INTEGRITY Surrey Health & Racquets made squash history this week by becoming the first to reach the final of the Premier Squash League (PSL) for the fourth year in a row.
The Croydon-based club and defending champions hosted Oxford Health & Racquets in a repeat of the 2010 final. And after 16-year-old Georgina Kennedy – a late replacement for the injured world number four Alison Waters – dropped the opening match to Oxford's experienced Irish international Madeline Perry, the hosts stormed back with wins by British U23 champion Adrian Waller and young Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad to move 2-1 ahead.
All that was needed was a win by the Croydon club's Adrian Grant – but the Londoner, ranked 20 in the world, faced Cameron Pilley, the Australian number one, ranked three places higher, and with whom he shared a 4-4 career head-to-head record.
Pilley took the opening game, but left-hander Grant took the next two to lead 2-1. The Australian led throughout most of the fourth, but Grant fought back and clinched a popular 11-13, 11-4, 11-9, 14-12 win to take Surrey Health into the final for a fifth time, and a record fourth year in a row.
In the dead rubber that followed, Spanish number one Borja Golan beat the Croydon club's top string Peter Barker, the world number eight, 11-6, 11-13, 11-7, 11-3. Team manager, Pete Smith, said the club was privileged to be in the final again.