Stamford Green Man v Perkins
Just when we thought Jon Oakley’s shorts could get no worse he pulls another pair from the bag (or was it the New Look catalogue). Why he chose to wear his wife’s shorts (which would be figure hugging on a size 10) is beyond comprehension. His explanation – “I had a bit of a hamstring twinge”. Tight they were! Linfords lunchbox they weren’t! So onto the match.
Richard Barker on first against Andy Chatterton. A close first game ensued with Richard playing steady squash, rallying well with some good lobs. Andy stuck in well working hard but just lost the first 10-8 to Richard. Richard relaxed a little too much in the second and began being frustrated with Andy’s long pause between serves. Lost concentration and making too many mistakes allowed Andy back in the match and it was 1-1. The third game Richard took control and found himself with time on the ball. Numerous chances came with Richard having the option of playing any one of his four shots, before choosing the fifth option and putting it in the tin. Andy though couldn’t take advantage of these errors and Richard took the third and fourth comfortably to win the tie 3-1.
Next court was team captain Simon Barker against Chez Allemanno. A closely fought tie with both players running for everything. Some excellent retrieving by both players and with Simon failing to hit anything tighter than about 10 inches from the wall the rallies kept going. The first two games went to the wire with Simon stealing both 10-8. Some good finishing from Chez in the third put him back in the match as he took it 9-5. Words of encouragement from Yorkie to Simon went along the lines of: “Don’t just leather the ball, think where you’re hitting it!!” Thanks Yorkie. Anyway it must have had some effect as Simon ran Chez down in the fourth to win 9-2 and the tie 3-1.
Jon (and his lycra shorts) Oakley was on next against Peter Hand. Always a tough opponent to play Peter started strongly with an array of deft short shots and some tight retrieving. Jon though moving faster round the court soon got to grips with Peters style and picked up most of the short balls often playing an equally deft short shot. This short game was too much for Peter with Jon playing consistently accurate and tight shots. A comfortable victory for Jon winning 3-0 and not a sign of Jon’s alleged hamstring twinge, (or was it just an excuse to venture into the wearing of women’s clothes)? Hmmm!
So with the match in the bag it left Mark Smith and Yorkie under no pressure. Mark up against Ed Hale. Mark just took the away leg 3-2 so this had the makings of a good tie. The first two games were somewhat bizarre with Mark winning the first 9-1 then losing the second 9-1. The third though saw some good squash with Mark digging in well and both players working hard to stay in the rallies. Steady play and concentration saw Mark through making fewer mistakes than Ed and securing the third 10-8. Much of the same in the fourth saw Mark come through again 10-8 to win the tie 3-1. Another good result for Stamford now 4-0 up with only Yorkie to play.
Fired up and ready to go (fully recovered from making some interesting marking decisions during Richards match), Paul York was on against Jonathon Hand. Yorkie started well, taking advantage of uncharacteristic, unforced errors from Jonathon and with some lucky nicks took the first 10-8. Jon changed tactics, now playing slow and lifting lots of high balls. Yorkie, struggling to reach was under pressure and the errors crept in. Jonathon’s game got tighter and shorter making it very difficult for Paul to generate pace. Drifting into Jonathon’s game cost him dearly as he lost the next two 9-4 and 9-2. Determined to put up a fight Yorkie stepped up the pace blasting everything but was too loose to cause Jon any problems who wrapped up the tie 9-0 and in the end a comfortable 3-1 win.
A good win for Stamford as the road to league victory continues. March away on Thursday in the cup 1/4 finals. This match will prove to be a real challenge as already rumours are abound that world ranked players are being drafted in to beat Yorkie and co. Still with Yorkie back in training and on the “special” York diet (at least two chocolate, cream and ice cream puds) to go with roast Sunday lunch washed down with a vat of a low fat red wine we should have no fears!!