9:31 am
15 Jul 2024

Redditch & Guildford Celebrate Maiden PSL Victories

21 Nov 2007

UniSport Guildford and league newcomers Energie Fitness Redditch recorded their first wins of the season in Tuesday's fourth round of the Premier League (PSL) - while an under-strength Benz-Bavarian Duffield squad claimed an unlikely 4/1 home win over University Sport Birmingham to extend their unbeaten run in the prestigious England Squash league sponsored by Towergate tlc to 19 ties since April 2006.

Redditch beat Pontefract 5/0 to lift themselves off the bottom of the Group A table, while Duffield's win stretches the Derbyshire club's lead at the top of the table to 20 points - ahead of the University of Birmingham squad. Elsewhere in the group, Nottingham hosted a close-fought battle with Esporta Oxford, which the visitors clinched 3/2 - but still remain behind the East Midlands club in the points table.

There were wild celebrations in Surrey where UniSport Guildford beat county rivals Luxfords St George's Hill 3/2 in the team's first PSL win since October last year. Meanwhile, PNH Properties Chichester fought back from 2/0 down at Probuild Bristol to beat their Avon hosts 3/2 and consolidate their second place in Group B, behind Croydon's PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC, who were enjoying a rest day.

Without either of their world top 15 players Nick Matthew or Stewart Boswell for the first time this season, league champions Duffield looked in danger of losing their two season unbeaten run in front of a home crowd - especially when they suffered their first women's string loss of the season as club stalwart Laura Hill went down 5-9, 2-9, 7-9 to the visitors' world No12 Laura Lengthorn-Massaro.

But, roused undoubtedly by the strong local support, Shaun le Roux and Alex Stait led the fight back - fourth string Le Roux taking out Alistair Mutch 9-5, 9-4, 10-8 and Stait defeating South African Stephen Coppinger 9-7, 9-6, 4-9, 9-4. But the Duffield hero was third string Peter Billson, who came back from two games down against Joel Hinds to beat the former Duffield player 9-11, 6-9, 9-4, 10-8, 9-1.

Further lifted now by the boisterous Duffield supporters, newly-promoted team number one Andrew Whipp made it 4/1 for the hosts with a comprehensive 9-4, 9-6, 9-2 win over the visitors' Jonathan Harford.

Energie Fitness Redditch wasted no time in earning maximum points from their home clash with Pontefract - a team weakened by the imminent departure of its stars James Willstrop, Lee Beachill and Saurav Ghosal to Bermuda for this week's Men's World Open. Even the presence of Pontefract debutante Vanessa Atkinson, the former world champion from the Netherlands, failed to ignite the Yorkshire club's attack as Redditch's Jaclyn Hawkes defeated the former world number one 9-7, 6-9, 9-4, 9-3.

But it was straight games wins for the Worcestershire hosts thereafter as Jonathan Kemp, Aaron Frankcomb, David Barnett and Jaymie Haycocks battled for a combined time of just 93 minutes to claim a 5/0 victory for the PSL first-timers.

A capacity crowd welcomed Esporta Oxford to Nottingham - and were duly treated to high-quality drama up until the final few points. Honours were shared after the first two matches as Emma Beddoes put the hosts ahead with a 9-5, 9-7, 9-4 win over Rachel Donald, then Oxford's Kristen Johnson levelled the tie after beating Arthur Gaskin in four games. Fighting off the effects of a heavy cold, Nottingham's John Rooney recovered from two games down to beat Chris Ryder 7-9, 8-10, 9-7, 9-1, 9-3 - but club stalwart Simon Parke, making a comeback from a gluteus injury, saw a 2/1 lead slip away as Oxford's Scott Handley again levelled the tie with a 10-8, 2-9, 7-9, 9-4 9-5 win over the former world No4.

The decider also went to five games - in which the visitors' Cameron Pilley, the world No22 from Australia, fought back from a game down to upset Malaysia's world No17 Ong Beng Hee 6-9, 9-3, 9-7, 5-9, 9-5 to give Oxford a hard-fought 3/2 victory.

Despite retiring from the international circuit almost four years ago, long-time UniSport Guildford player Stephen Meads is still able to hold his own against top Tour opponents. And with the squad 2/1 up, the 37-year-old from Berkshire found himself facing Hungarian international Mark Krajcsak, the Luxfords St George's Hill's second string, in a potential tie decider.

Meads, who reached a career-high world No11 ranking more than 12 years ago, dug deep - and ultimately beat world No63 Krajcsak 6-9, 9-7, 9-4, 7-9, 9-6 to put victory beyond the reach of the St George's Hill visitors.

There was high drama too in Bristol where Probuild Bristol forged a 2/0 lead over visitors PNH Properties Chichester after Australian Kasey Brown despatched England's Dominique Lloyd-Walter 9-6, 9-5, 9-5 and veteran campaigner Peter Marshall, a former world number two behind the legendary Jansher Khan, beat Chichester stalwart Peter Genever 4-9, 9-3, 9-6, 4-9, 9-5.

But the Sussex side fought back - firstly with Tim Vail prevailing against host club captain Hadrian Stiff 12-10 in the fifth game, then Alex Gough beating long-time Welsh international team-mate David Evans in four games.

Separated by just two places in the world top 20 rankings, England's world No19 Adrian Grant faced Malaysia's world No17 Mohd Azlan Iskandar in the decider It was Chichester who prevailed, however, as Iskandar triumphed 9-5, 9-11, 9-5, 9-3 over the Englishman to maintain their unbeaten PSL record this season.

RESULTS: 4th round, Tuesday 20 November 2007

Group A:
Nottingham 2 Esporta Oxford 3
Ong Beng Hee lost to Cameron Pilley 9-6, 3-9, 7-9, 9-5, 5-9
Simon Parke lost to Scott Handley 8-10, 9-2, 9-7, 3-9, 5-9
John Rooney bt Chris Ryder 7-9, 8-10, 9-7, 9-1, 9-3
Arthur Gaskin lost to Kristen Johnson 7-9, 4-9, 13-11, 7-9
Emma Beddoes bt Rachel Donald 9-5, 9-7, 9-4

Energie Fitness Redditch 5 Pontefract 0
Jonathan Kemp bt Colin Ramasra 9-3, 9-4, 9-2 (18m)
Aaron Frankcomb bt Neil Cordell 9-7, 9-6, 9-5 (38m)
David Barnett bt Adam Taylor 9-5, 10-8, 9-1 (19m)
Jaymie Haycocks bt Sam Wileman 9-3, 9-4, 9-2 (18m)
Jaclyn Hawkes bt Vanessa Atkinson 9-7, 6-9, 9-4, 9-3 (26m)

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 4 University Sport Birmingham 1
Andrew Whipp bt Jonathan Harford 9-4, 9-6, 9-2
Alex Stait bt Stephen Coppinger 9-7, 9-6, 4-9, 9-4
Peter Billson bt Joel Hinds 9-11, 6-9, 9-4, 10-8, 9-1
Shaun le Roux bt Alistair Mutch 9-5, 9-4, 10-8
Laura Hill lost to Laura Lengthorn-Massaro 5-9, 2-9, 7-9

Group B:
UniSport Guildford 3 Luxfords St George's Hill 2
Stacey Ross lost to Daryl Selby 5-9, 4-9, 7-9
Stephen Meads bt Mark Krajcsak 6-9, 9-7, 9-4, 7-9, 9-6
Jesse Engelbrecht bt Tom Richards 9-6, 9-1, 9-2
Alex Ingham lost to Joe Lee 4-9, 4-9, 5-9
Alison Waters bt Rachel Willmott 9-1, 9-3, 9-5

Probuild Bristol 2 PNH Properties Chichester 3
Adrian Grant lost to Mohd Azlan Iskandar 5-9, 11-9, 5-9, 3-9
David Evans lost to Alex Gough 10-8, 6-9, 6-9, 3-9
Hadrian Stiff lost to Tim Vail 11-9, 10-8, 7-9, 5-9, 10-12
Peter Marshall bt Peter Genever 4-9, 9-3, 9-6, 4-9, 9-5
Kasey Brown bt Dominique Lloyd-Walter 9-6, 9-5, 9-5