Chichester suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat when they hosted their first home match of the second half of the Premier Squash League season against formidable St George’s Hill.
Their group B league is very close and Chichester were only two points behind their visitors from Weybridge at the start of play and ten points behind second-placed Exeter.
Annabelle Collins-Ballands started strongly in the first game and battled well to take five points. Her opponent Dominique Lloyd-Walter, a former Chichester player who is world No 18, made Collins-Ballands cover a lot of ground and eased to a 3-0 victory.
Chichester’s Olly Pett, world No 66, did battle with Mark Krajcsak (world 52).
Pett had game points in the first but Krajcsak pushed through to take it 13-11.
Both players moved around the court at lightning speed and produced deft touches although Pett found the tin too often. Krajcsak took the second 11-8 and then comfortably claimed an 11-3 victory in the third.
Anthony Graham made his debut for Chichester against Steve Meads. Graham took control from the beginning and got stronger as the match wore on to win 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 and pull the match back to 2-1.
Robbie Temple (world No 61) had a battle royale against St George’s Tom Richards (world 20).
Temple played more patient squash than his opponent to take the first game 11-4. But Richards came back strongly to take the second 13-11.
The next two games were scrappy and were shared to set up a decider. Temple was determined to win and played superbly to seal victory 11-4 in the fifth.
The deciding match was between Nafiizwan Adnan (world 32) and St George’s ace Daryl Selby (world 11), who last week reached the semi-finals of the tournament of champions at the Grand Central Terminus, New York.
Adnan hit a catalogue of tins in the first two games to hand Selby a 2-0 lead. In the third Adnan regrouped and got more involved while Selby seemed to relax.
Adnan pinched the third with consistent squash and it was Selby’s turn to hit the tin. Selby regained his composure in the fourth and Adnan hit fewer tins but Selby finally came through to take the match and give a 3-2 victory to St George’s Hill.
Chichester’s next match is at Exeter on February 14, when the squad hopes to re-establish the winning formula.