Chichester’s first home fixture in the 2018-19 PSL season ended in narrow defeat against defending champions St George’s of Weybridge.
St George’s fielded current world No1 Mohamed El Shorbagy.
First on court for Chichester was Jared Carter, making his debut for the team, faced St George’s player Paul Broadberry, also playing his first match for the Surrey side. Carter dominated and battled extremely well to take both games 11-2, 11-7 to put Chichester 1-0 up.
Miles Jenkins (world 188), a member of the Chichester club for 12 years, was next on court and faced world 87 Charlie Lee.
Both started cautiously, hitting deep and steadily going short trying to gauge each other’s game. Lee reached game point first, but Jenkins was not going to give in and he tightened up his game to reel off several winners to snatch it 11-8.
Jenkins carried on in the same vein in the second and hit some brilliant cross-court low drives to win the game and match 11-8 to put Chichester 2-0 up.
Chichester’s Alison Thomson (world 74) made her debut for the squad. She played former Chichester player Jasmine Hutton, who is currently world 84 and the capacity crowd were treated to a fantastic match.
Thomson was trailing in the first but battled her way back to take it 12-10. Hutton was determined to make her mark and began to take control and after a very close game she won it 12-10. In the third-game decider Hutton forged a good lead by stepping forward and attacking well to close the game 11-5.
Chichester’s Kyle Finch (world 158) played Tom Richards (world 30). Finch started his campaign by relentlessly going for shots in the front of the court and forged an 8-6 lead. Errors from Finch, however, began to creep in and Richards took it 11-8.
In the second Richards was always a point or two ahead but Finch still went for his shots and continued to fight for the points. Richards kept focus and retrieved well and, in the end, there were too many mistakes from the young Chichester player and Richards took full advantage to win it 11-5 to make the match 2-2.
In the decider, Tim Vail faced world No1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and it proved very entertaining. Vail matched Shorbagy in the early points. He was hitting deep but Shorbagy’s speed proved the big difference and he won the first 11-6.
Vail competed well in every department and led 9-8 in the second but Shorbagy proved why he is world No1 to take the game 11-9 and win the match 3-2 for St George’s to end a great night of very entertaining squash.