Stamford Green Man v Cambridge 2
After a couple of years of talking about it the Stamford 1st team finally got themselves into the Cambridge leagues where the squash is played to a higher standard. A convincing league win last year in the Peterborough leagues finally convinced us we need to move to the Cambs leagues; so here we are. 1st game of the season and a sense of uncertainty is in the air, not knowing how we will fair against the new opposition.
First up was the Barker brothers. Simon (team captain) was on against Phil Easton. The first game was closely fought with Phil demonstrating nice racket skills and forcing Simon around the court. Good running from Simon though and a telling ¾ court boast was enough to take the first. The pressures off now thought Simon as he was receiving worldly advice from Yorkie. How wrong, as Phil’s delicate short game had Simon scampering all over court in the second and in trouble. 1-1. Not to worry some more advice from Yorkie, Mark and a few others in the break saw Simon come out for the third in complete disarray. What a nightmare as Phil swept away to go 8-3 up. In an act of desperation Simon resorted to what he knows best. Blast it to the back as loose and with as little width as possible. A cunning plan completely fooling Phil and saw Simon fight back to 8-8. A marathon battle for the last two points finally saw Simon snatch it 10-9 to go 2-1 up. A big effort from Phil in the fourth was enough to make it 2-2 but for a severe fitness cost allowing Simon a comfortable win in the fifth to take the tie 3-2.
Richard was on the other court against Craig Scott. Richard started strongly playing good squash and looking sharp. Plenty of good running and some accurate shots from Richard gave him the first game. A much harder second game as Craig started to hit better shots and pulled away. A hard fight back from Richard showing excellent commitment brought the game to 8-8. With his confidence high now Richard hit some great shots to take the second 10-8. Again fitness started to tell in the third as Craig struggled with Richards speed around the court allowing Richard enough time to control the game to win the tie 3-0.
Jonathon Oakley on next against Steve Pottle. Jon started slowly looking a bit ring rusty after his lengthy summer holiday from work. Half a yard short for many shots and much looser than normal Jon was struggling to find form. After losing the first two 9-6 and 9-6 Yorkie offered some choice words of advice as to what he thought of Jon’s lack of desire to win. This seemed to spur Jon on as he began to attack the game, re-introducing the “Oakley slap” – a textbook shot where he wrong foots his opponent by playing a short cross court shot from a perfect straight drive position, and not seen since last season. Steve struggled to cope with Jon’s better width and length and began to suffer. 9-5 to Jon in the third. More of the same in the fourth saw Jon take that 9-3 to make it 2-2 and with Steve now struggling to stay with the pace Jon had a comfortable win the fifth to take the tie 3-2. An excellent comeback, which meant Stamford, had now won their first Cambs league match.
Mark Smith on court now against Duncan Fraser. The knock up identified Duncan as a wily player with a good selection of shots. As the first got under way though Mark stormed away. During the summer break we can only assume he has learnt a new shot called “the boast” and was determined to demonstrate it. The first game saw 8 consecutive winners from his new shot preventing Duncan from settling at all and taking the first 9-2. The second and third went the same way with Mark proving to fast around the court for Duncan and way to accurate and consistent with his shots. A comfortable win for Mark 3-0.
Yorkie on last and at 4-0 the pressure was on not to be the only team member to lose. Barry Smith was his opponent, a big hitter of the ball with also a good selection of shots. The first few points were tightly contested with both players hitting the ball crisply. As the rallies continued though Barry began making mistakes giving Yorkie the edge. A hard first game with Yorkie taking it 9-5. The second saw even more mistakes from Barry as tiredness started to creep in. Yorkie kept the pressure on drilling the ball to the back of the court and then dropping forcing Barry forward. With Barry’s legs going Yorkie took the second 9-2 and finished the third 9-1. Another excellent win 3-0 as Stamford won the tie 5-0. Home again next week – come on!