Chichester beat Winchester in squash’s battle of cathedral cities

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Chichester enjoyed a resounding 5-0 home win over Winchester in their opening Premier Squash League game of the season.

Lauren Briggs, world No30, wasted no time moving Winchester’s Selina Sinclair around the court. Sinclair bravely fought for two games but the difference in ability and experience was evident and Briggs took the third game 11-2 to set the home side on their victory trail.

Olly Pett, the rising star of Sussex squash and world 58, stormed to a comfortable 2-0 lead against Winchester’s Scott Fitzgerald. The third game was nip and tuck all the way with Fitzgerald holding his nerve to snatch it 12-10.

The fourth was enthralling. Fitzgerald rallied well and his steady game took him to a 10-6 lead. Pett pulled it back to 10-10. The game went back and forth before Pett closed it out 16-14 to put Chichester 2-0 up.

Anthony Graham (world 104) faced Winchester’s Alex Phillips and had the upper hand in the first two games to win 11-7, 11-5.

Phillips kept up the tempo and rallied well to take the third game 11-8. Graham regrouped and forged an early 5-0 lead and from that point was never really troubled and wrapped up the match 11-5.

On the championship court, Chichester’s Robbie Temple (world 53) took on young Robert Downer.

Temple sent his opponent to all four corners of the court with his delicate straight drops and interception of Downer’s cross-court shots which he read so well. Temple dominated to take the match and give Chichester a 4-0 lead.

Chichester welcomed new signing and No1 Jonathan Kemp for his debut against Winchester’s Stacey Ross.

An entertaining match ensued with Kemp taking the first game but in the second he appeared to lose concentration and lost 12-10. Kemp came out firing in the third and ended up taking it 11-8.

In the fourth, a plethora of great touches from both players was countered by attacking volleys. Kemp won 11-9 to give Chichester a resounding 5-0 victory.

The squad, based at Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club, could not have wished for a better start. The next match is away to Surrey H&R tonight (October 16).

MIKE PHILLIPS