Round ONE – Exeter comeback stuns St George’s

The 30th edition of the Premier Squash League kicked off at six venues around the country tonight, with the first of ten rounds of league play, the top two in each group progressing to the semi-finals next Spring.

Chapel A and Birmingham
Chapel A and Birmingham

The first win of the night came at Duffield where last year’s runners-up were hosting close neighbours Pontefract. With James Willstrop not playing for the visitors, Duffield eased to a 5-0 win with all five matches finishing 3-0, including ‘debut boy’ Declan James.

In nearby Nottingham the home side were also winning, as Emma Beddoes, Chris Fuller – winning in five after being 2-0 up – and Eddie Charlton gave the hosts a winning advantage over league newcomers Coolhurst London. The appropriately-named Steve London won at #4 for the visitors and Simon Rosner narrowed it to 2-3 at top string.

Further South again it was another home win as Birmingham University’s bottom order proved too strong for Chapel Allerton, champions five years ago, Olga Ertlova, Peter Creed and Jaymie Haycocks taking the crucial early points for the home side. The final match was between two players making their first appearance for new teams, and it was Birmingham’s Cameron Pilly who prevailed 13-11 in the fifth over Daryl Selby to make it 4-1 for the home side.

"How did that happen?" say a delighted Exeter team
“How did that happen?” say a delighted Exeter team

In Group B Chichester got off to a flying start at home to Winchester as they won the first four ties before Marwan El Shorbagy pulled one back at the top string for the visitors.

At St George’s it looked as though the home side were cruising to victory in their match against Exeter which looked, on paper, to be the match of the round. Dom Lloyd-Walter and Henrik Mustonen put St George’s 2-0 up in double quick time, but Tim Vail and Olli Tuominen put Exeter back in the hunt with close wins. The decider saw Omar Mosaad make a winning debut as he beat Tom Richard to seal the win for the visitors. “How did that happen,” tweeted the exuberant Exeter contingent.

Four-time defending champions Surrey travelled to traditional strugglers Bristol and almost found themselves 2-0 down as Camille Serme put the home side ahead and Mike Harris went 2-0 up against Richie Fallows. But the Surrey man fought back to win 3-2, saving match ball in the process, then Raphael Kandra, Adrian Waller and Peter Barker all won to give Surrey the opening day win 4-1.

Round One Results

Group A:

Air-IT Nottingham 3-1 Coolhurst London (14-8)

Alan Clyne 0-3 Simon Rosner  5-11, 9-11, 8-11
Eddie Charlton 3-0 Ben Coleman  11-6, 11-9, 17-15
Chris Fuller 3-2 Adam Auckland  11-5, 11-4, 5-11, 8-11, 11-2
David Wardle 0-3 Steve London 9-11, 9-11, 5-11
Emma Beddoes 3-0 Lauren Selby  11-6, 11-5, 11-3

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 5-0 AJP Pontefract (20-0)

Nick Matthew 3-0  Saurav Ghosal  11-6, 11-5, 11-7
Steve Coppinger 3-0 Lee Beachill  11-2, 11-4, 11-5
Andy Whipp 3-0 Chris van der Salm  11-6, 11-1, 11-7
Declan James 3-0 Alex Hodgetts  11-4, 11-3, 11-4
Tania Bailey 3-0 Katie Smith  11-1, 11-5, 11-6

University of Birmingham 4-1 Chapel Allerton (15-8)

Cameron Pilley 3-2 Daryl Selby  11-3, 12-10, 7-11, 3-11, 13-11
Chris Ryder 0-3 Chris Simpson  9-11, 2-11, 7-11
Jaymie Haycocks 3-2 Shaun Le Roux  8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6
Peter Creed  3-0 James Earles  11-5, 13-11, 11-9
Olga Ertlova  3-1 Carrie Ramsey 5-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8

Group B:

Team Chichester 4-1 Winchester Health & Racquets (19-5)

Jonathan Kemp 1-3 Marwan El Shorbagy  7-11, 11-4, 8-11, 12-14
Rex Hedrick 3-0 Rob Downer  11-6, 11-9, 11-5
Robbie Temple 3-1 Scott Fitzgerald  8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6
Anthony Graham 3-1 Daniel Poleshuck  9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 12-10
Lauren Briggs 3-0 Jane Allman  11-3, 11-4, 11-4

Luxfords St George’s Hill 2-3 Exeter Diamonds (10-15)

Tom Richards 1-3 Omar Mosaad  11-9, 5-11, 3-11, 5-11
Joe Lee 2-3 Olli Tuominen  9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 4-11, 5-11
Henrik Mustonen 3-0 Joey Barrington  11-6, 11-9, 11-8
Charles Sharpes 1-3 Tim Vail  1 1-6, 7-11, 10-12, 7-11
Dom Lloyd Walter 3-1 Tory Temple Murray  6-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7

UWE/Elite Squash Bristol 1-4 Integrity Surrey H&R (9 -17 )

Mohamed El Shorbagy 1-3 Peter Barker  11-3, 9-11, 6-11, 6-11 (48m)
David Evans 1-3 Adrian Waller 9-11, 7-11, 11-3, 8-11 (51m)
Tom Ford 1-3 Raphael Kandra  7-11, 5-11, 13-11, 4-11 (44m)
Michael Harris 2-3 Richie Fallows  11-9, 11-8, 1-11, 6-11, 10-12 (65m)
Camile Serme 3-0 Katie Wilson  11-1, 11-0, 11-4 (20m)

The Twitter verdict:

Once again tonight’s updates, comments and results happened on Twitter.
How did the home teams do tonight?

Nottingham: not bad, but a bit schizophrenic and averse to full scores – C.
Duffield: Declan saved the day but no full scores – D.
Birmingham: A bit random,  but definitely have potential – C.
Chichester: After a bit of prodding performed well – B.
St George’s: Visitors helped out but everyone lost it in the excitement – D.
Bristol: Stunning debut performance from Twitter newbies – A*.


Preview: Tear-up in Surrey ?

Nottingham will be keen to make up for last year’s disappointing finish after a good start and they host newcomers Coolhurst, travelling up from London in the ‘Northern’ group. Duffield, last year’s runners-up, host Pontefract, while Chapel Allerton, winners five years ago, travel to Birmingham. In Group B Chichester will, like Nottingham, hope to repeat their good start from last season with a home tie against Winchester. The round’s tear-up tie looks to be in Surrey as St George’s welcome Exeter in what already looks to be a ‘six-pointer, while Bristol face a tough task as they play host to four-in-a-row champions Surrey.