Play-off dream alive and well for Chichester squash aces

Chichester and Bexley ready for action
Chichester and Bexley ready for action

Chichester march on at the top of their Premier Squash League group after victory over nearest challengers Bexley in their penultimate home fixture.

Chi had won 3-2 at Bexley earlier in the campaign and went into this return fixture defending a three-point lead over their visitors.

Chichester were without their top two players and first on the glass-back court, Chichester’s Miles Jenkins (world 256) played Rui Soares of Portugal (137).

Soares’ steady game flowed and he took the first 11-4. Jenkins took charge of the second and forged a 6-1 lead.

He took the ball earlier and attacked the front wall well to reach game ball at 10-7. But Jenkins faltered to allow Soares to come back to take the game 12-10.

Once again, in the third, Jenkins took a 6-1 lead – but this time he ran out an 11-4 winner.

Downer rallied well in all three games but Corcoran played superbly to win the match 3-0 to give Chichester an unassailable 3-1 lead.

In the fourth Soares got off to a better start and Jenkins was always playing catch-up and he couldn’t close the gap as Soares won 11-6 to take the match.

Chichester’s Nele Gilis (world 35) played British under-17 open runner-up Elise Lazarus. Gilis started slowly and Lazarus took full advantage, using her front court game to great effect to win the first game 11-8.

In the second Gilis began to get into her stride and used her speed and all-court game and mixed up the pace to take it 11-4.

The third saw Gilis in full flow as she retrieved well and once again mixed the pace to give her the advantage and finally won it 11-7.

Gilis was ahead all the way in the fourth but Lazarus was pressing and there was never more than the odd point in it.

Gilis won 11-9 to make the match score 1-1.

Tim Vail faced world No 100 Lance Beddoes. Vail performed superbly and with great holds and deft touches kept Beddoes out of the game.

Beddoes made numerous errors while Vail tidied up for an outstanding 3-0 victory in 23 minutes.

Adam Corcoran, making his debut for Chichester, put in a terrific performance against Robert Downer (world 178).

Corcoran worked the drives and drops well and did the simple things well and, more importantly, with great consistency. Downer rallied well in all three games but Corcoran played superbly to win the match 3-0 to give Chichester an unassailable 3-1 lead.

In the final rubber between the number-one strings, Chichester’s Ollie Pett played world No 49 Todd Harrity (USA).

The match started with wonderful flowing squash and both players moved well.

Pett took the first game 11-9, Harrity the second 11-6.

Midway through the third Pett fell and injured his hamstring and had to retire and give the tie to Bexley –but Chichester’s 3-2 victory keep the squad in top spot.

The next fixture is away to Coolhurst on March 14 when Chichester should have a full squad. The play-offs are now within touching distance.

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