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15 Jul 2024

Duffield & Surrey Storm To PSL Group Supremacy

19 Mar 2008

Benz-Bavarian Duffield and PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC stormed to comprehensive home victories in Tuesday's tenth and final round of this season's Premier League (PSL) to establish overwhelming leads at the top of the Group A and Group B tables, respectively, in the long-established England Squash league sponsored by Towergate tlc.

Duffield, the defending champions from Derbyshire, and Croydon-based Surrey H&RC, will join University Sport Birmingham and PNH Properties Chichester in the two-leg semi-final play-offs (on 8 and 10 April) for places in the final in May. Chichester, who needed a whitewash win over Surrey H&RC to leapfrog the Croydon in Group B, went down 4/1 to finish in second place - and will face Duffield in one of the semis. The Birmingham side also suffered a tenth round loss - to Nottingham - but still maintain their grip on second place in Group A to earn a semi-final against Surrey H&RC.

After losing their 23-tie unbeaten run in the last round, Duffield sprang back to despatch an admittedly under-strength Pontefract squad 5/0 at home. However, the Yorkshire visitors looked likely to claim an early win when fast-improving Lauren Siddall forged a 2/1 lead over Duffield's experienced campaigner Tania Bailey, the world No5 from Lincolnshire. But Bailey bounded back to take the match 9-7, 7-9, 4-9, 9-2, 9-6.

Wins then by Duffield stalwarts Peter Billson and Laurence Delasaux put the title-holders back on the victory trail - but it was the top string clash which provided the standout match of the day when Cheshire 'part-timer' Andrew Whipp crafted a sensational 3-9, 10-8, 9-3, 7-9, 9-2 victory over Pontefract's Saurav Ghosal, the Indian champion ranked 51 in the world, to give Duffield maximum points.

England international Vicky Botwright clinched the vital early points which assured Surrey H&RC's place at the top of the Group B standings when she beat Chichester's Dominique Lloyd-Walter 9-2, 8-10, 11-9, 10-8. Kent's Ben Ford went on to win in straight games to extend the home side's lead - but it was after beating Chichester captain Tim Vail that Italian Davide Bianchetti clinched victory for Surrey H&RC which leaves the Croydon club as the only unbeaten team this season.

A final 9-5, 7-9, 9-7, 9-5 win by squad No1 Peter Barker over indefatigable Welshman Alex Gough saw Surrey finish with a 4/1 win over the Sussex club.

Middle order places in the group standings were settled in the other ties - with last season's national runners-up Probuild Bristol romping home with their only 5/0 win of the season, against Luxfords St George's Hill, to overtake the Surrey club to finish in third place in Group B.

The 3/2 win by Nottingham over University Sport Birmingham not only gives the former champions their third win of the season, but also lifts the East Midlanders off the base of the Group A table. Elsewhere in the Group, in-form Australian Cameron Pilley clinched the deciding match for Esporta Oxford against league newcomers Energie Fitness Redditch which cemented the Thames Valley club's third place finish in Group A.

RESULTS: 10th round

Group A:
Benz-Bavarian Duffield 5 Pontefract 0
Andrew Whipp bt Saurav Ghosal 3-9, 10-8, 9-3, 7-9, 9-2
Peter Billson bt Sam Wileman 9-11, 9-5, 9-6, 9-2
Laurence Delasaux bt Colin Ramasra 9-6, 9-4, 9-2
Rudi Willemse bt Alan Norrish 9-4, 9-7, 9-5
Tania Bailey bt Lauren Siddall 9-7, 7-9, 4-9, 9-2, 9-6

Energie Fitness Redditch 2 Esporta Oxford 3
Renan Lavigne lost to Cameron Pilley 7-9, 5-9, 9-3, 7-9 (49m)
Jonathan Kemp bt Scott Handley 9-4, 9-7, 9-1 (19m)
Jaymie Haycocks bt Rob Sutherland 6-9, 9-7, 9-11, 9-6, 9-6 (49m)
Andrew Birks lost to Kristen Johnson 11-9, 10-12, 5-9, 4-9 (36m)
Jaclyn Hawkes lost to Madeline Perry 6-9, 6-9, 7-9 (24m)

Nottingham 3 University Sport Birmingham 2
Simon Parke lost to Joey Barrington 5-9, 10-8, 6-9, 2-9
John Rooney bt Stephen Coppinger 10-8, 9-6, 3-9, 4-9, 9-5
Jethro Binns bt Jonathan Tate 1-9, 9-5, 9-3, 9-7
Arthur Gaskin bt Steven London 9-7, 9-4, 5-9, 9-5
Sarah Kippax lost to Laura Lengthorn-Massaro 6-9, 9-2, 8-10, 10-12

Group B:
PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC 4 PNH Properties Chichester 1
Peter Barker bt Alex Gough 9-5, 7-9, 9-7, 9-5
Davide Bianchetti bt Tim Vail 9-5, 10-8, 9-5
Tim Garner lost to Peter Genever 9-11, 9-6, 5-9, 2-9
Ben Ford bt Robbie Temple 10-8, 9-6, 9-5
Vicky Botwright bt Dominique Lloyd-Walter 9-2, 8-10, 11-9, 10-8

Probuild Bristol 5 Luxfords St George's Hill 0
Adrian Grant bt Daryl Selby 6-9, 9-6, 5-9, 9-7, 9-2 (57m)
David Evans bt Tom Richards 9-7, 7-9, 4-9, 9-5, 9-6 (55m)
Hadrian Stiff bt Neil Hitchens 9-7, 9-5, 9-6 (26m)
Peter Marshall bt Oliver Dixon 9-2, 9-1, 9-5
Kasey Brown bt Rachel Willmott 9-7, 9-4, 9-3