CUP MATCH – Stamford Green Man v Hunts County 1
This was the second round of Cambridgeshire’s premier squash cup competition and Stamford’s hardest test of the season playing a mid table first division team. This would also be a baseline for how we need to perform next year, assuming promotion, which subject to major disasters should be a certainty with our current lead in division two.
First up was the Barker brothers. Simon on against John Ford. As the match got under way it was apparent that this would be a test of Simons fitness as John’s touch had Simon covering every inch of the court. A hard first saw it go to the wire with John just stealing it 10-9. The second carried on in the same fashion and Simon playing excellent squash, hitting a good length and uncharacteristically tight, took a commanding lead to 8-3 up before having a personal crisis and suddenly hitting the tin with a vengeance. John took full advantage and fought back to rob Simon of the second 10-8. 2 down and Simon was in trouble. The third saw a remarkable turn as Simon killed everything and took John apart to take it 9-0. Was the fight back on? The pace was starting to tell now and Simon was again being run all over the court. Using all available bodily orifices to breath through Simon was unable to repeat the third and John took the forth and the tie 3-1.
Richard was on the other court against Dave Goodwin. Both played good controlled squash, playing to length and relying on accuracy over power and as both left handers played the whole match in the backhand court both determined to exploit each others weaker side. Dave took the first two but Richard determined as ever fought back to take the next two to level the tie at 2- 2. The fifth was critical if Stamford were to have any chance of winning the match. The first few points went very evenly before Richard won a quick few points to give him a lead. He never looked back then as he drove on to win the fifth 9-6 and level the match 1-1.
Mark Smith on next against Duncan Colquhoun. Duncan started strongly attacking everything and Mark, playing not at his best, hit tin after tin of unforced errors. After an easy first Duncan remained in control and with Mark suffering from cramp, Duncan took the second 9-6. A fightback in the third gave renewed hope to Stamford as Mark stole it 10-9 but to no avail as Duncan did enough in the fourth to secure it 9-7 and the tie 3-1.
Jon Oakley on next door against Adrian Slade. Both players opting for the touch, drop shot flicky style, some would call squash. It was a test of speed on court and Jon had too much for Adrian. Not pretty squash but very effective from Jon as he cruised through 9-8, 9-4, 9-0 and Stamford were level again at 2-2.
Down to the number ones now to decide the fate. Yorkie on against Andrew Stevenson. Yorkie started strongly massacring everything, volleying well and hitting great width. Andrew battled well but made too many errors as Yorkie dominated the first two 9-2 and 9-3. The third saw Andrew working harder, volleying more and hitting tighter shots. Yorkie seemingly taken his foot off the pedal slightly struggled to step up as Adrian took the third. Finger nails just starting to be bitten by the Stamford lads now as the fourth got under way. Some excellent rallying from both players finally saw Yorkie gain Match ball at 8-5. Surely it must be over- but wait. Andrew playing superbly well picked up everything to pull it back to 8-8. The atmosphere on the balcony was tense then it was over. Andrew had come back to take the fourth and level the tie at 2-2. Yorkie started the fifth head down and unable to cope with Andrews awesome retrieving and at 5-1 down it looked like curtains for Stamford. Much encouragement from the balcony saw Yorkie find reserves from somewhere as he dug immensely deeply and found the desire to get back into it. Playing great squash and rallying superbly Yorkie battled back and after facing match points against him finally clawed it back to 8-8. Tensions were high on the balcony as fortunes turned and after a fantastic match Yorkie finally clinched it 10-8 to win the match 3-2 and put Stamford in the quarterfinals. Come on!!
A fantastic match played in the best traditions of sportsmanship. Many thanks to those that supported us on the night and a pleasurable pint was had afterwards!