Chichester beat Winchester in battle of southern squash cities

Chichester ran out 3-2 winners when they travelled in search of their second victory over Winchester in the Premier Squash League season.

Chichester ran out 3-2 winners when they travelled in search of their second victory over Winchester in the Premier Squash League season.

The home side fielded new signing and world No5 Gregory Gaultier to bolster the top order and his match against new world No10 Mo Azlan Iskandar – enjoying his highest ranking so far – was much anticipated.

Before that, Olly Pett and Lauren Briggs defeated their respective opponents Stacey Ross and Lauren Selby in straight games and in no time at all Chichester were 2-0 up.

Chichester’s Robbie Temple, world No75, faced Joey Barrington, world No37. On paper the task ahead of Temple looked ominous.

But he was not fazed and played one of the best matches of his life. He dominated from the outset and with pace and speed he won the first game 11-2. He proceeded to storm through to a resounding 3-0 victory to give Chichester an unassailable lead.

Chichester’s Tim Vail was having a good tussle with 43-year-old former world No10 Mark Cairns.

After a tight first two games, which went 11-9 to Vail and 13-11 to Cairns, the Winchester player changed match tactics which totally unsettled Vail.

Cairns took the next game 11-2 with ease, and finished the match in the fourth, 11-7, to put Winchester on the scoresheet.

Iskandar and Gaultier then took their places for the final match. A frantic pace ensued with Iskandar matching Gaultier in all departments to take the first game. Iskandar began to feel the pressure and errors and fatigue started to creep into his game.

Gaultier sensed this and upped his game and, showing the packed gallery exactly why he is world No5, took the next three games.

So it ended 3-2 to Chichester – the squad’s third victory of the season, which moved them up to fourth in the league above Winchester and Bristol.

For a report on Chichester’s final PSL match, see the Observer next week.

Meanwhile, the annual Veterans’ Squash Championships at Chichester Racquets and Fitness Club brought more silverware for Steve Wall.

The high demand of team squash throughout the season inevitably takes its toll on players and injuries were a problem as the event progressed.

In the semi-finals, defending champion Wall met resistance from Paul Wykes before eventually running out a 3-1 winner.

In the other half of the draw Mike Phillips, the club’s professional squash and racketball coach, was in good form to comfortably defeat Andy Henshaw 3-1.

The much-anticipated final between the defending champion and club coach never really materialised. Phillips appeared pre-occupied throughout and was unable to put together a challenge and Wall duly won the match and retained his title.

In the plate event for first-round losers, Chris Lock defeated Guy Edwards 3-1.

The next event on the club calendar is the senior men’s club squash championships and for the first time in several years a ladies’ event will be staged.

These events have started this week with the finals on Friday, April 1.