Chapel Allerton 1 began the defence of their Yorkshire Premier League squash title with an opening-night 3-2 victory against last year’s runners up Dunnington.
Portuguese No.3 Pedro Pinto and 17-year-old Ben Merchant got the night off to a winning start for the north Leeds club with victories over British Open 045 title contender Matt Stevenson and England U19 player Ben Cross respectively.
Former world No.3 and resident coach Simon Parke was up next and established an unassailable 3-0 lead for Chapel Allerton, before Julian Tomlinson reduced arrears with a marathon win over Welshman Owain Taylor and world No.59 Richie Fallows further softened the scoreline for the York-based visitors by beating Norfolk-based Mark Fuller at No.1 string.
The early league leaders are Abbeydale 1, who finished second from bottom last season. They comprehensively beat Hull and East Riding 5-0.
Adam Auckland – who two nights before had helped Nottingham beat Pontefract in the Premier Squash League – triumphed 3/0 over ex-England U19 captain Harry Falconer in the top string match.
At No.2, 20-year-old Matthew Broadberry beat Yusef Forster, grandson of Hull City FC owner and Yorkshire League sponsor Dr Assem Allam. Further down the order, Oli Turner, Phil Scully and Murray Scott also won to make it a blistering start to the campaign for Abbeydale.
In second place are Abbeydale’s Sheffield neighbours Hallamshire, who beat newly-promoted Chapel Allerton 2nds 4-1.
The highly promising Nick Wall Jr – part of the Nick Matthew Academy – dismissed Declan Christie for the loss of just 11 points at No.2, while Ashley Davies, the world No.113 from Chesterfield, had a great scrap with teenager Stuart MacGregor at No.1, winning in four tight games. No.5 Adam Wellstead earned Chapel Allerton 2’s consolation victory.
There was the real prospect of an upset in the clash between Pontefract 1 and Pontefract 2 as 15-year-old Ben Sockett and Matt Godson gave the 2nds a 2-0 lead, but Sam Todd – the 14-year-old son of club owner Mick – couldn’t quite finish the job at No.3, and wins for Patrick Rooney and Taminder Gata Aura at No.1 and 2 saved face for the 1sts.
In the night’s other game, 2016 champions Barnsley lost 3-2 at home to Queen’s of Halifax. Recently appointed England National Performance Coach Josh Taylor, Danny Bray and 19-year-old Charlie Cowie gave Queen’s an unassailable advantage, rendering Miles Jenkins and George Parker’s victories at No.2 and 1 mere consolations.