By LEE HORTON
GLOBETROTTERS Cameron Pilley and Daryl Selby ignored jet-lag overdose to put on a thrilling show as the Premier Squash League kicked into action last night.
Aussie Pilley (pictured above) spearheaded the University of Birmingham attack as Chapel Allerton rolled into the second city with Essex man Selby signed as their new No.1.
But whether they two world top 20 players knew exactly where they were was open to debate. And who could blame them? Pilley’s journey to middle England came via Macau in China, a mere 5,191 air miles jaunt from his last tournament only 72 hours before.
For Selby, the route was slightly shorter but even more arduous. He was in action in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Sunday, left Canada on Monday and headed straight for the PSL showdown after a short pit-stop in the capital. A short matter of 2,850 miles.
The full house at Birmingham would have forgiven the two players if they had been off their games, but the boys delivered in spades over five punishing games. Pilley resisted a spirited fight-back by the world No.14 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” He wasn’t happier a bit later, though when he announced “Thanks for shutting as much of the M25 as possible, just to make my journey home from @pslsquash a little easier. #2am #madeit”
Pilley’s win helped Birmingham claim second place in the group tables as they ran out 4-1 winners against 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.
Yorkshire’s world No4 Nick Matthew led last season’s runners-up Benz-Bavarian Duffield to a powerful 5/0 victory over AJP Pontefract 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 signalled 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.
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 one Simon 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 oneCamille 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’sThomas Ford, and the top string clash between Egypt’s Mohamed Elshorbagy and LondonerPeter 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 behindTeam 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’sOmar 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.”
RESULTS: Premier Squash League, 1st round, Tuesday 22 October 2013
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)
PSL TABLES (after 1st round):
|St George’s Hill||1||0||1||2||3||10||10||10|
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