It was always going to be tough for Nottingham as they played host to Duffield who were keen to get the second half of the season off to a flier and move into second spot in the league. Testament to Nottingham’s commitment to the PSL they had a full house for what looked on paper a probable 5-0 drubbing.
Nottingham’s team manager and compere for the evening Dave Coghlan set the scene for the evening – as he introduced the teams onto court and then briefly interviewed all 10 players – hardly John Inverdale, more Alan Partridge, but very entertaining all the same.
First on the showcourt was Emma Beddoes against Jaclyn Hawkes: Emma got off to a flier and duly took the first 11-5 before seeming to turn off and lose the next and quickly finding herself 10-4 down in the third. Something then triggered a resurgence and she fought back to 9-10 before a tinned drop handed the game to Jaclyn. Emma continued her revival and levelled things by taking the 4thand quickly taking a 7-3 lead in the decider. However errors suddenly started to creep in and Jaclyn fought back to sneak it 9-7. An entertaining start to the evening but Emma was ultimately undone by too many unforced errors that denied her a good scalp. 1-0 to Duffield.
On the second court flatmates Chris Truswell and Joel Hinds locked familiar horns. There were some long rallies in the first game, with the training partners anticipating each others shots, but Joel’s speed and accuracy was telling and he took it 11-8, and eventually ran out a comfortable 3-0 winner. Duffield 2-0
There was no belated valentines love shown on the same court in the next match, as brothers Chris and Mark Fuller engaged in an intriguing battle. Chris, five years younger was expected to win, but knew a tough battle was in store. A great first game swung one way then the next with Chris nicking it 11-8. He then took the next 11-7 to go 2 up and looked in control. However Mark was determined not to let his kid brother have things his own way in the third winning 11-4. Chris finally settled the sibling spat 3-1 as he took the fourth 11-7 and the match 3-1. Match secured for Duffield 3-0
Back on the showcourt Lewis Walters was looking to get Nottingham back into the match against World No41 Steve Coppinger. Again a shock looked on the cards as Lewis matched his higher ranked opponent and deservedly took the first 12-10. The second was just as competitive with the home crowd getting right behind Lewis, but Steve started to exert his authority to level things with with a tight 11-8. This seemed to drain the energy out of Lewis and Steve went on to ease to victory 3-1. Duffield looking good for a 5-0 whitewash.
The final match on court was the one the packed house had come to see – World Champion Nick Matthew against home favourite Eddie Charlton. It was never going to be a classic with Nick far too strong for any upset to be a realistic prospect. However Eddie played his part, and was a little cheeky at times to the World No1, which delighted the crowd. Eddie dug deep and got involved in some great rallies but Nick’s unrelenting pressure was simply too much and a 11-2, 11-6, 11-3 victory ensued. A good professional performance by Duffield that puts them firmly in the hunt for a semi-final berth.
Whilst Nottingham were on the wrong end of a hiding the home crowd were excellent and appreciated a great PSL night.