Squash: Chichester's league hopes are Cooled
Chichester's first match of the second half of the PSL season was played against Coolhurst '“ and the visitors gained revenge for Chi's 4-1 win on their courts earlier in the season.
First on court for Chichester was Amy Jones, who played the British under-15 champion Katie Maliff. Jones had her chances to win the first game but just lost out to Maliff’s positive play.
In the second and third there were several tin shots from Jones and her positivity began to diminish as Maliff ran out a 3-0 winner to put Coolhurst one up.
On the glass-back championship court, Tom Walsh (world 284) was having a tight game against Vini Rodrigues of Brazil (world 317).
The first two games were close; Walsh, however, appeared unsettled with his length and width and seemed frustrated at not quite hitting the targets. Rodrigues maintained his concentration to snatch them 12-10, 11-8.
There was more of the same in the third with Rodrigues just ahead throughout. Again, it was close but Rodrigues won the big points and finally won the match 11-8.
Louie Martin, making his debut for Chichester, played Paddy Harrison, a former nationally-ranked junior and now in his first PSL season.
Martin started extremely well while Harrison kept the ball low to stop Martin volleying. It was an even contest of deep squash, mainly played at a high pace. Harrison finally won the first 11-6.
Martin continued to battle hard for every point and both players played the same hard-hitting game interspersed with the occasional boast and straight drops. Martin reached game ball in the second, but it was snatched away to allow Harrison to take it 12-10.
In the third Martin maintained his concentration and determination to win but Harrison played and won the big points to wrap it up 11-9.
Tim Vail, returning from injury and playing at No1 for Chichester, faced world No31 Greg Lobban. Vail battled well and displayed glimpses of the brilliance of his play which his home crowd has seen many times before.
Lobban, nonetheless, is at his highest world ranking and was too quick for Vail and ran everything down and the 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 score put Coolhurst 4-0 up.
At number two for Chichester, Miles Jenkins (world 163) played former Chichester No1 Adrian Waller (world 38). This was a tough ask for Jenkins but he battled well.
He was just a bit looser and his length was not quite good enough to put Waller under pressure. Waller’s front-court game was second to none and he made Jenkins pay heavily. Jenkins was defeated 11-7, 11-5, 11-5.
Coolhurst sought and gained the revenge they wanted.
The next fixture for Chichester is at Bexley on Friday, February 2, with the next home tie against the RAC Club on Tuesday, March 13.
Bognor’s squash second team resumed their second-half programme where they left off in 2017, recording a second consecutive win when they entertained Horsham seconds.
Bognor were able to field a stronger team and No5 George Porter displayed increasing maturity in his long match with Simon White. Porter took a 2-0 lead in testing games and was under pressure when his opponent took the the third, but the junior kept his head and pulled off a great win in the extended fourth – the score 17-15, 15-11,12-15, 20-18.
Then Bognor’s fourth string Luke Allen showed signs of returning to match fitness when he overcame Duncan Davidson in another long match.
The Bognor player again took a 2-0 lead, Davidson took the third but Porter clinched victory in the fourth, winning 15-12, 15-10, 12-15, 15-8.
Bognor captain Steve Carruthers showed the effects of recent injury against Simon Keefe with the Horsham No3 well on top from the start and taking the match in straight games - 15-3, 15-6, 15-8.
In another four-game encounter Bognor No2 Glen Peskett notched his first win since the opening match of the season and inflicted the first defeat of the season on opponent Kevin Boyle.
Peskett went 2-0 ahead before Boyle edged a close third but the home player took the fourth to win 15-2, 15-12, 14-16, 15-8.
This ensured bonus points for only a second time in the season and top string Steve Porter reinforced the good result when he beat Chris Mason. Mason took the first game but Porter stormed back with the next three and won 10-15, 15-6, 15-7, 15-10 to give the home team a 4-1 margin and 17 welcome points to Horsham’s seven.
The result leaves Bognor still at the bottom of Sussex division two west but they are edging nearer to next-bottom Middleton III, who are the visitors when the seconds end the run of five home fixtures on Friday, January 26 (7pm) at Hawthorn Road.
Spectators welcome - full details from 01243 865462 or bognorsquash.co.uk.