Oakham v Stamford Green Man
Oakham at present, are looking like the team to challenge us for top spot in the league table. Very strong at 1 and 2 the are always a dangerous team. Richard Barker at No 4 was on first for us against Ian Lidbetter who was no slouch in his youth and still very capable. As the first game got under way Richard immediately started to dominate, picking up everything and covering the court well. Good attacking shots and excellent court coverage from Richard proved the downfall of Ian with Richard winning the tie 3-0.
On the court next door was Mark Smith (No 2) up against Dillon Ross. A strong start by Dillon put Mark under considerable pressure. Hard hitting to a good length won point after point for Dillon with Mark seemingly having no answer. The destruction continued with Mark unable to respond, expressing a range of emotions from anger and disgust to despair, finally resolving himself to obliteration by Dillon who won 3-0. During the post match debrief in the bar afterwards, poor preparation for the game (only one banana instead of two at lunchtime) and a self diagnosed “I played s**t” from Mark seemed to be a fair assessment of the tie.
Captain was up next playing at 5, Simon Barker v Mick Skews. A tight first game with both players moving well saw Mick steal it 10-8. Simon upped the pressure in the second, working Mick hard with some punishing rallies to level it one all. The pace starting to tell on Mick now allowed Simon a comfortable third game 9-1. More of the same from Simon secured the tie 3-1. Stamford 2-1 up.
Jonathon Oakley (No 3) against Dave Battersby was looking like a critical game for Stamford as historical results for the number 1’s were in Oakhams favour. It was good to see a welcome return for Jon,s ‘three for £5’ nylon shorts. Shorts being the operative word – ‘styled to accentuate the gentlemen’s figure’. The game under way, Jon immediately got into his stride moving Dave all over the court, hitting a good length and width. Dave talked well in the first but failed to turn this chat into good squash allowing Jon to take it 9-7. Continued accurate squash and hard running by Jon put Dave under immense pressure allowing Jon to take the next two games comfortably securing the tie 3-0 and the match for Stamford.
The number ones were the final game of the evening. Our own little and large show with Paul (5 foot 2) York playing Justin (6 foot 4) Dougury. Justin, well known for his unorthodox approach to squash, got straight into it, playing some excellent tennis shots using both forehand and backhand topspin to great effect. Yorkie, looking sharp and on the pace fought for everything but just couldn,t get to grips with Justins game; no pace, great lobs (easy when your opponent is shorter than the average opponent) and very tight. A hard fought match but Justin finally winning comfortably 3-0 with not a hair out of place.
A close result but a fine performance from the lower order of Stamford doing enough to maintain our unbeaten run, striding clearly ahead at the top of the table. Thanks to Oakham who proved excellent hosts.