Feast of top-quality squash enthrals sell-out city crowd
Chichester played their second home match of the Premier Squash League season against a formidable St George's Hill squad.
The team from Weybridge arrived with world No2 Mohamed Elshorbagy at the top of the order.
A sell-out crowd was there hoping for a feast of top-quality squash – and they were certainly not disappointed.
It was an unbelievable night’s squash and Chichester gave it their all, down to the last points of every match, but it ended 5-0 to the visitors.
Jasmine Hutton was first on court and played world No9 Joelle King (NZ). Hutton battled well but was always chasing.
Her 7-11, 4-11, 5-11 defeat was a brave effort.
Chichester’s Ollie Pett started as favourite against world No19 Charlie Lee. The first, very tight, game went to Lee 11-9 and Lee made fewer errors as Pett seemed to be a bit impatient to go in short. Lee took the second 11-3.
Lee was flying and in the third he surged ahead to reach match ball.
Pett clawed his way back by winning the next six points but Lee was in no mood to let the match slip and won the match 11-9.
Miles Jenkins, the world No71, played St George’s Lance Beddoes (world 121). Jenkins attacked the ball well in the first and always had the upper hand, keeping it straight and tight to win it 11-9. In the second Beddoes used the angles well to snatch it 11-6.
In the third, Jenkins stormed to a 7-3 lead with more fantastic straight squash and attacking the volley drop. Beddoes countered this and came through a 12-10 winner. Jenkins was unable to re-establish his rhythm and Beddoes won the next 11-7 to give St George’s a match-winning 3-0 lead.
Chichester’s new signing, Omar Abdel Meguid, world No34, had a hard-hitting encounter with Tom Richards (world 38).
Meguid took the first 11-8, but Richards kept his rhythm well to take the next two 11-9, 11-6.
Meguid’s incredible retrieving, plus one of his outrageous nicks, allowed him to win the fourth 11-9.
The decider was nip and tuck all the way to 6-6. Meguid built a 10-6 lead and had match point. But Richards scraped his way back with some outrageous drops from the back to eventually snatch it 13-11.
The final match between the No1 strings, Chichester’s Mathieu Castagnet (world No27) and Mohamed El Shorbagy (world No2), was the one everyone wanted to see.
Castagnet started the stronger and with some unbelievable retrieving and volley drops he won the first 11-7. In the second Elshorbagy upped the tempo and won 11-7 by hitting hard and low and finding the back two corners.
In the third, Elshorbagy held his nerve to take it 11-7 and in the fourth, Castagnet pushed hard and made it to 10-10. Again, Elshorbagy remained totally focused and won 14-12.