Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club’s Premier Squash League team suffered a 3-2 defeat away to Integrity Surrey Health & Racquets – but took the title holders the full distance.
Playing Surrey, the defending champions, always proves to be a stern test and on this occasion, both teams fielded weaker squads.
Lauren Briggs played Surrey’s Nada El Kalaawy and although El Kalaawy consistently played well, her more experienced opponent had the upper hand and Briggs eased to a 3-0 victory.
The match of the night unfolded as Jamie Wilde, making his debut for Chichester, faced Steve London, making his Surrey bow.
It started evenly but Wilde edged the first 11-8, but during the second, Wilde hit numerous tin shots and London had an 11-2 win.
In the third, London built up the momentum and took a 2-1 lead. During the fourth Wilde’s trademark backhand boast, which opens up the court nicely for him, helped him take control and he won it 11-1. Wilde carried on to take victory in the fifth.
Peter Genever, making his Chichester return, played Irish international Steve Richardson next. The first game was even but Richardson pulled through 11-8.
In the next, Genever found his range to win 11-3 and Surrey could see the match slipping away. But Genever faltered and Richardson just got stronger and stronger to run out a 3-1 winner.
Chichester’s Alex Gough was always going to be up against it playing Karim Gawad – ranked 40 in the world. Gough made a good start and the first game was extremely tight but despite Gough’s efforts Gawad won 13-11.
The Surrey player took control to record a 3-0 victory.
Anthony Graham, ranked 118 in the world and making his debut for Chichester, played world No7 Peter Barker.
Graham battled constantly for points and played particularly well in the third game when he forged a 4-1 lead. The final score was 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 to Barker.
Next for Chichester is a local derby at home to Winchester on December 6. Call 01243 785664.