The Unsquashable New Zealand Premier Squash League continues at SquashXL in Hamilton …
Final : It’s Arscott this time
Dave Worsley reports
After being a beaten finalist the previous week Arscott, 20 ranked at 235 in the world, prevailed 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-2 in just over an hour for the title against 17-year-old Elijah Thomas 22 places below on the PSA world rankings.
No player dominated for the first few sets as each traded long rallies and physical play to try and gain the ascendancy. Only in the fifth game as the overall time extended past an 60 minutees play did Arscott manage a significant lead and was able to hold on to it as a couple of unforced errors crept in to his opponents game.
For Arscott it was a good finish to some concentrated training and play of the last eight weeks.
“I’m not overly sore or tired, it was a good contest. It was nice to have a battle like that again. It was a tight-fought contest, but I really enjoyed it,” said Arscott.
With the temperature dropping at the SquashXL venue on New Zealand’s only glass court which traditionally plays quick the finalist had to push forward or force their opponents deep into the corners.
“It stays very short and dies off at the back so there was some pretty dynamic movements from both of us. He’s (Thomas) a real battler, he plays some really disciplined squash, I just go momentum at the start of the fifth and managed to get away.”
Joel Arscott interview
In the third and fourth playoff the previous week’s title winner Temwa Chileshe was victorious over Leo Fatialofa in four games. Chileshe haven’t to keep a steady head against the shot making of Fatialofa who at times reeled off spectacular winners followed by the odd unforced error.
The fifth and sixth match had Glenn Templeton account for Michael Shelton-Agar in four games while in the seventh and eighth match Jack Conder won in five games in 40 minutes over teenage rival, Mason Smales in a tight contest.
Week three of the four-tournament series continues on Friday.
Semis : Thomas steals the show at SquashXL
Dave Worsley reports
Elijah Thomas stole the show in the semifinals of week two of the Squash Premier League in Auckland with an intense four game victory over the previous tournaments winner, Temwa Chileshe.
The 17-year-old Thomas from the Eden Epsom Club who has a world ranking of 257 in the world put in a solid performance sticking to a game plan against Chileshe who is two years his senior, but 120 places lower on the world rankings.
Thomas raced out to an 11-7 first game win with some well executed shots before Chileshe battled back to gain the second. There was no real dominance by either player, however Thomas was fired up throughout and piled on the pressure to take the third and fourth games 11-7, 11-8 for the win in a total time of 42 minutes.
“I was pleased I’d never beaten Tem before. He’s obviously a strong player who makes you fight for every point. I like playing down my backhand it’s a good shot for me, he’s so good on his forehand, so it was keep it away from there,” said Thomas who now faces Joel Arscott in the final. “He’s definitely a strong player as well, it will be a battle.”
Arscott, 20 with a world ranking of 235 was efficient against Leo Fatialofa who had plenty of flair but not the control when required.
The top ranked player was able to set up the points well against the shot making of Fatialofa and eventually compile a win in straight games 11-9, 11-5, 11-7.
In earlier matches New Zealand national junior champ Glenn Templeton beat 15-year-old Mason Smales 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 in 20 minutes. Smales showing improvement on his previous match and great ability to hold the ball late on his racquet.
Remuera club player Michael Shelton-Agar staged a comprehensive comeback against 17-year-old Jack Conder to win in five games after dropping the first two sets. The energy appeared to leave Conder, while Shelton-Agar looked sharp in the final three games of the 38 minute contest.
The final and playoffs of the Unsquashable Premier League continue from 3pm Sunday 24 May at the SquashXL Club in Auckland with live vision on PSA YouTube channel.
Straightforward wins to start Week Two
Dave Worsley reports
A straight forward first round of the second week of the Unsquashable Premier League as matches wrapped up quickly.
Winner from the last event, Temwa Chileshe played out an entertaining contest against Jack Conder who once again threw himself around the court and left nothing to chance.
The more experienced player won the contest in four games but even then was pushed to a ‘short or long’ call at 10 points each in the fourth game. Chileshe called for the short winner-takes-all and won on a clever and unorthodox flick from his feet.
Other victories went the way of 17-year-old Elijah Thomas ranked at 257 in the world who showed no mercy as he played a ruthlessly efficient game to account for Michael Shelton Agar who was appeared off key during their match. Thomas winning in straight games.
Top ranked Joel Arscott at 235 put paid to the challenge from 15-year-old Mason Smales in easy fashion and will now play Leo Fatialofa who defeated Glenn Templeton in a good four set encounter 11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 11-1.
The other semifinal will see Chileshe take on Thomas.