Squash champions have too much for brave Chichester

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Chichester lost at home to reigning champions Surrey Health & Racquets in the Premier Squash League.

Team captain Tim Vail dropped to fourth string to make way for professionals Olly Pett, Robbie Temple and Azlan Iskandar.

A new addition to the Chichester team was fifth-string Hannah Wright-Davies who faced a near-impossible debut against world No3 Alison Waters of Surrey. Waters claimed an 11-2, 11-5, 11-5 win.

PSL regular Vail faced 21-year-old Adrian Waller, world No53, losing 11-7, 11-5, 11-8.

Third string Pett played well in US competitions last week, and flew back only the night before this tie. He played German No1 Simon Rosner, starting slowly and losing the first two games 11-2, 11-4. He gained temporary control after winning the third 11-5, but fatigue and jet-lag set in as he succumbed to defeat in the fourth and final game 11-5, which secured Surrey’s win.

The match of the night saw Temple taking on Surrey’s world No18 Adrian Grant.

Temple started brightly, winning the first game 11-8.

Grant responded well, quickly taking a 6-4 lead before a lapse in concentration led to errors, gifting Temple five points in a row for him to take it 11-9.

Grant shot into a 7-1 lead and kept Temple to six points in the next.

But Temple came back stronger and with some good front-court play stayed level before grinding out the all-important final rallies to claim the fourth and final game 11-8.

“I wasn’t expecting a win,” admitted Temple. “I was ill last week at a tournament in Finland.

“This morning was the first time I’d been on court since, so I’m very happy with the win.”

Despite Chichester already having lost, first string Iskandar had a real battle with England No3 Peter Barker.

Barker controlled the first game, winning 11-6. But he lost focus in the second, perhaps through disagreements with the referees and Iskandar seized the initiative and took the game 11-8.

The Malaysian No1 took a 7-3 lead with Barker unable to respond. Consistent play allowed Iskandar to close the third game 11-5.

Barker’s battling 11-7 and 11-5 wins to claim the final match and a 4-1 overall win for Surrey Health and Rackets.

Chichester captain Vail took positives from the defeat and said: “Hannah had never played a PSL match before, so considering who she was up against she did really well – there’s absolutely no shame in her result.

“We were expected to lose 5-0 so Robbie did very well to beat Grant. His squash was disciplined and probably the best we’ve seen from him for Chichester.”

MATT WAGG