Matthew & Pierrepont Celebrate Successful Comebacks As PSL Pressure Heats Up

7 Mar 07

Returning to competitive action after long injury layoffs, Nick Matthew and Suzie Pierrepont both made successful comebacks in Tuesday's eighth round of the Premier League (PSL) - Matthew helping Benz-Bavarian Duffield extend their Group A leadership after crushing Nottingham 5/0 at home, and Pierrepont enabling Tinos Homes Chichester to clinch a 3/2 win over Luxfords St George's Hill to take the Sussex side to the top of the Group B table for the first time in the season.

Elsewhere in the England Squash league sponsored by Clowes Insurance, University of Birmingham recorded a notable 4/1 away win over Pontefract to catapult the west midlands side up two places to second position in Group A, while event newcomers Redwood Probuild Bristol fought back from two matches down to beat UniSport Guildford 3/2 at home in Group B.

A serious ligament tear in his right ankle in January prevented Sheffield's Nick Matthew from defending his British National title in Manchester last month. But it was a confident comeback performance which saw the England No1 beat fellow Yorkshireman Simon Parke, the Nottingham top string, 5-9, 11-9, 9-5, 9-5 to ensure the maximum points victory for Duffield which extended the Derbyshire club's lead at the top of the table. Earlier, another former British National champion Tania Bailey had kick-started Duffield's lead with a powerful 9-1, 9-1, 9-1 win over Nottingham's Sarah Kippax.

There was further disappointment for Pontefract when the Yorkshire club slumped to its seventh successive PSL loss this season. With many of its star players on international duty, the home club's lower-ranked players fell in straight games to the near full-strength University of Birmingham squad. But, cheered on by the loyal home crowd, Pontefract No1 Lee Beachill showed that he has fully recovered from his recent neck injury when he defeated the visitors' top string Joey Barrington 10-8, 9-4, 7-9, 9-3 to give the hosts a valuable consolation point.

A heel injury sustained by Suzie Pierrepont following a fall during the qualifiers at last November's Women's World Open in Belfast prevented the 22-year-old from Sussex from playing competitive squash until this week. But the former European Junior Champion eased to a 9-6, 9-5, 9-4 victory over South African Adel Weir as Tinos Homes Chichester mounted their home campaign against Surrey rivals Luxfords St George's Hill. Team captain Tim Vail was an early star for the hosts, extending his unbeaten PSL run for the season by beating Irishman John Rooney - winner of last week's Salzburg Open in Austria - 9-4, 6-9, 6-9, 9-5, 9-5.

But final honours were earned by Mohd Azlan Iskandar when the Malaysian beat the visitors' Frenchman Renan Lavigne 11-9, 9-2, 9-4 in the fifth match decider to give Chichester their 3/2 win - and pole position in Group B!

A dramatic and close-fought 3/2 victory by Redwood Probuild Bristol over visitors UniSport Guildford was not enough to lift the west country club off fourth position in the Group B tables - but the tie threw up two significant upsets. A star of the future for Guildford, 16-year-old Alex Ingham had yet to claim a win in five appearances this season for the Surrey University squad. But it was sixth time lucky for the promising teenager who battled hard for five close games to beat Bristol's 19-year-old James Snell 7-9, 8-10, 10-8, 10-8, 9-7 - thus avenging the PSL defeat by his older opponent earlier in the season.

But, later, Bristol's retired Welshman David Evans showed some of the skills which took him to the British Open title in 2000. Competing against Guildford's Jesse Engelbrecht, Evans came from 1/0 and 2/1 down, then rallied back from 6-3 behind in the fourth to overcome the determined Zimbabwean full-timer 2-9, 9-4, 4-9, 9-6, 9-4.

8th round, Tuesday 6 March 2007

Group A:
Pontefract 1 University of Birmingham 4
Lee Beachill bt Joey Barrington 10-8, 9-4, 7-9, 9-3
Ryan Thompson lost to Jonathan Harford 4-9, 6-9, 10-12
Andrew Cross lost to Joel Hinds 2-9, 2-9, 6-9
Adam Taylor lost to Jonathan Tate 5-9, 3-9, 5-9
Kirsty McPhee lost to Laura-Jane Lengthorn 2-9, 4-9, 5-9

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 5 Nottingham 0
Nick Matthew bt Simon Parke 5-9, 11-9, 9-5, 9-5
Jonathan Kemp bt Jethro Binns 9-3, 9-5, 9-5
Andrew Whipp bt Arthur Gaskin 9-7, 9-4, 9-6
Laurence Delasaux bt Eddie Charlton 9-7, 9-4, 9-3
Tania Bailey bt Sarah Kippax 9-1, 9-1, 9-1

Group B:
Tinos Homes Chichester 3 Luxfords St George's Hill 2
Mohd Azlan Iskandar bt Renan Lavigne 11-9, 9-2, 9-4
Alex Gough lost to Daryl Selby 9-7, 1-9, 9-4, 2-9, 8-10
Peter Genever lost to Tom Richards 6-9, 8-10, 9-4, 3-9
Tim Vail bt John Rooney 9-4, 6-9, 6-9, 9-5, 9-5
Suzie Pierrepont bt Adel Weir 9-6, 9-5, 9-4

Redwood Probuild Bristol 3 UniSport Guildford 2
Adrian Grant bt Stacey Ross 9-4, 13-11, 9-2
Joseph Kneipp bt Stephen Meads 9-4, 9-7, 10-8
David Evans bt Jesse Engelbrecht 2-9, 9-4, 4-9, 9-6, 9-4
James Snell lost to Alex Ingham 9-7, 10-8, 8-10, 8-10, 7-9
Lisa Aitken lost to Alison Waters 1-9, 0-9, 1-9