To launch 2020, round six of the Premier Squash League was hosted at The Nottingham Squash Rackets club last night against Newcastle/Northumberland. Nottingham’s line up looked promising, including Karim Abdel Gawad playing the number one seed and Nick Matthew in playing 2nd seed, both former world number ones. The evening closed with a 4-1 Nottingham win to make them top of the Northern Division league table.
University of Nottingham Scholar, Grace Clarke, was first up for Nottingham against Newcastle’s, Sam Ward. Clarke challenged Ward in the first game but Ward remained focused to take the game 8-11 for the travelling team. Ward came back to take the second game 4-11 and take the first point of the evening for Newcastle.
Next up was Richie Fallows against Owain Taylor. The sell-out crowd was kept entertained game as the pair challenged each other with long competitive rallies. After two close games, Fallows took the win for Nottingham and the first point for Nottingham, 11-8, 11-9. Commenting on the match, Fallows said, "I enjoy the challenge in games like that, Owain is a great player who's really come on!"
Millie Tomlinson was up third against Fiona Moverly. With the overall evening score at 1-1 it was all to play for in this match. Millie remained calm and professional throughout to take another point to Nottingham in two games 11-5, 11-8. This gave Nottingham an overall lead 2-1. After the match, Millie said, “Fiona and I were a similar ranking before she retired from the tour so I was expecting a close game, it feels nice to take the win for the team in two games.”
Hoping to get the winning point for Nottingham was, crowd favourite, Nick ‘The Wolf’ Matthew facing Newcastle’s, Connor Sheen. Matthew’s experience shone through and he gave a showcase of exceptional squash to win the match, 11-8, 11-4. Commenting on the support from the sell-out crowd, Matthew said, “It’s great to play in front of big crowds like we have here tonight. There’s other tournaments happening around the world, so our Nottingham team have proven the strength and depth of the squad here tonight.”
With the evening already won, the pressure was off number one, Karim Gawad in his debut for Nottingham. Gawad was playing Newcastle’s, Tom Ford. Ford rose to the occasion of playing against the world number four, applying pressure to the Nottingham number one over both games. However, Gawad’s professionalism and skill allowed him to win the match in two games, 11-8, 13-11. Commenting on his Nottingham debut, Gawad said, “I loved every second on court. The team and the crowd have been amazing and we now have our sights set on a semi-final.”
The 4-1 win has left Nottingham at the top of the Northern Division alongside Pontefract with 45 points. They now set their sights on remaining consistent to secure a home semi-final.
The next home Premier Squash League fixture will be on 18th February at the David Ross Sports Village against Scotland.
Catch the live stream for the evening here: https://www.facebook.com/UoNSport/videos/
Find out more about the Premier Squash League here: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/sport/whats-on/premier-squash-league.aspx
Posted on Wednesday 8th January 2020