Thursday, November 25, 2010

World Squash returns to Winchester

World Squash has returned to the Winchester Tennis and Squash Club in the form of the Premier Squash League.  The format involves 5 players, of which one must be under 21 and one female.

IGT Winchester had played 2 matches prior to this showdown with unbeaten Exeter Diamonds and needed a victory to rejuvenate their season.

200 spectators crowded the Winchester gallery in anticipation of a great match and they were not to be disappointed.  The evening started with 26 year old Lauren Selby out playing her younger opponent, Emma Chorley, giving the home team a 1-0 lead.  This lead was extended by the ever improving   Marwan El Shorbagy who’s array of winning shots and excellent retrieving was too much for the world number 91 and local Exeter player, James Snell.

Next on court spectators welcomed local Hampshire player, Rob Downer, who performed well above expectation to beat Chris Tasker-Grindley taking the match 3-1 and sealing a Winchester victory. 

The last 2 matches involved 4 players all ranked within the World top 50.

The second string match was an Antipodean battle between World number 50 and New Zealand number 1, Campbell Grayson for Exeter against Winchesters Ryan Cuskelly who holds a current world ranking of 41. 

The match was a true battle lasting over 115 minutes with both players being pushed to their maximum.  The ever consistent Campbell eventually won the match 3-1 with Cuskelly ultimately being out played and having to cope with bout of cramp on the fourth game.  Cuskelly’s effort and commitment was not lost on the home crowd who appreciated both players attitude and enjoyed the match of the night.

With the result now decided, Joey Barrington representing Winchester, came onto court relishing the chance to compete against World number 11 Laurens Jan Anjema.  Although ranked 20 places below Anjema,  Joey, son of 6 times British Open winner,  Jonah Barrington, competed in all aspects of the game but could not break down the Dutchman eventually losing out 3-0.

With over 3 hours of play the crowd were treated to an outstanding display of world class squash played at the highest level in great spirit.  IGT Winchester now look forward to the new year travelling to UWE Bristol on 25/01/11 and hosting Surrey Health and Rackets on 01/02/11.

To watch IGT Winchester at their next home match please contact the Club reception on 01962 854028.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Aussie makes it tough for Games hero Matthew but Duffield cruise to victory

If this was meant to be the celebration of Nick Matthew's double gold medal success, someone forgot to tell Cameron Pilley.

World number two Matthew, playing his first Premier Squash League match for Benz-Bavarian Duffield since his Commonwealth Games triumph in Delhi, was given a tough old night by the Australian.

It was the Derbyshire club that took the honours on the night, winning 4-1 against Oxford to avenge their defeat in the final round of matches last season that cost them a place in the play-offs.

The victory was already in the bag before the number one players were even halfway through their first game but that didn't make it any less of an exhilarating contest.

If the forthcoming Ashes series is as keenly fought and as exciting to watch, we will all be in for a treat. The same result will also be welcome as the Englishman Matthew finally came through.

Pilley settled the quickest, going 7-1 up in the first game. Matthew had to save game ball twice at 10-8 and again at 12-11 but made his own second game ball count at 15-13.

But if Matthew thought he was over the worst of it, he was mistaken as he took a painful whack on the knuckle at 4-4 in the second and then saw the Oxford player come back from 8-6 down to level the match 11-9.

That was as close as Pilley was to get to an upset. He did well to save three game balls in the third but ran out of steam in the fourth against the relentless Matthew in the fourth.

"He made it a really tough match for me but that was just what I needed, especially with the World Open coming up," said Matthew. "It was a good workout."

Millie Tomlinson, back in the country at the end of her first term studying at Yale University in the USA, made very swift work of scoring her first PSL victory when she outplayed and demoralised her long-time junior rival Katie Quartermaine 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 in only 17 minutes.

At the same time, Steve Coppinger was having a more testing match against Scott Handley. The Oxford veteran showed plenty of deft touches but was unable to find the speed in his legs to take him to all the places Coppinger dragged him around court and the first two games went to the home side 11-7, 11-3.

Handley, to his credit, did not give up the contest and threatened to take it into a fourth game at 10-8 but the South African took the next four points and the match.

There was very little to choose between Andy Whipp and Andrew Birks in the opening two games.

Birks saved game ball twice before succumbing 13-11 in the first and Whipp had to survive two game balls in the second before making his own second opportunity pay 14-12.

That second game was settled on a stroke call that greatly annoyed Birks, though he did not dispute it, and he was not the same player as Whipp tore through the third 11-6.

The only blot on the night came at number two, when Jon Kemp's return to Duffield ended in an 11-6, 11-6, 11-2 defeat by Borja Golan.

But the overall victory against a side that had won their opening two PSL matches was a sweet one and put Duffield in a solid position with two wins to take into the new year.

Felix Frixou

Chapel Allerton make it Two out of Two

Chapel Allerton vs. Nottingham, 23rd November ‘10

After starting the season with a fantastic 5-0 away win at Pontefract, Chapel Allerton’s PSL Team were looking to continue their winning ways in their first home fixture over visitors Nottingham. In front of a packed and vocal home crowd both sets of supporters were treated to an entertaining night of squash, with Chapel Allerton emerging victorious in a 4-1 win, having the advantage of fielding a stronger team for the fixture.

Carrie Ramsey vs. Emily Whitlock 9/11 0/5 ret.

What promised to be a close encounter between two closely ranked teenagers was unfortunately cut short with an injury to Carrie towards the end of the first game just as the scores were level and the match was starting to fulfil its potential.

Shaun Le Roux vs. Declan James 6-11 / 9-11 / 11-1 / 11-3 / 11-4

A clash of experience vs. youth started with Declan looking the more energetic, and perhaps Shaun feeling the effects of his recent return from America. After finding himself with a two game deficit, Shaun seemed to find another gear to close out the next three games comfortably to level the match 1-1.

Chris Simpson v Mark Fuller 11-1 / 11-8 / 11-4

After a successful stint in Canada, Chris looked very confident and free in his squash. This was reflected in the score line which, with the exception of an early lead in the second for Mark, Chris cruised home to a comfortable 3-0 win which saw Chapel A take a 2-1 lead overall.

Aaron Frankcomb vs. Chris Truswell 11-5 / 11-8 / 11-7

After a season in exile crowd favourite Aaron has returned to the Team’s PSL squad, much to the delight of the watching clubs members. Aaron wasted no time in stamping his authority on the match, looking to strong and having too much variety for Chris, also an ex Chapel A PSL member. 3-1 to the home club.

Alister Walker vs. Lewis Walters 11-6 / 11-9 / 11-2

With the match having potential to be tighter than the world rankings would suggest (20 for Ali, 112 for Lewis) both players started at a frantic tempo, with the intensity rarely dropping throughout. Knowing that Chapel A had already secured the match, but with every point being crucial in the league Alister used his superior experience to take an entertaining but ultimately comfortable 3-0 win for himself and 4-1 win for the team.

Another great win for the team that sees them settle into joint second in the league with Duffield just four points behind Oxford who have a game in hand. The team now look forwards to a festive break before resuming their campaign in January.

Neil Guirey
Chapel Allerton Team Manager

Crystal Ball bounces back

After taking a break for the widely-spaced first two rounds, Crystal Ball bounced back with a bang for Round Three, naming all five winners, and had Olly Pett not humbled world #13 Daryl Selby, all five scores too.

Flushed by this success the top tipster is inclined to use this blog to announce future predictions and invite comment or ridicule from interested parties. So get your teams in early and watch this space ... see you in the New Year ...

Chichester’s Olly Pett wins the match of his life!

The 3rd round of the Premier Squash League Group B was staged at Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club this week with Team Chichester playing top of the table TWP St. George’s Hill Weybridge and indeed it was a ‘top of the table’ team that visited the Club.  Team Chichester remained unchanged from last week’s victorious squad but this week faced an extremely tough challenge against a very strong St. George’s Hill; a team comprising 4 players in the World’s top 50.

Alex Gough, third string for Chichester, played Nicolas Mueller, World No.39.  A gallant Gough once again battled hard and was very competitive in the first game but thereafter faded; he was giving away almost 20 years and this began to tell as the match progressed.  Mueller won comfortably 8/11, 5/11, 4/11

St George’s 1 up.

Meanwhile, on the adjacent court, Lauren Briggs (Chi.) played Sussex player, Rachel Willmott.  Lauren was doing her best to keep Chichester in the match and controlled the ‘T’ superbly to run out a 11/7, 11/5, 11/9 winner.


Following on, Nic Birt (Chi.), took on World No.48, Mark Krajcsak.  This proved to be a tough match but the difference in rankings was evident once again.  Birt steadfastly fought well throughout and gave 100% effort, and was generally in most of the rallies, but Krajcsak always seemed to have the last say.  As the score suggests, Krajcsak dominated all the way through the match for his 11/5, 11/4, 11/5 win.

Winchester 1.2 up on the night.

On the glass-back show court Tim Vail (Chi) took on Tom Richards, the World No.32. Inspired play by Vail, including a series of his trademark nicks, helped him take a close first game.  More of the same by both players followed in the second.  Richards speed around the court put Vail under increasing pressure and Richards snatched a close second to level the score.  Richards upped his game in the third and increased the pressure; mistakes began to creep into Vail’s game. Richards won the game with ease 2/11.  In the fourth Richards was always slightly ahead with Vail increasingly tiring.  Richards’ speed and consistency proved too much for Vail and Richards won the game 7/11 to give St. George’s Hill an unassailable lead.

1.3 and the match to St. George’s Hill.  

The final match was between Olly Pett (World No.145, a former International Junior and Chichester’s U23 player for the season) and Daryl Selby (currently World No.13 and 6 times National Racketball Champion) proved to be an enthralling classic. Pett played superlative squash against a man 132 places above him in the PSA ranking list.  Pett continually attacked, combined with superb deft touches and, together with Selby’s retrieving, the match was utterly spellbinding.  Pett took the first game on a tie-break 12/10.  Selby then battled back to take the next 2 games 9/11, 9/11 before the momentum swung back to Pett who gallantly won the 4th 11/5 to force a decider. 

An unbelievable 5th game followed and the atmosphere could only be described as electric.  Was another major upset on the cards?  Pett reached match point at 10/8, Selby saved one before Pett converted it to win the match of his life!  The headline “World No. 145 beats World No. 13” will reverberate around the squash world for a while to come. 

2.3. to St. George’s Hill

Olly said after the match “It’s the best win I’ve had and together with my win last week against Joey Barrington I’m feeling brilliant.” 

Team Chichester’s next match is away to Exeter on 25 January 2011.

Mike Phillips
Team Manager.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pett seals home win for Chichester

Team Chichester played IGT Winchester at Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club this week; the squad’s first home fixture of this season’s Premier Squash League.

Lauren Briggs, making her home debut for Chichester, faced Catherine Finlayson (also making her debut for Winchester).  Briggs did not disappoint and started strongly. She dominated to win 11/3 in the first.  Finlayson fought back well in the next 2 games; experience, however, held Briggs’ game together.  Greater control and domination of the ‘T’ saw her through to win the match 11/7, 11/6.