Matthew Leads Duffield To Victory & Extends Unbeaten PSL Run Into Seventh Season
Yorkshire’s world No4 Nick Matthew led last season’s runners-up Benz-Bavarian Duffield to a powerful 5/0 victory overAJP Pontefract in Tuesday’s first round of the Premier Squash League with a straight games win over Indian number one Saurav Ghosal which extends his unbeaten PSL run of 35 matches into a seventh season.
The first round ties across the country signal the beginning of the 30th season of the world’s most prestigious squash league – which feature the world’s best men and women players from both the UK and overseas.
Matthew, the 33-year-old former world number one from Sheffield, began his PSL winning streak in October 2007 – and celebrated the beginning of his 11th successive season for Derbyshire club Duffield with an 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 top string win over Ghosal, the world No17.
The victory followed 3/0 wins by team-mates Stephen Coppinger, the South African number one; Andy Whipp, of Manchester; team debutant Declan James from Nottingham; and Tania Bailey, the former world No4 from Lincolnshire playing her first competitive match for over 18 months.
Duffield – champions in 1998, 2006 & 2007 – earned a maximum 20 points from the tie to take top place in the Group A standings.
University of Birmingham claimed second place in the group tables after an impressive 4/1 home win over Chapel Allerton, the 2009 champions from Leeds. Olga Ertlova made a promising debut as the PSL’s first woman player from the Czech Republic by putting the West Midlands team into the lead after beating Yorkshire’s Carrie Ramsey 5-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8.
But the standout match of the night saw the home team’s Australian number one Cameron Pilley resist a spirited fight-back by Chapel Allerton ‘new boy’ Daryl Selby – just home after reaching the finals of two major Tour events in Canada – by beating the world No14 from Essex 11-3, 12-10, 7-11, 3-11, 13-11.
“Good dig! #jetlagchallenge couldn’t have been much closer, so annoyed I lost after all that hard work!” tweeted Selby later. “Enjoyed the battle though @campilley”
1999 champions Air-IT Nottingham also crafted a home win in Group A, beating PSL newcomers Coolhurst London 3/2. Nottingham stalwart Emma Beddoes – fresh from WSA Tour title success in the Penang Open in Malaysia – gave the home team the perfect start with an 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 win over newly-retired Lauren Selby.
Later wins by club regulars Eddie Charlton and Chris Fuller clinched victory for Nottingham – but German number oneSimon Rosner gave the London visitors the best finish by beating top Scot Alan Clyne 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 in the final top string clash.
In the southern Group B, title-holders Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets started off the new season the way they finished the previous one – with a win. Hosted by UWE/Elitesquash Bristol, the Croydon club recovered from losing the opening match – won by Bristol’s French number one Camille Serme – to celebrate a 4/1 victory.
Rising German star Raphael Kandra marked his PSL debut with a 3/1 win over the home club’s Thomas Ford, and the top string clash between Egypt’s Mohamed Elshorbagy and Londoner Peter Barker – ranked 6 and 7, respectively, in the world – saw Surrey Health’s Barker storm home 3-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 in 48 minutes to give the reigning champions the perfect start to the new season.
But Surrey Health begin the season in second place in the Group B tables, a single point behind Team Chichester, who beat near neighbours Winchester 4/1.
Chichester winners were Lauren Briggs, Anthony Graham, Robbie Temple and Australian debutant Rex Hedrick – with Winchester gaining some consolation when top string Marwan Elshorbagy, Mohamed’s younger brother, beat the home side’s number one Jonathan Kemp 3/1.
There was all to play for in the Group B clash between twice former runners-up Luxfords St George’s Hill and Exeter Diamonds when the tie was poised at two-all in matches and 1/1 in games between top strings Tom Richards, the newly-promoted St George’s No1, and Exeter’s Omar Mosaad, the world No10 from Egypt making his first appearance in the PSL.
Victory went to visitors Exeter when Mosaad took the match 9-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5.
“Just got pipped 3-2 by Exeter Diamonds,” tweeted the Weybridge club manager Danny Lee later. “Good night, great crowd, wrong result but congratulations to Exeter.”
Air-IT Nottingham 3 Coolhurst London 2
Alan Clyne lost to Simon Rosner 5-11, 9-11, 8-11
Eddie Charlton bt Ben Coleman 11-6, 11-9, 17-15
Chris Fuller bt Adam Auckland 11-5, 11-4, 5-11, 8-11, 11-2
David Wardle lost to Steven London 9-11, 9-11, 5-11
Emma Beddoes bt Lauren Selby 11-6, 11-5, 11-3
Benz-Bavarian Duffield 5 AJP Pontefract 0
Nick Matthew bt Saurav Ghosal 11-6, 11-5, 11-7
Stephen Coppinger bt Lee Beachill 11-2, 11-4, 11-5
Andy Whipp bt Chris van der Salm 11-6, 11-1, 11-7
Declan James bt Alex Hodgetts 11-4, 11-3, 11-4
Tania Bailey bt Katie Smith 11-1, 11-5, 11-6
University of Birmingham 4 Chapel Allerton 1
Cameron Pilley bt Daryl Selby 11-3, 12-10, 7-11, 3-11, 13-11
Chris Ryder lost to Chris Simpson 9-11, 2-11, 7-11
Jaymie Haycocks bt Shaun le Roux 8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6
Peter Creed bt James Earles 11-5, 13-11, 11-9
Olga Ertlova bt Carrie Ramsey 5-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8
Team Chichester 4 Winchester 1
Jonathan Kemp lost to Marwan Elshorbagy 7-11, 11-4, 8-11, 12-14
Rex Hedrick bt Robert Downer 11-6, 11-9, 11-5
Robbie Temple bt Scott Fitzgerald 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6
Anthony Graham bt Daniel Poleshchuk 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 12-10
Lauren Briggs bt Jane Allman 11-3, 11-4, 11-4
Luxfords St George’s Hill 2 Exeter Diamonds 3
Tom Richards lost to Omar Mosaad 11-9, 5-11, 3-11, 5-11
Joe Lee lost to Olli Tuominen 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 4-11, 8-11
Henrik Mustonen bt Joey Barrington 11-6, 11-9, 11-8
Charles Sharpes lost to Tim Vail 11-6, 7-11, 10-12, 7-11
Dominique Lloyd-Walter bt Victoria Temple Murray 6-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7
UWE/Elitesquash Bristol 1 Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets 4
Mohamed Elshorbagy lost to Peter Barker 11-3, 9-11, 6-11, 6-11 (48m)
David Evans lost to Adrian Waller 9-11, 7-11, 11-3, 7-11 (51m)
Thomas Ford lost to Raphael Kandra 7-11, 5-11, 13-11, 4-11 (44m)
Michael Harris lost to Richie Fallows 11-9, 11-8, 1-11, 6-11, 10-12 (65m)
Camille Serme bt Katie Wilson 11-1, 11-0, 11-4 (20m)