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Kimbolton II vs Melbourn II

Kimbolton II vs Melbourn II

Weds 29th November

Melbourn lost 9-15

Wednesday evening saw the 2nds on the road in the west of the county, to take on what we thought were new opponents in Kimbolton 2nds, only to find a number of familiar faces from the St. Neots 2nds team! What has apparently happened is St. Neots have had an influx of strong players (their 1sts currently lead Division 1...), which had pushed a number of people out of their 2nd team, and the St. Neots Leisure Centre couldn’t accommodate a third side. Hence the switch across a few miles to Kimbolton School.

Ewan Conradie (5) took on one of these old foes in Anthony Charters, in a match that would have more than its share of chaos. Ewan put in a good first game, pushing Anthony back, but at what cost? He certainly came off blowing, and also announced that he had broken the frame of his racquet towards the end of the game, but didn’t have a spare with him and would continue to play with it for as long as possible. The wisdom of this was unclear in a second game where Ewan didn’t seem willing to take balls off the wall, possibly in fear of a complete collapse (mostly of the racquet). Armed with a teammates wand in the third, he also looked on the verge of this physically as he fell 2-1 down. Impressive resilience in game four established a lead that Ewan just about held on to until the end. It turned out this against the tide game had been helped by Anthony losing a contact lens! Once it had been found, lost again and re-found game five was ready to start. With eyesight fully restored (but not Ewan’s energy levels), the final game was one way traffic as Ewan went down 15-11 9-15 10-15 15-13 7-15.

Back-to-back with Ewan’s match (the court arrangement at Kimbolton is a little unusual!), Rich March (4) was taking on Andy Rettie. This was a decent match, but one Rich always looked in control of as his movement and tactics were spot on, pushing Andy deep into his backhand corner repeatedly and drawing errors. Not much more to say really as the match never deviated from its initial pattern, Rich winning three or four points for every two he dropped and always edging away as he won 15-10 15-7 15-8.

Colm O’Gorman (3) was next on against Dave Parker, and produced a good first game to claim the lead. In the second Colm moved away from what had been working, instead drawing Dave into front corner exchanges that were the home player’s strength. A re-focused effort saw Colm regain the structure in his game, his tight length again drawing mistakes as he opened up a 2-1 lead. Game four was tighter as Dave battled hard, but Colm always had the whip hand and closed out a well constructed 15-11 7-15 15-7 15-11 victory.

Ian Blows (2) appeared to still be on holiday in Zimbabwe during his first game against Nigel Harper, losing it heavily. This woke Blows up and he began to read Nigel’s attacking shots whilst also cutting out the unforced errors, allowing for a more aggressive court position and more competitive Squash. However despite the improvement, and some gutsy play to claim the third Ian went down 4-15 11-15 15-7 9-15.

That set up a decider between Jan Brynjolffssen (1) and Joe Turton. Jan also started slowly and was 9-1 down in rapid order, which cost him any chance of the opening game. Game two was also going the wrong way as Jan couldn’t shift Joe from the dominant position on the tee, the home player taking advantage to play his attacking shots. Some late game resistance made the score closer than the game had felt, with five game balls saved before a loose serve on the sixth gifted the opportunity to close it out. Game three followed a similar pattern, though not quite as tipped in the Kimbolton player’s favour as Joe committed less to his attacks. Despite that, he still built to three match balls. Jan saved the first with an audacious volley-drop winner on return of serve, and then dub in to nullify the next two. However Jan had a fourth to save following a cross-court drive kill from Joe (probably the signature shot of the match), and couldn’t do it this time as he went down 7-15 12-15 14-16.

Defeat meant Melbourn failed to take advantage of the first vs second placed sides meeting elsewhere, so remain in third place in Cambs Division 4.

Posted at 16:34:PM on Wednesday 29 November 2017
Categories :

Cambridge vs Melbourn

Cambridge vs Melbourn

Mon 27th November

Melbourn won 17-8

Melbourn maintained their 100% winning record in Cambs Squash League Ladies Division 1 with a hard-fought 17-8 win at Cambridge 1sts.

Frances Smith (4) and Debbie Thain (5) gave the visitors a good start as they recorded 3-0 wins over Lucy Robertson and Sally Grinham respectively. The evening then turned on two topsy-turvey matches at second and third string. Lynne Hays (3) edged two tight games to build a 2-0 lead, but then saw the next three, though equally close, all go against her as she fell 3-2 against Stacy Knoop. However Sam Pluck (2) went the other way, recovering from a 0-2 deficit to Adrienne Pett to claim a 3-2 victory that gave Melbourn victory on the night.

Helen Tipping at top string faced a hard task against a very experienced operator in Sarah Howlett, and though Tipping claimed the second game she was beaten 3-1.

Melbourn have one more game before the Christmas break, but such is their advantage they are guaranteed to spend festive period at the top of the tree regardless of that result.

Posted at 16:28:PM on Monday 27 November 2017
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Crown Lodge II vs Melbourn II

Crown Lodge II vs Melbourn II

Weds 22nd November

Melbourn won 15-9

Melbourn and Crown 2nds battled each other to a near standstill on Wednesday night.

First up were Rich March (5) against Rebecca Moore and Roger Woodfield (4) versus Anne Walton.  Rich looked in trouble in his opening game as Rebecca’s lofted shots pushed him deep, forcing cross-courts that Rebecca was waiting to pounce on. A tactical change for game two worked wonders as Rich took command of the ‘T’, the more advance court position allowing him to level the match. It was closer in game three as Rebecca scrambled hard, but the pattern had now been set and having taken that one Rich ran away with the fourth to claim a 13-15 15-4 15-10 15-4 success.

The match next door had a very different look as Roger struggled to deal with the power and early takes of Anne. He often found himself deep because of this, exposing the front corners for kills. The first was tight but went the home players way, with Roger looking in real trouble in the second. He dragged himself to a higher court position in game three to pull one back, but the effort was too much and Roger eventually fell 14-16 8-15 15-8 12-15.

Next up was Colm O’Gorman (3) against Colin Hunt. Colm was playing his first team match in a while due to family/work commitments and he lacked some of his normal tenacity and clarity of thought in shot choices, as he repeatedly went in short early a strategy that played into Colin’s strength, his surprisingly rapid movement, rather than his (relatively) weaker retrieving from depth. Colm was always in the match, and but for key points towards the end of games might have snatched one but Colin was playing the better so they can be no real arguments about the 11-15 10-15 13-15 defeat.

The second string match was delayed by a communications breakdown meaning Matt Walker’s opponent, Mark Easton, had made the long drive to Melbourn. Made this threw him, because by the time he made it back he was apparently in a foul mood. This made for a rather unpleasant match, with Mark seemingly unable to accept that Matt (a player with a good strong record of success at string 2 in Division 4) could possibly play a shot that was too good for him. Every lost rally was his own fault, or the fault of the marker or someone on the balcony or something. In the circumstances Matt did well to keep his cool, focus on playing his game and take a 15-12 15-7 15-13 win much to the delighted of his teammates watching on.

That made it two-each midway through the top string match-up of Jan Brynjolffssen and Franek Smith. The first two games were incredibly tight affairs, both going to extended tie-breaks and with each player losing a game that he had had a previous clear opportunity to claim when a clear chance presented itself on game-ball. Having levelled up at one-each, Jan then threw in a very poor third game to fall behind, only for the roles to reverse in the fourth. Maybe both players were conserving their energy for the fifth they knew was coming?? That decider was a bizarre, topsy-turvey affair. Franek built a 4-1 lead, only for Jan to focus and play some clean Squash, aided by errors from the home player, to win eight consecutive rallies and lead 9-4. An exchange of points extended the advantage to 12-6, and the finishing line was in sight. However that prompted Jan to change his play, hoping for a quick kill, which instead were going Franek’s away as he hit a string of inch perfect wall-clinging backhand drop shots from the behind the service line. 12-6 had become 11-12 when a key error was made, Franek serving down! Jan won the next point to set up three match balls, the first of which he controlled with ample opportunities to finish it off, but just couldn’t put it away from an opponent hurling himself at every ball. MB 2 was also saved (in more conventional fashion) but on the third Jan got another chance when a ball sat up in his front backhand corner. The cross court drive was risky, but it found the perfect spot, nicking behind the service line and spinning down the wall to wrong-foot Franek and give Jan a 15-17 18-16 8-15 15-6 15-13 win.

*phew*

Posted by : Jan Brynjolffssen at 21:29:PM on Wednesday 22 November 2017
Categories :

Hunts County I vs Melbourn I

Hunts County I vs Melbourn I

Weds 22nd November

Melbourn lost 7-16

Kate Bradshaw played some excellent squash at string 5 as her match against Darcie Mounter went to a deciding fifth game. In this final game Kate kept her cool, executing some excellent serves that put her Darcie under immediate pressure and kept her as far from the controlling tee position as possible - Kate was then able to play her natural game, killing the ball short in the front of the court, which produced an excellent 11-13 11-8 12-10 5-11 11-8 win for the team.

Nev Rimes at string 4 put up an incredible fight against Matt Beaton and although there were some excellent rallies and close games, Nev didn't quite overcome his Matt’s hard and fast low kills. Nev nonetheless did brilliantly for the team to pick-up a game point but finally lost his match 11-8 8-11 5-11 4-11.

Mark Oppen at string 3 was playing a very experienced opponent in Michael Bull and although the quality of Mark's squash rose to the challenge, it wasn't quite enough and apart from a competitive and close 2nd game, Mark finally lost 6-11 9-11 6-11.

Ed Wheeler at string 2 this week had a tougher time of it against Colin Griggs, finding his range and accuracy executing his front short court pressure shots difficult and although all his games were close, Ed unfortunately went down 9-11 9-11 4-11.

Matt Samson at string 1 really ground out points against his athletic opponent, Steve Mason. At times some of the rallies were immense but Matt generally came out on top, playing either an accurate short or long range shot to win the point. Matt had to work hard but made a deserved 11-4 11-8 11-5 win.

Captains bit. The team really played well on the night, giving it their all that produced some excellent squash and a well needed seven points to our team league standing.

Posted by : Mark Oppen at 21:27:PM on Wednesday 22 November 2017
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Cambridge Univeristy II vs Melbourn

Cambridge Univeristy II vs Melbourn

Tues 21st November

Melbourn won 20-1

Melbourn and Cambridge University 2nds both went into this Cambs Squash League Ladies Division 1 match boasting 100% records; Melbourn were the team to retain theirs, following a comprehensive 20-1 success.

Lynne Hays (4) and Debbie Thain (5) recorded comfortable 3-0 wins to put Melbourn on course. Sam Pluck (3) had to work slightly harder, her third game going to a tie-break, but also own in straight games.

Helen Tipping (2) claimed a hard-fought 3-1 win to continue Melbourn’s good evening, which Kate Bradshaw (1) wrapped up with a comprehensive 3-0 success.

Melbourn are now well clear of the chasing pack as they look to retain their title of County Champions.

Posted at 21:31:PM on Tuesday 21 November 2017
Categories :

Melbourn I vs Peterborough II

Melbourn I vs Peterborough II

Weds 15th November

Melbourn won 16-9

Melbourn 1sts got our first win since the opening round of fixtures as we edged past Peterborough 2nds (nominally, their 1sts have withdrawn) by three strings to two, all of which finished in 3-1 scorelines to one team or the other.

Jan Brynjolffssen (5) fell a game behind to Simon Thompson as he struggled to find his game in the face of Simon’s all-out attack (that’s my tactic, dammit!). However a focus on accurate serving and returning and more aggressive court positioning saw a turnaround in game two. Game three would be topsy-turvey, deciding this string and arguably the entire match. Jan established a 6-1 lead, lost focus and his gameplan to see this whittled away and found himself 10-8 down. However both game points were saved, and then it was one of his own at 11-10. Simon saved it this time, but would repeat the trick at 12-11 down. Game four saw Jan pulling clear mid-game to eventually take it and the match 8-11 11-6 13-11 11-6.

Meanwhile Mark Oppen (4) was attempting to deal with the hot and cold play of Courtney Burke. Courtney is a fit and fast individual, whose defences can be hard to break down as a result.  Mark showed good patience in the opening game, plugging away to force mistakes from his opponent. Game two went rapidly in his favour as Courtney’s error rate mounted, but then game three saw a reversal as the Peterborough player reduced his errors and Mark began making them himself as he tried to force the pace.

A reset for game four proved decisive as Mark established an early lead that worked to induce Courtney into overpushing on this occasion. It took a couple of match balls to get over the line, but in the end Mark won 11-9 11-4 2-11 11-7.

Dan Easton (3) put in a superb opening game against away skipper James Best to move a game up, with both teammates on the balcony commenting it was the best that they had ever seen him play. Consistent, mistake free, hitting with clip rather than thrash and stepping in to take the ball out of the air whenever possible. Unfortunately sustaining this plateau for more than a game and a half wasn’t quite there yet, and as errors crept in James was well placed to take advantage as Dan eventually fell . Ultimately a bit disappointing, but that opening 15 minutes show what Dan is capable of and that his best is extremely high quality.

Talking of which, Ed Wheeler (2) put in another scintillating show as he took on Michael Catling. Ed opened up significant leads in the first two games, and though Michael clawed himself back close in both those early advantages proved enough to see Ed over the line. Game three didn’t go quite to plan as a more attacking style led to the winner/error ratio skewing in an unfortunate direction (Ed alter admitted he was feeling the pace a little in this game), but having dropped it Ed made the most of the chance to get off court and outside for a brief cool down, re-emerging looking once again like the player of the opening two games as he closed out the match . Not that his mother saw it as she could quite bear to watch the last few points!

Last up was Matt Sampson (1) against Dan Soar. Matt won the opener playing the sort of clean, accurate and disguised Squash that is basically the only way to get a game off a player as strong as Dan. Unfortunately game two was not quite the same (“I put eight out!” M.Sampson). A reset saw game three be nip-and-tuck, eventually reaching 9-9, but from there Dan took two rallies and Matt was in trouble. He fell behind early in the fourth, and as clearly the more tired of the two players had no way back as he ultimately went down .

Posted by : Jan Brynjolffssen at 21:21:PM on Wednesday 15 November 2017
Categories :

St. Ivo II vs Melbourn II

St. Ivo II vs Melbourn II

Tues 14th November

Melbourn won 20-1

Melbourn 2 travelled to St Ivo last Tuesday seeking to maintain the run of form that has us firmly in the top half of the table in Cambs Division Four and building a platform from which to challenge for promotion back to Division Three.

We were a rubber to the good before a ball was hit, as their opponents could only raise four players, and soon had the winning bonus points in the bag as Colm OGorman (4) and Gareth Jones (3) worked their way to three nil victories. Matt Walker (2) looked set for a similar scoreline across the first two games, but lost concentration to lose the third game 15-13. Returning to the fourth game with focus recovered, he closed out comfortably for a 3-1 win. Meanwhile, Nev Rimes (1) displayed customary racket skills and courtcraft to ensure maximum points in an emphatic 20-1 aggregate victory.

Stand-in captain for the night Walker commented, "We didn't match the quality of our away win against previously unbeaten Peterborough last week, but we've taken all the points, so this very definitely keeps us moving in the right direction."

Posted by : Matt Walker at 21:25:PM on Tuesday 14 November 2017
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St. Neots I vs Melbourn I

St. Neots I vs Melbourn I

Weds 8th November

Melbourn lost 8-18

Melbourn Men's 1st team were away to top of the league St Neots last Wednesday. Kate Bradshaw kicked off the matches at 5th spot against Mark ‘Sparky’ Emery. Although there were some purple patches of play, Kate wasn't able to sustain form and lost 4-11 5-11 6-11. [editors note – Kate is being very hard on herself here! Sparky played some matches at 1st string last year, with decent success. Running into him at 5 is a pretty difficult ask…]

Number 2, Vinod Duraikan, was playing at the same time and it looked like his game was heading in a similar direction. However, at 2-0 down he upped his game and maintained the consistency for which he is so well-known. This wore his opponent, George Zitko, down and forced errors, enabling Vinod to capture a much-needed 8-11 6-11 11-9 11-4 13-11 victory.

Mark Oppen at 4th string put up a valiant fight with excellent effort, but even a last point dive in the fourth game couldn't save the day and he lost 9-11 5-11 11-4 1-11 to Matt Nankivell.

Dan Easton (3rd string) again looked like he might have fallen early on to Jake Mitchell, but with some superb running and early takes managed to pull it back to 1-2. Game four went down to the wire and unfortunately, a few errant and eager shots meant that he was pipped at the post, losing 7-11 5-11 11-4 11-13.

The final match, and the one to watch of the night, was between Ed Wheeler and Chris Reeves at number 1 string. With youth on his side, Ed kept kept getting to ball after ball with unfeasible running and stretching, exasperating his opponent. But Chris with great experience was able to pick the right shots to confound Ed, putting such pace on the ball making many shots irretrievable, even for young legs. This match went down to a thrilling 5th set with each player determined not to give ground. Finally, Ed's excellent temperament and calm, matched with continued speed around the court forced Chris to make a raft of errors in the middle of the game and in the end to win out for Melbourn 11-9 6-11 11-8 3-11 11-9.

So, a loss on the night overall for Melbourn, but a superb night's entertainment for the crowd.

Posted by : Mark Oppen at 21:13:PM on Wednesday 8 November 2017
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Peterborough IV vs Melbourn II

Peterborough IV vs Melbourn II

Mon 6th November

Melbourn won 18-7

The 2nds ended Peterborough 4ths 100% record in Division 4 on a night that feature many closely-fought matches.

It wasn’t looking good initially as Rob Davis (5) and Michael Easton (4) slipped two-love down against Pierre Caruso and Jack Wright respectively. Pierre was looking to break the game up to deny Rob rhythm, which worked for two games but as the home player increasingly tired, Rob found the pattern of depth then drop to pull a game back. The fourth was nip-and-tuck featuring many long rallies. It reached 13-all, but then two points for the home player (the latter one including both Pierre then Rob playing balls rather than calling clear strokes, whilst everyone on the balcony cringed!) saw Rob fall 8-15 12-15 15-10 13-15.

Meanwhile Michael had done well to keep his frustration in check and was turning the match next door around with solid, consistent play. He edged home in the third, then ran away with the fourth. An ease up at the start of the fifth combined with Jack putting in a concerted effort saw the home player build an early lead, but again this worked to focus rather than frustrate Michael, who overturned an 11-8 deficit winning seven straight rallies to come through 8-15 12-15 15-13 15-5 15-11.

Next to take to the court was Matt Walker (3) against Matt Morgan. Matt (Peterborough) won the opener, but our one soon levelled. Games three and four were extremely tight, with nearly every rally looking exhausting as both were fearful of going in short and giving court position away (watching on from being on the balcony was definitely preferably from being involved in this sort of match!). The players were basically out on their feet by the end, but it was Melbourn’s Matt who emerged happy after winning 11-15 15-7 15-13 15-13.

Next door, Jan Brynjolffssen (2) was taking on Sean Michelson. Jan led for much of the opening game, but saw that advantage whittled away at the death and had to grit his way through. A fast start to game two saw Sean’s head drop, and he gifted it away easily. The Peterborough player put that aberration behind him at the start of game three, and built a 9-4 lead at one point. However refocused effort from Jan turned it around to complete a mostly straightforward 15-13 15-3 15-11 win.

The winning bonus was in the bag midway through Nev Rimes opening game at top string game against Neil Needham, though neither player knew this of course. This one matched up two players with high racquet skills, with the key difference being Nev’s seeming preternatural ability to know where Neil was going with his shot, repeatedly volleying attempted winners! Nev also finished games one and two strongly, winning a string of points late on to turn narrow mid-game leads into comfortable claims. A slow start to game three saw Nev fall too far behind to recover (though a late game surge got him close), but game four brought a return to the Squash of the opening two, more straight, less cross, as Nev took it 15-8 15-10 13-15 15-11.

Melbourn 2nds sit third in the table at the moment, which is pretty congested at the top end. Peterborough lead the way on 116 points, Stamford 2nds are second with 114, Melbourn have 109 and Kimbolton 2nds are also involved, holding 94 but with a game in hand.

Posted by : Jan Brynjolffssen at 0:00:AM on Monday 6 November 2017
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Restricted vehicular access to courts - IMPORTANT

The Village College has installed fencing and gates around it's perimeter.  Gates at the front enterance will be locked at 21:45 Monday to Friday and 15:45 Saturday/Sunday.  Pedestrian access will remain open outside these hours.  Anyone wishing to access courts will need to park their cars at the front of the Village College and walk through to the courts.  

Posted at 19:30:PM on Thursday 21 September 2017

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