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Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 15:28 UK

Duffield suffer first-leg mauling


Duffield's hopes of winning a third consecutive Premier Squash League title are all but over following a heavy defeat in the semi-final first leg.

The Derbyshire side put up a spirited display but could not cope with a catastrophic series of injuries and were beaten 5-0 at home by Chichester.

Manager Brian Hargrave said: "I could not have expected more from my players.

"We gave them a good run for their money and will try and repeat this in the second leg on Thursday."

Duffield were hoping to become the first club in the 25-year history of the league to win a hat-trick of successive titles.

We've got a mountain to climb

Brian Hargrave

But a series of injury setbacks on the eve of semi-finals week saw four leading players forced to withdraw.

One of the hastily recruited replacements Mille Tomlinson - a 15-year-old schoolgirl ranked two in the National U17 list - put in a courageous performance in her PSL debut against Dominique Lloyd-Walter.

The youngster led the world No21 from Harrow 7-4 in the opening game.

But Lloyd-Walter soon regained the advantage to record a 9-7, 9-2, 9-1 win to put the visitors ahead.

Tomlinson's Duffield team-mates maintained the pressure on favourites Chichester - with Peter Billson, Nick Taylor and Alex Stait taking each of their more fancied opponents the full distance before succumbing in five games.

In the final top string battle Duffield's Stockport-based Andrew Whipp was two points away from taking Mohd Azlan Iskandar to a fifth game.

But Malaysian star Iskandar, currently ranked 13 in the world, maintained his focus to win 9-3, 9-5, 8-10, 9-7 to give the Sussex side a much-deserved 5/0 tie win.

Hargrave added: "We've got a mountain to climb but, if we do have to bow out of the competition, I couldn't think of a better team to succeed us as champions than Chichester."

see also
Squash calendar
17 Oct 00 |  Squash

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