With 4 wins in 5 games the Air-IT PSL team are 2nd place in the table and in a playoff place as we reach the mid-point of the season...
The 2014/15 Premier Squash League (PSL) season began on 21st October – to the excitement of everyone at Air-IT, the team’s lead sponsor for the second successive year.
We’re all backing the team to build on their successes of the 2013/14 season and reach the play-offs this time around.
The Season So Far After 5 Matches
Despite losing the first game of the season to league favourites Duffield , Air-IT Nottingham have put in some fantastic, never say die, team performances and have battled to win their last 4 consecutive games – with some very close, nail biting encounters along the way.
The team currently sits second place in the league table and in a playoff position (after 5 games) as we now reach the mid-point of the season and Christmas break.
For further details about the teams progress this season and match reports, please see below.
About the PSL
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Squash, the PSL is the English Professional Squash League and attracts the world’s most talented players. Top professional players represent their competing clubs in two leagues of six teams (North and South).
Air-IT Nottingham play in the North or A league, which includes Birmingham, Pontefract, Coolhurst (London), and Benz Bavarian Duffield (Derby). Leicester have also joined the league this year, adding further to the local East Midlands rivalries.
Find Out More About the Team
For further information about the Air-IT Nottingham team, players and Premier Squash League, please take a look at our previous blog post and the PSL season guide below:
Match Reports Rounds 1 to 5
Catch up with the team’s progress so far this season with the match reports below:
Round 1 – Benz Bavarian Duffield (Away)
The first match of the new season was an away game on 21th October against arch rivals Benz Bavarian Duffield of Derby – last season’s runners-up and favourites.
With many key players competing in tournaments overseas, Air-IT Nottingham was forced to field an under-strength side.
Despite battling valiantly, our players were defeated in a clean sweep, 5-0, by the home team, putting us bottom of the league table.
Rounds 2 & 3 – Coolhurst and Birmingham Lions (Home)
Thankfully, our fortunes took a turn for the better in the next two matches, both played on consecutive weeks at home venue Nottingham Squash Rackets Club (NSRC), with a near full strength side.
On 28th October, we took on Coolhurst of London followed by the newly branded Birmingham Lions, a week later on 4th November – running out 3-2 victors on both occasions.
Both matches were very close fought victories and came down to top string players Eddie Charlton, and Scottish Number 1, Alan Clyne deciding the outcome in the final games.
Team Captain Eddie Charlton
In the Coolhurst match Team Captain, Eddie Charlton ripped up the script and beat Alan Mueller 3-1, a player ranked 30 places higher at 21 in the World Rankings.
And against Birmingham Alan Clyne beat Chris Ryder by the finest of margins in the first 2 games, losing the third before sealing the victory in the fourth 3-1 with his sheer power and pace dominating.
Both games were played in front of a sell-out home crowd known as – Fortress Nottingham – who cheered the players on to victory with their vocal and enthusiastic support.
This result saw Air-IT Nottingham jump to third in the table despite their shaky start against Duffield.
Ollie Holland on court against Joe Green
Round 4 – Everards Leicester (Away)
Air-IT Nottingham visited PSL newcomers Everards Leicester for their fourth round tie on 25th November.
Without team Captain and talisman Eddie Charlton playing, Air-IT were looking to build on their previous two home performances and move into a play-off position.
With victories for both Emma Beddoes and Ollie Holland the result all hinged on the second string game.
Chris Fuller in action against Scottish No.2 Greg Lobban
Ranked 121 in the world, 51 places below his Leicester opponent, Chris Fuller stepped up for Nottingham to play Ben Coleman as underdog. Despite losing the first 2 games Fuller, refusing to give up, took a nail biting tie-break in the third, before levelling the fourth and taking the final set in a phenomenal come back clinching the victory for Air-IT.
The final game saw Alan Clyne up against world number 11 Chris Selby which finished 3-2 to Selby despite a valiant effort from the machine like Clyne. This was the third 5 set match of the night and sealed the 3-2 victory for Air-IT.
Round 5 – Pontefract (Away)
The final game of the season, before the Christmas break, was played away at bottom of the table side Pontrefract, on Tuesday 9th December.
Knowing that a convincing win would lift the team into a playoff position, Air-IT weren’t to be disappointed.
The match got off to a flying start with Emma Beddoes beating Sarah Kippax in straight sets. Having just returned from the Women’s World Team Championships in Canada with a gold medal, Beddoes looked in great form right from the start and controlled the game throughout despite a late rally in the third by Kippax.
Ollie Holland continued his run of good form getting the better of Alex Hodgets and comfortably taking his match 3-0 despite going to tie-break in the third.
Next up was Player / Manager, Mark Fuller against Simon Parke – a match always predicted to be a long drawn out battle. With long rallies throughout the score line seesawed between each player and levelled at 2-2. In the fifth it was a much tighter affair, going point for point and at 9-9 an exhausted Parke finally lost out in this war of attrition allowing Fuller to take the match 3-2 deciding the tie in favour of Air-IT.
Player / Manager Mark Fuller
The second string game saw team Captain, Eddie Charlton, take on Aqeel Rehman. Looking the sharper from the start Aqeel took the first before Charlton came back with the next two games using his tactical guile to take advantage of his tiring opponent. In the fourth Aqeel took the game to Charlton with a more aggressive approach and levelled at 2-2, but Charlton comfortably took the fifth to seal victory.
The final game saw first string Alan Clyne take to court against Saurav Ghosal hoping for a clean sweep. Despite some tight games and a tie-break in the third, sadly it wasn’t to be with Ghosal coming out on top 3-1.
The result provided an early Christmas present for Air-IT Nottingham and saw them jump to second place in the table moving into a playoff spot.
Alan Clyne v Chris Ryder of Birmingham Lions
PSL League Standings
After starting the season with a loss, Air-IT Nottingham have now clinched 4 wins in a row as we reach the half way stage of the season.
There have been some very close fought victories along the way and players have shown tremendous character and team spirit to battle to second in the table and in a playoff position before the mid-season break.
PSL 2014/15 League Table After 5 Rounds
Air-IT Nottingham’s first match after the break is a home tie against arch rivals and league leaders Benz Bavarian Duffield on January 26th – so watch this space for future match reports and updates..
Emma Beddoes in action on match night
Air-IT’s Managing Director, Todd McQuilkin, comments:
‘We’re delighted to sponsor Air-IT Nottingham again this year and thrilled by the fantastic start they’ve had in the first half of the 2014/15 season.
It’s especially gratifying to see the team fielding the same squad of homegrown players as last year, something that the combined efforts of all their sponsors have made possible.
The team spirit and never say die attitude of the players is absolutely amazing and I am sure that we will be there or there abouts – challenging for a play-off place at the end of the season.’
The Park Business Club Makes a Return
Following on from the success of last year, the Park Business Club returns for a second season at each of the 5 home games – offering local businesses, sponsors and guests the chance to enjoy an evening of informal networking and world class professional Squash.
A sell out crowd on PSL match night
As usual, we were proud to bring along a number of our clients and guests to both of the recent home games, all of whom had thoroughly enjoyable evening of high quality Squash and networking.
This season, new team sponsor the Waltons Hotel is providing the buffet for each event, whilst Squash enthusiast and Gem 106 Breakfast Show Host, Sam Pinkham, is back for a second season acting as compère and MC.
Soon Starring on NottsTV
Todd, a number of sponsors and player Emma Beddoes were interviewed for the programme, which will be aired in January – so keep an eye on our website for more details nearer the time.
Notts TV Interviewing Emma Beddoes at NSRC
‘I’d like to thank all our fellow sponsors, clients and guests who are continuing to support Air-IT Nottingham. It’s all down to the support of local business that Nottingham is able to field a professional Squash team again this year.
I’m sure everyone involved will join me in backing the team and wishing them continued success for the rest of the season.’
Fancy Watching a Game
If you’re interested in watching a PSL match, then you’re more than welcome to come along to any of the remaining three home fixtures.
Please ask us about a complementary ticket and enjoy an evening of world class Squash and networking.
Remaining home games include:
- 27th January Round 6 v Benz-Bavarian Duffield
- 10th March Round 9 v Everards Leicester
- 31st March Round 10 v Pontefract