1:01 pm
19 Jul 2024

Duffield Celebrate 20 Not Out In PSL

5 Dec 2007

Derbyshire club Benz-Bavarian Duffield established a remarkable record in Tuesday's fifth round of the Premier Squash League (PSL) by beating Pontefract 5/0 away from home to record their 20th consecutive unbeaten tie at the end of the first half of the season in the prestigious England Squash league sponsored by Towergate tlc.

The victory extends Duffield's lead at the top of the Group A table to 23 points - ahead of University Sport Birmingham, who beat a Nottingham squad weakened by the last-minute absence of top string Simon Parke through injury. Birmingham scored a 4/1 home win, while Esporta Oxford defeated league newcomers Energie Fitness Redditch 3/2 to overtake Nottingham and move into third place in the standings.

In Group B, PNH Properties Chichester suffered their first loss of the season as PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC extended their unbeaten run with a 4/1 away win. And there were celebrations elsewhere in Surrey when Luxfords St George's Hill, of Weybridge, secured their first win of the season by edging out Probuild Bristol 3/2 at home.

It was back in April 2006, two seasons ago, that Duffield last lost a tie - since when the club has won the national title twice and kept all-comers at bay. But despite the absence of England No1 Tania Bailey and the new world No5 Nick Matthew - who will lead England's defence of the title in the Men's World Team Championships later this week in India - Duffield were up to the task against a junior Pontefract side, also reduced by the absence of England internationals James Willstrop and Lee Beachill.

But the 5/0 victory hides a series of tough encounters in which the Yorkshire youngsters battled hard for local honours before succumbing to more experienced opposition. In the opening match, 22-year-old Kirsty McPhee produced an impressive fight back against Laura Hill before the experienced Duffield 31-year-old secured her 9-2, 9-1, 6-9, 9-7 win. And Pontefract's 19-year-old Adam Taylor led Manchester's seasoned Peter Billson before bowing out 6-9, 5-9, 9-2, 9-3, 9-5 to the Duffield No3.

The second string clash also went to the wire, with Duffield's Alex Stait stemming a fight back by Neil Cordell before beating the Pontefract 18-year-old 9-6, 9-6, 7-9, 5-9, 10-8.

"I'm really proud of the team - it's a remarkable achievement to have notched up 20 ties without defeat," said Duffield team manager Brian Hargrave. "It's a credit not only to the great squad we have - which, like tonight, can handle things when our top players are unavailable - but also to our fantastic loyal supporters. When players are struggling - like they did tonight - they really get behind them and it makes a real difference.

"But Pontefract deserve great credit - their young side really gave us a good fight, going for every ball and really making us work hard for our win," added Hargrave.

Kristen Johnson and World University champion Chris Ryder were winners for Esporta Oxford, while New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes and England No6 Jonathan Kemp clinched victories for visitors Energie Fitness Redditch. But, according to Oxford team manager Jason Martin, the fourth string match between the hosts' Thomas Phipps and Andrew Birks "was always going to be the pivotal one".

And so it turned out to be, with 20-year-old Birks twice cancelling leads by his 21-year-old opponent before Phipps finally clinched the 9-5, 4-9, 10-8, 6-9, 9-7 win - with a forehand cross-court volley nick - which gave the Oxford crowd the chance to cheer a dramatic home victory.

Sarah Kippax was the sole winner for Nottingham, dismissing the hosts' Emma Chorley 9-5, 9-5, 9-7 in just 18 minutes in the opening match at University Sport Birmingham. But the home side came back with a vengeance, with Joel Hinds, Jonathan Harford, Mohamed El Shorbagy and Joey Barrington - fresh from a successful qualifying campaign in last week's World Open in Bermuda - all winning in quick succession to give the student team its third win of the season.

Both teams were trying to protect unbeaten season-long runs in Group B when PNH Properties Chichester entertained Croydon's PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC. But the 9-3, 5-9, 6-9, 9-6, 9-7 victory by Sussex's 19-year-old former England junior international Oliver Pett over Kent's 31-year-old James Robbins proved to be the Sussex side's only win as Vicky Botwright, Adrian Waller, Davide Bianchetti and Bradley Ball claimed hard-fought wins to hand the Surrey visitors a 4/1 win and a comfortable midway season top-of-the-table position.

Meanwhile, the home crowd at Luxfords St George's Hill enjoyed the first win of the season when the team hosted last season's runners-up Probuild Bristol. The home side recovered from an early loss by Surrey University student Rachel Willmott to Irish international Laura Mylotte when Joe Lee, Mark Krajcsak and Daryl Selby all recorded dramatic victories - Lee fighting back from 1/2 down to beat Lewys Hurst 9-5, 5-9, 4-9, 9-7, 9-6 and Hungarian No1 Krajcsak overcoming a two-game deficit to defeat former world No2 Peter Marshall 4-9, 6-9, 10-8, 9-7, 9-7.

The visitors earned a final consolation when England international Adrian Grant survived a close match against rising star Alister Walker, the England No11, 9-6, 8-10, 9-6, 9-2 - to leave the Weybridge club as 3/2 winners.

5th round results, Tuesday 4 December 2007

Group A:
Pontefract 0 Benz-Bavarian Duffield 5
Ryan Thompson lost to Andrew Whipp 5-9, 4-9, 9-7, 7-9
Neil Cordell lost to Alex Stait 6-9, 6-9, 9-7, 9-5, 8-10
Adam Taylor lost to Peter Billson 9-6, 9-5, 2-9, 3-9, 5-9
Sam Wileman lost to Shaun le Roux 7-9, 8-10, 5-9
Kirsty McPhee lost to Laura Hill 2-9, 1-9, 9-6, 7-9

Esporta Oxford 3 Energie Fitness Redditch 2
Scott Handley lost to Jonathan Kemp 7-9, 9-6, 4-9, 4-9
Chris Ryder bt Jaymie Haycocks 9-7, 9-6, 11-9
Kristen Johnson bt James Snell 9-7, 9-4, 9-5
Thomas Phipps bt Andrew Birks 9-5, 4-9, 10-8, 6-9, 9-7
Kerri Shields lost to Jaclyn Hawkes 6-9, 4-9, 2-9

University Sport Birmingham 4 Nottingham 1
Joey Barrington bt Eddie Charlton 9-6, 9-4, 9-5 (24m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy bt Lewis Walters 10-8, 9-3, 9-6 (24m)
Jonathan Harford bt Duncan Walsh 9-7, 9-0, 4-9, 9-3 (26m)
Joel Hinds bt Neil Desai 9-0, 9-4, 9-4 (22m)
Emma Chorley lost to Sarah Kippax 5-9, 5-9, 7-9 (18m)

Group B:
PNH Properties Chichester 1 PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC 4
Tim Vail lost to Bradley Ball 9-3, 3-9, 7-9, 3-9
Peter Genever lost to Davide Bianchetti 9-7, 4-9, 3-9, 3-9
Tom Pashley lost to Adrian Waller 3-9, 9-11, 9-4, 9-7, 6-9
Oliver Pett bt James Robbins 9-3, 5-9, 6-9, 9-6, 9-7
Dominique Lloyd-Walter lost to Vicky Botwright 7-9, 1-9, 9-6, 0-9

Luxfords St George's Hill 3 Probuild Bristol 2
Alister Walker lost to Adrian Grant 7-9, 9-7, 10-12, 7-9
Daryl Selby bt Joseph Kneipp 15-13, 9-5, 11-9
Mark Krajcsak bt Peter Marshall 4-9, 6-9, 10-8, 9-7, 9-7
Joe Lee bt Lewys Hurst 9-5, 5-9, 4-9, 9-7, 9-6
Rachel Willmott lost to Laura Mylotte 6-9, 10-8, 6-9, 2-9