8:36 am
15 Jul 2024

Beachill Fights Back To Take Pontefract To First PSL Win

17 Oct 2007

Yorkshire's three-time British National Champion Lee Beachill twice had to come from behind to beat English rival Joey Barrington in the decider between Pontefract and University Sport Birmingham in Tuesday's second round of the Premier League (PSL) which earned the Yorkshire club its first ever win in two seasons in the prestigious England Squash league sponsored by Towergate tlc.

The 3/2 home victory takes Pontefract into fourth place in Group A, with title holders Benz-Bavarian Duffield moving back to the top of the table after a 4/1 away win at Esporta Oxford which extends the Derbyshire club's unbeaten record to 17 successive ties! By a single point, Duffield are holding off former champions Nottingham, who also scored a 4/1 away win against PSL newcomers Energie Fitness Redditch.

A 4/1 away win over Luxfords St George's Hill by PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC gives the Croydon club a 12-point lead at the top of the Group B table, ahead of Probuild Bristol, who clinched a 3/2 home win against UniSport Guildford.

Neil Cordell and Lauren Siddall put Pontefract ahead after convincing straight games wins over the visitors' Jonathan Tate and Emma Chorley, respectively - but the University of Birmingham team's Jonathan Harford and Joel Hinds battled back to win the second and third string matches to force a decider.

Beachill had moved up the Pontefract order following the last-minute withdrawal of James Willstrop with a minor injury - and the home player, ranked 11 in the world, was fully tested by Barrington, the world No29 whose game perhaps better suits the plaster courts at Pontefract. However, spurred on by the packed partisan crowd, Beachill ultimately beat 24-year-old Joey 4-9, 10-8, 5-9, 9-6, 9-7 to give his club a long-awaited PSL breakthrough.

The PSL juggernaut that is Benz-Bavarian Duffield - winners of their second successive title last season and unbeaten since April last year - quickly established a 2/0 lead over Esporta Oxford when England No1 Tania Bailey beat 23-year-old Oxford newcomer Rachel Donald 9-1, 9-3, 9-2 and Peter Billson defeated Kristen Johnson in four games in a match in which both players came off court after the third game thinking that the encounter was over. A misunderstanding between the players and the referee, however, led to the players returning to re-finish the third game - which Johnson duly won! Billson went on to clinch victory in the fourth, winning 9-6, 9-7, 10-12, 9-7.

Meanwhile, the ever-improving Chris Ryder reduced the deficit for the home team and it was hoped that Esporta stalwart Scott Handley would then level the tie. But playing - and beating - the legendary Pakistani Jansher Khan in last week's London Open had clearly taken its toll on the Oxfordshire number one, who went down to Duffield's in-form Andrew Whipp in straight games. In the final top string tussle, home supporters sensed an upset when Australian Cameron Pilley took the second game against Duffield's Nick Matthew. But the recently-crowned US Open champion regained the upper hand to win 9-3, 5-9, 9-7, 9-5 to ensure a 4/1 victory for the visitors.

Nottingham also notched up their second win of the season in the 4/1 victory in Redditch. A spirited performance from the visitors' Emma Beddoes in her first PSL appearance this year saw the 22-year-old from Leamington Spa continue the form that took her to her maiden Tour title success in Portugal last week by beating world No21 Jaclyn Hawkes - ranked 43 places higher - 9-11, 9-4, 9-7, 2-9, 9-7 in 47 minutes.

Jethro Binns, John Rooney and Malaysian Ong Beng Hee followed the winning theme set by Beddoes - but young Australian Scott Arnold, making his PSL debut, earned a consolation point for Redditch by beating Nottingham stalwart Simon Parke 9-4, 6-9, 9-2, 9-6 in 48 minutes.

Last-minute injury woes gave Luxfords St George's Hill team manger Danny Lee no alternative to fielding himself in the club's opening fixture in the new PSL season against PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC. But while the 45-year-old former England pro lost out to recent European Junior champion Chris Simpson, the local fans were able to enjoy a sparkling performance from Sarah Fitz-Gerald. The now retired record five-time World Open champion from Australia battled to a 5-9, 9-5, 9-7, 9-7 win over the visitors' former England international, now policewoman, Stephanie Brind - a victory which extends Fitz-Gerald's remarkable unbeaten PSL run since October 2000 to 32 matches!

Surrey H&RC fought back when David Bianchetti beat the host club's Phillip Barker 3/0, before Peter Barker avenged his older brother's defeat - albeit playing for the opposing team - when he defeated Hungarian Mark Krajcsak in four close games. In the final match, Egypt's PSL newcomer Wael El Hindi secured his first win for his new Croydon club, beating the hosts' number one Daryl Selby 10-8, 9-5, 9-7.

A delayed flight from his new home in Jersey meant that former British Open champion David Evans was unable to turn out for Probuild Bristol - but team manager Hadrian Stiff stepped into the breach, and also persuaded former world No2 Peter Marshall to race from his Nottingham home in order to complete the team line-up against UniSport Guildford. Marshall lost a close battle with the visitors' South African Jesse Engelbrecht 7-9, 8-10, 9-6, 8-10 - but a fine 9-6, 9-7, 5-9, 3-9, 9-6 win by Stiff over Guildford stalwart Stephen Meads took the tie to two-all.

UniSport number one Stacey Ross fully tested the higher-ranked Adrian Grant in the decider, but the Bristol top string ultimately prevailed 10-8, 9-5, 6-9, 9-6 to give the home team a 3/2 victory - and second place in the Group B points table.

2nd round results:

Group A:
Energie Fitness Redditch 1 Nottingham 4
Jonathan Kemp lost to Ong Beng Hee 3-9, 9-4, 6-9, 8-10 (38m)
Scott Arnold bt Simon Parke 9-4, 6-9, 9-2, 9-6 (48m)
David Barnett lost to John Rooney 8-10, 4-9, 6-9 (28m)
Jaymie Haycocks lost to Jethro Binns 2-9, 4-9, 7-9 (26m)
Jaclyn Hawkes lost to Emma Beddoes 11-9, 4-9, 7-9, 9-2, 7-9 (47m)

Esporta Oxford 1 Benz-Bavarian Duffield 4
Cameron Pilley lost to Nick Matthew 3-9, 9-5, 7-9, 5-9
Scott Handley lost to Andrew Whipp 5-9, 3-9, 3-9
Chris Ryder bt Laurence Delasaux 9-4, 9-5, 1-9, 9-2
Kristen Johnson lost to Peter Billson 6-9, 7-9, 12-10, 7-9
Rachel Donald lost to Tania Bailey 1-9, 3-9, 2-9

Pontefract 3 University Sport Birmingham 2
Lee Beachill bt Joey Barrington 4-9, 10-8, 5-9, 9-6, 9-7
Saurav Ghosal lost to Jonathan Harford 9-6, 4-9, 9-4, 5-9, 7-9
Ryan Thompson lost to Joel Hinds 6-9, 4-9, 9-5, 8-10
Neil Cordell bt Jonathan Tate 9-4, 9-4, 9-5
Lauren Siddall bt Emma Chorley 9-5, 9-2, 9-5

Group B:
Probuild Bristol 3 UniSport Guildford 2
Adrian Grant bt Stacey Ross 10-8, 9-5, 6-9, 9-6
Hadrian Stiff bt Stephen Meads 9-6, 9-7, 5-9, 3-9, 9-6
Peter Marshall lost to Jesse Engelbrecht 7-9, 8-10, 9-6, 8-10
Lewys Hurst bt Phil Rushworth 9-4, 9-4, 9-6
Kasey Brown lost to Alison Waters 5-9, 4-9, 6-9 (27m)

Luxfords St George's Hill 1 PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC 4
Daryl Selby lost to Wael El Hindi 8-10, 5-9, 7-9
Mark Krajcsak lost to Peter Barker 8-10, 12-10, 5-9, 8-10
Phillip Barker lost to Davide Bianchetti 5-9, 1-9, 3-9
Danny Lee lost to Chris Simpson 4-9, 4-9, 6-9
Sarah Fitz-Gerald bt Stephanie Brind 5-9, 9-5, 9-7, 9-7