Play-off loss can’t take gloss off Chichester’s squash campaign

Chichester line up against Bexley earlier in the season
Chichester line up against Bexley earlier in the season

Chichester’s Premier Squash League team missed out on further glory when they travlled to face Nottingham in a national play-off semi-final.

As runners-up in Division B, the team from Chicherster Racquets and Fitness Club took the trip north to play the winners of Division A, Nottingham.

It was always going to be a tough ask with all of Nottingham’s players ranked higher than the Chichester squad.

Nele Gilis for Chichester, however, got the team off to a great start. After dropping the first game, Gilis dug in deep to defeat Millie Tomlinson, who is ranked ten places above her, 3-1.

Chichester’s Olly Pett was having a battle royale with Declan James. A nervous Pett lost the first before he regained his composure to take the second.

Pett then began to play with much more confidence and took the third game 11-4 to lead 2-1. James, however, unwaveringly fought back to win the fourth 11-1 to force a decider.

It has been an incredible season for Chichester, which exceeded all their expectations, and the squad are already looking to build on this achievement for next season.

The match was even up to 5-5 before James finally pulled away to take the match 11-7 and make it 1-1 on the night.

Tim Vail started well against Richie Fallows, aided by Fallows making a few mistakes, and reached game ball before Vail lost the first game 15-13. Fallows tightened up his game to come through 11-3, 11-5 to put Nottingham 2-1 up.

Nathan Lake, Chichester, took on Nicky Mueller, whose extremely-fast hands were too much for Lake. Despite a valiant effort from Lake, he lost 3-0, giving Nottingham a match-winning 3-1 margin.

In the dead rubber Chichester’s Paul Coll, world-ranked 13, played Nick Matthew, world No4.

Matthew was superb and, as bravely as Coll fought, Matthew had an answer for everything. The former triple world champion took the match 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 to give Nottingham a 4-1 victory on the night.

It has been an incredible season for Chichester, which exceeded all their expectations, and the squad are already looking to build on this achievement for next season.

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