The York club – who won the title last year by a mammoth 44 points – dismantled Pontefract 2 20-5 in the latest round of matches.
New signing Rob Downer, the world No 144, finished the night with a 3-0 victory over Pontefract’s leading tyro Sam Todd and at fifth string young Benjamin Cross defeated Dominic Pegg 3-1. Julian Tomlinson, Michael Andrews and Matthew Stephenson all did the job in the middle order, although all three dropped games.
Great rivals Nick Matthew and James Willstrop had played each other in the PSL on Tuesday night but alas they were absent as their YSL clubs clashed on Wednesday. It was Hallamshire who triumphed at Pontefract 1 to the tune of 15-9 to stay in second place.
Indian Abhay Singh has added real quality to Pontefract’s line-up and he and top string Patrick Rooney both eased to victories over Harry Falconer and Nick Wall respectively. The 18-year-old Wall has recently started his professional career and signed with Dunlop as his sponsor.
However, Hallamshire’s victory was founded on three wins by their lower order. Alex Cutts won a crucial five-setter with Alex Doughty at third string which went to 14-12 in the decider, with Lucas Hughes and England junior Oscar Beach’s successes laying the early foundation.
Hull & East Riding’s early-season good fortunes continued with a third victory in four as they put bottom side Chapel Allerton 2 to the sword 20-3.
Yusef Forster and Glyn Saunders expended little sweat at the bottom of the order before women’s world No.28 Fiona Moverley beat Kieran Wardman despite dropping the first game 12-10.
Hull’s teenage duo, No 2 Ben Sockett and top string Ben Smith, finished the job with 3-1 victories over Ian Chappell and Chapel Allerton’s squash secretary Dominic Hamilton respectively.
Like Hull, Queens Club struggled last season but have come out of the blocks quickly this campaign. The Halifax club sit in fourth place after returning with a win from Wednesday’s trip to Sheffield to face Abbeydale.
Hopes of a first Abbeydale win of the season were raised by early victories for Phil Scully and Frenchwoman Coline Amuard, the world No.34, but Queens’ top order turned things around.
Lancastrian Charlie Cowie began the fightback with a 3-1 win over Oli Turner, Connor Sheen dispatched Adam Turner and top string Richie Fallows, the world No 60, won a thrilling winner-takes-all clash with Matthew Broadberry 11-8 in the fifth.
Mid-table Chapel Allerton 1, last year’s runners-up, hosted Barnsley and it was the South Yorkshire club who came away with a 16-7 win.
Jack Turney kicked things off by taking care of a fatigued Matty Powell, but Kiwi Joe Williams levelled matters with an epic five-setter against Tom Bamford.
Chapel Allerton’s young No 5 Ben Merchant fell to his first YSL loss of the season at the hands of Michael Mattimore and when Barnsley’s Stuart MacGregor won in three close games against Welshman Owain Taylor, the five bonus points were sealed. The hosts’ No 1 Mark Fuller rescued three consolation points by conquering Miles Jenkins in quick time.