Dunnington go top as Matthew boosts Hallamshire

Defending champions Dunnington hit the front once again as they made it three wins out of three in the Yorkshire Premier Squash League on Wednesday night.

The York club went one down early on at Queens Club in Halifax (who had also won their first two matches of the season) but the visitors’ talent-packed top order made light of that early scare by wrapping up a 4-1 (18-4) victory.

Danny Bray landed those early three points for Queens but the inclusion of England international Chris Simpson and world No.144 Robbie Downer really strengthened Dunnington’s line-up and enabled Julian Tomlinson and Danny Hockborn to move down to three and four in the order respectively.

Hockborn, Downer and Simpson were all victorious in straight games while Chorley-based Tomlinson dropped just one game in defeating Queens’ number three Charlie Cowie.

Hallamshire sit three points behind Dunnington in second after a 5-0 (20-3) walloping of crosstown Sheffield rivals Abbeydale thanks in no small measure to some bloke called Nick Matthew.

The recently-retired former world No.1, World and British Open champion waltzed to the expected 3-0 win over Adam Auckland at top string, and the great man’s inclusion in the line-up allowed England U19 No.2 Nick Wall to move down to second string, where he took out Abbeydale’s Adam Turner in four games.

At number three, Harry Falconer clocked up his third victory of the YPL season by dispatching Oli Turner with little sweat. Alex Cutts and another of England’s top-ranked juniors, Oscar Beach, had earlier laid the foundations with 3-1 wins at the bottom of the order.

Hull & East Riding were the third side to go into week three with a 100% record but they crashed 5-0 (20-4) to Chapel Allerton 1.

Matty Powell set the tone for the north Leeds club with a typically audacious 3-0 win over Hull’s Glynn Saunders, before Chapel A’s new Kiwi signing Joe Williams downed women’s world No.28 Fiona Moverley, whizzing through the third and fourth games having lost the first.

A rather bad-tempered tussle between youngsters Ben Merchant and Yousef Foster was won by the former 11-3 in the fourth. That wrapped up the five winning bonus points, but the top order of Owain Taylor and Mark Fuller added more gloss to the scoreline with 3-0 and 3-2 wins over talented juniors Ben Sockett and Ben Smith respectively.

Chapel A 1 are now third, just one point ahead of Pontefract 1, who were 3-2 (15-8) victors at Barnsley. Wins at four and five for Alex Hodgetts and Taminder Gata Aura – over women’s world No.26 Millie Tomlinson and Tom Bamford, respectively – got the visitors off to the perfect start.

Stuart MacGregor reduced arrears with his third straight YPL win of the season, beating Lewis Doughty in four, before world No.113 Abhay Singh of India won in four to seal Pontefract 1’s five bonus points. That made Barnsley top string George Parker’s 3-0 toppling of Patrick Rooney a mere consolation.

The night’s other fixture was between Pontefract and Chapel Allerton’s second teams, who were both winless prior to their meeting on Wednesday. Chapel A 2 remain so after being comprehensively smashed 5-0 (20-1) by their West Yorkshire rivals.

Ponte 2’s top string Sam Todd had just returned from Buenos Aires, where he was part of the team of the world’s top junior players showcasing squash at the Summer Youth Olympic Games. Everyone involved in squash hopes the 15-year-old’s contribution in Argentina will enhance the sport’s prospects of inclusion in future Olympic Games.

Todd showed no after-effects from his trip by beating Chapel A 2’s top string Dominic Hamilton in straight games to complete Ponte 2’s whitewash.

The night had begun with another teenager, Ben Beachill (son of former world No.1 Lee) easing past Tom Kirby, then Matt Godson and Adam Taylor also won with ease. Billy Hawes was given a tougher time by the wily John Riley before winning in four.

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