Murrills takes turn to play the hero as Duffield stay unbeaten
BENZ-BAVARIAN Duffield keep on finding ways of getting the job done.
They maintained their unbeaten record in Group A of the Premier Squash League with a 3-2 home victory over Pontefract.
Again, there was a nagging feeling before the match that this might be the night they could lose for the first time but again such feelings remained unfounded.
Adam Murrills was the man who pulled out the decisive performance when Duffield needed it against Pontefract.
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The 22-year-old from Manchester completed what was a contender for the best win of his career by beating former world number one Lee Beachill who, at the age of 35, remains a master of his craft.
Yet Murrills almost didn't make it on to court at all.
"Adam called me the day before the match to say he was still feeling ill after having that bug that has been going around and that he didn't think he could play," said manager Felix Frixou.
"That would have left us in a bit of a hole and I managed to put enough pressure on him to be there – and I'm glad I did.
"I've never seen Adam play so well. He played out of his skin and that is a really big scalp for him."
Murrills stepped on court with the Derbyshire side leading 2-1 overall but with the match still very much in the balance.
Laura Massaro did all that was expected of her and put a first point on the board for Duffield, easing back into her game after also having to take time out through illness.
Kirsty McPhee should not have provided too severe a challenge for the world number three and Massaro duly eased through 11-3, 11-1, 11-7.
On the second court, Chris Fuller provided another reminder of his potential, though he was punished for a loose second game before beating Thoboki Mohohlo 11-6, 5-11, 11-3, 11-6.
They were the two rubbers that were expected to go to Duffield but Pontefract were especially confident of pulling one back when James Willstrop, ranked one in the world for almost the whole of last year, took on Joel Hinds.
Hinds, standing in at one in the absence of Nick Matthew, gave no lack of effort, as ever, but Willstrop allowed him no encouragement in a completely professional display as he took the match 11-5, 11-4, 11-6.
The odds were perhaps slightly in favour of Pontefract then and though Andy Whipp does not often let such matters bother him, he was not able to wear down world number 49 Siddharth Suchde.
The Indian nudged ahead and then forced Whipp to take too many risks in the attempt to haul his way back as the first two games went 11-8, 11-3 to Pontefract.
But, by then, Murrills had made just the start he wanted against Beachill. Setting a fast pace to deny the older man the chance to use his skills the way he wanted, the Duffield player won the first two games 11-9, 11-8.
Beachill hit back to take the third 11-8 but Murrills held his nerve in the fourth 11-9 to clinch the match for the home side.
Whipp began to get into his stride in the third game and might have stretched Suchde further if he had won it but he lost 13-11.
"I would have put any money on him going on to win the match if he had won that third game," added Frixou.
No matter. Duffield had made it seven out of seven and are already, with three rounds to go, almost mathematically certain of qualifying for the play-offs.
They are next in action away to Nottingham on February 19.