Duffield secure home semi-final place

Nick Matthew
Matthew won a thrilling tie with Parke

Duffield team manager Felix Frixou was full of praise for his side after seeing them secure home advantage in the Premier Squash League semi-finals.

The Derbyshire team beat Pontefract 5-0 in the tenth and final round on Tuesday to finish top in the Group A tables.

They will now face Surrey in the semi-finals on Tuesday (5 April).

"I am very proud of my group of players," Frixou said. "They did a fantastic job in front of one of the biggest crowds we've ever had."

Led by Yorkshire's world champion Nick Matthew, Duffield romped to victory over Pontefract.

Duffield, PSL champions in 1998, 2006 and 2007 got off to a great start with Derbyshire fire-fighter Laura Hill and Australian Matthew Karwalski both surviving five-game battles to clinch valuable points for the home side.

Chris Fuller and experienced Jonathan Kemp then claimed straight games wins, before Matthew held off the challenge of veteran fellow Yorkshireman Simon Parke in four games to ensure maximum points.

Frixou added: "Laura came back from 4-7 down in her final game - and it takes a lot of guts to do that. And young Chris Fuller did us proud - it's good to see our young players coming through."

"But Pontefract really made it hard for us - and Simon Parke was really impressive. I take my hat off to him - his match against Nick was played in great spirit."

Yorkshire club Chapel Allerton, champions in 2009, led Group A for most of the season but lost 3-2 to Oxford.

The two top teams in Group B both enjoyed 4-1 wins to consolidate their places in the semi-finals.

Runaway leaders St George's Hill beat Exeter Diamonds and second-placed Surrey Health & Racquets, the title-holders, beat Winchester.

Semi-finals line-up (Tuesday 5 April):

Benz-Bavarian Duffield v Surrey Health & Racquets

TWP St George's Hill v LEBC Group Chapel Allerton