World Stars set to light up rejuvenated PSL season

The 2019/20 Premier Squash League season gets under way in October with a host of the world’s top players looking to help their team to claim the title in the world’s most prestigious squash league.

The squads for the ten teams include 15 of the world’s top 20 male players, and 12 of the world’s top 30 women – not including former world number ones Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro !

The first of ten rounds of league matches begins on Tuesday 1st with Newcastle (Northumberland Club/Newcastle University) taking on the University of Nottingham in the Northern Division while WarKens (University of Warwick/Kenilworth Squash) host the Welsh Wizards in the Southern Division.

Newcastle start their second season hoping that their fervent home (and away) support can lift them to a win over 2017 champions Nottingham, who won comprehensively in last season’s opening fixture.

Newcastle’s opening lineup is France’s Baptiste Masotti, Tom Ford, local top junior Max Forster, and two new women’s signings in Fiona Moverley and South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller.

Should Nottingham field their strongest team it could spell more trouble for Newcastle – a lineup of Egyptian former world #1 and world champion Karim Abdel Gawad, backed up by Nottingham stalwarts Declan James, Nick Matthew and Millie Tomlinson, plus Belgium’s Tinne Gilis would be a handful for any of the other teams.

Warwick/Kenilorth open their third season in the PSL at home to the Welsh Wizards, whose top order is packed with Egyptian talent – Marwan ElShorbagy, Omar Mosaad and Mostafa Asal are their top three. The hosts can call on players from across the world with Egypt’s Ali Farag at #1, Germany’s Raphael Kandra at #2, Spaniard Iker Pajares at #3, Indian Mahesh Mangaonkar at #4 and young Frenchman Victor Crouin at #5.

They can’t all play at the same time, with this year’s teams comprising three male and two female players – and at least one of each must be from the UK. Matches continue to be in best of three format, as last season.

“Warkens”, who topped the Northern division last year but lost out in the semi-finals, are also strong in the women’s lineup with local favourite Sarah-Jane Perry and Julianne Courtice their top two, bolstered by France’s Enora Villard.

Round One continues in early October with University of Birmingham Lions at home to last season’s runners-up Team Pontefract – a match which could feature the likes of Saurav Ghosal, Joel Makin, James Willstrop, Ryan Cuskelly, Laura Massaro, Nele Gilis, Hollie Naughton and Alicia Mead – and Coolhurst against defending champions RAC.

Home side Coolhurst’s stars include Simon Rosner, Mohamed Abouelghar and Donna Lobban, backed up by a strong lineup of international and domestic players which should see them challenging for the playoffs. RAC have retained all their players from a successful second season, and their formidable full-strength lineup would be Paul Coll, Daryl Selby, George Parker, Alison Waters and Haley Mendez.

Sitting out the first round are 2018 champions Ab Initio St George’s Hill – with Mohamed ElShorbagy and Joelle King their top male and female players – and Alba Storm, newcomers from Scotland who are mixing home-grown talent with the likes of Fares Dessouky, Eain Yow Ng and Olivia Blatchford Clyne.