Round SEVEN : Home wins all round as WarKens hold on to beat RAC
With the playoffs approaching there were some crucial matches tonight in the Karakal Premier Squash League, with all three home teams taking two-nil leads after the women’s matches. Alba Storm and Ab Initio St George’s transformed those starts into 4-1 victories, while University of Warwick / Kenilworth Squash held on for a dramatic 3-2 win.
In the Northern Division Scotland’s Alba Storm, playing at Scotstoun in Glasgow, raced into the lead against leaders Team Pontefract thanks to wins from Lisa Aitken and Alison Thomson. Newly-crowned British U23 Open champion Abhay Singh pulled one back for Pontefract, but top Scottish duo Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban secured the win for the home side.
With University of Nottingham set to play University of Birmingham Lions on Thursday, it looks like a three-horse race for the two semi-final spots – Pontefract still lead on 48 points, with Nottingham and Alba Storm both on 45 points with a match in hand.
In the Southern Division St George’s went ahead with wins from Jasmine Hutton and debutante Marian Metwally, and although Emyr Evans pulled on back for the Welsh Wizards, recovering from 7-10 in the decider to beat Tom Richards, Mohamed ElShorbagy and Borja Golan wrapped up the win for the 2018 champions to keep their playoff hopes just about alive.
Playing at the new University of Warwick sports facility, WarKens went ahead courtesy of Sarah-Jane Perry and Julianne Courtice, but defending champions RAC PSL Team levelled the match with wins from Ben Coleman and Daryl Selby – Selby recovering from 6-10 in the opening game on the way to a lengthy 2-1 win. In their first half match RAC’s Paul Coll had won the decider for RAC, but tonight it was WarKens’ Iker Pajares who got the better of two close games against the World #5 to give WarKens the win and the top spot.
The race for the playoffs looks equally tight in this division, RAC just five points behind WarKens with Coolhurst a further eight behind with a match in hand.
In the Thursday match, University of Nottingham scored an impressive 4-1 win away to University of Birmingham Lions to keep their playoff hopes very much alive as they went to the top of the table.
University of Warwick / Kenilworth Squash 3-2 RAC PSL Team (10-3)
Iker Pajares 2-0 Paul Coll 11-9, 11-9
Mahesh Mangaonkar 1-2 Daryl Selby 13-15, 12-10, 7-11
Mark Fuller 0-2 Ben Coleman 6-11, 5-11
Sarah-Jane Perry 2-0 Alice Green 11-5, 11-4
Julianne Courtice 2-0 Misaki Kobayashi 11-4, 11-7
Ab Initio St George’s Hill 4-1 Welsh Wizards (12-2)
Mohamed ElShorbagy 2-0 Peter Creed 11-6, 11-6
Tom Richards 1-2 Emyr Evans 11-7, 8-11, 12-14
Borja Golan 2-0 James Peach 11-7, 11-4
Mariam Metwally 2-0 Stacey Gooding 13-11, 11-5
Jasmine Hutton 2-0 Nia Davies 11-5, 11-4
Alba Storm 4-1 Team Pontefract (11-3)
Greg Lobban 2-0 James Willstrop 11-4, 11-4
Alan Clyne 2-1 LJ Anjema 5-11, 11-7, 11-7
Rory Stewart 0-2 Abhay Singh 5-11, 10-12
Lisa Aitken 2-0 Sarah Campion 11-5, 11-8
Alison Thomson 2-0 Katie Smith 11-6, 11-7
University of Birmingham Lions 1-4 University of Nottingham (2-12)
Joel Makin 0-2 Karim Abdel Gawad 8-11, 8-11
Josh Masters 0-2 Declan James 6-11, 5-11
Lewis Anderson 0-2 Richie Fallows 8-11, 7-11
Nele Gilis 2-1 Tinne Gilis 14-12, 8-11, 11-9
Melissa Alves 0-2 Millie Tomlinson 9-11, 7-11