Kristen Johnson 10-8, 9-6, 9-3 (34m)
Stephen Coppinger bt Dominic Hamilton 9-4, 9-7, 9-2 (20m)
Laura-Jane Lengthorn bt Deon Saffery 9-1, 9-4, 9-3 (23m)

Group B:
Tinos Homes Chichester 2 UniSport Guildford 3
Alex Gough bt Stacey Ross 3-9, 9-5, 9-5, 9-3
Ben Garner lost to Stephen Meads 13-15, 6-9, 9-4, 5-9
Peter Genever lost to Jesse Engelbrecht 7-9, 6-9, 12-10, 6-9
Tim Vail bt Alex Ingham 9-2, 9-3, 9-6
Line Hansen lost to Alison Waters 7-9, 7-9, 4-9

Luxfords St George's Hill 1 Surrey H&RC Croydon 4
Alister Walker lost to Anthony Ricketts 8-10, 7-9, 7-9 (46m)
Daryl Selby lost to Peter Nicol 4-9, 6-9, 2-9 (30m)
Tom Richards lost to Davide Bianchetti 1-9, 9-7, 3-9, 8-10 (50m)
Joe Lee lost to Chris Simpson 6-9, 9-3, 4-9, 6-9 (48m)
Sarah Fitz-Gerald bt Lauren Briggs 9-2, 9-3, 9-0 (32m)


 

PSL TABLES (after 1st round)

                               Ties       Matches     Games     Pts

                             P   W   L    W    L     W     L

   Group A:

University of Birmingham     1   1   0    5    0    15     1    20

Nottingham                   1   1   0    4    1    12     7    17

Pontefract                   1   0   1    1    4     7    12     7

Esporta Oxford               1   0   1    0    5     1    15     1

Duffield                     0   0   0    0    0     0     0     0

   Group B:

Surrey H&RC Croydon          1   1   0    4    1    12     5    17

UniSport Guildford           1   1   0    3    2    10     8    15

Tinos Homes Chichester       1   0   1    2    3     8    10     8

Luxfords St George's Hill    1   0   1    1    4     5    12     5

Probuild Bristol             0   0   0    0    0     0     0     0

 

                               Ties       Matches     Games     Pts

                             P   W   L    W    L     W     L

   Group A:

Benz-Bavarian Duffield       8   8   0   30   10   101    49   141

University of Birmingham     8   4   4   24   16    83    61   103

Esporta Oxford               8   4   4   19   21    76    73    96

Nottingham                   8   4   4   19   21    66    77    86

Pontefract                   8   0   8    8   32    39   105    39

 

   Group B:

Redwood Probuild Bristol     8   5   3   25   15    88    63   113

Surrey H&R Croydon           8   5   3   23   17    84    65   109

Luxfords St George's Hill    8   5   3   22   18    80    78   105

Tinos Homes Chichester       8   4   4   19   21    75    82    95

UniSport Guildford           8   1   7   11   29    56    95    61

 

LEAGUE TABLE

Ties

Matches

Games

Pts

P

W

L

W

L

W

L

GROUP A: NORTH

Benz-Bavarian Duffield

8

8

0

30

10

101

49

141

University of Birmingham

8

4

4

24

16

83

61

103

Esporta Oxford

8

4

4

19

21

76

73

96

Nottingham

8

4

4

19

21

66

77

86

Pontefract

8

0

8

8

32

39

105

39

GROUP B: SOUTH

Redwood Probuild  Bristol

8

5

3

25

15

88

63

113

Surrey H&RC Croydon

8

5

3

23

17

84

65

109

Luxfords St George's Hill

8

5

3

22

18

80

78

105

Tinos Homes Chichester

8

4

4

19

21

75

82

95

Uni Sport Guildford

8

1

7

11

29

56

95

61

                 

PREMIER SQUASH LEAGUE

 



LEAGUE FIXTURES 2006-2007

GROUPS

NORTHERN GROUP A
A:
Pontefract
B:
Nottingham
C:
Oxford
D:
Duffield
E:
Birmingham
SOUTHERN GROUP B
A:
Chichester
B:
Guildford
C:
Surrey
D:
Bristol
E:
St George's Hill

First named is home team, start time 7pm

 Date Group A Group B 
Round 1
03 Oct
Pontefract 1-4 Nottingham
Birmingham 5-0 Oxford
Chichester 2-3 Guildford
St George's 1-4 Surrey
Round 2
24 Oct
Oxford 5-0 Pontefract
Duffield 3-2 Birmingham
Surrey 3-2 Chichester
Bristol 3-2 St George's
Round 3
07 Nov
Birmingham 4-1 Pontefract
Nottingham 1-4 Duffield
St George's 4-1 Chichester
Guildford 0-5 Bristol
Round 4
28 Nov
Pontefract 2-3 Duffield
Oxford 2-3 Nottingham
Chichester 3-2 Bristol
Surrey 4-1 Guildford
Round 5
05 Dec
Nottingham 3-2 Birmingham
Duffield 4-1 Oxford
Guildford 2-3 St George's
Bristol 1-4 Surrey
Round 6
06 Feb
Nottingham 5-0 Pontefract
Oxford 4-1 Birmingham
Guildford 1-4 Chichester
Surrey 2-3 St George's
Round 7
20 Feb
Pontefract 1-4 Oxford
Birmingham 2-3 Duffield
Chichester 4-1 Surrey
St George's 3-2 Bristol
Round 8
06 Mar
Pontefract 1-4 Birmingham
Duffield 5-0 Nottingham
Chichester 3-2 St George's
Bristol 3-2 Guildford
Round 9
13 Mar
Duffield 3-2 Pontefract
Nottingham 2-3 Oxford
Bristol 5-0 Chichester
Guildford 1-4 Surrey
Round 10
27 Mar
Birmingham 4-1 Nottingham
Oxford 0-5 Duffield
St George's 4-1 Guildford
Surrey 1-4 Bristol
24 April Semi Final 1st Leg
Benz-Bavarian Duffield v Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon
26 April Semi Final 2nd Leg
Redwood Probuild Bristol v University of Birmingham

15th May
 
FINAL