Welsh Wizards are ready to take on the biggest team league challenge in World squash.
Newly formed Wizards have recruited a star-studded team for their first Professional Squash League season including three players ranked inside the World’s top 15.
The opening PSL fixture for Wizards is against Coolhurst from London at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff on Tuesday, September 25.
World number five Simon Rosner leads the Coolhurst team, while Wizards have signed third-ranked Egyptian Marwan ElShorbagy, French ace Gregory Gaultier, who is at number seven, and Cairo-born Omar Mosaad.
Former World number three Mosaad is now at number 14 on the men’s rankings.
ElShorbagy plays in Wizards’ opening match along with Welshman Peter Creed and Spain’s Edmon Lopez. There is a strong Welsh contingent in the Welsh team with Tesni Evans and her brother Emyr completing the line-up.
Cardiff-born Tesni, who lives in Rhyl, is number one lady for Wizards and could face an Australian challenge when Coolhurst come to Wales. Donna Lobban, at 17 in the World rankings, is the London club’s leading lady.
This seasons PSL will feature the World’s top three men, six of the top 10, 14 of the top 20 and 20 of the top 30, plus nine of the women’s top 20.
The PSL is split into north and south divisions and is a 12-strong competition will see teams of five from across the UK complete 10 league rounds.
Coolhurst, Chichester, St George’s Hill, Bexley and Tradition@RAC are the other teams with Wizards in the South section.
League matches will comprise five-player teams (four men, one woman).
The arrival of the Wizards has brought a change in the rules with teams now required to field two British, rather than English, players in each fixture.
Many of the World’s leading players have committed to the PSL for 2018-19. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the finals weekend.
St George’s Hill, who have signed number one Mohamed ElShorbagy, are the reigning PSL champions. Spain’s European Champion Borja Golan has also signed for St George’s, while their leading lady is World number four and Commonwealth champion Joelle King.
Tradition@RAC have snapped up Kiwi Paul Coll along with PSL stalwarts Daryl Selby, Ben Coleman and 2-17 Rhiwbina Welsh Open champion George Parker giving them a solid first-choice foursome, with 10th-ranked Alison Waters in the women’s spot.
Bexley include Egyptians Mohamed Abouelghar and Mazen Hesham, while Chichester have signed Mathieu Castagnet and Omar Abdel Meguid.
Nottingham, attempting to top the Northern division for the third season in a row, also field a largely unchanged squad with Nick Matthew backed up by Swiss star Nicolas Mueller and a strong English continent.
Pontefract have strength in depth in their men’s and women’s nominations with former World number ones James Willstrop and Laura Massaro their top picks.
Newcomers Newcastle have assembled a squad topped by Australia’s Cameron Pilley and Scotland’s Alan Clyne, with a good mix of international and local players in line with their aim of developing local talent.
Kenilworth start their second season with an international lineup headed by World number two Ali Farag and rising German star Raphael Kandra. Sarah-Jane Perry will again be their top woman.
Bristol and Birmingham both have a good mix of international and local players. Bristol’s line-up is headed by Frenchman Lucas Serme and they also have an American flavour with Todd Harrity and PSL newcomer Amanda Sobhy in the squad.
Birmingham have recruited top Aussie Ryan Cuskelly plus Canadian Mike McCue, while Welsh number One Joel Makin, from Haverfordwest, has stayed with the English team.
If you are interested in supporting the Welsh PSL venture as a volunteer or sponsor, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Match and season tickets (£15 per fixtures, £60 for all five home games) are already on sale via the Welsh Wizards website.
Professional Squash League squads:
Birmingham: Ryan Cuskelly, Joel Makin, Mike McCue, Jan Van Den Herrewegen, Jaymie Haycocks, Chris Ryder, Johnny Harford, Chris Hall, Stuart Macgregor, Josh Owen, Jack Turney. Ladies: Millie Tomlinson, Lucy Turmel.
Bristol: Lucas Serme, Youssef Soliman, Todd Harrity, Tom Ford, David Baillargeon, Sean Conroy, Brian Byrne,James Peach, Roshan Baros, Theis Houlberg. Ladies: Amana Sobhy, Joshna Chinappa, Lily Taylor, Karina Tyma.
Kenilworth: Ali Farag, Raphael Kandra, Iker Pajares, Mahesh Mangaonkar, Victor Crouin, Baptiste Masotti, Daniel Mekbib, Mark Fuller, Chris Fuller, Nick Wall, Harry Falconer, Guy Pearson. Ladies: Sarah-Jane Perry, Julianne Courtice, Lucy Green.
Newcastle: Cameron Pilley, Alan Clyne Mohamed Reda, Piedra Schweertman, Rob Downer, Rory Stewart, Owain Taylor, Danny Hockburn, Chris Wiggins, Max Forster. Ladies: Olivia Blatchford, Lisa Aitken, Line Hansen, Sam Ward, Eve Driver.
Nottingham: Nick Matthew, Nicolas Mueller, Declan James, Richie Fallows, Adam Auckland, Matt Broadberry, Lewis Walters, Nick Hargreaves. Ladies: Colina Aumard, Hana Ramadan.
Pontefract: James Willstrop, Saurav Ghosal, Chris Simpson, Harinderpal Sandhu, Patrick Rooney, Abhay Singh, Lee Beachill, Lewis Doughty, Taminder Gata Aura, Sam Todd. Ladies: Laura Massaro, Fiona Moverley, Hollie Naughton, Sarah Campion.
Bexley: Mohamed Abouelghar, Mazen Hesham, Abdulla al Tamimi, Josh Masters, Olli Tuominen, Bernat Jaume, Rui Soares, Benjamin Albert, Brad Masters, Ben Ford, Curtis Malik. Ladies: Alison Thomson, Kace Bartley, Elise Lazarus.
Chichester: Mathieu Castagnet, Omar Abdel Meguid, Olli Pett, Tim Vail, Kyle Finch, Miles Jenkins, Tom Walsh. Ladies: Amanda Landers-Murphy, Lauren Briggs.
Coolhurst: Simon Rosner, Greg Lobban, Adrian Waller, Nathan Lake, Charles Sharpes, Angus Gillams, Alex Nokes, Ondrej Uherk, Joe Green. Ladies: Donna Lobban, Haley Mendez.
St George’s: Mohamed ElShorbagy, Borja Golan, Tom Richards, Charlie Lee, Sebastien Bonmalais, Carlos Cornes, Dylan Bennett, Robbie Temple, Henrik, Mustonen, Joe Lee. Ladies: Joelle King, Yathreb Adel, Dominique Lloyd-Walter, Jasmine Hutton.
RAC: Paul Coll, Daryl Selby, Ben Coleman, George Parker, Peter Marshall, Peter Barker, Lyell Fuller, Stacey Ross, Steve Richardson. Ladies: Alison Waters, Nele Gilas, Alice Green.
Welsh Wizards: Marwan ElShorbagy, Gregory Gaultier, Omar Mosaad, Peter Creed, Edmon Lopez, Emyr Evans, Elliott Morris-Devred, David Evans, Lewis Poole. Ladies: Tesni Evans, Milou van der Heijden, Grace Gear, Ciara Richards.
Tuesday 25: Warwick/Kenilworth v Birmingham, Welsh Wizards v Coolhurst, Pontefract v Bristol, St George’s v RAC@Tradition, Newcastle v Nottingham.
Friday 28: Bexley v Chichester.
Friday 19: Coolhurst v Bexley.
Tuesday 23: Bristol v Warwick/Kenilworth, RAC v Welsh Wizards, Nottingham v Pontefract, Chichester v St George’s, Birmingham v Newcastle.
Tuesday 6: Warwick/Kenilworth v Nottingham, Welsh Wizards v Chichester, Bristol v Birmingham, RAC v Coolhurst, Pontefract v Newcastle, St George’s v Bexley.
Tuesday 27: Warwick/Kenilworth v Pontefract, Welsh Wizards v St George’s, RAC v Bexley, Birmingham v Nottingham.
Friday 30: Bristol v Newcastle, Coolhurst v Chichester.
Tuesday 4: Newcastle v Warwick/Kenilworth, Nottingham v Bristol, Chichester v RAC, Pontefract v Birmingham, St George’s v Coolhurst.
Friday 7: Bexley v Welsh Wizards.
Second Half fixtures reversed, dates to be confirmed.