Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Nationals Champions can't save Chapel-A

Mike Dickens Reports

Even with a number of our professionals away on the world tour Chapel A were proud to field to recently crowned National Champions in Thierry Lincou and Jenny Duncalf. At 2,3 and 4 we knew it would be tough with debuts for our younger pros at the club Chris Truswell and Rudi Willemse with Laurence Delasaux elevated to 2 string.

Jenny Duncalf vs Madeline Perry. This was a repeat of the Nationals semi-final and in the first game Madeline looked like she was out for revenge. It was close all the way but a couple of quick backhand crosscourt flicks sealed the game 11-9. Jenny came racing out in the second to take a commanding lead but again Madeline dug her heels in and closed the gap from 9-5 down to 10-8, an error by Jenny and it was 10-9, a monster rally won by Jenny finished the game 11-9. Jenny kept the pressure on to move through the match and take her first home victory to a delighted crowd. Chapel A (3-1).

Rudi Willemse vs Scott Handley. This is the match we had to win if we wanted to take the spoils on the night. Rudi pushed Scott all the way and showed some outrageous retrieving and the ability to hit a ridiculous winner after Scott had pulled him all around the court. The supporters really got behind the South African on his debut but the experience of Scott pulled him through in five. Oxford (2-3)

Chris Truswell vs Chris Ryder. Ryder has played Yorkshire League for Chapel A for 7 seasons and the supporters were appreciative of that fact. Truswell looked nervous in the first game and Ryder cruised through with his swift and elegant movement 11-2. Truswell picked himself up and battled well in the second hitting some nice nicks just losing out 8-11. Again in the third Truswell can’t be faulted for effort and found himself at 10-7, unfortunately Ryder hit 3 fantastic (risky) shots in a row to level 10-10 and stepped up the pace to close out 12-10. Oxford (0- 3)

Laurence Delasaux vs Borja Golan. To be truthful on paper this looked a very one sided match, however, “D-Boy” put on a show. Rapidly becoming a crowd favourite, Dela came flying out with no fear and his racket skills looked better than ever. He took Borja by suprise and hit some fantastic forehand drops that even the world number 14 was struggling to handle. Dela took the first 11-7 to a huge cheer from the crowd. Borja brought the pace up in the second and forced Laurence to make a string of errors, which got the supporters talking about “Borja’s fitness will count now” (4-11). Dela proved the crowd wrong and they dually responded to his immense effort and skill. The third and forth really could have gone either way, Borja just the more patient on the crucial points, 9-11, 9-11. Oxford (1-3).

Thierry Lincou vs Cameron Pilley. After signing youngsters kit bags Lincou was focused on the task ahead. It was essential for Thierry to win but stop Oxford from getting anymore points, Thierry didn’t disappoint and looked very sharp. The French National Champion put on an awesome display to take the match 3-0.

Mike Dickens

DUFFIELD ON TOP - the Whipp Report

Duffield go back to the top beating Nottingham 5-0 in a match littered with National Champions past and present.

There were more National titles won at the hands of tonight's players than if Jeremy Bates were to marry Geoff Capes and have racket wielding, discus throwing champion offspring (Geoff incidentally has the best website in the world ever, Who knew he would turn out to be a famed budgie breeder?! Athlete, Strongman and Prize Winning Budgerigar Breeder!).

The champions were Nick (junior and senior (and British Open let's not forget)), Parky (junior, senior and masters!), Donna Vardy (junior), and I'm assuming Tania, Renan and Rooney Tunes must have notched up a few between them also. So to sum up, our crowd were in for a treat.


Both players had fairly straight forward matches but Donna Vardy (fresh from winning her Over 35 national title, and very fresh as she's had over 10 years away without picking up a racket after retiring at her peak when she won her junior national title, akin to Stacey Ross) took a 4-0 lead in the first with some awesome forehand kills. After the great start it was pretty one sided and Tania raced through at a super speedy pace. Joel was just too good unfortunately for Lewis and also won 3-0. Joel's great to watch cus he's always willing to go for some outrageous shots when he gets a rush of blood, sometimes they come off and sometimes he can turn what's meant to be a crazy backhand cross-court nick into a good cross-court winning length!


This was always going to be a fun match with my attacking and Parky's dogged determination. Parky, feeling great after his weekend win, was well up for this match and I was playing well so there were some great rallies had. Unfortunately for the Master champion the pace was just a little too high throughout and coupled with few errors I managed to run away to a 2-0 lead. Wary about the Yorkshire man's comeback skills I was determined to make a good start and Nick told me not to be too bonkers on the pace as Simon's like a "Sponge" as he just absorbs anything one paced thrown at him. Again hitting no errors and playing reasonably sensibly (for me) I raced to a 9-1 lead and the match was all but over. A few good shots from the Parkatron couldn't prevent the inevitable for too long and Duffield had won the match. The crowd were now becoming increasingly excitable after a great match to watch (and play in).


The last two matches saw Duffield's 1 and 2 finish the job off to complete a 5-0 drubbing of our rivals. They both dropped a game to make things interesting, or maybe just teasing the Nottingham supporters. It was as if they'd seen a fox left for dead in the road and kicked it in the head to complete the road kill and put the poor thing out of its misery.

A good night for Duffield after the disappointment of our last outing at Ponte, with some great squash enjoyed by the fully packed coliseum. Bring on the next round. Grrrrrr

Andy Whipp

Guildford's long trip not in vain

Exeter Diamonds 2 lost to UniSport Guildford 3
Ian Robinson reports

UniSport Guildford made the long journey to Exeter - the longest away fixture on the calendar and were not disappointed. Exeter Diamonds have a dream squad but struggled on the night for availability of their star names. UniSport on the other hand do not have quite the same luxuries but live for the day when availability is a problem for the opposition, which, surprisingly, is more often than one might suppose. This was just one of those occasions and UniSport Guildford took advantage of the opportunity in a hard nosed professional way, as befits some of the veterans in their side. Not available for Exeter Diamonds were Australians David Palmer, Natalie Grinham and Stewart Boswell as well as Jonathon Kemp, all of whom would have made a vast difference to the home team's fire power. UniSport Guildford had their regular line up - Mick Biggs in for Phil Rushworth - with no real surprises but had the gun loaded and ready to fire.

First on the range was the in form and unbeaten in nearly two seasons, Alison Waters who wasted no time in convincing onlookers that she was hungry to get the job done quickly and this despite the recent disappointment of losing in the final of the National Squash Championships in Manchester. Emma Chorley resisted but mainly without exerting enough pressure on Waters to make a difference. In the end Waters got UniSport off to a sound start with a comfortable 3 - 0 win, putting the first point on the board 1 - 0 to the visitors and continuing her unbeaten run.

On the main show court, Steve Meads was confronted by yet another youngster - well there is a train of thought that says they are all youngsters for Steve these days - in the shape of England Junior, Tom Pashley. Youth versus experience. Meads has been in good form recently and especially had a good showing to the last 16 of the National Championships. He was quickly into his stride building up a lead playing contained and disciplined squash interspersed with enough winners to stay ahead and clinch the first game. The second game followed a similar pattern with Meads controlling most of the play and not allowing Pashley a platform, as hard as he tried. It was tight towards the end of the game but when it mattered Meads found the telling blow and took a 2 - 0 lead. In the third, Meads delivered more of the same and increasingly Pashley became frustrated and lapsed into error as Meads moved away and banked a solid hard working 3 - 0 win to put UniSport Guildford 2 - 0 into a lead.

While the match score was exciting the Guildford supporters, a disaster was befalling them on the outside court as Mick Biggs found James Snell in good form and this combined with Biggs' inability to control the ball in the hot bouncy conditions meant that this was a short and rather one sided contest much to the disappointment of the Guildford player. The score does not often lie and scoring a mere 8 points left Biggs with much to ponder. The margin for Guildford was now reduced to 2 - 1.

The ever popular Stacey Ross never fails to entertain with his skill, but now was the time when a result was the much needed order of the day. Rob Sutherland is another young upcoming tough nut to crack and his all-round athletic ability and solid consistent game were likely to be a testing challenge for Ross. The first game was decidedly edgy with Ross not looking particularly comfortable, but after levelling at 8 - 8 he somehow managed to do enough to stay in front and clinch the game, which took the pressure off him. The second game was again close to 5 - 5 when Sutherland benefited from some loose play and some errors and came storming back to equalise 1 - 1. The third game followed a similar pattern with Ross gradually taking more control of the middle of the court putting Sutherland under more pressure and after tight exchanges Ross suddenly found a degree more confidence and control and took a 2 - 1 lead. Everything pointed to a four game win if Ross could only return with the same tactics and confidence. He did not and the fourth game followed a similar pattern but this time it was Sutherland who moved away after the tight early exchanges. At this stage it was too close to call and it all depended on who got the better start in the fifth. The Guildford player fell 2 points behind, but then just as quickly pulled them back and then started to play with the assurance that allowed him to control the play and force errors from Sutherland who will be disappointed at the outcome of the final game. It was too close to call but the Guildford supporters were happy to take the narrow win and make the long journey home with a lot more cheer than might otherwise have been the case. This was a marvellous 3 - 1 win on the scoreboard for UniSport Guildford and Jesse Engelbrecht still had the opportunity to add another point and boost his own confidence after recent set backs.

The opening phase of the match between the number 1 strings was very strange. The lightening fast Mohamed El Shorbagy took it upon himself to slow ball right from the start of the match against Jesse Engelbrecht. This was perfect for Engelbrecht as it allowed him to hit his winners with rare abandon as if in some practise routine organised by the coach. This was compounded by a string of errors from the Egyptian World number 30. This made for very strange watching indeed, only partially explained by the fact that Shorbagy did not seem to be in the best of health after recent exploits on the World tour in Sweden and Finland. The second game was not much better as far as the Exeter number 1 was concerned, but this time the margin was 11 - 7 - a little easier for Engelbrecht who played the right shots at the right time to build his lead. Predictably the third game saw Shorbagy begin to warm to the challenge a little more but it was still Engelbrecht who made his way to match ball first. Engelbrecht had one chance to make good and clinch what would have been an extremely good win for him, but in the end he hit an unconvincing cross court backhand drive straight onto Shorbagy's volley and with no second invitation needed the home player hit the winner. At this point, there was what could be construed as a poor refereeing decision against Guildford but in reality the rally at match ball was the decisive factor. After that Shorbagy warmed to the task and started to control the match in a way that had not been in evidence at the start and it became increasingly difficult for Engelbrecht to get back into the match and control it in a way that he had been able to do in the first 2 games and for most of the third. Engelbrecht will rue his missed opportunities but as the crowd roared Shorbagy on, it was a fitting end to an absorbing evening's squash.

UniSport Guildford were delighted to come away with an unexpected 3 - 2 win against all the odds and move off the bottom of the table and that against the team that started the day as league leaders. This was just another day in the sporting book of upsets, but made some tired Guildford bodies look forward to the run into the end of season with huge enthusiasm. Guildford were royally entertained in every sense by the Exeter Diamonds club and perhaps next time the welcome won't be quite so cordial.

There is still the postponed fixture against PNH Properties Chichester to fit into the calendar but that apart the next match sees the University faithful welcome TWP St Georges Hill to the Varsity Centre, all in the shadow of the emerging steel frame of the new Squash Centre which is fast becoming a part of the Guildford skyline. Book early to see the action on Tuesday 10th March starting at 7pm.

Ian Robinson

Friday, February 6, 2009

TWP St George's Crash To Defeat at Bristol

Danny Lee reports ...

TWP St George's Hill squash team put up a brave showing away to Probuild Bristol with all players capturing at least one game for their endeavours. Nobody could quite manage to win a match on a frustrating night for the visitors. Probuild Bristol now move into 2nd place in The Premier Squash League with TWP St George's clutching on to 4th spot.

Julie Peachey making her debut for TWP St George's exceeded expectations with a brave display against England Junior International Sarah-Jane Perry. Peachey captured the first game and continued to impress narrowly losing the remaining three games, the last of which went to 13-11.

Neil Hitchens playing at number 4 for St George's Hill also took the first game from Welsh International Lewys Hurst. Hitchens didn't have enough strength after a lengthy lay off at Christmas to make any further impact and Hurst took the match comfortably.

TWP's British Junior Champion Joe Lee faced the experienced Peter Marshall who was once ranked World number 2. Marshall has a deceptive two handed style which he uses to great effect. Marshall's immaculate length was rewarded on the cold court and he won the first game 11-7. Lee responded with some fine squash of his own taking the next two games and working his older opponent into the four corners of the court. Marshall can be even more deadly when he is tired and he played constructive squash to wrap up the match leaving Lee frustrated but accepting that he learned plenty in defeat from a past master who can still compete with the best players in the country.

Nafizwan Adnan, TWP's Malaysian import enjoyed the rare sight of seeing England's picturesque snowscape on the journey down but struggled in the cold conditions on court. His opponent Hadrian Stiff the Bristol captain managed to hit enough winners to stop "Wan" prolonging the rallies. In the third game "Wan" found his form but narrowly lost the fourth to the popular home skipper playing in front of a large partisan crowd.

Daryl Selby, whose fitness was in doubt after a nasty stomach bug had hospitalised him last week, started promisingly against former British Open Champion David Evans. Selby, who has risen to a career high no 26 in the latest World rankings cruised through the first game but then found it hard to physically push himself as Evans gained control of the centre of the court and the match.

A disappointing night for TWP St George's Hill but the team will be hoping for a return to winning ways in their home fixture against PNH Properties Chichester on February 17th at 7.00pm.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Pontefract 4 Duffield 1

Pontefract 4-1 Benz-Bavarian Duffield
Lee Beachill 3-0 Andrew Whipp 11-9, 11-7, 11-9
Harinder Pal Sandhu 3-1 Alex Stait 13-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6
Neil Cordell 3-0 Peter Billson 15-13, 11-5, 11-1
James Earles 0-3 Joel Hinds 4-11, 9-11, 5-11
Vanessa Atkinson 3-0 Millie Tomlinson 11-8, 11-3, 11-8


A match that looked like a definite 3-2 on paper in Duffield's favour turned out going badly wrong ...


First up at a quiet night in Pontefract, very quiet, was Millie against once World Champion, Vanessa.

A tough task for the junior but at 6-2 up in the first it looked like a stroll for the local girl! A few tins from Vanessa, maybe the nerves of the huge occasion, or maybe the 10 strong crowd was a little intimidating for the World no.11, and Millie was loving life. Vanessa then asserted her control and never looked back unfortunately for Millie.

Vanessa ran away a very comfortable winner but Millie had a smile on her face the whole match relishing every second of the match and admired every winning lob or drop Vanessa hit. Next time Millie, next time!


The first men's match was Badger Billson against his Wigginton team mate Neil Cordell. Neil started from the outset playing very well, controlled squash all the way. Pete was playing OK but seemed to have left his legs in front of the TV at home watching The Brittas Empire on UK Gold, as a few of his movements looked a tad slow.

A few untimely errors cost Pete the game on a long tie break, and after that Neil went from strength to strength. I've never seen him play so well (as I'm also a Wigginton player).

He was patient and always under control and put in a few nice drops when he needed to, Pete got more and more frustrated, let the court get to him and just couldn't get himself into the match.

He couldn't quite show that resilience that badgers so often have to at this time of year, maybe hibernation mode has kicked in for the bitter weather! An impressive 3-0 for Mr Cordell.


Joel was always in control on the adjacent court, showing James who was boss. James, who has obviously been impressive throughout his junior career so far, largely helped by being so strong and developed - he's akin to a grizzly bear in a lemming's body - never could make a physical impact on the stronger, faster paced, somewhat frantic Joel. Joel was a comfortable 3-0 winner.

At last a point on the board!


Staity has knee troubles these days as everyone knows but he's still a class act at controlling the ball. Harry's been here for 6 months and has improved, and was definitely more comfortable on the Pontefract court than Staitman. After sharing a tight first two games, both on tie breaks, unfortunately for us the Warrior from India ran away with the next two to confirm that Ponte were to run out winners.

Staity was just too much in coaching mode as he was constantly caught out going to the back when the ball was in fact going to the front! Doh!


I felt good on court to be able to move again after a week of being completely crippled with a shitty back (pretty sure that's the medical term).

I played well, trying to draw out the rallies when I could, which is very hard to do when you have someone with the immense racket control of Lee trying to shorten the rallies whenever he could.

I definitely suffered from the "seven point itch". I got to seven points first in every game but then proceeded to play the crappest rally in history to keep Lee in it, and then of course he'd play a few great rallies and pip the game. It was a good match, with some exceptional shots from Beach, but frustrating just thinking if I could have gone on to take one or two of the games when I was up.

It's good though to see Beach using his short game, attacking any loose ball that comes his way. All it takes in one slightly loose 3/4 length and "slap!", the rally's over.

It will be interesting to see how he handles playing a game every day in the British next week because the way he's hitting the ball he's more than capable of winning, but having to play Nick though isn't the kindest draw ...