Chichester squash stars get better of Bristol

Chichester and Bristol prepare for action
Chichester and Bristol prepare for action

Chichester took a step closer to the Premier Squash League play-offs with a thrilling home 3-2 win over Bristol in the penultimate round of games.

They began the night in third place, level on 114 points with their fourth-placed visitors.

Chichester’s Robbie Temple has the ability to switch hands at will and is rated by many as the best ambidextrous player in the world.

Temple didn’t waste any time and in straight games, in 37 minutes, defeated Mike Harris. Harris did fight back in the third but Temple resolutely battled on to put Chichester 1-0 up.

On the adjacent court, Lauren Briggs (Chichester) played world No24 and 2016 Welsh national champion Tesni Evans. It proved a great match as Briggs hit great length and width to peg Evans back and win the first game 11-5.

Briggs got off to a bad start in the second and never really recovered. Her width of shot was not tight enough, allowing Evans to pick off the balls and win the game 11-5. The third brought more of the same and the 11-5 score was repeated.

Chichester visit St George’s Hill in the final round of the PSL on April 19, when the places for the semi-finals will be decided.

The fourth game was a ‘battle royale’ as Briggs re-established her grasp on the match. She steadfastly battled her way to 10-7 and had several game balls which Evans decisively saved until she reached her first match point. Evans immediately converted the point to win 15-13 to put Bristol on the scorecard.

Paul Coll played Bristol’s Tom Ford in a quite disjointed match as Ford continually tried to break it up. Ford took the first game 11-7 before Coll’s dogged determination to retrieve everything enabled him to take control.

He had the upper hand in the next three games to win 11-5, 11-5, 11-9.

Chichester’s Kyle Finch took on Bristol’s David Haley and a brutal match ensued. Haley was hitting great lengths and intercepting Finch’s cross-court shots and ran away with the first 11-6.

Finch struck back to take the second 11-7. The third was very tight and Haley reached game ball first but Finch battled to win 13-11.

By now Finch was getting stronger and was in full flow. He wrapped up the final game 11-3 to give Chichester an unassailable 3-1 lead.

In the final match Adrian Waller faced world No11 Marwan Elshorbagy and although it was a dead rubber there were still points to be won.

Waller was quick to seize the initiative and pressed forward to take the first 11-7. Shorbagy instantly turned the tables to take the next 11-9. Waller was, however, undaunted and took the third to take it 14-12.

It was nip and tuck in the fourth with Elshorbagy easing his way to an 11-5 win.

The decider went to 10-10 and Waller had several match points but couldn’t convert them. Elshorbagy took it 15-13.

Chichester visit St George’s Hill in the final round of the PSL on April 19, when the places for the semi-finals will be decided.

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