Team Chichester welcomed UWE Bristol to Chichester Racquets and Fitness Club for its first home match of Premier Squash League this year. Both teams were fielding below top strength squads but a competitive fixture, however, looked on the cards.
Lauren Briggs opened the proceedings. She has proved to be a very reliable player for Team Chichester this season and once again she did not disappoint. Briggs stormed through to a straight sets victory; dropping only a few points on the way.
On the adjoining glass-back Chichester’s Pete Genever, making a welcome return to the squad, had his hands full against Bristol’s, Dan West. Genever stormed to a 10/5 lead in the first game but after a fightback from his opponent he only just closed out the game 12/10. In the second game he once again took a commanding 10/5 lead, only to lose concentration, find the tin regularly and then lose the game 10/12. From then on both players battled evenly with Genever just coming through to win the next 2 games and edge out a 3.1. winner.
2.0 to Chichester
Next on the hard back court Brandon Hanley made his debut for Chichester. On the night he was in full flow and, aided by some outrageous nicks, convincingly closed out a 3.0 win to give Chichester an unassailable 3.0 lead.
On the glass-back court Chichester’s Nic Birt built up a 10/0 lead against Theo Anderson before being hauled back to eventually take the game 11/7. Anderson, thereafter, grew in confidence and ground out a scrappy, hard fought 1.3 victory to put Bristol on the score sheet.
Finally, the dead rubber match between Chichester’s Tim Vail and Bristol’s proved to be the match of the night, and the longest at 68 minutes. A close 1st game went to Bristol as Serme’s speed around the court enabled him to claw back an early deficit and win it 8/11. He carried on in the same vein in the second to comfortably win 2/11. In the 3rd Vail started hitting more strong and straight shots to give Serme little to attack. The game swung to and fro; Vail struggled to keep his straight game in check before he finally got it back on track to win through 13/11. A similar pattern in the 4th but an exhausted Vail started and finished strongly with a lapse of concentration during the middle period. Nonetheless he battled well to take it 12/10 to take the match to the deciding 5th game. By now Serme sensed that Vail was increasingly tiring and took advantage by making him work harder for every point. He closed out the match 5/11.
Chichester won 3.2.
The next match is at home on Tuesday 15 February against Surrey Health and Racquets Club. Team Chichester will field its strongest men’s squad and Hannah Wright-Davies (a Member of Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club) makes her debut.
Mike Phillips - Team Chichester Team Manager