England’s Premier Squash League is back as ten teams aim for the title – and Chichester got off to the perfect start when they visited Coolhurst in north London.
Chichester fielded a couple of new young players supported by stalwarts Tim Vail and Miles Jenkins.
Jenkins and Jazz Hutton, for Chichester, took the courts first to play Alex Noakes and Katie Malliff.
The Chichester players couldn’t have had a better start. Hutton was too strong and fast for her opponent and controlled the match with her speed and quick hitting to run out a 3-0 victor and put Chichester 1-0 up.
Jenkins played at the top of his game using great shot selection to control the match. He played faultlessly to go into an 11/3, 11-3, 10-2 lead before he faltered slightly. He kept his composure and came through 11-7 in the last to put Chichester 2-0 up.
Vail played world-ranked 65 Angus Gillams. Vail didn’t let his opponent settle. He made great use of his array of shots, particularly the lob and, aided by his opponent hitting several tins, he ran out a 3-0 winner to give Chichester an unassailable 3-0 lead.
Tom Walsh, making his debut for Chichester, was up against Ondrej Uherka and a tough four-game battle ensued. Walsh always seemed to be playing catch-up against an opponent who played the same type of game but was a little more experienced. Uherka ran out a 3-1 winner.
This made the overall score 3-1 to Chichester with just the number-two strings to play - Kyle Finch for Chichester against Joe Green.
Green started the better and his all-court steady, error-free, game allowed him to build a 2-0 lead. Finch battled hard and dug in to win a close third game 12-10. In the fourth, both players retrieved well but Finch won it 11-4.
Green, although still fighting hard, started to look tired and Finch held his nerve to close the match out 3-2 and give Chichester a 4-1 victory.
Chichester will endeavour to continue in this vein for the next match, at home at the Chichester Racquets and Fitness Club, to Bexley on Tuesday, October 24. Two new signings, Mathieu Castagnet (world 32) and Omar Abdel Meguid (world 27), will be making their debuts. Tickets are now on sale – call 01243 785664.
Bognor’s second team went to Horsham and, as in their previous match, put out a depleted team and paid for it.
With the fifth-string tie conceded, Bognor’s opener was a debut for another promising junior Ethan Randell, who put up a good show against Stuart Catterall but lost in straight games 15-7, 15-3, 15-7.
Club captain Steve Carruthers at No3 also lost 3-0 as Kevin Boyle won 15-5, 15-8, 15-9, and second string Zoe Shardlow, despite a late effort which almost brought her a game, went down by the same margin playing Simon Keefe – the score 15-5, 15-7, 16-14.
Bognor’s No1 string Jon Corke brought the only relief when he took the first game against Chris Mason and then came back to level at 2-2 before the home player just edged the tight decider winning 10-15, 15-8, 15-6, 12-15, 16-14.
This gave Horsham a 5-0 win and maximum 20 points to Bognor’s two, which leaves the Hawthorn Road squad further adrift at the bottom of Sussex division two west.
A further round of away matches awaits both Bognor teams and there is no home action for another two weeks when the first team face Corals of Brighton on Friday, October 27 (7pm). Visitors welcome – details from 01243 865462 or bognorsquash.co.uk