Premier Squash League returned this week as University of Nottingham took on Pontefract in a star-studded encounter, at the Nottingham Squash Rackets Club.
UoN Sport Scholar, Aumard, opened proceedings in front of a bumper home crowd. Both players began with a strong intensity, but it was Massaro who had the edge in the crucial moments. After closing out an 11-6 first game win, Pontefract’s No. 5 step upped her game to close out the match 11-4. Coline Aumard reflected on her performance, stating that the match was a “great opportunity to play against such a good player. I felt quite under pressure and probably attacked at the wrong time, but happy overall I’m with the way I played."
Pontefract doubled their lead as Abhay Singh stunned Nottingham’s Lewis Walters, after overcoming a difficult start to the match. UoN Coach Walters looked comfortable in the opening game, constructing effective rallies and taking advantage of Singh errors, to close it out 11-6. The game turned as Lewis Walters, admittedly lost focus and succumbed to a 2-1 defeat.
A jet-lagged Richie Fallows gave the Green and Gold hope by pulling through a tense battle with Patrick Rooney. Fallows explained "Travelling back from the USA today, tiredness was a factor. I knew it would be a tough game as I train against him, but also knew how important it was to get the win for the team." The match went the distance, but a topsy-turvy match finished 11-9 5-11 11-8 in favour of the University of Nottingham.
In the penultimate match of the evening, it fell upon the shoulders of Declan James to keep Nottingham in the match as he lined-up against Chris Simpson. A powerful start from James saw him race to a 11-7 first game win, providing the hosts with great optimism. Unfortunately that was where the positives ended for James who confessed “I didn't feel on my game tonight, but well played to Chris who played a great match", as he let the final two games slip out of his grasp 11-7 11-3.
The evening concluded with the headline act, featuring two Commonwealth Games Gold Medalists and Former World Number 1 ranked players, Nick Matthew and James Willstrop. Ever the true professional, Matthew produced an emphatic display of squash to the delight of the crowd, admitting "I'm probably a nightmare for the opposition at the moment, since retiring from the tour as I'm still on top of my game”. A faultless display was reflected in the match scoreline, as Willstrop suffered an 11-5 11-4 loss to Nottingham’s No. 1 player.
A defeat was not the start that the Green and Gold had wanted for the 2018/19 season, but there were promising signs during the 3-2 defeat to Pontefract, which can be built upon ready for the upcoming fixtures.
For more information on Premier Squash League click here.
Next home fixture for University of Nottingham is December 4th- tickets are available from David Ross Sports Village Reception.
Posted on Friday 26th October 2018