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PSL: Selby secures play-off place for St George’s Hill

Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

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Selby Secures PSL Play-Off Place For St George’s Hill

England international Daryl Selby notched up his first win since becoming British National champion for the first time a month ago when he clinched the deciding match which ensures TWP St George’s Hill a place in next month’s semi-final play-offs of the Premier Squash League (PSL), the world’s most prestigious squash league.

The Weybridge club were hosting county rivals Surrey Health & Racquets, the title-holders whose squad featured Peter Nicol, the now-retired former world number one and world champion.  The home side set the early pace in the crucial ninth round Group B clash, with Dominique Lloyd-Walter andStephen Meads claiming four-game victories over the visitors’ opposition.

But the Croydon club struck back – Adrian Waller reducing the deficit when St George’s stalwart Joe Lee was forced to withdraw midway through the second game with a back injury, then Nicol taking on new England international Tom Richards in a match described by St George’s team manager Danny Lee as ‘the best game of squash ever seen at the club’.

Richards, the 24-year-old world No29 fresh from making his England debut at last week’s World Cupin India, recovered from a game down to open up a 2/1 lead over his experienced opponent.  But Nicol, 13 years his senior, refused to bow down – taking the fourth game and saving three match-balls from 7-10 down in the decider to win 11-8, 3-11, 5-11, 11-9, 13-11 in 64 minutes.

Eager to recover from a three-match losing streak for his club since beating world number one Nick Matthew in February’s British National Championship final, Selby chose the perfect occasion to rediscover his earlier form to beat Surrey Health’s rising Egyptian star Karim Abdel Gawad 11-8, 11-7, 11-8.

The 3/2 victory takes St George’s Group B points haul for the season to 147 – 19 points ahead of Surrey Health.  But both clubs have done enough to make the end-of-season play-offs – with St George’s simply needing two points from their final tenth round tie against Exeter Diamonds to guarantee a top-of-the-table finish.

Elsewhere in Group B, Team Chichester moved up to third place after beating Exeter Diamonds 4/1, and PSL newcomers IGT Winchester celebrated their first 5/0 win of the season with a comprehensive home victory over UWE Bristol.

A three-horse race has developed in Group A where former champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield battled to a 4/1 away win over LEBC Group Chapel Allerton to leave the two clubs heading the table just three points apart.

But CLFS Esporta Oxford, not in ninth round action, lurk less than 20 points behind – and are still in contention for an all-important finish in the group’s top two.

World champion Nick Matthew led Duffield to away success at Chapel Allerton, the 2009 champions from Leeds.  A stalwart of the Derbyshire club for eight seasons, Matthew beat Frenchman Renan Lavigne 11-4, 11-6, 11-2 – but it was arguably team-mate Andy Whipp who exhibited the bravest Duffield performance, the 30-year-old part-timer holding off the challenge of Chapel Allerton’sLaurence Delasaux by beating the 25-year-old world No77 12-10, 9-11, 11-3, 11-13, 11-6.

Duffield, PSL champions in 1998, 2006 and 2007, began the night 16 points behind top-placed Chapel Allerton – but are now just three points adrift of the Leeds club.

Fellow Yorkshire club Courtcraft Pontefract celebrated their fourth PSL victory in a row with a 4/1 win over bottom-placed MB Nottingham.  Before a crowd described by Pontefract team manager Malcolm Willstrop as “the biggest I’ve ever seen at the club – it was jam-packed”, there were various standout performances by home team players – including an 11-7, 15-13, 13-11 win over Nottingham’s Emma Beddoes by Dutch star Vanessa Atkinson.

The indefatigable Yorkshire legend Simon Parke, now 38, defeated full-timer Lewis Walters 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 – and team number one James Willstrop, who led England to the WSF World Cup final in Chennai at the weekend, dug deep to recover from two games behind, and 5-10 down in the decider, to overcome Eddie Charlton 4-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11.

RESULTS:            9th round, Tuesday 15 March 2011

Group A:

Courtcraft Pontefract 4  MB Nottingham 1

James Willstrop bt Eddie Charlton    4-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11

Simon Parke bt Lewis Walters    11-5, 11-4, 11-7

Neil Cordell bt Chris Truswell    8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10

Karan Malik lost to Mark Fuller    11-13, 9-11, 6-11

Vanessa Atkinson bt Emma Beddoes    11-7, 15-13, 13-11

LEBC Group Chapel Allerton 1  Benz-Bavarian Duffield 4

Renan Lavigne lost to Nick Matthew    4-11, 6-11, 2-11

Chris Simpson lost to Jonathan Kemp    12-14, 11-7, 6-11, 7-11

Laurence Delasaux lost to Andy Whipp    10-12, 11-9, 3-11, 13-11, 6-11

Shaun le Roux bt Matthew Karwalski    8-11, 12-10, 11-9, 12-14, 11-8

Carrie Ramsey lost to Jaclyn Hawkes    3-11, 5-11, 1-11

Group B:

TWP St George’s Hill 3  Surrey Health & Racquets 2

Daryl Selby bt Karim Abdel Gawad    11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (47m)

Tom Richards lost to Peter Nicol    8-11, 11-3, 11-5, 9-11, 11-13 (64m)

Joe Lee lost to Adrian Waller    6-11, 0-4 ret.

Stephen Meads bt Tim Garner    11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10

Dominique Lloyd-Walter bt Victoria Lust    11-7, 11-5, 6-11, 11-3

Team Chichester 4  Exeter Diamonds 1

Max Lee lost to Campbell Grayson    11-7, 4-11, 9-11, 11-8, 9-11

Olivier Pett bt Jonathan Harford    11-9, 11-6, 11-8

Tim Vail bt Peter Creed    11-6, 11-9, 11-9

Alex Gough bt Mike Gregory    11-8, 11-5, 11-6

Nicolette Fernandes bt Victoria Temple-Murray    11-6, 11-4, 11-2

IGT Winchester 5  UWE Bristol 0

Dylan Bennett bt Michael Harris    11-4, 11-8, 11-7 (22m)

Stacey Ross bt Daniel West    11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 14-12 (48m)

Mark Cairns bt Ben Rodgers    11-3, 11-3, 11-3 (29m)

Kirby Sinclair bt Wojciech Nowisz    11-0, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9 (33m)

Lauren Selby bt Anna Jurkun    11-4, 11-2, 11-4

PSL TABLES (after 9th round)

Ties       Matches     Games    Pts

P   W   L    W    L     W     L

Group A:

LEBC Group Chapel Allerton 7   5   2   24   11    81    49   106

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 7   5   2   23   12    78    52   103

CLFS Esporta Oxford 7   3   4   21   14    72    58    87

Courtcraft Pontefract 7   4   3   14   21    58    75    78

MB Nottingham 8   1   7    8   32    44    99    49

Group B:

TWP St George’s Hill 9   8   1   31   14   107    61   147

Surrey Health & Racquets 9   6   3   28   17    98    74   128

Team Chichester 9   5   4   22   23    82    82   107

Exeter Diamonds 9   4   5   22   23    82    84   102

IGT Winchester 9   4   5   22   23    79    84    99

UWE Bristol 9   0   9   10   35    55   118    55

For all the latest news, visit the official website www.pslsquash.com

 

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