Amazing line-up as former champs call on Massaro and Matthew to face Exeter
HOWARD HARDING reports
Former champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield will make Premier Squash League history in today’s (Tuesday) semi-finals by fielding two world champions in their bid to reach the final of the of the world’s most prestigious squash league, supported by Dunlop, for the second year in a row and the seventh time since 1995.
The Derbyshire club, PSL champions in 1998, 2006 and 2007, host Exeter Diamonds – and will be led by men’s world squash champion Nick Matthew, the world No2 from Sheffield, and newly-crowned women’s world champion Laura Massaro, the world No2 from Preston.
Matthew (pictured above with Massaro) faces the Devon club’s number one Omar Mosaad, the world No13 from Egypt, while Massaro lines up against England’s reigning European Junior Champion Victoria Temple Murray.
Matthew is celebrating his 11th successive season for Duffield – and victory in the semi-finals would mark a league record 40th win in a row.
Duffield’s South African number one Stephen Coppinger, fresh from title victory in the PSA International 25 Northern Ontario Championship in Canada at the weekend, will take on 15-time Finnish champion Olli Tuominen, while Joel Hinds and Joey Barrington mark the third string line-up, and PSL stalwarts Andy Whipp and Tim Vail (making their 9th and 11th appearances this season for Duffield and Exeter, respectively) face each other in the fourth string clash.
“We’re really pleased to make the semi-finals again, and more so, proud to have two current World Champions playing,” said Duffield team manager Felix Frixou. “It’s a big day for us at Duffield Squash Club. We look forward to a good night!”
Defending champions Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets entertain Yorkshire opponents Chapel Allerton in the other semi. Croydon-based Surrey Health are celebrating their eighth successive appearance in the play-offs and will ultimately be hoping to extend their record four titles in a row. Leeds club Chapel Allerton are back in the semis for the second time since winning the title in 2009.
The top string clash is an all-Essex encounter between England team-mates Peter Barker and Daryl Selby – world No7 Barker leading Surrey Health for the seventh successive season, while world No10 Selby is marking his maiden season for Chapel A.
The second string match is another mouth-watering prospect between the hosts’ experienced England international Adrian Grant and Chris Simpson, the Guernsey-born 27-year-old who broke into the world top 20 this month – while the third string battle will see former British Junior Champion Adrian Waller take on UK-based South African Shaun le Roux.
Davide Bianchetti, the Italian number one in his eighth Surrey season, lines up against 21-year-old Yorkshireman James Earles in fourths match – and the women’s duel will see 18-year-old English Junior Champion Nada Elkalaawy do battle with the visitors’ former European Junior Champion Carrie Ramsey.
“We are all delighted at Chapel to reach the semis but we don’t want it to end there,” said the club’s team manager Simon Parke. “We are aiming for a second success in London in consecutive weeks and all five players will be leaving everything on the court.
“Surrey Health are favourites in the tie but only by a slender margin and it could go either way……hopefully ours!” added the former world No3. “Looking forward to it.”
Pete Smith is also upbeat about the home tie: “Really pleased to have made the semi-final again this year,” said the Surrey Health & Racquets team manager. “We came through a tough competitive group so now look forward to hosting Chapel Allerton and to a great night of squash.”
Benz-Bavarian Duffield v Exeter Diamonds
Nick Matthew v Omar Mosaad
Stephen Coppinger v Olli Tuominen
Joel Hinds v Joey Barrington
Andy Whipp v Tim Vail
Laura Massaro v Victoria Temple Murray
Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets v Chapel Allerton
Peter Barker v Daryl Selby
Adrian Grant v Chris Simpson
Adrian Waller v Shaun le Roux
Davide Bianchetti v James Earles
Nada Elkalaawy v Carrie Ramsey