Nottingham Marshall Former World Number Two In PSL Play-Offs Bid
26 Mar 2007
Three of the four places in the end-of-season Premier League (PSL) play-offs are up for grabs after tomorrow's tenth and final round in the group stages of the England Squash league sponsored by Clowes Insurance - with Nottingham bringing out of retirement England's former world two Peter Marshall in their Group A tie at University of Birmingham.
Marshall became England's most successful squash player in the early nineties, eventually reaching number two in the world behind Pakistan's Jansher Khan. It was after competing in the final of the British Open in March 1995 that the three-times British national champion withdrew from the sport, suffering with ME.
He made a brief comeback in April 1997, going on to reach the semi-finals of the World Open seven months later. After a further layoff, he returned in 1999 to secure the Pakistan Open title as a qualifier in November. The following February, he claimed his third British national title.
The Nottingham player's last Premier League appearance was in March 2002 when, playing for Derbyshire club Duffield, he lost to his current team-mate Simon Parke in straight games. Fourth string Marshall, now 35, will face the hosts' Stephen Coppinger, from South Africa, while top string Parke will take on Joey Barrington.
While Group A leaders Benz-Bavarian Duffield, the reigning champions who are undefeated this season, are already assured of a play-off place, they visit Esporta Oxford - who with Nottingham and University of Birmingham are also in contention for the runners-up position in the group.
The tie's opening clash will see the home side's Irish champion Madeline Perry taking on Duffield's England No1 Tania Bailey, while the top string battle will pitch Oxford's Cameron Pilley, from Australia, against British Open champion Nick Matthew.
The Group B scenario is a three-horse race featuring Surrey clubs Luxfords St George's Hill and Surrey Health & Racquets Croydon, together with Redwood Probuild Bristol.
Despite an eight-point lead at the top of the table, the Croydon team is taking no chances against their second-placed Bristol opponents, bringing in Malaysia's world No1 Nicol David - undefeated in two appearances this season - to take on the Avon club's rising Australian star Kasey Brown. Home hopes may rest on the Surrey side's Italian number one Davide Bianchetti who faces Australian Joseph Kneipp in the top string tussle.
St George's Hill will be led by Frenchman Renan Lavigne in their home tie against UniSport Guildford. Lavigne will be hoping to overturn his defeat by the Guildford number one Stacey Ross in the earlier fixture in the season, to keep alive hopes of a maiden appearance in the play-offs.