Title glory for Dunnington
Dunnington sealed their third Yorkshire Premier League squash title in the most emphatic fashion as they wheeled out their big guns to give Hallamshire a hammering.
The York club regained the crown they last won in 2015 with two matches to spare, with second-placed Pontefract 1’s defeat to Queens Club in Halifax rubber-stamping their triumph.
Dunnington’s title has looked inevitable for several weeks, but they took absolutely no chances against Hallamshire, fielding world No.44 Chris Simpson and No.55 Richie Fallows at the top of the order.
It made for a short night for spectactors as all five home players won in straight games to record a 20-0 whitewash.
Ed Shannon is becoming a fixture back at Dunnington after returning from Holland and he kicked off the rout by stuffing Hallamshire No.5 Sam Davey. Gareth Lumsdon then conceded just 12 points to teenager Dylan Martens while Julian Tomlinson also dispatched visiting No.3 Dan Lawrence with minimal fuss.
Although Fallows won in three games against Oscar Beach, the promising 17-year-old from Sheffield – ranked 19th in England at U19 level – did himself proud with a final scoreline of 11/7 11/8 11/9.
Simpson then had a good tussle with England’s seventh-ranked junior Nick Wall which finished 11/6 11/9 11/5 in the experienced Guernseyman’s favour.
Meanwhile in Halifax, Pontefract 1 – the only side that could theoretically have denied Dunnington the title - slumped to defeat to Queens Club.
The Queens middle order of David Campion and Josh Taylor – England national coach and national performance coach respectively – were triumphant over Ponte’s Sam Wileman and Alex Hodgetts.
Danny Bray stepped up from Queens’ Division One side to beat Ben Hodgetts 3-0, while Pontefract’s two vain victories came via No.5 Ben Beachill and Taminder Gata Aura, who had to move up to No.1 string due to the absence of Patrick Rooney.
It was a night when both of Dunnington’s pursuers at the top admitted defeat as defending champions Chapel Allerton 1 also lost, 16-7 away to Barnsley.
Barnsley fielded former world No.1 and world champion Laura Massaro, just returned from the Windy City Open in Chicago, but she lost an epic battle with Chapel A’s Matty Powell 11/9 in the fifth. Youngster Ben Merchant beat Phil Bowker in straight games at No.4.
It went Barnsley’s way elsewhere though, with Tom Bamford and Oli Harris both winning in straight games and world No.26 Declan James winning in four highly entertaining games against Stuart MacGregor at top string to seal Barnsley’s sixth win in seven games.
A strong Abbeydale side won the mid-table duel at Pontefract 2 by 19-7. Former club champion Stuart Hargreaves was back in the Ponte side after several years’ absence but went down in straight games to Murray Scott at No.5.
Abbeydale’s Oli Turner beat former England international Lauren Siddall in four and Adam Turner took a closely-fought encounter against Ponte stalwart Matt Godson at No,3 to seal the three bonus points for the Sheffield side.
Youngster Elliot Ridge notched a fine win over Matthew Broadberry to get a ‘W’ on the board for the hosts, but Abbeydale No.1 Adam Auckland handed Ponte’s Adam Taylor a 13th defeat of the season at top string.