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Champions Surrey Health Back In The Chase For PSL Glory

2 Mar 2011

Reigning champions Surrey Health & Racquets celebrated their third successive Premier Squash League (PSL) win with a 4/1 home victory over Exeter Diamonds - a reversal of the result earlier in the season which strengthens the Croydon club's second place behind runaway leaders TWP St George's Hill in Group B of the world's most prestigious squash league.

While Team Chichester moved up to third place in the Group after a 3/2 away win over PSL newcomers IGT Winchester, St George's Hill extended their unbeaten run by beating UWE Bristol 4/1 for the second time this season

After beating fellow Yorkshire club Courtcraft Pontefract 5/0 earlier in the season in Group A, 2009 champions LEBC Group Chapel Allerton slumped 2/3 at home to a star-studded Pontefract side - but still remain top of the Group tables. Meanwhile, CLFS Esporta Oxford move into second place in Group A after thumping former champions MB Nottingham 5/0 at home.

Surrey Health & Racquets team manager Pete Smith admitted it was a "good night" for his squad after a near-maximum points victory over the Devon rivals with whom they shared second place before the night's matches unfolded. The home side's Alison Waters, Adrian Waller and Alan Clyne quickly established an unassailable lead for Surrey Health - though Londoner Waters, the world No3, was taken to five games by Irish PSL debutante Aisling Blake after failing to convert a match-ball in the third game.

Australian international Stewart Boswell put in another starring performance for Exeter by beating the hosts' higher-ranked England international Adrian Grant in straight games before world No7 Peter Barker extended the Surrey club's lead by beating Dutch champion Laurens Jan Anjema 11-8, 11-8, 11-5.

TWP St George's Hill delivered another near-perfect performance in the West Country - where they consigned 2007 runners-up UWE Bristol to their seventh successive defeat of the season. The Weybridge club stalwarts Rachel Willmott, Stephen Meads. Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan and Tom Richards all despatched Bristol opponents put in their way before recently-crowned British National champion Daryl Selby sought to make it maximum points from the top string clash with the home side's Mohamed El Shorbagy.

But the 20-year-old Egyptian international was too strong for Selby, winning 11-5, 12-10, 11-8 to give the home crowd some consolation.

A packed gallery at IGT Winchester were hoping to see revenge against the southern rivals who beat them earlier in the season. And after Team Chichester took the opening two matches, Winchester's former club manager Mark Cairns - a 43-year-old former world No10 - was set to make a hero's return to the court .... and turn matters round.

"Mark was absolutely in the zone," said team manager Gary Hinton. "He was simply in awesome form - and duly won his match."

Cairns saw off Chichester captain Tim Vail 9-11, 13-11, 11-2, 11-7 in 58 minutes. But it was all in vain, as on an adjacent court Robbie Temple played one the games of his life to defeat Winchester's higher-ranked Joey Barrington in straight games.

But the Winchester crowd was then treated to its first appearance of French star Gregory Gaultier, the world No6 from Aix-en-Provence who recovered from a game down to defeat the visitors' Malaysian number one Mohd Azlan Iskandar 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-3 to reduce the deficit to 2/3.

After losing the first three ties of the season, Courtcraft Pontefract turned the tables tonight by recording their third win in a row - against Yorkshire rivals LEBC Group Chapel Allerton. The Leeds club's world No2 Jenny Duncalf was too strong for the visitors' former world champion Vanessa Atkinson - but now retired former world number one Lee Beachill called upon all his vast experience to eke out a 11-9, 4-11,3-11, 11-7, 12-10 win over Chapel Allerton's Anthony Graham.

And after Indian number one Saurav Ghosal showed off his prowess to beat the home club's Australian international Aaron Frankcomb in four games, it was left to Pontefract star James Willstrop to clinch victory for the underdogs with his 11-8, 5-11, 13-11, 11-2 win over Frenchman Renan Lavigne.

But CLFS Esporta Oxford boosted their chances of a place in the end-of-season semi-final playoffs with a powerful 5/0 home win over MB Nottingham. Despite last-minute changes to the line-up, the home side's squad of Chris Ryder, Scott Handley, Andrew Birks, Kristen Johnson and Madeline Perry all came up trumps with wins over their visiting opponents.

The Oxford team now move up to second place in the Group A tables, just six points behind leaders Chapel Allerton.

RESULTS: 7th round, Tuesday 1 March 2011

Group A:
CLFS Esporta Oxford 5 MB Nottingham 0
Chris Ryder bt Chris Truswell 11-2, 11-3, 11-9
Scott Handley bt Mark Fuller 11-8, 11-7, 11-4
Andrew Birks bt Declan James 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8
Kristen Johnson bt Ollie Holland 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-3, 11-7
Madeline Perry bt Emily Whitlock 11-7, 11-9, 14-12

LEBC Group Chapel Allerton 2 Courtcraft Pontefract 3
Renan Lavigne lost to James Willstrop 8-11, 11-5, 11-13, 2-11
Aaron Frankcomb lost to Saurav Ghosal 11-9, 4-11, 3-11, 3-11
Laurence Delasaux bt Simon Parke 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6
Anthony Graham lost to Lee Beachill 9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 7-11, 10-12
Jenny Duncalf bt Vanessa Atkinson 11-5, 4-11, 11-7, 11-7

Group B:
Surrey Health & Racquets 4 Exeter Diamonds 1
Peter Barker bt Laurens Jan Anjema 11-8, 11-8, 11-5
Adrian Grant lost to Stewart Boswell 5-11, 2-11, 9-11
Alan Clyne bt Jonathan Harford 11-4, 11-9, 11-9
Adrian Waller bt James Snell 4-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-9 (48m)
Alison Waters bt Aisling Blake 11-5, 11-3, 11-13, 7-11, 11-0

UWE Bristol 1 TWP St George's Hill 4
Mohamed El Shorbagy bt Daryl Selby 11-5, 12-10, 11-8
David Evans lost to Tom Richards 11-7, 12-14, 8-11, 10-12
Lucas Serme lost to Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan 9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 10-12
Michael Harris lost to Stephen Meads 9-11, 3-11, 13-11, 7-11
Rebecca Quiney lost to Rachel Willmott 9-11, 6-11, 8-11

IGT Winchester 2 Team Chichester 3
Gregory Gaultier bt Mohd Azlan Iskandar 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-3 (49m)
Joey Barrington lost to Robbie Temple 2-11, 10-12, 8-11 (38m)
Stacey Ross lost to Olivier Pett 4-11, 7-11, 10-12 (29m)
Mark Cairns bt Tim Vail 9-11, 13-11, 11-2, 11-7 (58m)
Lauren Selby lost to Lauren Briggs 6-11, 7-11, 9-11 (26m)