Duffield & Surrey Health Extend Mid-Season Premier League Leads
6 Dec 2006
Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon and Derbyshire's Benz-Bavarian Duffield cemented their positions at the top of the two groups at the end of the first half of the Premier League (PSL) season following convincing 4/1 victories in Tuesday's fifth round of the England Squash league sponsored by Clowes Insurance.
In Group A, national champions Duffield beat PSL newcomers Esporta Oxford at home, with local hero Nick Matthew - the British Open champion - delighting the loyal Duffield crowd by fighting back from 0/2 to beat the visitors' top string Cameron Pilley in the closing match. Meanwhile, Nottingham - who failed to secure a single victory last season - clinched an impressive 3/2 home win over University of Birmingham to finish in second place in the group.
Also making up for a disappointing season last year, Surrey H&R Croydon stretched their lead over Redwood Probuild Bristol in Group B, with a 4/1 victory over the west country club - while league newcomers Luxfords St George's Hill beat Surrey neighbours UniSport Guildford 3/2 to move into third place in the group.
British National champion Tania Bailey made a powerful start for Duffield, beating Oxford's Deon Saffery 9-4, 9-2, 9-2. Team-mates Laurence Delasaux and Jonathan Kemp soon established an unassailable lead for the Derbyshire hosts - but only after being stretched to five games in their matches against Oxfordshire stalwarts Kristen Johnson and Scott Handley, respectively.
But Nick Matthew ended the night - and the first half of the season - on a high for the Duffield supporters with his courageous 'fight-back' victory over Cameron Pilley, beating the Australian 7-9, 3-9, 9-6, 9-6, 9-6.
World No1 Nicol David demonstrated the awesome form which saw her retain her Women's World Open title in such style in Belfast last month when she brushed aside Emma Chorley 9-5, 9-0, 9-2 to give Surrey H&R Croydon an early lead against hosts Redwood Probuild Bristol.
Later, the Malaysian's name-sake Peter Nicol went down in a rare PSL defeat to Oxford's Joseph Kneipp, losing 9-5, 4-9, 9-7, 9-4 to the Australian to give Redwood their sole point. In the final match of the day, the home side's Adrian Grant failed to convert his 8-4 advantage against Anthony Ricketts in the fifth and final game between the two top strings as Ricketts clinched his 9-1, 4-9, 9-7, 5-9, 10-8 win to see the Croydon club claim the tie by a 4/1 margin.
UniSport Guildford made a poor start against Luxfords St George's Hill in their bid to raise themselves from the foot of the Group B table. Rachel Willmott lost 7-9, 8-10, 3-9 to the visitors' South African Adel Weir, then the newly-crowned Irish Junior Open champion Alex Ingham was unable to convert his match-ball opportunity in the third game against St George's Hill's Joe Lee before going down 9-7, 9-6, 9-11, 6-9, 3-9.
Daryl Selby clinched victory for the Luxfords-sponsored side with a hard-fought 14-12, 9-5, 10-12, 7-9, 9-6 win over the home team's Stephen Meads - but the night finished on a high for Guildford when squad No1 Stacey Ross upset higher-ranked Frenchman Renan Lavigne 9-6, 10-8, 9-7.
A packed Nottingham crowd enjoyed seeing the home team make up for last season's disappointment by winning its third tie of the new season. However, the hosts were 1/2 down to University of Birmingham when club stalwart Simon Parke - who led Nottingham to national title success in 1999 - beat Birmingham regular Jonathan Harford 9-7, 9-7, 9-1 to level the tie.
The crowd were then treated to a masterful performance by club newcomer Ong Beng Hee, the world No18 from Malaysia, who beat rising England star Joey Barrington 9-5, 9-7, 9-7 to clinch the tie - and maintain his 100% record for Nottingham.
Nottingham 3 University of Birmingham 2
Ong Beng Hee bt Joey Barrington 9-5, 9-7, 9-7
Simon Parke bt Jonathan Harford 9-7, 9-7, 9-1
Jethro Binns lost to Stephen Coppinger 4-9, 1-9, 3-9
Arthur Gaskin lost to Jonathan Tate 9-4, 3-9, 12-10, 3-9, 10-12
Emma Beddoes bt Georgina Stoker 9-7, 10-8, 9-3
Benz-Bavarian Duffield 4 Esporta Oxford 1
Nick Matthew bt Cameron Pilley 7-9, 3-9, 9-6, 9-6, 9-6
Jonathan Kemp bt Scott Handley 10-12, 9-5, 9-5, 8-10, 9-2
Lee Drew lost to Chris Ryder 9-3, 5-9, 9-4, 7-9, 7-9
Laurence Delasaux bt Kristen Johnson 5-9, 9-3, 9-1, 7-9, 9-6
Tania Bailey bt Deon Saffery 9-4, 9-2, 9-2
UniSport Guildford 2 Luxfords St George's Hill 3
Stacey Ross bt Renan Lavigne 9-6, 10-8, 9-7
Stephen Meads lost to Daryl Selby 12-14, 5-9, 12-10, 9-7, 6-9
Jesse Engelbrecht bt Tom Richards 9-4, 9-11, 10-8, 4-9, 9-5
Alex Ingham lost to Joe Lee 9-7, 9-6, 9-11, 6-9, 3-9
Rachel Willmott lost to Adel Weir 7-9, 8-10, 3-9
Redwood Probuild Bristol 1 Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon 4
Adrian Grant lost to Anthony Ricketts 1-9, 9-4, 7-9, 9-5, 8-10 (51m)
Joseph Kneipp bt Peter Nicol 9-5, 4-9, 9-7, 9-4 (41m)
Hadrian Stiff lost to Bradley Ball 3-9, 8-10, 6-9 (29m)
James Snell lost to Chris Simpson 6-9, 5-9, 6-9 (25m)
Emma Chorley lost to Nicol David 5-9, 0-9, 2-9 (30m)