March v Stamford Green Man
Fresh from a 3-2 victory over March in the cup ¼ finals last week, Stamford were back again; this time for a league game. It also gave our “top” two players (Yorkie and Mark) a chance to redeem themselves after both suffering crushing defeats in the cup match. So let the match begin.
Simon Barker on first against big hitter Adi Powter. The first game under way it soon became apparent that Simons squash had not miraculously got any tighter over the weekend and saw him playing consistent short and loose squash. Fortunately this was masked by his lightening speed around the court, as he was in fact a blur! This caused some confusion to Adi as he attempted to hit the ball where his opponent wasn’t. This proved tricky because although he did just that and hit where Simon wasn’t, on many occasion Simon still hadn’t finished running for the last shot and ended up massively out of position but by chance where Adi had chosen to hit the ball to. Excellent. Thus Simon amazingly took the first. Similar stuff in the second, and with Adi totally lost as to where Simon may end up, also caused him to make unforced errors. So 2-0 to Simon. The third game saw Adi come out with all guns blazing, taking advantage of Simon’s loose squash and flattening the ball with every shot. This proved to be top tactics as the ball was rolling along the floor by the time it reached Simon giving him no opportunity to get moving. A quick third put Adi back in it 2-1 down. Fitness told though as the efforts in the last caught up with Adi. Simon took control again taking the third comfortably with a semblance of decent squash. 3-1 to Stamford.
Richard Barker was on court next door against Tom Randal. Some entertaining rallies ensued with both players running well and producing a close first game with Richard stealing it 9-7. The second saw Richard moving quicker, (having loosened the arthritis in the first), putting Tom under pressure by taking the ball early and hitting to the back of the court. Good squash enabled Richard to take the second comfortably 9-1. The third saw a fight back from Tom but Richard did enough to stay ahead securing the tie 3-0.
Jon Oakley was on next against Avi Warren. This was a rematch from the cup-tie with Jon confidant of repeating the 3-0 result. The match started with Jon moving well, having only just recovered from getting a nasty electric shock from his nylon shorts. Avi, not looking confident, made too many unforced errors never putting any pressure on Jon, allowing him to dictate the game. Good running though by Avi in the first, kept it tight but Jon’s short game again was enough to take the first 9-6. Stronger play by Jon in the second allowed him to totally dominate the game playing tight squash and hitting to a good length. 9-0 in the second with Jon cruising. Avi couldn’t get back in the game and the third went the same way 9-1 and 3-0 to Jon. Stamford now 3-0 up.
Mark Smith up against Ed Lefure. This was the next re-match from the cup-tie with Mark aiming to reverse the scoreline. This match produced some excellent squash. Consistent superb retrieving from tight shots kept the rallies going on and on, both players working very hard. Concentration again cost Mark as he made the error first during too many rallies. Ed took the first 9-5 and improved on it in the second with some excellent drops, as Mark got frustrated to take it 9-2. With the pressure on Mark as he came out for the third, he battled superbly and led the third with some good thinking and quality shots right up to 7-7. Ed looking tired, played a couple of loose shots giving Mark the chance for the kill but they were missed and tinned. Very costly as Ed recovered enough to steal the third 9-7 and the tie 3-0.
Last on was Yorkie, also up for revenge after being taken apart by Matt Fiveash in the cup game. Yorkie suitably psyched up, started well hitting good clean cut backhand drop winners with Matt just that split second off the pace. Keeping the pressure on, Yorkie took the first 9-2. The second saw Matt step up a gear as he took the ball earlier. This put Yorkie on the back foot and at the back of the court. Hard rallying with both players now taking the ball as early as possible, Matt just did enough to take the second 9-7. With the pace starting to tell on Yorkie in the third, “Errors” was the cry as he hit one to many tins. Matt took advantage of a couple of easy winners to go 2-1 up. The fourth saw Yorkie find his second wind and get himself back into the game. More hard rallies followed with one marathon rally that hurt both players. Matt though retained the edge and just did enough to take the tie 3-1.
Disappointment from the top two Stamford players but the lower order stalwarts did the business as Stamford took the tie 3-2. Oakham at home next in the league. Should be another close tie.