Chapel A & Exeter complete play-offs lineup

In contrasting styles and after a dramatic night of high-level squash in the tenth and final round of the Premier Squash League (PSL), Yorkshire club Chapel Allerton and Devon team Exeter Diamonds clinched the final two slots in this season’s semi-final play-offs of the world’s most prestigious squash league.

Chapel Allerton emerged triumphant ahead of three potential rivals in Group A – all four of whom were in the running for second place behind invincible leaders Benz-Bavarian Duffield.

Indeed University of Birmingham pulled off a shock 3/2 away win over Duffield – but the West Midlands hopefuls ended three points adrift of Leeds club Chapel Allerton’s 134-point tally for the season.

Chapel A took on fellow hopefuls Coolhurst London away from home and, after dropping behind when the hosts’ Irish champion Madeline Perry despatched Carrie Ramsey in straight games, the visitors established a 2/1 lead following wins by Yorkshiremen James Earles and Shaun le Roux.

It then took Chapel A stalwart and world No20 Chris Simpson – one of only three players in the entire league to have played in all 10 rounds this season – 72 minutes to earn an 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8 win over Londoner Ben Coleman to ensure the former champions a place in the play-offs for the first time since 2011.

“I’m absolutely delighted to make the playoffs for the first time with Chapel A,” said team manager Simon Parke, the former world No3 from Yorkshire. “All five players gave a sterling performance and we literally can’t wait for next week’s semi. Bring it on!”

The team will face Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets after the defending champions extended their Group B leadership by beating Winchester 4/1 away from home. The Croydon club, PSL champions last season for a record fourth year in a row, will be celebrating their eighth successive appearance in the play-offs.

Meanwhile, Exeter needed just two points from their tenth round home tie against Team Chichester – and achieved this in the opening match, despite Irish international Aisling Blake ultimately going down 11-4, 9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 8-11 to the visitors’ Lauren Briggs.

But wins by Tim Vail and Finnish number one Olli Tuominen delighted the packed home crowd before Chichester sneaked a late 3/2 win when semi-retired number one Jonathan Kemp produced an impressive four-game upset over Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, the world No16.

Exeter, now in the semi-finals for the second successive season, will face Duffield for a place in their first ever final. Duffield, champions in 1998, 2006 and 2007, will be marking their eighth semi-final appearance in the past nine seasons.

PSL semi-finals, Tuesday 8 April:
Benz-Bavarian Duffield v Exeter Diamonds
Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets v Chapel Allerton

RESULTS: Premier Squash League, 10th round, Tuesday 1 April 2014

Group A:
AJP Pontefract 1 Air-IT Nottingham 4 
James Willstrop lost to Alan Clyne 0-11, 2-11, 10-12
Chris van der Salm lost to Eddie Charlton 5-11, 7-11, 11-7, 8-11
Lance James Beddoes lost to Ollie Holland 4-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-6, 4-11 (60m)
Taminder Gata-Aura lost to Mark Fuller 9-11, 9-11, 10-12
Sarah Kippax bt Anna Openshaw-Blower 11-2, 11-2, 11-2

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 2 University of Birmingham 3
Joel Hinds lost to Chris Ryder 10-12, 9-11, 6-11
Andy Whipp lost to Jaymie Haycocks 9-11, 5-11, 5-11
Declan James lost to Peter Creed 10-12, 11-7, 13-15, 9-11
Scott Handley bt Nathan Lake 11-8, 11-5, 11-5
Laura Massaro bt Sarah-Jane Perry 16-14, 8-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5

Coolhurst London 2 Chapel Allerton 3 
Simon Rosner bt Daryl Selby 11-6, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7 (82m)
Ben Coleman lost to Chris Simpson 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11 (72m)
Yann Perrin lost to Shaun le Roux 8-11, 7-11, 10-12 (55m)
Adam Auckland lost to James Earles 7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 5-11
Madeline Perry bt Carrie Ramsey 11-8, 11-8, 11-4

Group B:
Exeter Diamonds 2 Team Chichester 3 
Laurens Jan Anjema lost to Jonathan Kemp 11-3, 9-11, 10-12, 6-11 (44m)
Olli Tuominen bt Rex Hedrick 11-9, 1-11, 11-7, 11-7 (61m)
Joey Barrington lost to Robbie Temple 7-11, 8-11, 8-11 (36m)
Tim Vail bt Miles Jenkins 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 (25m)
Aisling Blake lost to Lauren Briggs 11-4, 9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 8-11 (60m)

Luxfords St George’s Hill 0 UWE/Elitesquash Bristol 5
Henrik Mustonen lost to Lucas Serme 4-11, 7-11, 6-11
Alex Ingham lost to David Evans 11-7, 6-11, 5-11, 6-11
Reuben Phillips lost to Tom Ford 11-9, 4-11, 5-11, 8-11
James Simpson lost to Michael Harris 6-11, 9-11, 0-11
Dominique Lloyd-Walter lost to Tesni Evans 11-4, 11-4, 2-11, 4-11, 5-11

Winchester 1 Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets 4 
Gregory Gaultier bt Peter Barker 11-2, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9
Greg Lobban lost to Adrian Waller 3-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-13
Robert Downer lost to Davide Bianchetti 11-8, 12-10, 6-11, 5-11, 5-11
Scott Fitzgerald lost to Richie Fallows 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 12-10, 8-11
Katrina Burrows lost to Nada Elkalaawy 7-11, 1-11, 3-11