Stamford Green Man v March
Can Stamfords fortune continue? Up against league newcomers March, we knew little about the strength of this team except for their number 1 Matt Fiveash, whose reputation preceded him after beating other strong No 1’s Bez Beresford and Jonathon Hand. Due to Jon Oakley having prior engagements (school detention), it was necessary to call up Simon Richardson from the subs bench for Stamford.
Richard Barker was on court first against Tim Godfrey (back after injury). Fired up and looking hungry Richard played some excellent squash, taking the ball early and hitting some accurate shots. He stormed through the first game hitting an outrageous cross-court volley dead nick to win the first 9-0. Showing no mercy he carried on the second where he left off, giving Tim no chance to get in the match. 9-1 and 2 up. Tim, looking totally disheartened, was finished off in the third by another unforgiving game by Richard 9-0. A great start to the match by Richard (terminator) Barker winning 3-0.
Next door was new boy Simon Richardson playing Chris Warren. Not known for his steely nerves, true to form Simon had a very shaky start introducing a new shot to squash – played consistently, whilst under no pressure – the forehand reverse angle sidewall tin! Some good battling from Simon though kept it close but lost the first 9-5. Looking calmer in the second, Simon worked well playing better squash, hitting some good clean winners and taking the game 9-5. A fightback from Chris put Simon under renewed pressure losing the third 9-5. 2-1 down now Simon looked in trouble but excellent running, some good retrieving and tighter squash brought the games level 2-2. Would the pressure tell in the fifth? A strong start by Simon using all of his newfound fitness gave him a strong start. Keeping the shots tight he finally took the fifth and the tie 3-2. Well done Simon.
Team captain on next Simon barker v Ady Power. With both players massacring the ball in the knock up it looked like a game of the hitters. Ady started well, taking the ball early and putting Simon under a lot of pressure with some accurate shots. Some poor shots from Simon, who was convinced the tin had been raised for his game, ably assisted Ady in his quest for victory. First game to Ady 9-5. Top tips from Yorkie – take the pace off, hit tighter with better width! Second game funnily enough went exactly the same, with Simon again ignoring all advice from the master blasting everything into oblivion or the tin. 2-0 to Ady. Advice from team members and another effort by Yorkie to calm the captain into playing a semblance of reasonable squash finally sunk in and after a shaky start to the third Simon got to grips and started hitting better shots. Enough was done in third by Simon to take it 9-5. Confidence returned Simon played better squash and took the forth comfortably 9-0. Back in the match and looking in control Simon took the fifth and the tie 3-2. Phew, a very close call.
Mark Smith was on next against Avi Warren. As the first game got under way it looked like being a very close match. Some excellent retrieving by Mark and few errors saw him take the first 9-6. Mark then proceeded to completely dominate the match working Avi hard. Avi, under a lot of pressure played good squash but was unable to get any control of the rallies allowing Mark to take the next two games 9-3 and 9-2. A convincing win for Mark, Stamford now 4-0 up.
Finally Paul York went on against Matt Fiveash. Yorkie, on a recent run of defeats was looking for a victory to secure his team place and alleviate his captains concerns. What followed was one of the best games of squash I have seen for a long time. Both players hitting ferocious drives on both sides of the court, hitting to perfect lengths and widths and retrieving almost impossible shots. Outstanding rally after rally saw the match go the five games with nothing between the two players. There had to be a winner and finally, Yorkie showing outstanding concentration and bottle, playing superbly well secured the victory 3-2. Fantastic squash keeping the balcony engrossed. A pleasure to watch.
A great result 5-0 to Stamford but credit to March who deserved more on the night. Played 6 won 6.