Monday, December 7, 2009

The First Bump on the Journey...

It was with a depleted squad that MB Nottingham welcomed an equally under strength Chapel Allerton in the last Premier Squash League fixture before Christmas. As yet unbeaten, a victory would consolidate our position at the top of group A and extend our advantage by some margin. On paper we looked to be in a tough position, however with all the players fired up and a real determination demonstrated by everybody so far this season, a couple of big results weren’t a million miles away.

Oliver Holland lost Chris Hall 8/11, 11/9, 3/11, 2/11

First up for his debut was recent U17 national junior champion Oliver Holland against full time coach and former Sheffield Hallam University student Chris Hall. Both players started cagily, sizing each other up waiting for opportunities to attack. A couple of costly errors from Holland gave Hall the edge who managed to close out the first 11/9. Following a chat from team captain Simon Parke, Holland looked more focussed and relaxed, tightening his game up, minimising options for his opponent and extended a 6/0 lead. Hall managed to close the gap somewhat, but couldn’t quite reel Holland in who took a deserved second 11/8. The third and fourth were one way traffic as a visibly tired Holland couldn’t maintain the intensity and consistency of the second. Sensing weakness Hall closed out the match with steady squash, waiting for the errors he knew would come from a frustrated Holland. Oliver did himself proud in what must have been quite a daunting match, a real star of the future and no doubt a member of our PSL squad for many years to come.

Sarah Kippax lost Jenny Duncalf 6/11, 3/11, 8/11

On the show court Nottingham’s Sarah Kippax had the unenviable task of taking on new world No. 2 Jenny Duncalf, who on the back of three consecutive WISPA tour title’s is in the form of her life. Sarah is never one to throw in the towel and gave as good as she got, sticking in the rallies, moving Jenny around and firing some top quality drops into the front of the court. A string of points for Duncalf snuffed out the first 11/6 who maintained her incredible court coverage and blistering performance into the second quickly wrapping it up 11/3. A change of tack from Kippax in the third paid dividends, slowing the ball to the back, attacking quickly on the volley rattled Duncalf but she still had some in the tank and after keeping level to 8/8 managed to keep her cool and finish off the match 3/0.

Simon Parke beat Steve Siviter 11/6, 2/11, 11/6, 5/11, 11/8

Second on the back court Simon Parke, recovering from a throat infection took on the unrelenting Steve Siviter, known to me as a player that can upset the established order in the squash world. Parke started well, dominating the T extending the rallies and moving Siviter around the court taking the first a comfortable 11/6. The second went all wrong, Siviter seemingly hitting winners from everywhere. Parke chased everything down as expected, but Siviter always had an answer, dictating the pace and volleying short and tight. The third swung back towards Parkey who upped the tempo, reduced Siviter’s time and dictated the pace closing out the game 11/6 and taking a 2/1 lead. The fourth was a repeat of the second, Parkey let his foot off the pace and Siviter seized the opportunity. Parke struggled to maintain the necessary pace, a possible sign of the remnants of infection but all credit to Siviter he placed the ball in all the right places and didn’t give Parke any freebies. So 2/2, the balcony is packed and nervous. A clearly drained Parke used all of his guile and match experience to keep his hopes alive. Trying to dominate the T and force the pace Parke was up against it but knew what he had to do and fought through the clearly obvious pain to pull a lead. An unfortunate and out of character frame into the tin from Siviter was all that was needed to give Parke a hard fought match and 3 points for MB Nottingham.

John Rooney Lost Laurence Delaseux 11/9, 7/11, 8/11, 2/11

We had identified this match as a pivotal to the tie, so it was with some relief that we watched Rooney establish a 10/4 lead in the first. Delaseux was sluggish, he miss hit a couple of balls in the back hand corner which was surely due to his mental state having just flown in from the US. Great, we thought. It was at this point that Delaseux started to play the squash which has seen him rise 100 places in two months and also why he has won the last three events he’s entered. He clawed back with a combination of winners and errors from Rooneybut couldn’t quite catch the Irishman who eventually emerged a relieved victor 11/9. It was all downhill from then on though, Delaseux had clearly blown the cobwebs away and was flowing freely. Rooney battled hard extending the rallies and forcing his opponent to work but he couldn’t get the killer shot or extend any sort of advantage. Delaseux fought to a 2/1 lead 11/7, 11/8 and then blew through the fourth as a clearly demoralised Rooney succumbed to an 11/2 loss and confirmed MB Nottingham’s first defeat of the season.

Renan Lavigne beat Alisatair Walker 12/14, 12/10, 11/2, 8/11, 13/11

So with nothing to play for it was a battle of pride at the No. 1 string, but if there is one player you want in your corner its Renan Lavigne. Unbeaten so far this PSL season and having already won two epic encounters 3-2 in front of the home crowd, everybody hoped for another outrageous display and that is exactly what they got!

The first was played at a frantic pace, Walker moving effortlessly and controlling the T, Renan chasing everything, working so hard to move Walker from teh T and gain the upper hand. Of course it went to a tie break with Lavigne losing out narrowly 12/14, we feared given the amount of work he had done it would be a downward spiral for the next two. No chance. Renan came back still flying, forcing the pace, disrupting Walkers rhythm, looking to volley at every opportunity and force errors. Walker battled but couldn’t deal with Lavignes relentless retrieval, going lower and lower with drop shots that could beat the French man, errors crept in and Walker became frustrated. Lavigne snatched teh third 12/10 then romped to the third 11/2 thanks to error after error from Walker. The fourth was tight, a double bounce wasn’t called at 4/4 which frustrated Walker allowing Lavigne a 6/4 lead before settling into disciplined line and length waiting for the opportunity to attack. This paid off as Lavigne fired up, caught a few errors levelling the match at 2/2.

The fifth was epic. Lavigne focused and patient, opened up a 5/1 lead then 6/2 before a battling Walker came back point by point with ultra disciplined squash to have the first match ball 10/9. After a ridiculous rally with full stretch retrieval from both players, Walker was out of position, Lavigne hit a great length but Walker gave it a full length dive just missing a flying boast and an unsuccessful appeal for a let. 10/10, back and for a tin from Walker levelled the game at 11/11. Lavigne dug in, ground out every shot with stunning determination, one winner ,another and 130 Nottingham supporters on their feet. An incredible result, Lavigne is easily the darling of Nottingham Squash Club at the moment and after a match like that we didn’t really feel like we had lost!!

David Coghlan

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Newport get a win at last

Peter Creed reports

It was a dark wet Tuesday night, in the well-supported squash club that Newport’s PSL team were seeking their first win.  With a slightly weaker side that usual the Pontefract players made the long treacherous drive to the Welsh team for a bottom of the league clash. With players like James Willstrop, Lee Beachill and Saurav Ghosal missing from their starting line up, Greg Tippings picked a worthy side to gain that crucial win that could take the Port off the bottom.  6:45 approached, and still no away side was present. Was the first win really going to be a walk over? No, the young Pontefract team arrived and within 20 mins the teams were announced and the first matches were starting.

Stacey Preece vs Anna Santa-Maria were the 1st match on court 2. Both players started off very tentative, with rallies being won quite quickly due to nerves of their first appearance being very evident. Stacey began to take control around the middle parts of the each game, and broke away playing the important points better than her opponent. Anna has a good variety of shots, but errors at crucial times cost her the match, as Stacey continued to apply good pressure to win 3/0 (11-7 11-7 11-6). A good performance, and it’s a shame Stacey doesn’t get the chance to play more Wispa events due to other commitments, as the effort and quality is there.

David Haley Vs George Wileman was a battle of the youngsters on court 3 “Sam Williams Court”. Dave began well and took an early slender lead of 6-3 producing some good control around the middle of the court, followed by some quality finishing shots. A minor lack of concentration allowed George to take advantage of a few errors from Dave, as he began to react instead of taking the initiative. George’s confidence began to grow, and Dave’s movement and confidence started deteriorating. The Pontefract youngster seemed to notice this, and took his opponent in short when possible, which paid big dividends as he took the match 3/2 (11/13 11/9 11/4 9/11 11/6).

Number 3 String was between myself Peter Creed and George’s older brother, Sam Wileman on court 2 the “K Newall court”. The first game was a well-fought affair, where although the score was close, Peter didn’t deserve to even take the game to tie break. After a few minor adjustments and some stern words from C.Robertson, Peter started to hit better length and applied more pressure on his opponent. Peter continued to take more control after this and the errors for Sam began to grow.  A few scrappy rallies, rugby tackle from Sam on match ball gave the crowd some joy, before Peter Closed out the match 3/1 (12/14 11/7 11/3 11/6).

Rob Sutherland Vs Karen Malik was a very quick encounter as Rob minced the opposition in 16 mins. I didn’t get to see most of the match but the points I did catch Karen wasn’t the most energetic and gutsy player I’ve seen. After watching quite a few Indian PSA players who play with their heart and run everything down, I was quite surprised to see a lack of effort from the 17 year old, maybe he wasn’t 100%? Bob took the match 3/0 (112 11/4 11/3).

Last on court was Campbell Grayson “GB” our adopted Welsh Kiwi who has been living at the WIS for the last few months, against an out of sorts Harinder Pal Sindu. This was a very fast paced match where both players attacked at will. Campbell’s quick hands got him out of ferocious rallies many times, and although Harinder hit a lot of accurate kills and volley drops, his error count was also to high to compete with the Kiwi looking to put a good performance on his last match for Newport’s PSL team. As Campbell said “ay I was on fire then ay”, and came out with the win 3/0 (11/3 11/5 11/8).

This concluded the night and Newport’s first win in their debut PSL season, which took them above their opposition and off the bottom of the north group. Thanks to everyone who came to support and all the sponsors and organisers for a good night.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A long Old Night for Surrey Storm

Surrey Storm made the long trip to Exeter in search of their first win in the last fixture of 2009.  On arrival hopes were boosted by the news that Joey Barrington had withdrawn at number 2 for Exeter meaning they had to hand a late call up to Marwan el Shorbagy and the rest of the side all moving up a place.

First up was Marwan vs. Alex Ingham at number 5.  Alex snuck the first 11/9 moving the ball around comfortably and attacking with conviction when the chance arrived.  The second followed a similar pattern with Marwan taking the final few points to level 11/9.  A bad start in the next saw Alex playing catch up for the rest of the game and the young Egyptian closed it out 11/5 moving to within one game of his second win on the bounce.  Alex was unable to interrupt Marwan’s momentum in the fourth who impressively took the game 11/7 and with it the match.

Stacey Ross was back at number 3 where he is unbeaten this season and he was up against James Snell.  Stacey won in 3 tight games, 2 of which went to tie breaks but Stacey played the big points better and levelled things up for the Storm. 

In the girls match Victoria Lust was struggling to find her rhythm against Emma Chorley who was moving well and seemed intent on causing an upset.  Emma took the first 2 games on a tie break before Vicky responded by winning the 3rd 11/9.  We were looking forward to a comeback before Emma slammed the door shut by regaining her dominance taking the fourth 11/5 and with it our hopes of victory.

Jesse recently back from injury was fighting hard against fellow South African Clinton Leeuw.  The first 2 games were shared 11/9 and looked like it might go all the way but at the end of the 3rd and 4th Jesse short of court time ran out of steam and Clinton took them 11/6, 11/8 respectively guaranteeing Exeter the match.
The last match on saw Julian Illingworth Surrey storm’s number 1 making his debut against the inform Jonathan Kemp. There was not a lot between them in the first 2 with some great attacking squash and at 1 game all the crowed hoped it may go to 5.  Jonathan came out flying in the 3rd and Julian was always behind eventually losing it 11/5.  It was role reversal again in the 4h as Julian aided by some great winners took the game by the scruff of the neck before Jonathan clawed his way back to 9-9 before eventually winning it 11/9. 

This was a great advert for the PSL as the game was played in a great manner with both players respecting each other and the referees showing squash at its entertaining best.

Massive thanks to Tony, Adam and all the staff at Devon & Exeter for their hospitality and running a great evening.  We look forward to seeing you in March.

Graeme Williams

Surrey Health & Racquets Club v TWP St Georges Hill

Pete Smith reports
This was an important match for both teams with us trying to recover from our loss at Bristol and St Georges Hill trying to keep their unbeaten run going. All was set for a well contested night with 2 strong teams out!
Here we go and it didn't disappoint!!
Alison Waters v Rachel Willmot
First up on the main court was Alison who was in no mood to hang around and determined to get us off to a flyer. Alison was on top form and out did Rachel in every department to record a convincing 3-0 win, 11/2 11/2 11/4.
Surrey Health & RC 1 St Georges 0
Alan Clyne v Joe Lee
This was a fantastic game of squash enjoyed by the crowd and had everything. Joe started the quickest and settled well into his game and Alan struggled at first to get the length and width required so Joe took the 1st 11-7. Joe came out in the 2nd firing into an 8-3 lead but Alan suddenly started mixing it up with boasts and taking the ball early in short with more variation and clawed back to take the 2nd 11-9.
This was now a top class game of squash with both players going for it, retrieving well, but Alan started to get on top with his continued variation and managed to take the 3rd 11-4 and the 4th 11-7. Well played to both players who received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Surrey Health & RC 2 - Ste Georges Hill 0
Davide Bianchetti v Tom Richards
Whilst Alan and Joe were fighting it out on the other court Davide and Tom started to battle. Tom came out firing and Davide struggled with the pace and changes of direction to take the first 2 games 11/2 11/4. In the 3rd Davide started to get into the game and took a 6-3 lead but Tom came racing back to take the game 11-6 and the match 3-0. Well played Tom!
Surrey Health & RC 2 - St Georges Hill 1
Peter Nicol v Nicolas Mueller
This was experience against youth and what a match it turned out to be. Nicolas started well with pace as was determined not to let Peter settle and took the 1st 11-5. In the 2nd Peter came out mixing the rallies up with lobs, drops, late flicks and this put Nicolas under pressure and force mistakes so Peter levelled it at 1-1. 11-7. This was turning into a fantastic game of squash with excellent retrieving and lots of variations of play and the 3rd turned out to be the crucial game and Nicolas edging it 12-10 and go 2-1 up. I think Nicolas thought Peter was tired but Peter came out in the 4th and played a perfect game of squash which had Nicolas all over the place to take the 4th 11-4.
Now into the 5th and the crowd were just loving it, Nicolas came out quicker and raced into a 6-0 lead but Peter was fighting all the way but just got edged out 11-5 in the 5th. Well played to both players and it was 50 minutes of pure entertainment and a top effort, a standing ovation again from the crowd!
Surrey Health & RC 2 - St Georges Hill 2
Peter Barker v Daryl Selby
We'll down to the decider and this was going to be tight with the World Num 7 and 11 in action. Peter was very focused and started the 1st game well with excellent variations of pace and control and took the 1st 11-9. The 2nd was again point for point with both players playing excellent controlled squash and waiting for opportunities to take the advantage, It was tight all the way until Daryl conceded a couple of strokes at the end of the 2nd which meant Peter went onto take the game 11-8. Daryl came out fighting in the 3rd and upped the pace as he knew he had to get back into it for his team and went into an 8-6 lead but Peter kept to his game plan of variations of pace and made a push late in the 3rd to take it 11-9 and the match 3-0. Again an excellent high quality game of squash enjoyed by the crowd.#
Surrey Health &RC 3 - St Georges Hill 2
This was a really high quality night of squash and demonstrated everything that the PSL is and the crowd had a ball.
Thanks to Danny and his team and we look forward now to the 2nd half.
Next home game Tues 19th January 2010 v Surrey Storm - See you there??

Chichester welcome Bristol

This Tuesday Covers Team Chichester welcomed a very strong Probuild Bristol Squad for Round 5 of the Premier Squash League and the 3rd home fixture of the season.  The Bristol team’s top 2 players are ranked in the World’s top 15.

First on the glass-back court was Chichester’s Dominique Lloyd-Walter who played World No.8 Laura Massaro.  The first 2 games were shared; both score lines the same - 5/11, 11/5.  In the third, Lloyd-Walter stormed to a 7/2 lead before Massaro clawed her way back, using her effective boast to maximum effect and eventually she clinched the game 11/13.   In the 4th Massaro, with her generally tidy game, continued to dominate the match in the same vein.  Lloyd-Walter, however, struggled to find a consistent length and Massaro took advantage and won through 2/11 to put Bristol 1-up on the night.

On the adjoining court Chichester’s No.4 and team stalwart, Peter Genever, played the ‘Squash Legend’ and former World no. 2, Peter Marshall.  A truly great match ensued.  Marshall got off to a great start, wrapping up the first 2 games 7/11, 8/11 before a titanic 3rd game, in which Genever saved 4 match balls before clinching it 12/10.  The rallying and movement displayed by both O35 players was immense.   Genever, renowned for his fitness, ground his opponent down taking the 4th, 11/7.  After over an hour’s play Genever eventually won the 5th, 11/7, completing a memorable match between 2 great rivals.

1-    all

Next on the championship court Chichester’s Alex Gough was up against the World Junior Champion, Mohammed El Shorbagy.  Giving away 20 years, Gough equipped himself well in the first game and had numerous chances to take the game before losing it 9/11.  Shorbagy moved the ball around the court well and used great shot selection throughout the match.  Gough continued to battle gamely and was competitive in all 3 games but the age difference took its toll.  Shorbagy’s speed and ability to cover everything proved too much for Gough and he went on to win 7/11, 8/11 to put Bristol in a 2.1 lead.

Next on was Tim Vail, another Chichester stalwart player, playing David Evans, former World No.3 and 2000 British Open Champion.  Evans dominated the first 2 games, cutting the ball off well with Vail struggling to get forward.  In the third Vail found his length and started to feed off this and taking control of the front, aided by a few uncharacteristic tins from Evans, Vail took the third.  In the 4th Evans regained domination of the court, despite Vail’s valiant efforts.  Evans proved too strong on the day and won the match 1.3 to give Bristol an unassailable lead.

Last match was between the No.1 strings, Adrian Grant [World no.10] and Chichester’s Robbie Temple.  The match was an entertaining one with the 50 ranking place difference being very much apparent at the business end of all 3 games.  Temple battled well and certainly had many chances to take a game but Grant’s experience at the next level helped him to win the match.  Nonetheless, the 12/10 and 13/11 score lines in the second and third games showed just how close the games were.

1.4 to Bristol

A Christmas break follows and time for Chichester to regroup in readiness for the second half of the season.  Iskandar returns to the squad but Lloyd-Walter will be missing for the first 2 fixtures so it really will be down to the men to provide the spoils.  With a bit of luck on the Covers Team Chichester’s side a mid table position at the end of the season would be a great accomplishment.

  Mike Phillips - Team Manager

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Duffield take full points

Felix Frixou reports

It was a pleasure to welcome League newcomers Newport to Duffield on Tuesday evening for what promised to be an entertaining evening of very high class Squash.

The support by a loyal band of Welsh fans who had made the long round trip added to the atmosphere, and on paper,there anticipation of some fine encounters was well justified.

Match 1 - Tania Bailey (Benz Bavarian Duffield) vs. Donna Urquhart (Newport)

Bearing in mind both current World and National rankings, this promised to be a very hard fought match, and so it proved.

Tania took the early advantage with a 13-11 win in the opening game, followed by a victory in the second to the same score. Donna was producing some fine squash which was being doggedly resisted by Tania, but as the scores suggest, both very close games.

The 3rd saw Donna produce some squash of the highest level to win 7-11, her fine stroke play forcing Tania into a number of errors.

The Duffield player regained her composure in the 4th game to claim the game 11-7 and secured the first rubber of the evening in favour of the home team.

Match 2 - Paul Hargrave (Benz Bavarian Duffield) vs David Haley (Newport)

This match saw the very welcomed return to the Premier League of resident Duffield Squash Club professional, Paul Hargrave, a former England # 12 and World ranked # 52. The old saying " you never forget how to ride a bike" sprang to mind as Paul, much to the delight of the Duffield faithful, majestically overcame David in straight games 11-3,11-3,11-6.

Match 3 - Andy Whipp (Benz Bavarian Duffield) vs Nick Birt (Newport)

This on paper looked an interesting encounter with Nick Birt playing some fine Squash of late. Unfortunately for Nick, he came up against " The Whippertron", who, as all fans of Duffield and the Squash fraternity know, on his day, is  formidable against any opponent, and so it proved on the night. In an encounter lasting all of 15 minutes, Andy produced some fantastic Squash to take the match 11-7,11-6,11-6.

Match 4 - Steve Coppinger (Benz Bavarian Duffield) vs Rob Sutherland (Newport)

Based on current rankings, this again promised to be a close encounter. Steve, a very popular addition and crowd favourite with Duffield,took the first game 11-3,quickly followed by an 11-5 victory in the second.This appeared to spur Rob into action, and he came back very strong to take the third 3-11. The Welsh player then consolidated his position by taking the fourth game 5-11. With all evenly poised, the crowd anticipated a tremendous final game, with Rob very much in the ascendancy.Steve took the game to Rob, and produced some fine Squash to take the final game 11-4. a tremendous encounter with both players very much on their game.

Match 5 - Nick Matthew (Benz Bavarian Duffield) vs Aaron Francomb (Newport)

Having recently returned from Kuwait with a viral infection and not fully fit, Nick was going to have a real battle with Aaron, a very fine player in his own right.

Nick did not appear to be suffering to much in the opening encounter, punishing brutally shots from Aaron that were not inch perfect.As the game progressed, the Newport player produced some fine Squash, narrowly missing out 13-11. Nick continued to take the second game 11-5, producing along the way some wonderful shots which confirm his ranking of England #1 and recently promoted World #4.In the third, Aaron appeared to be getting in full swing, winning 6-11 against a tiring Nick.

We sensed Nick wanted to finish the game as soon as to recuparate further, but Aaron proved what a strong opponent he is with Nick narrowly prevailing 11-9.

A great team performance from Benz Bavarian Duffield, and credit to Newport who, in the first season in the PSL, proved worthy opponents.

Felix Frixou
Team Manager

Stress Less... Nottingham @ Pontefract

After the unbelievable tension of the last two home matches, MB Nottingham made the journey North to Pontefract for what was predicted to be a comfortable victory. The day started badly however, as Emma Beddoes was forced to retire after injuring her arm. The fact the injury arose from her hauling her suitcase home from recent tournament action in New York is unusual and sparked more than its fair share of speculation as to the contents of said suitcase. Over filled with hotel bath towels and bath robes? Duty free? I’ll let you ask her when you next see her...

Super sub for the evening then was Ria Kennerley, happily finishing work early to trek north and face Indian international and World No. 48 Dipika Pallikal. Ria started well, ambassadors of unorthodox and ‘tricky’ squash will rejoice as Ria mixed up her shots, played lobs, reverse angle boasts and drops that visibly troubled her young opponent, used to the orthodox length and line game. Dipika is not ranked inside the top 50 without merit, so although made to work, managed to dig in and was relieved to take the first game 11/8. Following a talking to, and told to continue ‘playing ugly’, Ria couldn’t contain her opponent who had figured out the game plan and patiently picked up ball after ball and hitting some deft winners to close out the match 11/4, 11/4.

On the court next door it was a battle of age versus youth as former world No. 3 Simon Parke faced 16 year old England U17 No. 1 James Earles. Earles is a huge talent and without doubt one to watch for the future, however the guile and court craft of Parke was too much for the junior. Earles battled and fought hard but a few errors allowed Parke to extend leads in the second half of each game running out in 3 games 11/7, 11/7, 11/8

Following the girls on court, Irish international Arthur Gaskin facing former Pontefract junior and now England Squash development coach Sam Wileman. Arthur started strongly not showing any of the signs of the illness that had dogged him in the week leading up to the match, taking the first 11/6 and speeding through the second 11/2. Sam dug in during the third but couldn’t contain the rampant Irish man closing out the match 11/7 to give MB Nottingham a 2-1 lead.

Ong Beng Hee faced a new addition to the Pontefract squad and another member of the growing Indian contingent, Karen Malik. The 363 place difference in ranking was quickly apparent as Beng Hee floated around the court, volleying everything and pushing the ball beyond the end of Karen’s racket. At just 18 Karen can be pleased with his performance and with training partners of the calibre that frequent Pontefract, a rapid rise up the rankings can be expected. Beng hee closed out the match and wrapped up the tie for Nottingham convincingly 11/5, 11/7, 11/7.
Last but certainly not least, Dutch No. 1 Laurens Jan Anjema faced former world No.1 Lee Beachill. Rumours abound of Lee’s lack of movement due to injury, however i can attest to the fact that while hampered on occasion, Lee is still able to cut it with the big boys.

LJ started well dominating the T and keeping Beachill contained to take the first 11/6. The second was back and fore as Beachill kept the ball tight and straight, minimising LJ’s options punctuating the rallies with some fierce winners that had LJ rattled on more than one occasion. Beachill sneaked ahead and crashed the ball into the nick to take the second 11/9. After regrouping, LJ came out fighting, trying to keep Beachill changing direction and stretching for the ball. This had the desired effect but Beachill still hits the ball so crisply and accurately that LJ had to work for everything. At 8/7 down a few errors from Beachill gave LJ a gap who needed little encouragement to battle across the line to take a 2-1 lead 11/8. The fourth was still tight, even though Beachill could be seen to slow, his ability to hit winners kept him in the game and kept a frustrated LJ on court longer than he would have hoped. Lj eventually emerged the relieved winner 11/7 to give MB Nottingham 17 points, a fourth win on the bounce and maintain our position at the top of the Northern league.

A good result for the team however an even better result for Oxford, a 5-0 win over Chapel Allerton means Oxford are now just 1 point behind us in second place with Duffield a further 15 points behind in 3rd. The next match is home on 1st December against Chapel Allerton, another crucial match that will consolidate our place at the top if we win, especially as Oxford face former champions Duffield on the same night.

David Coghlan

Another White Wash for inexperienced Surrey Storm line up

Graeme Williams reports

For the second time in as many matches Surrey Storm travelled back to Guildford on the back of a 5-0 defeat, this time at the hands of Covers Chichester. There were a few more positives to take from this defeat in the shape of the performances from our younger players two of which were making their debuts. On paper we always looked like we would struggle given the withdrawal of our top two players but we decided to use this as an opportunity to blood some of our younger players.

First up was David Wardle against the experienced and skilful Tim Vail. After a few Early nerves David found his feet and gave a good account of himself and fought well in going down 11/5 11/4 12/10.

Victoria Lust was welcomed back and was up against Dominique Lloyd- Walter. Dominique is in good form at the moment so this was another stiff test for Vicky. A tight first game saw Dominique play the big points better and take it 11/9. The second saw Dominique impose herself and Vicky struggled to get to grips with her accuracy and retrieving skills losing 11/2 and staring down the barrel 2-0 down. In the third Dominique slowed a little and Vicky’s confidence grew as she fought back with good attacking squash reducing the deficit 11/9 to set up a forth and a faint hope of squaring the match. Both girls enjoyed spells of dominance as Vicky raced into a 7/1 lead before Dominique clawed her way back and indeed went past Victoria taking the game and the match 11/8 putting Chichester 2-0 up.

Anthony Brindle was next on against Alex Gough and he had his chances in 3 close games but maybe did not quite believe he could win losing 11/9 12/10 11/8. With a bit more belief he could have easily nicked one of the first two but he should be pleased with his night's work.

Stacey Ross lost 3-1 to Robbie Temple 7/11 11/9 11/7 11/7 Both players like to go for their shots so this was an entertaining match for the spectators but perhaps more mistakes than both players would of liked. 4-0 to Chichester and just the number ones left to go on.

Jesse played well against Azlan who was in inspired form hitting winners from all over the court. Jesse attacked well himself but Azlan was moving well and hitting the ball with such control that he never looked likely to slip up taking the match 11/6 11/7 11/6 and handing Chichester their first win of the season 5-0.

Chapel A rocked by Oxford

Sally Merchant reports ...

Chapel A had to field a few subs tonight. This included David Duncalf replacing Mike Dickens and Neil Guirey playing at number 4.

The spectators were treated to 52 minutes of quality ladies squash but it was expected from world number 6 Jenny Duncalf facing world number 7 Madeline Perry. Jenny, who had just flown back into the country on her birthday, and Madeline's match started at a fierce pace. Madeline took the first 11-5 and then Jenny took the second 11-2, Madeline making too many unforced errors and Jenny putting in some fabulous drops. The third also went to Jenny (11-8) with the fourth to Madeline (11-2). In the fifth, it was 5 all and then 8 all but Madeline took the match 12-10.

At the same time, Neil Guirey took to the adjacent court against Scott Handley. The match was over in 3 but with a respectable score line of 11-4, 11-4, 11-5. Unfortunately for Chapel A, the number 3's match was also 3-0. Adam Murrills was beaten by Simon Rosner 11-4, 11-8, 11-4.

The Chris Truswell v Chris Ryder match was a little longer, both making accurate drives and playing many drops and lobs. But the victory went to Ryder 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 to made it 4 to Oxford.

The final game of the night had everything. There was quality squash played at incredible speed. Cameron Pilley took the first 11-6. The second was similar with Pilley keeping ahead and taking it 11-5. The third was all Ali Walker - taking it 11-4. One point in the forth saw Ali at full stretch and end up on the floor only to get to his feet to continue the rally. It got to 7 all but Cameron took the match with the final game at 11-9.

Hats off to Oxford, they travelled well!

Sally Merchant

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chichester get off the mark

With both teams looking for their first win of this year’s PSL, Covers Team Chichester welcomed Surrey-Storm Guildford for the third home match of the season.
The number 4 strings played first on the show court.  Chichester stalwart, Tim Vail faced David Wardle, making his debut for Guildford.   Vail’s experience was a telling factor from the outset; his overall ability demonstrated that he had enough time to make choices on the ball and generally dominate the proceedings.  Wardle battled well and the third game went to a tie break but Vail clinched it 12/10.
1.0. to Chichester
On the adjoining court Dominique Lloyd-Walter (World No.22) played World No. 52, Victoria Lust of Guildford.  Lloyd–Walter stormed to a 6/2 lead in the first before being overtaken and finding herself 6/9 down.  She immediately took stock, tightened up her game and cut out the errors to turn it around and win the game 11/9.  The second game continued in the same vein and Lloyd –Walter went on to win it 11/1, relatively unchallenged.  The third was a different matter and both players battled out an evenly competitive game.  Lust took the upper hand and won it 9/11.  The fourth was an equally competitive encounter but this time Lloyd-Walter forged ahead to nick the game and match 11/8.
2.0. to Chichester.
Next, on the championship court, Chichester’s No.3 and former World No.5, Alex Gough, played against Gibraltar’s No.1, Anthony Brindle.  Gough seemed to be playing well within himself and comfortably took the first 11/9.  In the second Brindle dug in and began to retrieve well to force a tie break.  Gough’s experience, however, ensured that he won through 12/10.  In the third Gough’s skill always gave him the advantage and although Brindle ran well the result was inevitable. 
3.0. to Chichester to give the team their first victory of the season.
In what was anticipated to be the closest match of the evening, Chichester’s Robbie Temple took on Stacey Ross, a former World top 50 player.  The first 2 games were shared with very little to separate the players.  After winning the second game Temple’s confidence grew and although it was once again close Temple snatched the third, 11/9.  The match was building in tempo and there was the prospect of more exciting squash to follow in the 4th.  During this game Temple always had the edge and maintained a cushion of a couple of points throughout.  He managed to hold his game together to run out a winner 11/8 and give the Chichester squad a 4.0. lead.
With an anticipated 5.0 whitewash in sight Azlan Iskandar went on court determined to fulfil the squad’s expectations.  The first was an entertaining game with Guildford’s Jesse Englebrecht playing his part well but Iskandar (World No. 13) always had matters in hand and took it 11/6.  The second followed, in some parts, the same way with Englebrecht matching Iskandar in some of the rallies.  The ranking gap, nonetheless, became all too evident and Iskandar ran through an 11/7 winner.  More of the same in the third and Iskandar successfully completed the 5.0 whitewash 11/6.
The next home match is scheduled for Tuesday December 1st against Bristol.

Mike Phillips - Team Manager

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Now then ... the Sobo report on Surrey v Chichester

Now then…

Back to the PSL and we welcomed the COVERS sponsored Chichester for a good hiding on our home courts in Croydon. Jokes aside, on paper this looked a fairly close encounter. For the home team Peter Barker at the top of the order followed by Wa-Airmiles El Hindi (just in from NYC), Peter (Who?) Nicol, Adrian Waller and thanks to a (er herm!) mix up in dates, a debut Camille Serme.

For the away side, Azlan Iskander at 1, Robbie Temple, Alex Gough, Captain Vail and Dominique Lloyd-Water (  shameless plug).

First up, the ladies and this was always going to be a tight affair pitting World nos 18 vs 20. I told Dominique before she stepped on court that she was under strict instructions to lose gracefully but alas, she was having none of it! That said, the home girl started well on what must have been a pretty nervous occasion. The rallies were decent, Camille favouring the backhand volley dropshot. Dominique stayed strong though very much holding her own so it was with much relief that Camille closed out the first 11-8. All going to plan so far….

Next door, Adrian was doing battle with Tim. I’ll never tire of singing Tim’s praises. For us “normal” people, he is an inspiration and living proof that you do not have to be super fit etc.. to play squash at a decent level. That said, Adrian’s no fool with a racket either. Bing, bang, bosh..Adrian goes 1 up.

The evening is looking most rosy. And then…..

Back to the ladies and with Dominique exerting more pressure, Camille has started tinning those backhand drops and Dominique moves into a 4-0 lead in the 2nd game. Camille regroups to 4-6 but some quality play by the away keeps her just in front to 9-7. Two further tins from Camille and we’re all square.

Next door, Tim is out and firing. Adrian didn’t play badly but perhaps lost a little patience which was enough for Tim to level up at 1-1. Grrr…..

The  third for the ladies was looking like a crucial game. Both working really hard now. The rallies were long with good winners from both. Never more than a point or two between them, Camille was first to game ball at 10-9 but Dominique dug in to save it. Then, in my humble opinion, it seemed to me that the home girl went for a bit too much too soon tinning twice to gift her opponent the 3rd game. Somebody ‘ave a word!

Mista Nicol (or was it El Hindi…) duly did and the fourth saw Camille re-assert some authority on the game. The drops were going in again (hoorah!) and whilst Dominique didn’t really do much wrong, Camille did just enough to take the fourth to cries of Allez!, Allez Camille! from certain factions of the home support; none of whom I can confirm, speak any French! J

Next door, Adrian has snuck the 3rd, 12-10 but… Tim has taken the 4th, 11-4 so 2-2 and all to play for on both courts….

More of the same from the ladies; a really good game of squash this. Camille stayed strong to the end for a good 11-6 win in the 5th. Well played Camille. Never in doubt! Dominique was disappointed with herself and commented that she felt she could and should have done better. I thought she played well to be honest AND lost gracefully so well done on both counts J

Next door was a different story though. According to the script, Tim should have been reaching for the oxygen at this point but was unfortunately having none of it. I didn’t see much of this one but an 11-7 score in favour of the away player suggests a good final game probably deservedly won by the victor. Both courts now vacated Surrey Team Captain, Pete Smith seen pacing along the corridors muttering to himself, “why can’t these Chichester folk just lose gracefully?!?!?”… or maybe that was me….

Next up, Nicol vs Gough and on the main court, El Hindi vs Temple.

In truth both of these did not necessarily live up to their billing. Peter and Alex had a good tussle in the first; eventually won by the home player 11-9 but not before the crowd were treated to an excellent exhibition of how to hit a squash ball to good length and width from both players.

After that, either Alex got tired or injured…or a bit of both. Either way, Peter retrieved as he always does and when you add to that some excellent dying length, it was soon all over for the loss of not many more points. Good stuff.

On the main court, Robbie played ok I guess but el Hindi was rapid with his movement and got to most things thrown his way. The away player didn’t have the best of days and spent time engaged in debate with the referees.

When all was said and done, the home player strolled off court after a 3-0 win having performed his duties for the evening and more importantly, with the Surrey team having taken an unassailable 3-1 lead.

Last but not least, Peter and Azlan stepped on court. The story of this game was that Azlan played very, very well. The first was tight; very tight with no more than a point separating both players. Peter seemed to be the one making all the moves but Azlan just stuck with him playing some excellent tight squash. It was good to watch.

The home player seemed to be getting frustrated at his inability to pull away score wise from the Malaysian but Azlan stuck to his for his first game ball at 10 -9. A long rally ensued and ended with Peter appealing to the referees that Azlan had blocked his path to the ball. A no-let was awarded much to Peter’s frustration.

The second saw Peter getting more and more frustrated and his head seemed to “drop” just a little. Enough for Azlan to sniff out the opportunity and take the game 11-3 for a 2-0 lead. Oh dear.

To his credit, Peter came out for a fight in the third and managed to get his nose ahead for most of the game. However, possibly a slight injury or Azlan’s dogged determination and excellent play…probably all of the above actually allowed the Chichester No 1 to claw his way back and eventually take the game and match 11-8. A very well deserved win.

And so once the dust settled, the home team came away with the result, Squashsite’s dodgy crystal ball proved to be correct in its score prediction but….. Daryl Selby and his mates down the road hammered Guildford 5-0!

So…10th Nov has us on a sojourn down to Bristol also hoping Exeter take points of the St Georges crew and then…the (hopefully still!) top of the table clash to look forward to.

It’s getting interesting….

David Sobo

Chichester fall short at Surrey

Covers Team Chichester made the trip to Croydon, for Round 3 of the PSL, to play 2008 Champions, Surrey Health and Rackets Club.

On paper it looked an interesting tie and Covers Team Chichester was determined to erase the 0.5 whitewash at the same venue last season.

First on court Dominique Lloyd-Walter, world 22, faced world 18, Carmille Serme, who was making her debut for the Surrey side.

A fascinating match ensued.   Lloyd-Walter struggled to find a length in the first game and Serme’s volley drops, particularly on the back hand, won her several points to ensure an 11/8 win.  Lloyd-Walter fought back in the second; her length of shot slightly better and, aided by a few mistakes from Serme, she went on to win it 7/11.  The 3rd game was nip and tuck all the way.  Serme’s front court game was superb whilst Lloyd-Walter hustled to stay in the contention.  Lloyd-Walter found herself 8/10 down but she rallied well to force errors from her opponent and eventually won it 10/12.  Serme always had a slight upper hand in the 4th and played good squash – floating the ball around the court and going in short well, to take it 11/6.

The 5th followed in the same manner.  Serme had, by now, cut out her mistakes.   Lloyd-Walter’s ‘plan B’ game of just gritting it out and running everything down began to falter.  Her shot length had never been consistent throughout the match and Serme ran out an 11/6 winner to give the Surrey side first blood.
On the adjoining court Chichester’s Tim Vail, playing at 4, took on Adrian Walker.  The first 2 games were shared.  Vail took an early lead in the 3rd but squandered opportunities and eventually lost it 10/12.   “As all good ‘voles’ do, Vail managed to dig himself out of a hole!”   His experience and skill proved too much for Walker and Vail took the next 2 games 4/11, 7/11 to kick-start his winning PSL campaign.  1-all

The eagerly awaited next match was between the over 35s, Alex Gough and the squash legend that is Peter Nicol.  For those who witnessed the match, it was a joy to watch.  Mike Phillips, Team Manager, said after the match, “I was hoping that Alex could pull something out of the bag but Nicol’s general all-round play was awesome.”

The tempo, pace, speed shot-making and accuracy were all on display from the great man.  Although Gough competed well in the first game, Nicol got stronger and stronger as the match progressed.  Gough suffered a minor hamstring injury in the 3rd but by then the writing was on the wall and Nicol won 11/9, 11/4, 11/1.  2.1 to Surrey

Surrey’s Wael El Hindi, world 13, must be the strongest No. 2 string in the PSL and Chichester’s Robbie Temple, world 65, had a tough task ahead.  Although Temple competed well in the first 2 games he found himself 0.2 down.  In the 3rd Temple struggled and El Hindi comfortably took it 11/2 to give the Surrey side a winning 3.1 margin.

The last match between the No.1 strings, Mo Azlan Iskandar (world 20) and Surrey’s Peter Barker (world 9) proved to be an exciting battle with Iskandar giving a superb performance and playing one of his best matches.  Iskandar, after the match, said,” The 0.3 defeat last season, on the same court in last season’s fixture, was still fresh in my mind and I intended to make amends.” Make amends he did.  After a close opening game, which he took 9/11, Azlan took control and displayed the world-class squash which, in recent months, gave him victories over Thierry Lincou (world 8) and David Palmer (world 6).  Azlan continued to pile on the pressure and took the next 2 games and match 3/11 and 8/11.

3.2 to Surrey; an excellent evening’s entertainment all round but still no win for Chichester.   Surely on November 10th, at home to Guildford and fielding the same squad, fortunes will change.  We shall see!

Mike Phillips - Team Manager

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chapel A 2 Duffield 3

As the preview said Duffield were out for revenge after last season’s final defeat. The crystal ball was spot on but Chapel A gave Duffield one hell of a fight.Once again the music and lights were in place and the crowd packed in.

At 5 making her debut Fiona Moverley took on England Team player Tania Bailey. Fiona was a bit slow to start, maybe debut nerves, losing the first. Then she came out in the second and really acquitted herself to the task and played some great squash and tried her heart out. At one all the crowd were willing Fiona on, however the experience of Tania counted in the end and she took the match 3-1. The crowd were impressed with Fiona’s efforts.

At the same time Shaun Le Roux was having a physical battle with Joel Hinds. Both have big frames and there was not much room given but still some fantastic attacking squash was played. Joel took a break in the first game with a blood injury after being hit in the nose. This made Joel look a bit meaner but didn’t help in the first game as Shaun pushed through 11-6. The second was very similar Shaun winning 11-7 Joel pushed hard in the third but Shaun pulled out some outrageous shots to take the third 12-10.

One all.

Laurence Delasaux then went on against Whippy at 3 and Chris Simpson took on ex Chapel A player Steve Coppinger on the other court.

Dela and Whippy were trading shots and were locked in a fierce battle. There were some dubious decisions for both players causing a few shrieks of despair. Whippy took the first. Dela stemmed the attacking shots by Whipp in the second and levelled the game. Whipp then went 2-1 up again commanding the T and going berserk with constant attacking volleys. Dela looked to be feeling the pace after arriving back in the UK from Canada the same afternoon but again controlled the tempo in the fourth to level 2-2. Whipp again came flying out the blocks in the fifth and took it convincingly.

On the other court it was essential for Simpo to win to keep the match alive. He did not disappoint. In recent head to heads with Coppinger it is 1-1. Chris played superb squash defending and attacking at the right time. His excellent 3-1 win did not go un-noticed by his “groupies” that he brought with him. This made the match 2-2 and Ali vs Nick to go.

Ali was feeling under the weather but had nothing to lose as many of the crowd did expect Nick to win. However the crowd turned the volume up and really got behind the local favourite and he put everything into the match. Ali went 1-0 up, the crowd were getting edgy. Nick came back strong and took a 2-1 lead, it all looked over. Ali didn’t give in and played fantastic squash and with the crowd boiling over he levelled at 2-2. Fifth game all to play for, Nick 10-9 match ball, Ali comes back with a monster rally, crowd again going wild. Nick, British Open Champion, just had that bit extra to finish the match 12-10. Another thrilling night at Chapel A.

Thank you to Aegon Scottish Equitable for sponsoring the night and their staff for cheering throughout the night, and also that a major tennis sponsor is sponsoring squash!!!!

Mike Dickens

Surrey Storm get blown away!!

Graeme Williams reports

Last night saw Surrey Storm suffer there heaviest defeat of the season by top of the league TWP St Georges Hill.  The result highlighted where Storm need to be and showcased St Georges Hill’s faith in youth.

Harriet Ingham Making her first appearance if the season against Rachel Willmott started well losing a tight first before losing her way in the second losing it 11/2 and staring down the barrel 2-0 down.  Harriet showed great pride and ability in clawing her way back into the match taking the next two with strong attacking squash.  Momentum was with her and the decider went point for point before Harriet tried to force the issue to much making 3 mistakes given Rachel a hard earned win 3-2.

Sibling Alex was up against close friend and in form Joe Lee.  The first saw Alex happy to rally with Joe and react to his tactics meaning Joe looked comfortable before a few errors let Alex back in and gave him the belief that perhaps he could cause an upset.  Joe composed himself and closed out the game 11/9.  The second saw Alex hitting with more purpose and playing a more attacking game but Joe was moving well and producing some great attacking shots of his own winning it 11/6 before taking the third and putting St Georges 2-0 up.

Steve Meads was back playing at number 3 against Hungary number 1 Mark Krajscak.  Mark looked strong and hungry against the unbeaten Steve and although as always Steve made Mark work for every single point he was unable to really push on and Mark won in 3 making the score on the night 3-0.

Another unbeaten record was put on the line as Stacey Ross was up against Tom Richards.  Tom was moving and playing well where as Stacey after a hectic week of squash, travel and climbing out of ditches  was slightly off the pace.  Stacey got off to a flyer in the first but after that it was one way traffic as Tom controlled the rallies, and ran out a comfortable 3-0 winner.

Last up was Jesse Englebrecht against Daryl Selby.  This was an entertaining encounter played in a fantastic spirit with both players opening up the court at every opportunity.  Daryl won the first but the second saw Jesse earn 3 match balls which Daryl duly saved before concerting his first and opening up a 2-0 lead.  The third was just as competitive but Daryl always had the edge and he closed the match out 3-0 sealing a comfortable 5-0 win for TWP St Georges Hill.

Again thanks to Danny and St Georges for their hospitality and also for showing us what is needed to be a top side in this competitive league.  We will be back!

Diamonds dent Bristol's hopes

Adam Ling reports

Temple Murray 3-2 Ellie Epke 6/11 11/6 11/7 9/11 11/3 30 mins

The opening match was a fantastic display of up and coming squash. Both girls played out of their skin. The 170 strong crowd supported both players but in the end Temple Murray's superior power proved too much for the 11 year old, who flagged a little at the end. Both players should be proud of their performance and they are both names to watch for the future.

Clinton 2-3 Hardian Stiff 12/14 11/8 8/11 11/5 15/17 97mins

One of the epic battles of the psl season, you could not ask for more from the players, it was played in a great fair spirit. The crowd were in two minds, should they cheer for the Devon legend or should they  support their new boy. A supportive crowd watched a great match which Hadrian pip Stiff won in the end.

Jonathan Kemp 1-3 Mohamed El Shorbagy 11/5 9/11 4/11 10/12

Joey Barrington 3-0 David Evans 11/6 11/7 11/7 32 mins

A great match, David showed moments of magic but Joey was too consistent and and was the better player. Joey stuck to his task well and didn’t try to be too clever. He worked hard and deserved the 3-0 win

Stewart Boswell 3-1 Adrian Grant 11/4 7/11 11/8 11/6 64 mins

Boswell proved once again he is one of the best league players, after last year's disappointment with Grant spioling Exeter’s party with a defeat of Palmer, the Devon side did not want it to happen again. With the support of a 160 strong crowd, Boswell was too strong in the front corners and time after time punished Grant with the straight drop.

Exeter Happy 3-2 winners… and the crystal ball was good for once!!

Adam Lings

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bristol Schoolgirl to make Premier League history

Bristol schoolgirl Eleanor Epke will make history next Tuesday when she represents Probuild Bristol in the Premier Squash League to become the youngest player ever to compete in the 26-year history of the world's most prestigious squash league.

The 11-year-old, who heads the England U13 rankings, will face Devon's England's U17 No7 Victoria Temple-Murray in the club's 3rd round fixture against Exeter Diamonds, in Exeter.

The five-player teams in the PSL comprise four men and one woman. The Exeter tie's top string clash will see Bristol's world No10 Adrian Grant take on the home side's Australian No3 Stewart Boswell, ranked 16 in the world.

"This initiative by Exeter Diamonds and Probuild Bristol demonstrates that, whilst showcasing top professional players from around the world, the PSL can also give opportunities to junior players to further their development and gain invaluable experience," said Chris Nutley, Head of Competitions and Events at England Squash & Racketball.

"The decision taken by the two managers in selecting Eleanor and Victoria can only aid the broader development of girls' squash, particularly in the South West."

Epke is coached by Probuild Bristol team captain Hadrian Stiff at the city's Elite Squash Academy.

"I think Ellie is the best all-round young player I have coached and seen in this country," said Stiff. "She has the makings of a world number one - but she is still so young we can only wait and see, and hope she fulfils her potential."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Court Drama... MB Nottingham Vs. Oxford

Court Drama... David Coghlan

Before the match started I knew that this could be one of the tightest matches of the year. Having informed the expectant Nottingham crowd that every match was 50/50, it was a hugely exciting / heart wrenching / thrilling / rollercoaster of a night that has in all likelihood advanced my inevitable journey towards grey hair.

Emma Beddoes lost Madeleine Perry 7/11, 10/12, 7/11

First up on the show court, Emma Beddoes faced Irish international and World Number 7 Madeleine Perry. A tough match on paper for the home player but she gave it everything she had and deserved more from the match than she got. Perry took the first 11/7, her high tempo game and movement in the first impressive, limiting Beddoes attacking opportunities and keeping her constantly reaching into the corners. The second was better for the home crowd. Beddoes slowed the game, disrupting the rhythm of Perry who allowed a few errors to creep in to her own game. Combine this with some stunningly gutsy winners from Beddoes and with a backhand nick she achieved game point at 10/8. Perry simplified her game and dug in to creep back to 10/10 before two errors from Beddoes gave Perry the second game 12/10. The third game swayed between both players as first Beddoes gained a slight lead following a few unforced errors from Perry, before errors of her own and a renewed determination from Perry, allowed her to edge ahead and close out the game and match 11/7.

Eddie Charlton beat Piedro Schweetrman 11/7, 7/11, 11/6, 11/6

Meanwhile on the back court former club junior Eddie Charlton faced Dutch man Piedro Schweetrman ranked just five places apart. This was a tight match with both players moving the ball well and extending the rallies. The first was shot for shot to 7/7 before Schweetrman hit four tins to hand the first game to Charlton 11/7. Impatience shown in the first didn’t materialise in the second, Charlton hit too many short cross courts to the Dutchman’s vicious forehand who happily buried the ball taking the second 11/7. Charlton clearly recognised that avoidance of the Schweetrman fore hand was key and varied the pace well in both the third and fourth, dominating the T, minimising his opponents options and taking a well deserved victory 11/6, 11/6.

Let the pain begin...

At one match apiece, Simon Parke took the first game against Scott Handley, while on the show court a massively dominant Renan lavigne took a comfortable 2-0 lead over Chris Ryder. Then the whispering started. “Dave, this could be your year” one notable NSRC member told me. “This will be a great result tonight” said another. That was all that was needed to condemn MB Nottingham to possibly the most tense 45 minutes I’ve experienced during my 4 years running our PSL team.

Parke was dominated in the second losing 11/4. But that wasn’t the end of the world because Lavigne had just hit an outrageous volley nick winner to reach match ball at 10/7.

“Do you remember Renan’s match last year against Lee Beachill? When he lost 3-2 from 2-0 and match ball up?” asked one NSRC member. I did and i didn’t want to comprehend it, however Ryder came back fighting with three, back to the wall, no holds barred winners 8/10, 9/10, 10/10. Renan took another match ball 11/10. Pegged back 11/11. Another at 12/11, the shouting from the crowd getting hoarser. 12/12, an error, Ryder was game point up and a desperate looking Lavigne succumbed to the inevitable comeback 14/12.

Still, it wasn’t all over yet, a blip surely? Renan came back and continued playing the good fast squash that had won him the first two. The difference now was that Ryder smelt a chance and didn’t let anything go. At all. Long, hard rallies, physically draining for the players mentally draining for spectators. Neither established a lead so we reached 10/10. No matter how much we shouted or jumped up and down Ryder was on form now and again managed to play some top draw winners at the crucial moment taking the fourth 12/10 to set up a nightmare (for us) deciding fifth game.

On the back court Parke was doing everything he could to contain Handley who it seems had the brief of giving Simon a heart attack. Huge rallies, particularly hard on the legs as the ball was continually fired in short by both players. Parkey ran and ran some more narrowly losing the fourth 11/9 and then with Renan / Ryder at 2/2, Handley sneaked another hugely physical 4th game 12/10 to have the whole match hanging on the one final game between Lavigne and Ryder.

Needless to say i was now having kittens on the gallery of the show court and the tension and atmosphere around Court 10 was electric. Lavigne feeds on a crowd’s energy and having mentally regrouped looked the more hungry in the fifth. Having established another 10/7 match ball lead everybody was ready to jump up and down. Tin. Tin. Tin. 10/10. This was agony and the Nottingham crowd now joined me in the kitten birthing stakes. A tin from Ryder and Lavigne had an 11th match ball 11/10. It was the one he needed, a forehand drop winner. Lavigne flat out on the court floor, me and 100 Nottingham fans on our feet screaming! We were still in it.

Laurens Jan Anjema beat Cameron Pilley 4/11, 11/5, 11/9, 11/9

This was the first outing at home for LJ and with the tension of the previous game still gnawing at the stomach, everybody hoped for a smooth and stress free final match. Pilley had other ideas. I haven’t seen a player hit the ball so viciously or so accurately for years. Reminiscent of former Nottingham player John White, Pilley simply picked any nick on the court, hit the ball as hard as he could and it would roll. LJ could do nothing, and with a final cross court volley nick Pilley wrapped up the first 11/4 to the dismay of a stunned audience. Luckily Renan lavigne had a word and as the master of changing a match’s fortune i left them to it. LJ came back and slow balled Pilley, disrupting his rhythm and playing some beautifully deft un-returnable drops. Everything was now going the Dutch mans way and wrapped the game up 11/5 with a cross court volley nick of his own.

Parity then, the crowd where now sitting more comfortably although i had finally reached for the bottle. Pilley frustrated by the lack of pace in the game and the minimising nature of LJ’s game made error after error to hand LJ a 10/3 lead. Now unencumbered by trying to win the game Pilley went for his shots. A nick for 10/4, winner, winner, and another cross court volley nick to reach 10/7. The relaxed crowd, now being made to sit up straighter as Pilley ground out every rally with clean and error free squash, he got all the way to 9/10 before an unfortunate loose ball and an obvious stroke gave LJ the game and generated a collective sigh of relief. The fourth was tight all the way; with Pilley taking an 8/9 lead. LJ came back however and had looked the more likely winner throughout, a tin from Pilley gave LJ a 10/9 lead before finally closing the match out 10/9 and a second victory for MB Nottingham who now go joint top with Chapel Allerton.

A great night for everybody present and a fantastic advert for the league. All the players gave 110% and the crowd were well and truly put through the wringer. Newport next week so we are already looking forward to another great match.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Surrey Storm narrowly lose out again.

Graeme Williams reports

For the second time this month Surrey Storm fought valiantly but were unable to take the spoils on the road at Bristol.  Making his debut in the PSL was Mohammed Ali Anwar Reda to add a bit of spice to the top of our order.  He came in with Gilly Lane unavailable so we looked stronger than before. 

First up was a more relaxed Victoria Lust who had another tough match against Laura Lengthorne Massaro.  Victoria fought well against Laura’s class and in all the game was competing until Laura pulled away to take the first two games 11/6, 11/7.  In the third Victoria stayed with her for longer creating a game ball at 10/9 but Laura came back well to win 12/10.

On the show court Stacey Ross was getting the better of David Evans although both players were feeling a little of the base but Stacey won the big points to take a 2-0 lead.  In the third Stacey looked to be moving the better and reading David’s game to pull off some stunning winners and took the third 11/6 to level the match 1-1.

Surreys very own Peter Pan, Steve Meads was grinding down Hadrian Stiff 12/10, 12/10 before Hadrian had to withdraw due to feeling faint.  Again Surrey Storm had managed to move 2-1 ahead with the dogged determination and quality form the elder statesman of the team.  Next up was Jesse Englebrecht against the inform Mohammed El Shorbagy.  The first game was played at a high pace which suited the Egyptian as he reeled of exquisite winners from all areas as Jesse struggled to move him around as he would like.  In the second Jesse improved slowing the pace down and finding his range but at 8 all Mohammed pulled away to take a 2-0 lead.

In the third Shorbagy returned to the brilliance of the first and closed out the match 11/2 setting up a decider between the new boy Reda and the experienced Adrian Grant.

In the first Reda was too lose and had no answer to the control of Grant.  The second saw Mohammed tighten up and get in front a little more and he took it 11/8.  We were getting excited and dreaming of a first Victoria of the season but Adrian showed his experience taking the next two to seal the match for Bristol.

The nigh was a fantastic advert for the PSL with competitive games and played in a great spirit.  Bristol put on a great show with a fantastic crowed so we thank them and look forward to returning the favour next half.

Finally good luck to Stacey up in Manchester and hopefully our first win is not far away!

Guirey arrives home

Neil Guirey arrived for his morning coffee at Chapel Allerton at 9.30am. My first question to him was, “what time did you get in?”. “Three” was the reply and I left him to his coffee.

So after the long journey Chapel A returned home with a 3-2 victory. This was the score-line predicted by the team Managers and puts Chapel Allerton to the top of the table.

A special thank you goes to Peter & Sally Merchant and their son Ben Merchant for travelling to Newport to support the Chapel A side. Ben Merchant at 9 years old has recently won the Yorkshire u11 Championships (Lee and James have won this in the past).

He is coached by Neil and is a huge fan of the Premier Squash League. The Merchants were trying their best to drown out the Welsh support last night.

Next match is against Duffield at Chapel A on the 27th October.

Mike Dickens