Peterborough I vs Melbourn I
Weds 7th March
Melbourn lost 18-5
Time is running out for the 1sts, who came into this match bottom of Division 1. Though not far adrift of the pack, a lack of fixtures (we got to play last week, when all the other matches were frozen of) means two overall wins are probably required.
Could we get one at Peterborough? The early signs were not promising as the recent rash of injuries (Kate – elbow, Aidan – shoulder) and unavailability (Dan – too busy playing twice a week for Biggleswade, Ed – clash with a tournament) left us travelling with just four players.
First on court was Mark (3), who was taking on a player half his age [nearer to a third??] in Thomas Ramsey. The youngster was just too solid, with whatever Mark tried unable to throw him as the Melbourn player lost 9-11 6-11 8-11.
Meanwhile next door, Jan (4) was underway against Courtney. Despite knowing what to expect, Courtney is hyper-fast and fit, it still takes getting used to on court and Jan was 7-0 down in the first before he knew what was happening. Some better rallies, and some characteristic mistakes from the home player drew it closer, but the game was gone. The second followed a similar pattern, but the third had promise as Jan moved 4-0 up. However he couldn’t stick with the game plan (the most basic in Squash – hit it into the deep backhand corner) and lost the next nine rallies! That sealed Jan’s fate as he lost 8-11 8-11 6-11.
Vinod (2) was up next against James Best. The home player was clearly trying to mix the game up, as whenever Vinod kept things straight and relied on his superb gliding movement and consistent hitting he looked the better player. This paid dividends in the first two as Vinod won the key points at the end of games to move two up. The third didn’t go so well as a slow start gave Vinod too large a gap to overcome, but then the fourth went the opposite way, a string of solid, suffocating rallies building a big lead that lead to a 11-7 11-6 7-11 11-4 success.
Last on were the top strings, Matt taking on Dan Soar (1). There has been a frequent pattern in matches between Matt and Dan recently as the opening two games are shared before Dan, who came into this match with a 14/14 record for the season, accelerates away to win 3-1. Not this time, though. Oh no. This time Matt was able to ride his excellent attacking Squash and preternatural anticipation of where Dan would attempt to kill after drawing him in with working drops, to build a two game lead. Was that enough to push for the win. Erm, no. The effort needed was clearly draining Matt rapidly, and the writing was on the wall midway through game three. Matt never gave up (well, almost never, he was out of the door on game point in the fourth before Dan had actually hit the winning drop shot!) and tried what he could to gather enough points for the third game, but eventually went down 11-8 11-8 2-11 3-11 3-11.