Arscott keeps cool as temperatures drop to beat Thomas in final
By DAVE WORSLEY – Squash Mad Correspondent in Auckland
Joel Arscott prevailed in five games to win the final in week two of the Unsquashable Premier League in Auckland, New Zealand.
There was plenty of intensity in the final as Arscott, a beaten finalist the previous week, went one better this time round. Arscott, aged 20 and ranked at 235 in the world, won 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-2 in just over an hour against 17-year-old Elijah Thomas, 22 places below on the PSA world rankings.
Control shifted one way then the other during the early stages as each traded long rallies and physical play to try and gain the ascendancy. Only in the fifth game, as the overall time extended 60 minutes, did Arscott manage a significant lead and was able to hold on to it as a couple of unforced errors crept in to his opponent’s game.
For Arscott it was a good finish to some concentrated training and play of the last eight weeks. He said: “I’m not overly sore or tired; it was a good contest. It was nice to have a battle like that again. It was a tight-fought contest, but I really enjoyed it.”
With the temperature dropping at the SquashXL venue on New Zealand’s only glass court, which traditionally plays quick, the finalists had to push forward or force their opponents deep into the corners.
Arscott added: “It stays very short and dies off at the back so there was some pretty dynamic movement from both of us. He (Thomas) is a real battler and plays some really disciplined squash. I just got the momentum at the start of the fifth and managed to get away.”
In the third and fourth play-off the previous week’s title winner Temwa Chileshe was victorious over Leo Fatialofa in four games. Chileshe had to keep a steady head against the shot making of Fatialofa, who at times reeled off spectacular winners followed by the odd unforced error.
The fifth and sixth match had Glenn Templeton account for Michael Shelton-Agar in four games while in the seventh and eighth match Jack Conder won in five games in 40 minutes over teenage rival Mason Smales in a tight contest.
Week three of the four-tournament series begins on Friday.
Unsquashable Premier League, XL Squash, Auckland, New Zealand.
Week Two Results.
Play-offs, 7/8: Jack Conder bt Mason Smales 5-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-2, 11-8,
5/6: Glenn Templeton bt Michael Shelton Agar 11-4 , 11-4, 8-11, 11-7
3/4: Temwa Chileshe bt Leo Fatialofa 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9,
Joel Arscott bt Elijah Thomas 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11,11-2.
Pictures courtesy of Dave Worsley and XL Squash