Slick Surrey squash stars too strong for Chichester

Chichester and Surrey line up ahead of their PSL clash
Chichester and Surrey line up ahead of their PSL clash

CHICHESTER ended up well-beaten after putting up a brave fight when leaders Surrey visited for a Premier Squash League encounter.

In their first home match of the second half of the season, the hosts knew the defending champions would be tough opposition.

Lauren Briggs (Chicheste) was paired with Alison Waters, the world No4, who recently retained her national championship title.

In the first and third games, Waters established good leads with steady pressure hitting. In the second, Briggs reached 9-7 before Waters clawed back the deficit to win it. Waters continued to play consistent squash and comfortably took the match 11-4, 11-9, 11-3.

Meanwhile, on the glass-back championship court, Robbie Temple played Surrey’s Adrian Waller, world 29. Temple started playing steady, patient squash and built up a 6-1 lead. He lost concentration and lost the game 11-6.

The second followed quickly with an 11-2 win for Waller. Composure was restored and Temple took the third 11-4. Both players were producing superb squash with Temple regularly switching hands and reaching game ball in the fourth before Waller finally clinched the game and match 14-12 in 59 minutes to put Surrey 2-0 up.

Anthony Graham, recalled to play for Chichester in Olly Pett’s absence, did not disappoint in his contest with Raphael Kandra.

In a match comprising four games and lasting 58 minutes, the first two games were shared, both players playing an attritional retrieving game.

The third was critical and Graham finally won it on a tie-break after each player had reached game ball on several occasions.

In the fourth game, Graham lifted his game and established a strong lead. He never looked back and wrapped up the match 11-7 to keep Chichester in the chase.

Rex Hedrick, world No 60, played Surrey’s Adrian Grant, 20 in the world. Grant controlled matters throughout the first two games - the first won on a tie-break - and looked very comfortable.

The third game continued in the same vein. Hedrick was always chasing the game but Grant’s class was evident and he won through to win 3-0 in 51 minutes to give Surrey an unassailable 3-1 victory.

In the dead-rubber match, the No1 strings, Jonathan Kemp of Chichester and world No7 Peter Barker did battle.

The match was a very entertaining encounter, which is usually the case when Kemp plays. Barker just kept the upper hand after winning the first game tie-break and took the next two games 11-5, 11-8.

The packed gallery was treated to some excellent all-court squash from both players but the result in the end was an overall 4-1 victory for Surrey.

Chichester visit Bristol on March 11 and the squad’s winning ways need to return. The final home fixture against St George’s Hill will see a clearer picture emerge regarding the play-off line-up.