Having sealed their second straight Yorkshire Premier League squash title the previous week, Dunnington may still have been nursing hangovers as they went down to a strong Chapel Allerton 1 side on Wednesday night.
A world-class encounter at No.1 between Scotsman Greg Lobban and Channel Islander Chris Simpson was the highlight of a great night’s entertainment in the leafy north Leeds suburbs as Chapel Allerton 1 won 4-1 (17-7) to inflict only a fourth defeat of the season on the champions.
Lobban, the world No.27, had been knocked out of the Canary Wharf Classic in London three days before by England No.1 Declan James, but that defeat allowed him to make his fifth YPL appearance of the season for Chapel A. It turned out to be a cracker, overcoming former world No.20 Simpson 12/10 in the deciding fifth game.
Mark Fuller’s clash with Julian Tomlinson at No.2 was equally enthralling, finishing in a 11/9 fifth game in the home man’s favour. Further down the order, Welshman Owain Taylor and Declan Christie both won in straight games while Kieran Heaphy got three points on the board for Dunnington on his YPL debut with victory over youngster Ben Merchant.
That victory moved Chapel Allerton 1 to within two points of second-placed Hallamshire, who were 17-6 victors over Pontefract 2 on Wednesday.
Sam Davey and Lucas Hughes got the Sheffield side off to a flyer before Ponte 2 got their sole win of the night when Matt Godson overcame England’s No.10-ranked junior Oscar Beach in straight games.
Alex Cutts won a marathon five-setter (14/12 in the fifth) against Ponte’s Adam Taylor before Nick Wall, who recently graduated from the junior ranks, overcame 15-year-old Sam Todd just two days after he had made his PSA Tour debut as a wildcard at the Canary Wharf Classic.
Barnsley are level on points with Queens in fourth place after a 20-0 clean sweep of bottom side Chapel Allerton 2. As the score suggests, all five members of the Barnsley side won 3-0, with Tom Bamford and Oliver Harris coming closest to dropping a game by being taken to 10-10 in their respective first games by Cameron Ward and Richard Hinds.
Queens fell to a surprise 3-2 (14-8) defeat at Hull & East Riding, for whom Paul Norton and Yousef Forster were early straight-games winners. Josh Taylor and James Earles then did likewise for the Halifax side to pull the match score back to 2-2.
It was left up to England’s No.1-ranked junior Ben Smith to seal the win for the Humberside hosts, edging out Queens’ top string Connor Sheen 11/9 in the fifth.
Pontefract 1 slipped down to sixth place after a second straight defeat, losing 4-1 (18-3) at home to Abbeydale, for whom Matt Jackson, Nick Wall Snr and brothers Oli and Adam Turner were all victorious. Patrick Rooney, the world No.94, was Ponte’s only winner on the night, taking care of Lewis Walters in four games.