Chichester’s Premier Squash League team registered another fine home win when they took on Bristol.
After starting their season’s with a 4-1 home victory over Winchester followed by a defeat by the same score away to reigning champions Surrey H&R, Chichester welcomed the return of Rex Hedrick and Olly Pett to the squad.
Anthony Graham, playing at No4, started the evening with a stunning 11-7, 11-4, 11-7 victory over Stuart Haddon. Graham was a class above Haddon and controlled the match.
Jackie Kemp, a former New Zealand No1), made her debut for Chichester and played Camille Serme (France), the world-ranked No7.
It was fantastic to watch. Kemp was playing her first match for more than a year following the birth of her daughter. Nonetheless, she pushed Serme to the limits.
She took the first game 11-6 with solid and determined play. Serme retaliated by winning the next 11-9. Kemp kept her focus and rallied well in a great thinking game - every shot was hit with purpose and she grabbed the third game 11-9. The fourth was very tight and, at times, it looked as if an upset was on the cards. Serme, however, took control to take it 11-5.
In the fifth Serme was always ahead as Kemp began to tire and Serme ran out an 11-6 win after 51 minutes to put Bristol back in the hunt.
Olly Pett was next on court for Chichester to play Bristol’s No3 string Sam Ellis. Pett was totally in control and his tight, accurate hitting was phenomenal and his game gathered momentum throughout as he eased to a 2-0 lead. In the third, Pett was in full flow and comfortably took the game 11-3 and the match.
Rex Hedrick, Chichester’s recent winner of the Phoenix Open, played Jethro Binns and a great match ensued. Binns got off the mark well and snatched the first game 11-6 before Hedrick’s attritional play came into effect.
The rallies were long and hard and Binns did his utmost to vary them. Hedrick ground out the next two games and although Binns was tiring fast he did not give up and reached 9-7 in the third before Hedrick won the next two points.
In the fourth game Hedrick forged ahead and won it 11-5 to give Chichester an unassailable 3-1 lead.
Jonathan Kemp (world No50), recent runner-up in the Toronto Cup, took on world No6 Lucas Serme (France). Kemp made a slow start and Serme capitalised on this and forged ahead to take the first 11-9.
Kemp upped his game and got into his shot-making stride to convincingly claim the second 11-4. The third was tighter with Kemp making great shots and Serme retrieving extremely well and Kemp stormed through 11-6 to go ahead 2-1.
The fourth was nip and tuck all the way to 10-10 before Kemp pushed hard and, after a few punishing rallies, he finally won the game 12-10 and the match to make it 4-1 to the hosts.