After ten rounds of league action it was down to the semi-finals of the Premier Squash League as group winners Duffield and Surrey played host to runners-up Exeter and Oxford respectively.
In the end it was the two home teams, both no strangers to PSL finals and titles, who progressed, but it wasn’t all plain sailing …
Duffield deny Exeter at the death
Laura Massaro put the home side into the lead as she beat Aisling Blake 3/0, but the packed crowd were quietened as Tim Vail came from a game down to beat Adam Murrils and Olli Tuominen put the visitors 2-1 up with a 3/0 win over Joel Hinds.
Joey Barrington took the first game to put Exeter two games away from the final, but Duffield stalwart Andy Whipp struck back to set up a decider, and what a decider it was.
Nick Matthew, boasting a 10-0 career H2H against LJ Anjema, was pushed all the way, and had to mount a comeback from 1-4 and 5-7 down in the fifth to deny Exeter at the death.
Benz-Bavarian Duffield 3-2 Exeter Diamonds
Nick Matthew 3-2 Laurens Jan Anjema 11/9, 10/12, 11/9, 8/11, 11/8
Joel Hinds 0-3 Olli Tuominen 6/11, 7/11, 4/11
Andy Whipp 3-1 Joey Barrington 8/11, 11/8, 11/7, 11/7
Adam Murrills 1-3 Tim Vail 11/3, 9/11, 6/11, 7/11
Laura Massaro 3-0 Aisling Blake 11/5, 11/4, 11/6
Four finals in a row for Surrey
Visitors Oxford got off to a quick start as Madeline Perry beat last replacement (for Alison Waters) Georgina Kennedy 3/0 to put the visitors ahead. But 3/0 wins for Karim Abdel Gawad and Adrian Waller put the reigning champions in the driving seat.
Adrian Grant clinched their fourth final in a row as he came from a game down to beat Cameron Pilley in what was, by all accounts, a tremendous match. Borja Golan won the ‘dead rubber’ for Oxford to make the overall score 3-2.
Surrey H&R 3-2 Oxford H&R
Peter Barker 1-3 Borja Golan 6/11, 13/11, 7/11, 3/11
Adrian Grant 3-1 Cameron Pilley 11/13, 11/4, 11/9, 14/12
Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 Scott Handley 11/6, 11/7, 11/5
Adrian Waller 3-0 Ben Coleman 11/9, 11/5, 11/8
Georgina Kennedy 0-3 Madeline Perry 4/11, 3/11, 3/11
Final, 07-May : Benz-Bavarian Duffield v Surrey H&R … venue TBC