Trads@RAC and Team Pontefract go head-to-head in Weybridge in the Premier Squash League Final to decide who will be crowned the 2019 champions. Matches start at 2.30pm and tickets are available.
In a London v West Yorkshire showdown last year’s beaten finalists Trads@RAC (who lost 3-2 to Luxford St George’s Hill) meet a Team Pontefract side who caused the shock of the season so far when knocking the aforementioned St George’s Hill side out in this year’s semi-finals.
Today’s match marks the final competitive appearance of Team Pontefract’s Laura Massaro. The former world No1, world champion in 2013 and winner of multiple global titles including the British and US Open is one of the greatest squash players England has ever produced and announced the end of her glittering career earlier this month. Still ranked world No10 her showdown with Trads@RAC’s Alison Waters – ranked world No12 – promises to be a highlight of the tie and will have a big say in which team takes home the trophy.
In a best-of-five encounter a member of each team will go head-to-head with a member of the opposing side, all players taking part in one match.
Paul Coll v Saurav Ghosal is a New Zealand v India clash to savour in what could be the deciding match on court. Team Pontefract’s Ghosal- the highest ever ranked Indian player and current Asian Champion – is No10 in the men’s world rankings but will have his hands full against world No6 Kiwi Coll who put up a titanic struggle when losing in the semi-finals of the British Open to world No 1 Ali Farag last weekend.
Ramit Tandon, the Indian No2, who only turned pro in November 2017 will face Trads@RAC’s Daryl Selby. Selby (pictured in last year’s final against then world No1 Mohamed El Shorbagy) has been a force on the world scene for many years. Still ranked in the world’s top twenty Selby is sure to relish another appearance in a PSL final.
Abhay Singh completes the Indian hat-trick in the Team Pontefract line-up. 20-year-old Singh is a rising star and meets another ‘one to watch’ in world squash when he takes on Trads@RAC’s George Parker. Expect no quarter asked and no quarter given as the two twenty-somethings battle for supremacy.
Sam Todd v Ben Coleman completes the draw and is an opportunity for Team Pontefract’s Todd – only 16 years of age and the No1 men’s junior player in England – to showcase the skills that have many in the world of squash predicting him as a future star on the senior world tour. How Todd fairs against the seasoned skills of Trads@RAC’s Coleman – ranked No50 in the world – will make for intriguing viewing.
Can Trads@RAC go one step further than last year and claim the title?
Manager Lee Davies gave us an insight into how they are approaching a big night of PSL action in Surrey: “Last year we were very disappointed to lose in the final to St George’s having started our inaugural season with a mindset that only winning the trophy would do. This year we have adopted a more relaxed approach to ensure we enjoy the competition and it seems to be working.
“The entire squad – including Peter Barker, Peter Marshall, Nele Gilis and Alice Green who are not playing tonight – have been fantastic in their commitment to Trads@RAC since it was founded. The team spirit is great and more than anything the players are aiming to win the trophy for our fans who will be out in force for the final. That said if we don’t win I can’t think of a more deserving side to win the title than Team Pontefract. They are a class act and we’re really looking forward to going up against them.”
Let the Premier Squash League Final showdown commence. The St George’s Hill LTC all glass exhibition show court makes for great viewing. Don’t miss this opportunity to watch world-class squash up close and personal!
Trads@RAC line-up: Paul Coll ~ Daryl Selby ~ George Parker ~ Ben Coleman ~ Alison Waters.
Team Pontefract line-up: Saurav Ghosal ~ Ramit Tandon ~ Abhay Singh ~ Sam Todd ~ Laura Massaro.
First match starts at 2.30pm.
Tickets in advance priced from £15 to £30 are available by WhatsApp/text to 07905 102094.
Travel: Car parking is available at St George’s Hill LTC. If travelling by public transport Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames stations are both nearby and a 30 minute (direct trains) journey from London Waterloo.
About the PSL: The Premier Squash League (PSL) is a tournament featuring the best club sides in England taking place from September to May and run by England Squash. Top squash stars from around the world regularly take part. Originally known as the Amex League on its formation in 1983 it became the National League before being rebranded to 2005. The current champions are Luxfords St George’s Hill who beat Tradition @ RAC 3-2 in the 2018 final.
The 2018/2019 tournament is split into two divisions – Northern and Southern. The Northern teams are Northumberland/Newcastle, Team Pontefract, University of Birmingham Lions, University of Nottingham, UWE/Elite Squash Bristol and Warwick/Kenilworth. The Southern teams are Bexley, Chichester, Coolhurst, Luxfords St George’s Hill, Tradition @ RAC and Welsh Wizards. Teams playing each other both home and away within their divisions. The top two teams then progress to semi-finals before the final to decide the National Champions.
Fixtures are typically played on Tuesday nights. A tie consists of five players from each team playing their opposite number (a match). Teams must field one female player (at number five) and include a minimum of two players from the UK. Each match is played best of three games first to 11 points or 2 clear points if level at 10-10. Points are awarded as follows:- One point for each game won, plus three points for the winning team (whoever wins the most matches).
Teams must nominate their squads (maximum of 15 players) at the start of the season and can change, with some restrictions, during the Christmas break. Two extra players can be added for the second half. Each squad can contain no more than three male players ranked in the world’s top 30* and two female players ranked in the world’s top 30* (but only one in the top 15). Players must have played at least one league match to be eligible for the play-offs.
*as of the preceding 1st Sep PSA rankings
This year’s Premier Squash League Final takes place on Saturday 1 June at St George’s Hill LTC in Weybridge.
(PSL background information courtesy of the Premier Squash League website).