March 20, 2019, by brzmjb1
Premier Squash League | University of Nottingham tames the Lions in Round 9
University of Nottingham headed into round 9 in unfamiliar territory having failed to secure a place in the post-season PSL semi-finals. Even so, there was much to play for including the opportunity to finish strongly as the season reaches its conclusion.
For the visitors, University of Birmingham Lions, this was a must win fixture.
Despite sitting in 2nd place in Division A the Lions only held a slim margin over Pontefract – with the pair set to meet in the final game of the season which will likely see the victor progress.
Sensing the opportunity to cause an upset, University of Nottingham started strongly with Lewis Walters opening proceedings against Joshua Owen.
Having lost the first game, Walters recovered in style to win the second 11-4 and set up a decider in the 3rd. The comeback was completed with an 11-5 victory in the final game to put Nottingham on the board and take a 1-0 lead on the night.
UoN Sport Scholar and Physiotherapy Masters student, Hana Ramadan was next on court against England’s World No.27 Millie Tomlinson.
In July 2018, Tomlinson secured her 15th PSA World Tour title after she defeated Hana Ramadan in the final of the Tournament of Pyramides.At the time, World No.96 Ramadan had stunned the field to come through qualifying and reach the final. England’s Tomlinson, however, went on to win in the final as she completed an 8-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8 victory. Whilst disappointed not the win, the result for the Nottingham student crowned an extremely successful summer before returning for her studies in September.
This would-be Hana’s chance at redemption and it was evident early on in the first set that she was focussed on victory. With the Nottingham crowd behind her, Hana proved too much for Tomlinson and won comfortably over two games 11-5, 11-8.
At third in the order, Richie Fallows used all of his experience to beat Chris Hall in a composed performance, winning 11-4, 11-9. The result meant the match and the bonus points would be heading to University of Nottingham.
In the 4th match of the evening, the “Dark Knight” Declan James produced the shot of the match against Jan Van Dan Herrewegen playing a cleverly disguised shot between his legs to bamboozle Herrewegen. James didn’t have it all his own way though, with Herrewegen pulling a game back in the second and there was nothing to separate them in the third with the scores tied at 11-11. James managed to draw on his fantastic form of late (recently beating Mohammed El Shorbagy) to edge the victory 15-13 and lead Nottingham to 4-0 score line on the night..
In the final match, Nick Matthew was drawn against Joel Makin.
Before the tie had even begun Makin knew that due to events elsewhere in the division it would require a victory to cling on to any hope of his team qualifying for the semi-finals.
The match certainly lived up to expectation, with both players trading long exchanges and after two games there was nothing to separate the players. A tense third match was eventually won by Makin 6-11 (to win 2-1) to ensure the Lions left with some pride.
Sharing his thoughts after his match, Nick Matthew took to social media to express his feelings following the narrow defeat,
“Really good last home match at @UoNSport this season. Loved the ‘attritional’ battle with @JoelMakin thought the match was really good quality & should sharpen the Golden Tiger up for upcoming events!”
The regular season will conclude on 5 April with University of Nottingham taking the trip down to Elite Squash Bristol.
For more information on University of Nottingham Premier League Squash please head over to https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/sport/whats-on/premier-squash-league.aspx