It was a good night for the home teams as the first half of the 2019/20 Karakal Premier Squash League concluded with all four matches ending in emphatic defeats for the visitors.
In the Northern Division last season’s runners-up Team Pontefract, the only unbeaten team at the start of play, were beaten 5-0 by University of Nottingham at the Park Squash Club. Tinne Gilis made a successful maiden PSL appearance and Nick Matthew came from a game down to put Nottingham two ahead. The win was clinched as Millie Tomlinson saved match balls as she came from a game down to beat Hollie Naughton, with Richie Fallows and Declan James rounding of the win which puts Nottingham, the 2016 champions, into second place just two points behind Pontefract who stay top.
Scotland’s Alba Storm made it two wins in a row as they beat ‘noisy neighbours’ Northumberland Club/Newcastle University 5-0 at Hamilton Squash Club, their all-Scottish lineup of Greg Lobban, Alan Clyne, Rory Stewart, Lisa Aitken and Alison Thomson taking them level on points with Nottingham. Newcastle drop to fourth, 7 points behind, while University of Birmingham Lions are bottom a further 5 points adrift.
The Southern Division also closed up as defending and 2018 champions RAC and Ab Initio St George’s Hill both went into the break with home wins.
Defending champions RAC – playing on two courts – were first to finish as they eased past a weakened Welsh Wizards lineup, the visitors’ solitary point coming as Joshna Chinappa lost out in three close games against Alison Waters. RAC go top of the table, five points ahead of Warwick/Kenilworth.
St George’s Hill – where the packed crowd enjoyed an on-court interview with former British Open Champion Lisa Opie – were already 3-0 up when Coolhurst‘s Nathan Lake produced a stunning comeback to beat world #2 Mohamed ElShorbagy in three games. Home favourite Tom Richards made it 4-1 for a first St George’s win of the season, and although they remain at the foot of the table, it’s still any two from five for the end of season playoff places.
NOTTINGHAM 5-0 PONTEFRACT (13-3)
Declan James 2-0 Chris Simpson 11-1, 11-8
Nick Matthew 2-1 Patrick Rooney 9-11, 11-8, 11-6
Richie Fallows 2-1 Sam Todd 9-11, 11-1, 11-7
Millie Tomlinson 2-1 Hollie Naughton 3-11, 14-12, 11-6
Tinne Gilis 2-0 Sarah Campion 11-5, 11-6
ALBA STORM 5-0 NEWCASTLE (13-1)
Greg Lobban 2-0 Robbie Downer 11-5, 11-5
Alan Clyne 2-0 Owain Taylor 11-4, 11-6
Rory Stewart 2-0 Max Forster 11-7, 11-6
Lisa Aitken 2-0 Lucy Beecroft 11-7, 11-3
Alison Thomson 2-1 Sam Ward 7-11, 11-7, 11-7
RAC 5-0 WELSH WIZARDS (13-1)
Paul Coll 2-0 Marwan ElShorbagy 11-4, 13-11
Daryl Selby 2-0 Jack Mitterer 11-5, 11-9
Ben Coleman 2-0 David Evans 11-5, 11-6
Alison Waters 2-1 Joshna Chinappa 16-14, 10-12, 12-10
Haley Mendez 2-0 Anna Kimberley 11-6, 11-8
AB INITIO ST GEORGE’S HILL 4-1 COOLHURST (12-4)
Mohamed ElShorbagy 1-2 Nathan Lake 14-12, 7-11, 7-11
Tom Richards 2-0 Rui Soares 14-12, 11-9
Joe Lee 2-1 Tom Walsh 11-3, 9-11, 11-3
Joelle King 2-0 Bruna Marchesi 11-3, 11-1
Torrie Malik 2-1 Margot Prow 7-11, 11-2, 11-5