R1: Leicester make PSL debut

SH11212It was a great atmosphere at Leicester Squash Club London Road for the eagerly awaited start of the PSL season. The visitors were Pontefract traditionally one of the nation’s squash strongholds but today without their talisman, Commonwealth Silver medallist James Willstrop. On paper it looked like it was going to be close but as team manger Josh Taylor commented before, “This is one that Leicester could really do with winning”.

It was truly a great evening for the club and one well worth the wait last night, despite the 3-2 loss.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxfBREikHUI]

The matches below are written in the order in which they played.

SH112114. Josh Taylor (1) vs Alex Hodgetts (3) 11/7, 8/11, 9/11, 6/11

It was a dream start for Leicester with club coach and PSL manager Josh Taylor taking the first game 11/7. After a tight start to the second it was Hodgetts who pulled away to take the game 11/8. The third was tight as well with only a couple of points in it but Hodgetts had control of the middle playing solid volleys long and taking the ball well into the front. Taylor ran hard all the way but by the end this was all he was doing with Hodgetts controlling almost every rally. Hodgetts took the fourth game 11/6 to win the match 3-1.

“Extremely disappointed not to have got a win in for my team. I thought Alex played really well he was better than me on the day. I will have to go away work hard and improve. I am determined to keep working on my squash and justify a place in the team, playing for Everards Leicester means a lot to me.” Josh Taylor

SH112103. Darran Lewis (0) vs Simon Parke (3) 8/11, 9/11, 8/11

It was Leicestershire legend Darren Lewis against squash legend Simon Parke.  It was vintage Simon Parke performance he kept the ball deep with controlled straight chip lengths and high lobs to pin Lewis back. In classic Parke style he waited for the loose ball before executing the perfect counter punch. All three games were tight but they all went the same way, 3-0 Parke.

“I think that if I would have taken a game it might have gone differently. I can’t remember ever dominating a match like that and not winning a game”. – Darren Lewis

5. Tania Bailey (1) vs Sarah Kippax (3) 9/11, 6/11, 11/8, 6/11.

It was a high quality match from the fifth string. Both players moved the ball around well using height and control to the back and taking the ball in well to the front both players moved the ball around well using height and control to the back. Little separated them early on with the first game being contested point for point right to the end. In the second Kippax pulled away to claim a comfortable 11/6 only to see Bailey fight back in a tight third game to take it 11/8. With Leicester 2-0 down in the match at this stage the atmosphere at London Road was tense. If Bailey could just hang on and take the 4th the night might still be salvaged but despite a solid start it was Kippax who took an early lead and didn’t let up. 3-1 Kippax and 3-1 Pontefract.

1. Ben Coleman (3) vs Ben Grindrod (0) 11/4, 11/4, 11/5

With the world no.9 Daryl Selby away at a tournament it fell to 23 year old Ben Coleman to assume the Leicester top spot and he didn’t disappoint the home crowd. He played well from the beginning, controlling the middle and forcing Grindrod to do a lot of work retrieving corner to corner. Despite a valiant effort from the debutant Grindrod it was Coleman who found plenty of attacking opportunities which he capitalised on in the full.

SH112092. George Parker (3) vs Lee Beachill (1) 11/5, 11/2, 11/8

With the match already over it was down to George Parker to gain as many points for his home side as he could. In all three games Parker came out strong and got down to business taking early leads in all of them. Parker showed no mercy against 36 year old Beachill who had been world no.1 in his day. It was a match that you sensed if Beachill could get into it the match it could go either way but Parker never gave him the chance keeping the game physical and keeping up the relentless pressure. 3-0 to Parker.

“He made a lot of unforced errors and wasn’t moving that well to the front so I felt that my short game was really effective. He is class with the racket and it was a lesson on the hold. I thought that as long as I kept the pace high I would be alright, it was quite comfortable in the end”. – George Parker

The Next Home Match is 25th November and is set to be a massive match against local rivals Air IT Nottingham.

Tickets are available from the bar and online at : http://fantasysquashshop.com/events/psl/air-it-nottingham-v-coolhurst-london-705.html