Cottesmore v Stamford Green Man
Finally it was here. The chance to make amends for last years costly defeats to Cottesmore. All team members were well aware of the pressure to perform – notably from Jon (20 minutes and I’ll be off) Oakley who was annihilated last year after insisting he be first on court stating “It’ll only take me 20 minutes to sort him out”. That game was officially timed at 16 minutes before Jon was dispatched to the changing room having lost 3-0 to re-consider life in general and the way forward. Paul (Yorkie) York, looking to sort Bez Beresford out and Mark (bad back) Smith to do the deed against Jon Nicholls. By chance Cottesmore put out their same top 4 players, drafting in a new but very sound number 5, so the scene was set for all to lay to rest some ghosts.
First on was Richard Barker up against Cottesmore new boy Bill McTaggart. This was always going to be a tough game and so it transpired. Both players starting well with Richard having the edge in the first. Second game saw Bill fight back with Richard being too careful and failing to finish the rallies. One game all and after some top tips from Yorkie, Richard got to grips with the game and put Bill under too much pressure taking the tie 3-1. One up to Stamford.
On the next court was Simon Barker playing Graham Taylor. A strong start from Graham put the Stamford captain under pressure and a tight first game saw Graham steal it 10-8. More top tips from the team (don’t hit it so hard) saw Simon recover and take the next three games comfortably winning 3-1. Two to Stamford and things were looking good.
Yorkie went on next against Bez hoping his summer training regime would see him right. Some excellent squash followed with both players hitting tight, accurate shots. Outstanding retrieving from Bez put Yorkie under immense pressure. Aware of Bez’s speed, Yorkie played percentage squash not going for the infamous nicks, and keeping the rallies going. This proved expensive in the energy stakes for Yorkie playing a lad 10 years younger! A marathon first two games saw Yorkie two down. More team tips during the break saw Yorkie come out for third fired up and playing his normal game. Some great kills and drops put him back in the match winning the third. The first two games had taken their toll though and Yorkie was unable to sustain the pressure. Bez took advantage finally winning 3-1. Yorkie was consoled later in the bar with offers to buy his ‘intelligent’ racket for a very good price.
Jon Oakley had his turn now with a rematch against Paul Partington (he who annihilated Jon last time). Jon admitted he was a little nervous, and adrenaline could be seen running down his leg. In true form he started badly, losing 9-2 in the first in about 4 minutes. Summoning all reserves of calm and composure he started the second more confidently and playing tighter squash. As the points came in he relaxed further, and began playing his normal tenacious game. Tight shots and excellent retrieving saw Jon continue his run of points and in the end provided a comfortable victory 3-1.
Mark Smith took to the court to seek revenge after failing to finish against John Nicholls last time, with a back problem. Some intense points proceeded, and a very tough first game saw Mark with the edge. 1-0 to Mark. John fought back in an intensely competitive match with some aggressive, attacking squash putting Mark under too much pressure. 1-1. The next two games were very close with more of the same attacking squash. Good length and width by both players made for a very entertaining match but John just having the edge nicked them both 10-8, and the tie 3-1.
An excellent result for Stamford winning the match 3-2 away from home. Commiseration’s to Mark and Yorkie who struggled under pressure at the top but well done to the three stalwarts who got the results and keep the team on track for league victory. Played 4 won 4. Come on!