Melbourn I vs St. Neots I
Weds 28th February
Melbourn lost 14-7
After quite a lot of pre-match to-ing and fro-ing to check whether St. Neots really, really wanted to travel on a night of -5C temperatures with the threat of snow, it was game on as they were clear they were coming.
The first match on pitted Mark (4) against Sparky (or Bryan as the marker called him for the entire first game... oops!). Sparky, as his name suggests, is capable of playing some outrageous winners but also making surprising unforced errors. Mark was steadier, and kept in touch through game 1, but ultimately went down. Game 2 saw Mark shed the jumper and woolly hat(!) he had on for the opener. Wearing these to play was an indication of the asthma problems Mark was suffering due to breathing in the very cold air. That induced him to try and keep the rallies as short as possible, wise from the physical standpoint but probably not the most effective tactics in the match-up. In reality the struggle for breath gave Mark no hope in a match that was always going to be difficult, and he lost 3-0.
Next door Vinod (3) was taking on George Zitko. This was a somewhat scrappy affair, the cold walls making the ball pop out often but with the pace of both players seeing balls picked up from unlikely positions. Vinod never seemed comfortable with this type of game, but he showed great steel to force himself through to a 3-0 win.
The next match underway pitted Ed (2) against Matt Nankivell. And yes, if that surname looks familiar, Matt is related to our Members Secretary, Kate. He’s her son, and he learned his Squash at Melbourn. Anyway, game one went Ed’s way as his steady rallying worked Matt out of position until the ball could be killed. However Matt responded in game two, producing quality kills when the opportunities arose and generally showing the uses of experience. That was also the cases in games three and four as Ed went down 1-3.
The fifth string pitted Jan against Bryan Williams. A slow start saw the Melbourn player fall 7-2 down in the first, and though Jan clawed it back to 9-10 he could quite force a breaker. Game two went the other way was initially on top, building a 9-6 lead and earning two game balls at 10-8. However he tightened up with the line in sight and not only failed to convert either but let the game slip away 10-12. And with it the match, as Bryan’s confidence was up and Jan’s was down leading to a one-sided opening half of game three and a 0-3 final analysis.
That means Matt (1) was only playing for pride and consolation points against Chris Reeve. Those proved motivation enough as Matt produced a solid display that put Chris under increasing pressure. That led to a number of unforced errors as the visiting player tired to turn the pattern around, to Chris’ evident frustration. The match ended up as a 3-0 to Matt.
Skipper Mark declared of the game “Another close fought loss for the team this week against top flight opponents. The team still has some big matches ahead to try to pull ourselves from the relegation zone. Our resent results against the top teams show we have every chance of achieving that.”