Sunday, April 21, 2024

PSL Round Six: Bristol stun champions Surrey

Thomas Ford leads the fightback as Mohamed Elshorbagy secures away victory for Bristol
By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Reporter

Exeter Diamonds leapfrogged Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets at the top of the Premier Squash League Group B, after UWE/Elitesquash Bristol overturned a 2-0 deficit to shock the Croydon-based club and record their first away victory in four years.

With all the clubs returning to action after the Christmas break, Surrey looked set to consolidate their advantage at the top of the table after victories for English duo Alison Waters and Richie Fallows gave the champions a commanding 2-0 lead.

However, world number 117 Thomas Ford (pictured right) upset Adrian Waller 3-2 to lead the revival, before David Evans levelled the scores with another five game victory over left-hander Adrian Grant.

World number four Mohamed Elshorbagy completed the comeback for Bristol after defeating Peter Barker 3-0 in the Englishman’s first competitive match since retiring at the World Championship in November.

“I’m absolutely delighted for UWE/Elitesquash Bristol’s second win of the season,” said team spokesman Richard King. “It was a great team effort. Times are changing in the west.”

But while Bristol remain stranded in fifth place, Exeter capitalised on Surrey’s shortcomings to regain the lead at the top of Group B.

Exeter, who lost their unbeaten run to Team Chichester in the last round of fixtures, faced Luxfords St George’s Hill with both clubs tied on 71 points.

Unsurprisingly, the encounter was closely fought as Charles Sharpe and Joe Lee matched Laurens Jan Anjema and Tory Temple-Murray’s victories to leave the scores locked at 2-2.

But to the delight of the home supporters, world number 12 Omar Mosaad beat Hong Kong Open runner-up Borja Golan 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 to reclaim top spot for the Devon side on matches won.

“It was always going to be tight,” said Exeter team manager Adam Lings. “In fact at the start of the night I said it could easily be either 4-1 to us or 4-1 to them. We had an absolutely packed house tonight so It couldn’t have ended better than Omar playing the game of his life to beat Borja and clinch the tie for us.

“It’s the first time we’ve topped the group tables at this stage of the season – so our aim now is to put out the strongest team we can for the remainder of the season so that we can keep this going and earn ourselves a home semi-final, and then a place in the final for the first time.

“We had great news tonight when Omar told me he is planning to move to Somerset to train – which means he will be available to us for the rest of the season.”

At Winchester, South Coast rivals Chichester moved above St George’s and into third place after Robbie Temple, Ollver Pett and Rex Hedrick cancelled out wins for Emily Whitlock and Marwan El Shorbagy.

A packed Pontefract crowd watched Duffield’s Nick Matthew overcome James Willstrop in straight games

In Group A, Benz-Bavarian Duffield extended their lead at the top of the table to 21 points after thrashing bottom club AJP Pontefract. 

The Derbyshire side won all their ties for the loss of a single game, as world number one Nick Matthew extended his seven year unbeaten run in the PSL to 38 matches by defeating fierce rival James Willstrop 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 in their 50th career meeting. 

Willstrop has now lost the last six matches between the English teammates and has only beaten the World champion twice in 28 matches since 2007.

“Obviously we know each other like the back of our hands and I think the goal for both of us was to get some match practice for this month’s Tournament of Champions in New York – and we both achieved that.” said Matthew afterwards.

Meanwhile, Coolhurst London extended their advantage over third-placed Air-IT Nottingham after edging a pulsating encounter in North London.

With the scores tied at two-apiece, Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid overcame Alan Clyne in five games to beat the former champions and strengthen Coolhurst’s play-off chances.

“For a newly-formed team, it can often prove challenging to function together as a coherent unit from the outset, as players get to know each other’s strengths, weaknesses and foibles,” said Coolhurst team manager Nick Sutcliffe later.

“Coolhurst is very proud of its squad members not only for their individual performances tonight, which were exceptional, but also for their camaraderie and natural willingness to work together.”

In the third Group A meeting, University of Birmingham’s Sarah-Jane Perry signalled her return from injury with a superb 3-1 victory over Chapel Allerton’s world number nine Jenny Duncalf.  

Perry’s teammates Peter Creed and Nathan Lake also triumphed to secure a narrow 3-2 victory and ensure the fifth-placed West Midlands side moved to within 11 points of second-placed Coolhurst heading into Round Seven. 

Group A

Coolhurst London (66+15) 3-2 Air-IT Nottingham (65+12)

Omar Abdel Meguid 3-2 Alan Clyne 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5
Ben Coleman 0-3 Eddie Charlton 6-11, 5-11, 7-11
Adam Auckland 3-2 Ollie Holland 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-1
Steve Richardson 1-3 Mark Fuller 12-10, 4-11, 5-11, 6-11
Madeline Perry 3-2 Emma Beddoes 11-8, 11-13, 15-13, 10-12, 11-4

AJP Pontefract (20+1) 0-5 Benz-Bavarian Duffield (82+20)

James Willstrop 0-3 Nick Matthew 9-11, 8-11, 8-11
Lee Beachill 0-3 Joel Hinds 4-11, 6-11, 10-12
Chris van der Salm 1-3 Andrew Whipp 11-8, 7-11, 6-11, 5-11
Syafa Kamal 0-3 Declan James 2-11, 9-11, 7-11
Sarah Kippax 0-3 Laura Massaro 12-14, 10-12, 6-11

Chapel Allerton (62+11) 2-3 University of Birmingham (55+15)

Daryl Selby 3-0 Chris Ryder 11-8, 11-5, 11-9
Chris Simpson 3-1 Jaymie Haycocks 8-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-5
James Earles 2-3 Peter Creed 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 5-11, 5-11
Simon Parke 2-3 Nathan Lake 13-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-13, 6-11
Jenny Duncalf 1-3 Sarah-Jane Perry 11-3, 4-11, 3-11, 9-11

PSL Table - Group A (correct as of January 7)

Group APlayedWonLostMFMAGFGAPoints
Chapel Allerton6331317585973

Group B

Winchester (21+10) 2-3 Team Chichester (65+15)

Marwan El Shorbagy 3-0 Jonathan Kemp 11-8, 15-13, 11-6
Greg Lobban 2-3 Rex Hedrick 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 6-11
Scott Fitzgerald 2-3 Robbie Temple 12-14, 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 4-11
Daniel Poleshchuk 0-3 Oliver Pett 10-12, 4-11, 4-11
Emily Whitlock 3-1 Lauren Briggs 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9

Exeter Diamonds (71+15) 3-2 Luxfords St George’s Hill (71+7)

Omar Mosaad 3-0 Borja Golan 11-9, 12-10, 11-8
Laurens Jan Anjema 3-1 Tom Richards 11-4, 11-8, /11, 12-10
Joey Barrington 0-3 Joe Lee 5-11, 8-11, 6-11
Tim Vail 1-3 Charles Sharpes 14-12, 7-11, 4-11, 5-11
Tory Temple-Murray 3-0 Judith Allgrove 11-4, 11-3, 11-3

Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets (76+10) 2-3 UWE/Elitesquash Bristol (42+16)

Peter Barker  0-3  Mohamed Elshorbagy 9-11, 6-11, 8-11 (44m)
Adrian Grant  2-3 David Evans 7-11, 13-11, 9-11, 13-11, 8-11 (63m)
Adrian Waller 2-3 Thomas Ford 8-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-6, 7-11 (67m)
Richie Fallows 3-2 Sam Ellis 8-11, 11-4, 11-4, 9-11, 11-3 (46m)
Alison Waters 3-0 Camille Serme 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (34m)

PSL Table - Group B (correct as of January 7)

Group BPlayedWonLostMFMAGFGAPoints
Surrey H&R6422010664686
St George's Hill6331812634478

Tom Ford picture by Jordan Mansfield

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