Round 2: Duffield Crush Birmingham Newcomers

A capacity crowd attracted to the first home fixture of  PSL newcomers University of Birmingham went home disappointed after the West Midlands team were crushed 5/0 by former champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield in the second round of the 28th season of the world’s most prestigious squash league.

Duffield’s runaway win takes the Derbyshire club to the top of the Group A tables, while Oxford Health & Racquets jump to second place after their 4/1 home win over Courtcraft Pontefract.

Clashes in the other group were considerably closer, with defending champions Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets and last season’s runners-up TWP St George’s Hill both leaving it late to squeeze 3/2 away victories – Croydon-based Surrey H&RC winning at IGT Winchester and St George’s of Weybridge achieving their second win of the season, over UWE Bristol.

St George’s Hill maintain their lead over county rivals Surrey H&RC at the top of the Group B tables – by two points – while Exeter Diamonds maintain their hold on third place, despite going down 3/2 to Team Chichester.

But Duffield, PSL champions three times since 1998, provided formidable opposition for University of Birmingham, with a squad led by England’s world number one Nick Matthew.  And the world’s best player, from Sheffield, faced one of two English World University champions in action at the University’s Munrow Sports Centre.

Matthew beat the home side’s No1 Chris Ryder, the 2006 World University champion, 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 to complete an impressive run of straight games wins by the Duffield players, including New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes, Chris Fuller, Joel Hinds, and top-ranked South African Stephen Coppinger.

It was as a student at the University of Birmingham that Hinds became England’s second winner of the World University title in 2010.  And the Politics graduate marked his return to the campus by beating fellow former Birmingham alumni Chris Truswell 11-4, 11-4, 11-4!

Yorkshireman Nick Matthew was clearly impressed with his visit to the West Midlands:  “Unbelievable crowd & atmosphere at UnivOfBham,” tweeted the Duffield number one.  “Had to turn people away as sold out twice over. Great job by University of Birmingham Squash & SBM Squash.”

After losing their opening tie of the season, Oxford Health & Racquets were glad to return to winning ways against Courtcraft Pontefract.

The Yorkshire club arrived with a squad featuring two of the county’s most successful players of all-time – and former world No4 and British National champion Simon Parke did not disappoint, becoming the visitors’ sole winner when he beat Oxford’s Scott Handley 11-5, 11-5, 11-9.

But the home side’s Australian No1 Cameron Pilley saw off Pontefract stalwart Lee Beachill, a former world No1 and three-time British champion, 13-11, 11-5, 11-4.

“It was nice to get a good first home win under our belt,” said Oxford team manager Ross Gore.  “We’re looking forward to hopefully making a push up the table before the Christmas break.”

It was Londoner Adrian Grant who saved title-holders Surrey Health & Racquets’ blushes by winning the decider at Winchester.

The Hampshire club pulled off two notable upsets – firstly when 18-year-old Marwan El Shorbagy beat higher-ranked Scottish No1 Alan Clyne 11-7, 11-7, 11-9, then club debutant Ong Beng Hee, the Malaysian number two ranked 29 in the world, shocked the visitors’ top string Peter Barker, the world No7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-3.

After Grant took a 2/0 lead over Joey Barrington, the Winchester second string fought back to take the third before building up a 10-8 in the fourth.

“It was a packed crowd in the club, and they were going crazy in support for Joey – willing the match into a fifth-game decider,” said Winchester team manager Gary Hinton.

But Grant held his nerve to close out the match 11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 12-10 to clinch victory for Surrey Health.

And over in Bristol, Marwan’s older brother Mohamed El Shorbagy did his best to lead UWE Bristol to victory over visitors TWP St George’s Hill.  In the final match of the day, El Shorbagy senior defeated England international Daryl Selby 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 – but earlier wins by Dominique Lloyd-Walter, Joe Lee and Tom Richards had already assured St George’s of overall victory, and second place in the Group B tables.

The crowd at Team Chichester were kept on the edges of their seats throughout the night against Exeter Diamonds as match after match went the full distance in the most evenly-contested clash of the night.

Alex Ingham and Lauren Briggs both survived five-game battles to put the hosts 2/0 ahead – but former Chichester club captain Tim Vail, making his first appearance back at the club as part of the opposition, spoilt the home party by beating the hosts’ new Hong Kong star Max Lee 11-8, 11-7, 2-11, 11-6.

But it was a highly impressive 11-7, 11-7, 1-11, 9-11, 11-4 victory by second string Robbie Temple over Exeter’s higher-ranked New Zealander Campbell Grayson that ensured victory for Chichester – and a fourth place in the Group B tables.

RESULTS:            Premier Squash League, 2nd round, Tuesday 25 October 2011

Group A:
University of Birmingham 0  Benz-Bavarian Duffield 5
Chris Ryder lost to Nick Matthew 7-11, 6-11, 3-11
Jonathan Harford lost to Stephen Coppinger 6-11, 11-13, 7-11
Chris Truswell lost to Joel Hinds 4-11, 4-11, 4-11
Stephen Siveter lost to Chris Fuller 8-11, 4-11, 6-11
Sarah-Jane Perry lost to Jaclyn Hawkes 7-11, 8-11, 8-11

Oxford Health & Racquets 4  Courtcraft Pontefract 1
Cameron Pilley bt Lee Beachill 13-11, 11-5, 11-4
Scott Handley lost to Simon Parke 5-11, 5-11, 9-11 (35m)
Ben Coleman bt Neil Cordell 10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5
Andrew Birks bt Sam Wileman 12-10, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5 (35m)
Madeline Perry bt Kirsty McPhee 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (22m)

Group B:
Team Chichester 3  Exeter Diamonds 2
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan lost to Stewart Boswell 6-11, 6-11, 8-11
Robbie Temple bt Campbell Grayson 11-7, 11-7, 1-11, 9-11, 11-4
Max Lee lost to Tim Vail 8-11, 7-11, 11-2, 6-11
Alex Ingham bt James Snell 11-13, 11-6, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8
Lauren Briggs bt Aisling Blake 7-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-1, 11-5

UWE Bristol 2  TWP St George’s Hill 3
Mohamed El Shorbagy bt Daryl Selby 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (34m)
Lucas Serme lost to Tom Richards 8-11, 6-11, 10-12 (39m)
Arthur Gaskin bt Mark Krajcsak 12-10, 3-11, 12-14, 11-6, 11-9 (71m)
Chris Clare lost to Joe Lee 3-11, 3-11, 4-11 (23m)
Joely Bennett lost to Dominique Lloyd-Walter 7-11, 6-11, 5-11 (18m)

IGT Winchester 2  Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets 3
Ong Beng Hee bt Peter Barker 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-3 (52m)
Joey Barrington lost to Adrian Grant 7-11, 6-11, 11-7, 10-12
Marwan El Shorbagy bt Alan Clyne 11-7, 11-7, 11-9
Alex Phillips lost to Adrian Waller 7-11, 7-11, 6-11
Lauren Selby lost to Victoria Lust 2-11, 8-11, 12-10, 6-11