CUP FINAL, Stamford Green Man v Oundle
Stamford arrived at Peterborough Town squash club with high hopes of doing the double having won Peterborough league division one by a staggering 50 points clear. Also the chance of revenge was anticipated as Oundle were the only team in the league to beat us and we were still smarting.
First on court was Mark (I need a couple of hours to sort myself out before I go on court) Smith against Neville Keir (No 2 string). This was always going to be a tough match for Smithy as he struggled against Neville last time and also, only had ten minutes preparation time! As expected Neville started strongly hitting a good length and width, stepping into the shots to volley which put Mark under a lot of pressure. Unable to settle into it the first game drifted away as Neville continued safe but consistent squash and Mark made the errors. First went to Neville 9-3. Time for a rethink from Mark and a pep talk from Yorkie, (unrepeatable for this audience)! The break though was not enough for Mark as the second followed on from the first with uncharacteristic errors from Mark allowing Neville a comfortable ride through, though continuing to play excellent squash and prevent Mark any chance of getting into the game. 9-3 again to Neville. Confidence now at rock bottom Mark was unable to recover his squash and went down 9-0 in the third for a comfortable victory for Oundle. 1-0
Next on was Richard Barker (playing for us in between skiing holidays) against the Oundle captain Phil Wallis (No 5 string). Richard was on a roll, after some outstanding victories in friendlies recently, notably the destruction of Jonathon Oakley, and went on court looking sharp. Richard immediately took control, playing good squash and retrieving well from Phil’s awkward shots. Few errors from Richard secured the first 9-5. The second went the same way with Richard looking comfortable as he moved Phil around the court, working him hard as he took the second 9-4. Disaster struck in the fourth as somebody flicked Richards off switch. A complete concentration failure allowed Phil back into the match as he stormed through the third with some good winners, errors from Richard as he was a couple of seconds off the pace. 9-5 to Phil as the tie stood at 2-1. A tense fourth ensued as the both players edged the score up to 8-8. Defeat for Stamford would surely cost them the match and this pressure sat heavily on Richards shoulders as he still struggled to regain his from. Excellent battling though gave him game ball at 9-8 and one rally was all he needed to take the tie 10-8. Stamford back in the match at 1-1.
Stamford captain, Simon Barker on court next against Peter Izod (No 4 string). The previous match saw Peter have a comfortable win over Simon and opportunity to overturn this result was not only a matter of pride for Simon it was a necessity to keep the match alive for Stamford. Some inspired squash from Simon, who picked the perfect match to start playing tight squash, and finally finding the elusive width that has been missing all season. Looking sharp and hungry Simon was onto everything early, rallying when needed and picking the shots to play winners off. 9-1 to Simon in the first. No pep talk from Yorkie so things were looking good. The second followed in the same vein, as Simon went on to a comfortable 9-4 win. Determined not to ease off, Simon came out for the third focused and still looking strong. The expected fight back from Peter came but Simon held him off to take the third 9-5. Stamford take the lead 2-1.
Yorkie on next against an old adversary in Chris Davey (No 1 string). The pressure was on Paul, a little short of match fitness after an injury, but well up for this match. Great rallying from both players was evident as the tie got under way with both of them having to work hard for every point. Outstanding shot after shot was played with both battling for everything. Chris though had the edge as he kept the errors to a minimum forcing Paul to make the mistakes. 9-4 to Chris. The second again was a hard battle but Chris kept the pressure on and more errors from Paul saw the game drift away for Chris to take it 9-2 and go 2-0 up. Needing the third to stay in the tie, Paul started strongly, playing better and cutting out the mistakes. Chris kept his head though and a titanic battle took them through to 8-8. Chris had just enough to make it count and took the next two points to win the game 10-8 and the tie 3-0.
2-2 in games, with the final game to play. Jon (fashion icon) Oakley against Nick Sims (No 3 string). This was set to be an excellent match. Both players very closely matched on fitness and skill and the final decider. It seemed though the occasion did much for Jon in the first as he blasted through the first. Hitting hard and to a good length, interspersed with a devastating short game, Nick was in trouble and went down in the first 9-0. The second saw a different player as Nick came out fighting. Some superb rallying followed. Excellent retrieving from both players returning tight shots with interest had the balcony spellbound. Nothing in it as the sores hit 6-6 then Jon put in a couple of outstanding winners to take him to game ball. As the serve changed hands a couple of times the tension was high before Jon finally took it 9-6. 2-0 now but no-one was willing to bet against Nick. The third again saw some fiery squash with both players driving the ball hard. Nothing in it again as they came up to 5-5 with the pain showing on both faces from hard rallying. Again though Jon turned it on for a couple of points hitting yet another couple of outstanding winners. This was enough to break Nick as Jon went on take the game 9-5 and the tie 3-0. 3-0 was not an accurate reflection on this tie as it was so close.
A fantastic result for Stamford to win the cup 3-2 on the night who end the season as league champions and cup winners.