Squash: Diamonds in the rough after Chichester’s triumph

Chichester and Exeter ready for action
Chichester and Exeter ready for action

Chichester are top of their Premier Squash League group after beating Exeter Diamonds in their first home match of the second half of the season.

They had defeated Exeter 3-2 in the first half and were determined to complete the double.

Exeter had forced the tie to a decider – but once again Chichester’s Paul Coll triumphed.

Chichester’s Lauren Briggs and Nathan Lake took to the courts first.

Lake, playing James Peach, was solid from the outset and comfortably won the first game 11-3. Peach, 2015 British junior under-19 champion, was more involved in the second game by mixing up his game more. Lake, however, was a gear ahead of his opponent and closed it out 11-9.

Lake was in complete control and moved Peach around the court. He coped with the slow pace and wrapped up the third game 11-5 for a well deserved 3-0 win.

Briggs never really found her rhythm against Amelia Henley, the 2015 Canadian junior under-19 open champion and runner-up in the 2015 British junior under-19 nationals.

Henley’s length and powerful backhand kept Briggs at bay. She appeared to be struggling physically and Henley closed out the match 7-11, 7-11, 2-11.

Chichester’s Robbie Temple played David Evans, who has beaten him several times before. Temple played a steady rallying game to win a tight first game 11-9.

A series of tins from Evans allowed Temple to double his lead with an 11-6 win. It was nip and tuck in the third game and at 9-9 Evans hit two tins again. Temple took a fantastic 3-0 victory to put Chichester 2-1 up.

On the adjacent court Chichester’s Brandon Hanley took on world No184 Micah Franklin (Bermuda) and an enthralling five-game thriller ensued.

It was Hanley’s unorthodox brand of squash against the more rallying and fitness based game of Franklin. They shared the first four games to take it to a nail biting decider.

Franklin forged a 9-7 lead then at 10-7 Hanley saved three match points only to be denied the victory, 12-10 the score. That made the match score 2-2 and Exeter had forced the tie to a decider – but once again Chichester’s Paul Coll triumphed.

Coll, a New Zealander who is world-ranked 39, won the 2015 London Open and is the current Australian Open champion, played Tim Vail.

The first game was very tight but Coll’s attacking game pulled him through to a 14-12 win. The second game followed a similar pattern – Coll attacked quickly but Vail hit his share of outright winners. Coll held on and edged the game 12-10.

In the third, Vail appeared to be tiring and Coll unfalteringly took point after point to quickly wrap up the match 11-3 to ensure a 3-2 victory for Chichester and top spot in Division B, seven points ahead of St George’s Hill.

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