The University of Warwick - Kenilworth Squash (WarKens) made a winning debut at their new Sports and Wellbeing Hub home, beating St George’s Hill 4-1 to retain top spot in the Premier Squash League’s Southern Division.
The experienced Julianne Courtice beat Jasmine Hutton 6-11, 11-9, 11-6 before Guy Pearson suffered an 11-8, 11-10 defeat to former world number five Borja Golan.
Iker Pajares then maintained his remarkable record of shocking higher-ranked players while wearing the WarKens shirt, defeating Tom Richards 11-8, 11-7 in a fast-paced and sometimes contentious match.
Pajares’ win meant victory for Sarah-Jane Perry in a rematch of the 2018 Commonwealth Games final against Joelle King would hand the home side the match.
Played at a slow, controlled pace, Perry lost the first to six but started to wear her opponent down in the second with an array of patient, deceptive shots giving her an 11-7 win.
King started to tire and Perry took the decider to six to gain revenge for her final defeat and maintain her five-year unbeaten run in the league.
In one of the most anticipated matches of the night, Raphael Kandra then beat Mohamed ElShorbagy 11-6, 13-11 in an encounter which showed off the crowd-pleasing skills of the world number two and number 25.
Kandra also showed off his flexibility with some very impressive splits to volley drop.
“What a performance from the team from top to bottom,” enthused team manager Steve Townsend.
“Jules won a scrappy match, Rafi a spectacular one and sandwiched inbetween SJ gave a masterclass in control of the ball and mentality in the face of losing her unbeaten record.
“I couldn’t ask for more.
“We’ll go into the second half well placed but knowing all five teams in the division will be closely placed and anything is possible.”