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