St George's & Surrey Health Through - But Champions Out In PSL
3 Mar 2010
Maximum points wins by Surrey Health & Racquets and TWP St George's Hill have guaranteed the Group B clubs a place in next month's semi-finals of the Premier League (PSL) - but a 4/1 Group A defeat in Tuesday's ninth and penultimate round of the world's most prestigious squash league leaves title-holders LEBC Group Chapel Allerton out of contention.
Former champions MB Nottingham beat Pontefract 4/1 to retain their leadership of the Group A table with 140 points - eight points ahead of Esporta Oxford, home winners over Chapel Allerton. But Benz-Bavarian Duffield led a late charge in the group to overcome Welsh newcomers Newport 4/1 to move into third place - leaving the three clubs in the running for the two places in the semi-final play-offs.
But, whilst champions Chapel Allerton - in fourth place in Group A, 21 points adrift of the leaders - cannot finish in the top two, the Leeds club entertain Nottingham in the final round (on 16 March) and a maximum points win for the hosts could scupper Nottingham's 2010 title hopes.
MB Nottingham have topped the Group A tables for most of the season - and dropped just four games in their home win over Yorkshire club Pontefract. Vanessa Atkinson, winner of her 12th Dutch national title last month, gave the visitors a good start with a straight games win against local star Emma Beddoes - but 3/0 wins by Lewis Walters, Arthur Gaskin and John Rooney ensured Nottingham's eighth win of the season.
Two life-long Yorkshire rivals Simon Parke and Lee Beachill entertained the crowd in the second string clash, with Nottingham stalwart Parke, a former world No3, edging home 11-5, 11-2, 12-14, 11-6 over ex-world number one Beachill.
Esporta Oxford raised their home supporters' hopes of a first-time appearance in the semi-final play-offs with their impressive 4/1 win over LEBC Group Chapel Allerton. Again, the visitors took the early lead when Leeds teenager Carrie Ramsey beat Oxford's Katherine Quarterman 3/0. Jaymie Haycocks led the comeback charge, fighting back from 2/1 down to beat the visitors' Adam Murrills 11-2, 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9 before Oxford regulars Scott Handley and Chris Ryder sealed straight games wins.
The final match saw Australian Cameron Pilley celebrate his new career-high world No14 ranking by recovering from a game down to beat England's world No13 Alister Walker 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 - a win which cemented Oxford's second place in the group tables.
Their first visit to Wales proved fruitful for 2006 and 2007 champions Benz-Bavarian Duffield when they defeated Newport 4/1 - despite the absence of their high-profile stars Tania Bailey and Nick Matthew, the world number two who became the North American Open champion at the weekend. Laura Hill, the last-minute replacement for the newly-married Bailey, defeated Welsh number one Deon Saffery in four games.
But, after former Welsh international Greg Tippings levelled the tie with a 3/1 win over the visitors' Chris Fuller, Duffield regained control as Austrian Aqeel Rehman and Derbyshire's Joel Hinds secured notable victories. But it took Duffield stalwart Andrew Whipp, a part-time player for more than two years, to produce the night's standout result when he despatched Newport's Aaron Frankcomb, the world No39 from Australia, 11-7, 11-2, 11-9 in 37 minutes.
2008 champions Surrey Health & Racquets celebrated their fourth successive time in the semi-final play-offs with a commanding 5/0 home win over Probuild Bristol. Two veteran performances stood out - firstly team co-manager Tim Garner's 11-4, 11-9, 11-9 win over Bristol newcomer Theodore Anderson, then former world number one Peter Nicol's fightback 8-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-6 victory over ex-world number two Peter Marshall.
But the Croydon club's top string Davide Bianchetti, the Italian number one, rounded off the tie with a resounding 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 win over Bristol captain Hadrian Stiff to clinch his club's place in the semi-finals.
It was a dejected Exeter Diamonds team manager Adam Lings that admitted his 2010 campaign was over when he reported his club's 5/0 home defeat by TWP St George's Hill. The Surrey club's visit to Devon with a less-than-full-strength squad proved hugely successful as the team earned its place in the play-offs for the first time at its fourth attempt.
Lauren Briggs, Neil Hitchens, Joe Lee and top-ranked Hungarian Mark Krajcsak all notched up notable wins against Exeter opposition - but none was as stunning as Nicolas Mueller's. In his first appearance as top string for the club, the fast-rising Swiss 20-year-old, ranked 42 in the world, claimed one of the best wins of his life when he beat experienced Australian Stewart Boswell, the world No17 and a former world No4, 11-6, 5-11, 11-7, 11-4.
Elsewhere in Group B, Covers Chichester celebrated only their second win of the season with a 5/0 away victory at Surrey Storm Guildford. Malaysian top string Mohd Azlan Iskandar led the assault with distinction by beating the Guildford club's South African Jesse Engelbrecht in straight games - but perhaps the visitors' most impressive win was achieved by retired Alex Gough, the former world No4 from Wales who battled back from 2/1 down to beat home hero Stacey Ross 11-3, 9-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7.
RESULTS: 9th round, Tuesday 2 March 2010
Newport 1 Benz-Bavarian Duffield 4
Aaron Frankcomb lost to Andrew Whipp 7-11, 2-11, 9-11 (37m)
Peter Creed lost to Joel Hinds 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 7-11 (45m)
Nic Birt lost to Aqeel Rehman 6-11, 4-11, 6-11 (32m)
Greg Tippings bt Chris Fuller 11-9, 11-4, 8-11, 12-10 (43m)
Deon Saffery lost to Laura Hill 6-11, 11-5, 10-12, 7-11 (37m)
MB Nottingham 4 Pontefract 1
John Rooney bt Andrew McDougall 12-10, 11-5, 11-7
Simon Parke bt Lee Beachill 11-5, 11-2, 12-14, 11-6
Arthur Gaskin bt Neil Cordell 11-7, 11-5, 11-3
Lewis Walters bt Karan Malik 11-5, 11-4, 11-6
Emma Beddoes lost to Vanessa Atkinson 9-11, 7-11, 5-11
Esporta Oxford 4 LEBC Group Chapel Allerton 1
Cameron Pilley bt Alister Walker 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7
Chris Ryder bt Shaun le Roux 11-3, 15-13, 11-4
Scott Handley bt Chris Hall 11-9, 11-8, 11-8
Jaymie Haycocks bt Adam Murrills 11-2, 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9
Katherine Quarterman lost to Carrie Ramsey 6-11, 3-11, 7-11
Surrey Storm Guildford 0 Covers Chichester 5
Jesse Engelbrecht lost to Mohd Azlan Iskandar 4-11, 8-11, 5-11
Stacey Ross lost to Alex Gough 3-11, 11-9, 11-4, 8-11, 7-11
Alex Ingham lost to Tim Vail 10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11
Mick Biggs lost to Olivier Pett 5-11, 1-11, 9-11
Victoria Lust lost to Dominique Lloyd-Walter 9-11, 4-11, 7-11
Surrey Health & Racquets 5 Probuild Bristol 0
Davide Bianchetti bt Hadrian Stiff 11-9, 12-10, 11-9
Peter Nicol bt Peter Marshall 8-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-6
Adrian Waller bt Ben Rodgers 11-6, 11-7, 11-6
Tim Garner bt Theodore Anderson 11-4, 11-9, 11-9
Lauren Selby bt Sarah-Jane Perry 9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-2, 11-7
Exeter Diamonds 0 TWP St George's Hill 5
Stewart Boswell lost to Nicolas Mueller 6-11, 11-5, 7-11, 4-11
Joey Barrington lost to Mark Krajcsak 5-11, 11-13, 3-11
Jonathan Harford lost to Joe Lee 14-12, 9-11, 6-11, 1-11
Aditya Jagtap lost to Neil Hitchens 6-11, 12-14, 7-11
Emma Chorley lost to Lauren Briggs 3-11, 4-11, 13-15