Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets and TWP St George’s Hill will contest an all-Surrey Premier Squash League (PSL) final for the second year in a row after two of the quickest wins of the season in the semi-finals of the world’s most prestigious squash league.
Both teams romped to unassailable 3/0 leads to confirm their repeat of the 2011 climax – Weybridge-based St George’s Hill ending up with a 3/2 away win over former champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield and title-holders Surrey Health crushingMB Nottingham, also ex-champions, 5/0 at home.
Croydon-based Surrey Health are now just one win away from a unique double – not only becoming the first team in the league’s 27-year history to take three titles in a row, but also the first to win four titles in all.
A packed house in the Derbyshire village of Duffield saw the hosts – themselves three times PSL champions – go down quickly to their southern visitors. The opening bout saw two of the world’s top women go head-to-head – and it took 56 minutes for British champion Laura Massaro, the world No3 from Preston, to edge out Yorkshire’s world No2 Jenny Duncalf 14-12, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 to put St George’s ahead.
Joe Lee and Swiss maestro Nicolas Mueller clinched the tie for St George’s soon afterwards – Lee licking local boy Paul Hargrave 11-5, 12-10, 11-1 in just 27 minutes and Mueller needing three minutes less to see off Andy Whipp 11-7, 11-5, 11-6.
The capacity crowd went home with some consolation after South African Stephen Coppinger beat a probably jet-laggedTom Richards 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 – and Duffield star Nick Matthew, the world champion from Sheffield, defeated England team-mate Daryl Selby 11-9, 11-8, 11-13, 13-11.
“It was a great night for us,” admitted St George’s Hill team manager Danny Lee. “All credit to Laura for giving us a great start in a good tactical game against her England team-mate. There’s been a great team spirit all season and they were all up for it tonight.
“I’m also really pleased for our sponsors TWP who have supported us now for the past four years,” added Lee.
It was one-way traffic in Croydon where defending champions Surrey Health punished a less than full strength Nottingham squad. Londoner Alison Waters, a former world No3, beat 18-year-old Emily Whitlock, winner of a second successive European Junior Championship trophy earlier this month, 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 to put the home side in the driving seat.
And four further straight games wins followed as Adrian Waller, Alan Clyne, Adrian Grant and Peter Barkerpowerfully led the home team to their whitewash win.
“It’s very good to be in the final again,” said Surrey Health team manager Pete Smith. “All our team performed well tonight and we now look forward to meeting St George’s Hill again.
“It’ll be a good final, without doubt.”
The final will take place on Tuesday 8 May, at a venue yet to be decided.[box]
RESULTS: Premier Squash League, Semi-Finals, Tuesday 17 April 2012
Benz-Bavarian Duffield 2 TWP St George’s Hill 3
Nick Matthew bt Daryl Selby 11-9, 11-8, 11-13, 13-11
Stephen Coppinger bt Tom Richards 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (37m)
Andy Whipp lost to Nicolas Mueller 7-11, 5-11, 6-11 (24m)
Paul Hargrave lost to Joe Lee 5-11, 10-12, 1-11 (27m)
Jenny Duncalf lost to Laura Massaro 12-14, 11-7, 7-11, 8-11 (56m)
Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets 5 MB Nottingham 0
Peter Barker bt Mark Fuller 12-10, 11-2, 11-4
Adrian Grant bt Declan James 11-6, 15-13, 12-10
Alan Clyne bt Arthur Moineau 11-6, 11-2, 11-2
Adrian Waller bt Martin Mosnik 11-8, 11-4, 11-9
Alison Waters bt Emily Whitlock 11-3, 11-4, 11-5