Yorkshire Leagues : Doncaster claim first ever title


Doncaster sealed their first ever Yorkshire Premier League title after victory over defending champions Hallamshire gave them an unassailable 30-point lead with one match to go.

Doncaster have been the dominant force all season in the country’s leading regional team squash league, winning 14 of 17 matches under the leadership of manager David Cooke and captain Joel Arscott.

“This is a really important milestone for us,” said Cooke. “It’s been such a positive year with loads of new members, including kids and women, joining the club. We’ve created a bit of a buzz in the community and the club is a really lively place to be. This is the perfect season for us to win the Yorkshire Premier League. I want to thank all our volunteers and club pros for creating such an amazing environment.”

The Hallamshire crowd were treated to a see-saw encounter, with both opening rubbers going to five games and a win for either side courtesy of Nick Hargreaves and Will Donnelly. No.3 Lewis Doughty nudged Doncaster ahead with a rapid win over Adam Turner, only for the hosts to respond immediately with former world No.1 Nick Matthew taking care of skipper Arscott in three.

It all went down to the top-string tussle between Kiwi Temwa Chileshe and world no.55 Simon Herbert. It was Doncaster’s Herbert who took it – and sealed the title once and for all – with a very hard-fought four-game triumph.

The 16-9 victory combined with defeat for second-placed Pontefract 1 in their derby match with Pontefract 2 – a result which sets up a tense relegation decider against bottom-placed Woodfield next Wednesday.

Pontefract 1’s hopes of denying Doncaster were only nominal – and a highly unlikely title turnaround was rendered mathematically impossible when Pontefract 2 won both lower-order ties in their inter-club battle in straight games through Joe Royle and Connor Sheen.

At third string, Pontefract 1’s Ben Beachill roared to victory over Chester Dockray and veteran Adam Taylor outmanoeuvred Ben Hetherington to leave the tie at 2-2 heading into the top-string conclusion. It was Pontefract 2’s Mason Smales who clinched a crucial 14-7 win as he put in a brutal shift to topple Tom Bamford in four games.

That win, combined with bottom side Woodfield’s 19-4 victory at mid-table Abbeydale, sets up a winner-takes-all survival battle on the final night of the season next Wednesday. Pontefract 2 will go in with a five-point lead for what’s sure to be a keenly-contested affair.

Woodfield’s fifth string match on Wednesday went the way of Abbeydale’s Dan Choudhury, but the away side took control thereafter as Alex Cutts and Mohamed Elshamy won handsomely, teenager Caleb Boy triumphed in four and former world No.25 George Parker capped off the evening by comfortably beating Jordan Hardwick.

After starting their post-promotion season with seven consecutive defeats, Ferriby Hall are officially safe after beating Queens 16-8 this week – the Hull side’s third victory in a row.

No.5 Glyn Saunders recorded his fifth YPL win in succession to kick things off and although fellow stalwart Mike Reid lost a five-setter against Queens No.4 Danny Bray, Yusef Forster won a monster of a battle against Cory Harding 11/9 in the fifth.

Queens’ Josh Taylor was an easy winner over youngster Ben Sockett at No.2 but South African Diewald van Niekirk brought home the bacon with a consummate victory over veteran James Earles at top string to spark Ferriby celebrations.

Wednesday night’s other encounter saw fourth-placed Dunnington overcome Harrogate 17-6 with the York side’s lower order of Matthew Stephenson, Sam Gibbon and Seif Heikal laying the platform and top string Chris Simpson applying the finishing touch.

Mike Dale

Doncaster’s winning team :
Lewis Doughty, Will Donnelly, Joel Arscott, Simon Herbert, Ed Walker