St. Ivo v Stamford Green Man
Stamford now are really on a roll and confidence is high. Played 3, won 3 with everyone still undefeated. This was now generating its own pressure though as no one wants to be first to lose. St Ivo is the opposition tonight playing at their courts. Let the match begin!
Simon Barker was on first against Bob Taylor. Simon, still looking to find the same form shown through the summer, started ok, battled well and as usual ran for everything. Bob showed great recovery skills with an extraordinary reach enabling him to loaf at one side of the court, stretch out and pick off Simons tight shot hugging the other wall. Running became the issue and Simon just did enough to take the first 9-7. The second saw an even more determined Bob as he put Simon under pressure playing hard and low drives. Simon worked hard to retrieve but struggled to find a decent length and width (again) allowing Bob many chances to finish the points. This he did and took the second 9-5 to go 1-1. Copious advice/criticism/derision was again offered to Simon during the break which would have broken a lesser man, but not the captain as he came out fighting for the third. Better squash from Simon put Bob under too much pressure and allowed Simon a comfortable third 9-5. Much of the same in the fourth with Bob now tiring gave game to Simon 9-5 and the tie 3-1 to Stamford.
Richard Barker was on next door against Ian Hill. Richard had played superbly over the last few matches and expectations were high again tonight. As the match got under way though Ian’s awkward reverse angles caught Richard cold and flatfooted. Many a winner was played from this shot, as Richard could not settle into the game. The first to Ian 9-4. The second saw a more intense Richard as he endeavored to read Ian’s game. More accurate shots from Richard and now seeing some of the reverse angles saw him do enough to take the second 9-6. Still not comfortable with his game Richard again struggled in the third and good battling by Ian with some unorthodox shots thrown in was enough to take it 10-9. Richard now 2-1, struggling and panic setting in as he realised he could be the first to be beaten. Drawing upon all his dogged determination that has served him so well selling diggers he attacked the game and though never looking safe he took the fourth the level it 2-2. Disaster struck in the fifth for Ian as his legs gave out allowing to Richard to dominate and clean up 9-0 to take the tie 3-2.
Jonathon Oakley went next playing Malcolm White. Jon also started poorly lacking his normal fluidity around the court. Malcolm picked his shots and played some nice winners to secure the first 9-5. The break gave Jon chance to reassess his tactics. As the second began Jon’s movement was much improved and he took control of the rallies, moving Malcolm well and with few errors had a comfortable 9-1 win. The third saw a much closer game as both players played well, some good rallies but Jon just edged it 10-8. The fourth saw Malcolm run out of steam and Jon cruised through 9-1 and took the tie 3-1.
Mark Smith’s turn now against Gary Asquith. The tie started hard and fast with both players playing excellent squash. Rally after rally of tight driving, accurate boasting and some superb retrieving finally resulted in Mark just taking the first 10-9. The second was a carbon copy and at 9-9 you felt the odds would got to Gary, but no. Mark hitting an outstanding boast to take the second 10-9 to go 2-0 up. The third saw Mark relax just a little allowing Gary back in the tie to take it 9-6 and back to 2-1. Crisis now in the break as Mark complained of an injury. Was it all over, had Mark bottled it after two superb games? As they came out for the fourth the answer was soon apparent as Mark again played outstanding squash to destroy Gary 9-0 and take the tie 3-1. Was this the new, mentally stronger Smithy?? Time will tell!
Finally now was Paul York against Nigel Taylor. Nigel took the game to Yorkie attempting to blast him off the court but to no avail. Paul was too strong and was soon dominating with more than his fair share of nicks being hit. Accurate length and width hit with pace was too much for Nigel as Yorkie took the tie comfortably 9-2, 9-6, 9-4.
Another win for Stamford Green Man to go four in a row to sit clearly on top of the Cambs second division having yet to drop a tie. Now it’s talk of promotion; Div 1, up with the big boys. Come on!