Stamford Green Man v Ely Paradise
Wednesday night was here again and Ely were our foes tonight; an unknown quantity as they pulled out of the first round match. They did have one known player to us though and he was Galen Lecheminint, a semi-pro playing for “fun” in div 2 and yet to drop a game. Yorkie had his sights set high on giving him a good tonking when disaster happened: Whilst bending down to pick up a squash ball a few days prior to this match Yorkie hurt his leg. After much discussion he decided that amputation was probably not required but it would need complete rest till at least Thursday. So with Yorkie decimated by a pulled shoe lace, sorry calf muscle, it was down to super sub Simon Richardson to stand in again. I should also mention at this point, whilst driving down to Ely across the fens, Jonathon Oakley was clearly heard to say “WHY DO THEY BUILD THESE ROADS SO BUMPY?” After narrowly avoiding a major car crash due to hysteria in the car we explained to him the phenomenon of subsidence!
First on was Simon Richardson playing Ian Travers. Simon, now match savvy, had left any pre match nerves behind, and started well, playing to a good length and moving well. Ian attacked but Simon kept digging in and took the first 9-6. The roles reversed in the second with Simon making a few too many mistakes allowing Ian in 9-5. The third was a monumental battle, both players working hard with Simon taking it 10-8 to go 2-1 up. The fourth started well as Simon continued to work Ian hard and led to the half way point before dropping a few quick points to lose 9-6. Tied at 2-2 it could have gone either way. Ian stormed through the fifth racking up the points to go 7-1 up before finally fitness told and suddenly the tank was empty. Simon took advantage to claw back and finally take the fifth 9-7 and the tie 3-2. Well played.
Mark Smith was on the other court playing Galen Lecheminint. With the ball flying on this court Mark struggled to find his normal control as Galen hit the corners effortlessly. The first slipped way easily from Mark 9-4 as mistakes were abound. The second saw a more confident Mark hitting harder and more accurately to put some pressure on Galen who produced some excellent full stretch drives with a flick of his wrist making it very difficult to know where the ball was going. A better game from Mark but Galen doing enough to take it 9-6. The third started well for Mark taking a 5 point lead. This proved a tight game as Galen, playing continually to a length, had to work to stay in the game. Finally he leveled the score to 8-8 and a battle for the last points finally saw Galen steal it 10-9 and the tie 3-0.
Simon Barker was on next against Fernando Gris. On a hot court with the ball absolutely flying both Simon and Fernando seemed determined to out hit each other. The first game started with the ball hitting mach 2 with each strike of the racket as Fernando massacred every shot. Simon struggled to cope with the speed of the ball and made too many errors losing the first 9-3. The second went the same with Simon battling to stay with the pace of the ball but again was unable to put Fernando under any significant pressure eventually going down 9-6. The third saw better squash from Simon as he fought well and started moving Fernando and causing mistakes from him. Simon saw a glimmer of light and ran for everything but was still unable to tame Fernando’s power as he took the third 9-7 and the tie 3-0. Stamford now 2-1 down and under pressure.
Jon Oakley went on next against Andrew (Ely). As the first got under way this looked like the makings of an excellent match as both players played tight, good length and width and were looking sharp. The first went both ways up to 5-5 when Jon hit a couple of lovely disguised cross court drops to steal a couple of points and suddenly Andrew’s world fell apart. 9-5 to Jon in the first who then ran away with the next two 9-0 and 9-1 for a well needed win but disappointing game of squash. Jon would like it known he then did 7 mins 0.06 secs on the concept 2 rower. A personal best!
Finally Richard Barker was on against Tony Walton. Richard had a flyer in the first as accuracy and a slow ball proved too much for Tony. Richard took the 1st comfortably 9-2. The second started well and Richard, though not flying round the court, retained the advantage and the “T” to take the second 9-5. Things looking good for Stamford from the balcony but little did we know what was to come and a couple of points in the third a recurring calf injury suddenly looked very ominous as Richard began limping around the court. Tony took the fourth 9-7 to recover to 2-1 but at the start of the fourth it was apparent that the calf injury was too much and Richard was forced to retire forfeiting the tie 3-2.
So Stamford suffer their first defeat of the season and with the team in a sorry state in disrepair things don’t look too healthy for the last few games. Fortunately the damage has been done and we have enough points to have all but won the league. Crown lodge at home next week and the “lovely Stephanie” returns.