Stamford 1 v St.Ivo 1
Stamford GM has not had the season we hoped for so far with some disappointing results and difficulty in turning out a near full strength team. Hopes were high for this one though with only Yorkie missing from the line up.
The Barker brothers were on first. Richard was up against Matt Beacon. “No legs” Barker had had his knees firmly locked against the car heater for the last hour in a vain effort to warm them up and give him slightly more mobility round court than Ironsides. This was noticeable immediately as Rich was seen skipping round the court with an agility not seen since Nora Batty took up squash At 87 years old! Consequently Rich struggled to get into the match and when he did arrive at the ball in time, played it magnificently into the path of his opponent, usually at a nice volleying height. So a tough result for Rich losing 9-6, 9-5, 9-1 and was last seen logging onto E-Bay in search of new knees!
Simon was on the other court playing Nick Sabey, a tricky customer with a very pleasant personality on court – not. A blinding start by Simon saw him run away with the first two 9-3 and 9-6 and going 7-3 up in the third before changing his style and playing like a complete Muppet. This allowed Nick back into the third and he took advantage winning it 9-7. The fourth saw Simon locked into a fixed routine and unable to change his game plan (mainly because he hasn’t got another one) to lose the fourth 9-7. A valiant fight by Simon in the fifth did nothing to help as Nick played an excellent short game to win 9-6 and the tie 3-2.
So Stamford two down already the omens were not good. Jon Hand on next playing Andy Kimber. Jon always looked comfortable floating the ball around the court and putting some leisurely boasts in, working Andy hard around the court. Andy did have a good spell in the second, forcing Jon to hit the ball hard on at least two occasions before regaining his composure (a quick hair check) and back to his own floaty, droppy style of squash we all love to play against. A convincing win for Jon 9-4, 9-6, 9-4 and the first win for Stamford – Wo hooo.
Next on was Mark Smith playing Nevil Macnish. The first was a real hard battle with both players moving well, taking the ball very early and hitting accurate shots at pace. Some great rallies finally saw Mark steal the first 10-8. The second saw much of the same from Mark as Nevil started to make errors and Mark opened up at 7-3 lead before lifting his foot of the pedal and suddenly Nevil was back in it 7-7 and looking the stronger player. Mark got to grips though and snatched it back to win 9-7 for a 2-0 lead. The third saw a change as Mark relaxed the pressure and Nevil came good. Some great kills from Nevil allowed him to build a comfortable lead as Mark struggled to get the edge back into his game. Unable to recover it Mark lost the third 9-4. The fourth saw a renewed attack from Mark back to his first game plan, taking the ball early, hitting excellent width and retrieving superbly. Putting Nevil under too much pressure he took the fourth 9-1 with some outstanding squash. Suddenly Stamford were back in the match at 2-2.
Last on was James Treweek (nearly 40 years old) playing Jack White (17 ½ years old). This was a classic “stroppy teenager v mid life crisis” match. The match started at a very fast pace with both players ricocheting around the court picking up everything but James, with his trickle boast and great gets from tight drops just edged away before a “collision” brought some harsh words from Jack that James took exception to. Toys began flying out of both cots as tensions started to rise. The standard of squash was unaffected though and some excellent rallies ensued. James continued his grip on the first to take it 9-4. The second started in a very similar petulant fashion with James not content with his “accidental” collision in the first, decided in handing the ball over to his opponent a better option was to fire it into his chest with a nice drive. Clearly Jack was not happy about this with a withering look at James and some complaints to the marker who was going greyer by the minute. Again though the squash was awesome with both players committed fully but Jack missed a number of good opportunities for a kill, hitting the tin and allowing James the second 9-3. The third got underway with James concerned about his match fitness having just got back from a 3 week tour in Australia playing Air Force tennis (3 games!!) and brushing up on his sunbathing technique. Not wanting to prolong the match James put everything into the third as Jack began to get stronger. Tensions still very high and at 7-6 up James hit a great cross-court rolling nick. Not happy with just winning the point James decided some football style celebrations were in order running around the court with his shirt over his head, whooping and “na na ni na naing” to Jack. Stylishly done James but failed to make Jack cry. It was enough though to give James enough of a gap to take the third and the tie 3-0 and Stamford the match 3-2. A well needed team victory. A very entertaining evenings squash. Thanks James. Oh by the way, the marker was last seen jibbering in a corner.