For the final match of the Premier Squash League season, Chichester travelled to St George’s Hill, Weybridge.
The home team needed just 16 points from this match to establish a place in the semi-finals of the play-offs – but Chichester displayed great determination to make St George’s work hard for every point.
Amy Jones, for Chichester, found the going tough against Dominique Lloyd Walter but she showed improvements in her fitness and played extremely well to take the former world No18 to three close games, losing 11-6, 14-12, 11-8.
Chichester’s Kyle Finch, the world 139, put in a sterling performance against St George’s Dutch player Dylan Bennett. Finch dominated and won the first two games before getting off to a bad start in the third and losing it 11-8. In the fourth, however, he regained the momentum and ran out an 11-4 winner to level the match.
Tim Vail, for Chichester, was up agains in-form Tom Richards, world 34. In the first game Vail showed glimpses of his amazing skills but Richards’ pace and speed proved too much for him and he lost 11-7. Richards continued in the same vein and ran out a 3-0 winner to put St George’s 2-1 up.
Miles Jenkins (world 166) played St George’s Spaniard Carlos Cornes (world 122) and started well in an even first game. Jenkins played the big points admirably and took it 11-9.
Cornes replied well, hitting hard to take the second. In the third Cornes built up a 10-6 lead before faltering and Jenkins fought back to 11-10 – before Cornes closed it out 13-11.
The fourth was an even contest with good hard hitting from Cornes and a mix of pace from Jenkins. Cornes converted his first attempt at matchball to win the fourth 11-6 to give St George’s an unassailable 3-1 lead.
Chi’s Olli Pett faced world No1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and Pett played the game of his life. St George’s needed just one point from ElShorbagy and he delivered as he took the opening game. The match, however, was far from over and Pett put in a stunning performance.
Pett matched ElShorbagy in every department and, at times, completely outplayed him. Pett’s skill and speed around the court and reading of the game was equal to the world champion.
The only difference, in the end, was physical fitness, with ElShorbagy having the edge. The match went all the way to a fifth with Pett fighting for every point. He narrowly lost the decider 11-7 but what a fantastic performance from Pett.
St George’s go through to the semi finals for the sixth time.