Willstrop loses but Pontefract climb
By STEVE CUBBINS
With Clubs having just two or three League matches to play before the semi-final places are decided, Round Eight had the potential to produce some pivotal results, and while little was decided for certain, it was a night of high drama at Nottingham and St George’s.
In Division A, leaders University of Nottingham put their 13-match winning streak on the line at home to second placed University of Warwick/Kenilworth Squash.
It looked as though the defending champions would increase their lead as they went 2-0 up courtesy of a straight-games win for Hana Ramadan and a tough 3-2 victory for Lewis Walters over Mark Fuller.
The visitors fought back though, forcing a decider as Nick Wall came from two games down to beat Matt Broadberry and Mahesh Mangaonkar came from one down to defeat Adam Auckland.
In the deciding match Nottingham’s Declan James took the lead, but Iker Pajares recovered to go two-one ahead, and had a match ball in the fourth before James edged it on extra points. The Spaniard then fought back from 2-6 down in the fifth to take the victory, ending Nottingham’s winning sequence.
Pontefract played hosts to UWE/Elite Squash Bristol, needing a good win against their bottom of the table visitors to boost their playoff prospects, and the team duly delivered as they stormed into a 4-0 win thanks to wins from Fiona Moverley, Abhay Singh, Patrick Rooney and Chris Simpson.
James Willstrop took the opening game of the final match, but Youssef Soliman fought back to take the next three and reduce the damage for Bristol.
Bristol, with one match to play, cannot now reach the playoffs, and University of Birmingham Lions would need some extraordinary results to make it. Pontefract’s win lifts them into third, just one point behind WarKen with Nottingham still top by 29 points and almost certainly play-off bound.
In Division B, Luxfords St George’s Hill and Coolhurst, fourth and second in the table, both knew a win would keep their playoff prospects very much alive, and when the visitors went 2-0 ahead thanks to a 3-0 win for Donna Urquhart over debutante Sarah Broadberry and a comeback from 0-2 down from Nathan Lake over Carlos Cornes, it looked as though it would be their night.
Lance Beddoes pulled one back for St George’s as he prevailed in five against Joe Green, then Dylan Bennett produced one of his best-ever wins as he beat Adrian Waller in four to set up a decider, and it was Tom Richards who completed the comeback win for St George’s as be beat Greg Lobban in four fast-paced games.
Coolhurst stay in second place, but St George’s, with a match in hand, are breathing down their necks. Bottom of the table Chichester are out of the playoff race.
To complete Round Eight, leaders Tradition @ RAC take on handily placed Bexley on Thu 1st March – after which we’ll list the remaining fixtures and permutations.
PSL results (February 26, 2018):
PONTEFRACT 4-0 BRISTOL (18-5)
James Willstrop 1-3 Youssef Soliman 11-8, 3-11, 8-11, 8-11
Chris Simpson 3-0 Josh Masters 11-9, 11-5, 11-9
Patrick Rooney 3-1 Sean Conroy 11-13, 11-8, 11-4, 11-9
Abhay Singh 3-1 Theis Houlberg 10-12, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9
Fiona Moverley 3-0 Laura Neill 11-2, 11-2, 11-5
NOTTINGHAM 2-3 WARKEN (11-16)
Declan James 2-3 Iker Pajares 11-6, 4-11, 7-11, 15-13, 8-11
Adam Auckland 1-3 Mahesh Mangaonkar 11-6, 3-11, 7-11, 5-11
Lewis Walters 3-2 Mark Fuller 11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 3-11, 11-8
Matt Broadberry 2-3 Nick Wall 17-15, 11-6, 3-11, 5-11, 8-11
Hana Ramadan 3-0 Grace Gear 11-5, 11-8, 12-10
ST GEORGE’S 3-2 COOLHURST (16-10)
Tom Richards 3-1 Greg Lobban 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9
Dylan Bennett 3-1 Adrian Waller 11-2, 8-11, 11-4, 11-4
Carlos Cornes 2-3 Nathan Lake 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 5-11, 6-11
Lance Beddoes 3-2 Joe Green 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6
Sarah Broadberry 0-3 Donna Urquhart 4-11, 2-11, 4-11
RAC v BEXLEY 01-Mar
Paul Coll v Mazen Hesham
Daryl Selby v Rui Soares
Alan Clyne v Rob Downer
Ben Coleman v Ben Ford
Alison Waters v Misaki Kobayashi
Picture by PSL