Division winners Trads@RAC and Nottingham welcomed visits from the opposite division’s runners-up, Pontefract and St George’s Hill , with sold out crowds and places in the final at stake.
RAC make the final at the first attempt
The first semi-final started at 6pm in London’s Pall Mall, but it was visitors Pontefract who enjoyed the better start as Laura Massaro beat England team-mate Alison Waters to put the Division A runners-up ahead. Patrick Rooney threatened to double their lead, but Ben Coleman took the first men’s match in five to level the tie.
In the top string Paul Coll beat James Willstrop in straight games to put RAC ahead, but Pontefract levelled as Chris Smpson beat Alan Clyne in four close games.
In the decider Pontefract’s Saurav Ghosal led two games to one, but Daryl Selby dug in for TRADS to take the next two games and clinch a place in the final for the PSL first-timers.
St George’s pip Nottingham
The second semi-final went to an even more dramatic decider as St’ George’s made it an all-Southern final as they beat defending champions Nottingham in a match that went to the very wire.
Commonwealth Gold Medalist Joelle King put the visitors ahead with a three-nil win over Hana Ramadan, but Nottingham fought back with two five-game wins from Adam Auckland and Richie Fallows. Nottingham were just two points away from the final when Declan James was edged out 11-9 in the fifth by Tom Richards, setting up an enticing decider between Nick Matthew and Mohamed ElShorbagy.
Matthew surged into a two-game lead, and had match balls at 10-9 and 11-10 in the third, but world #1 and world champion ElShorbagy refused to be beaten, levelling the match and then fighting back from 2-7 down in the fifth to put St George’s into their third final in four years, one that will as two years ago, played on their home courts.
Tue 8th May, Semi-Finals
University of Nottingham 2-3 Luxfords St George’s Hill
Nick Matthew 2-3 Mohamed Elshorbagy 11-8, 11-9, 11-13, 9-11, 8-11
Declan James 2-3 Tom Richards 11-6, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11
Richie Fallows 3-2 Charlie Lee 6-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5, rtd
Adam Auckland 3-2 Carlos Cornes 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9
Hana Ramadan 0-3 Joelle King 5-11, 9-11,7-11
Tradition@RAC 3-2 Team Pontefract
Paul Coll 3-0 James Willstrop 11-3, 11-3, 11-6
Daryl Selby 3-2 Saurav Ghosal 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6
Alan Clyne 1-3 Chris Simpson 10-12, 11-9, 2-11, 9-11
Ben Coleman 3-2 Patrick Rooney 6-11,11-7, 4-11, 11-7, 11-7
Alison Waters 1-3 Laura Massaro 2-11, 6-11, 12-10, 6-11