Alba Storm continue their debut season in the Premier Squash League with a home fixture against Newcastle University hosted by Hamilton Squash Club. Tickets are on sale.
The waiting was finally over for Scottish squash fans when Alba Storm welcomed Nottingham to Edinburgh Sports Club for their opening home fixture of the new Premier Squash League (PSL) season on 5 November. The result may have been disappointing for home fans however the match itself produced fireworks aplenty, Nottingham prevailing in a thriller by 3 matches to 2.
Confirmation that Scotland will have a team in the prestigious PSL for the first time in the event’s 36-year history this season has been the cause of much anticipation. And it’s easy to see why with fifteen of the world’s top 20 male players and 12 of the world’s top 30 females are competing in the 2019/20 PSL season (see below for the full squads and an introduction to the PSL) giving Scottish sport fans a brilliant opportunity to watch top-class squash on their doorstep.
The journey for Alba Storm began on 15 October with an away fixture against Pontefract. The Scottish team put up an impressive performance against last year’s runners-up going down by the slimmest of 3-2 margins.
Ten teams from across the country are competing in this season’s PSL, split into two sections. Alba Storm are in the Northern Section alongside Pontefract, Birmingham Lions, Newcastle and Nottingham.
Teams play each other home and away with the top two progressing to the semi-finals and a final (for the PSL trophy pictured), scheduled for May 2020.
Scotland’s number one ranked player Greg Lobban commented on the launch: “It will be brilliant to have a Scottish team which everyone can get behind. It’s really exciting for Scottish squash fans – adults and juniors.
“They can help create a memorable atmosphere at home matches and bring a real buzz to Scottish squash.
“I think we punch above our weight in European and World team events and hopefully we can do the same in the PSL.”
Tonight attention turns to Hamilton Squash Club (part of Lanarkshire Ice Rink) where Alba Storm will be itching to turn their good form of the opening two matches into valuable points. But it won’t be easy against a Newcastle side in search of a third win on the spin to preserve their place as joint-leaders of the Northern Division.
Alba Storm strong squad: 12 Scots – including Greg Lobban, Alan Clyne and Lisa Aitken (pictured above) – are joined by Egyptian stars Fares Dessouky (WR14) and Youssef Soliman (WR37) as well as Eain Yow Ng (Malaysia, WR32) and Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA, WR18).
🗝️ Doors open: 6.30pm.
🏆 First match: 7pm.
🎟️ Tickets in advance are available via the ‘Get Tickets’ link.
🚊🚗 Travel tips: Hamilton Squash Club is part of Lanarkshire Ice Rink. The nearest railway station is Hamilton Central on the Argyle Line running through Glasgow Central. The station is approximately a 10 minute walk or a short taxi ride. Free car parking is available if driving to the venue.
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 RAC PSL Team who beat Team Pontefract 3-2 in the 2018/2019 final.
The 2019/2020 tournament is split into two divisions – Northern and Southern. The Northern teams are Northmberland Club/Newcastle University, Team Pontefract, University of Birmingham Lions, University of Nottingham and Alba Strom. The Southern teams are Team Coolhurst, St George’s Hill, RAC PSL Team, University of Warwick/Kenilworth Squash 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
The Premier Squash League Final will take place in May 2020 at a venue TBC.
(PSL background information courtesy of the Premier Squash League website).