St. Neots I vs Melbourn I
Weds 9th January
Melbourn lost 10-16
Melbourn 1sts first game of the second half of the Cambs Division 1 season sent them to the west of the county to take on St. Neots 1sts.
A spate of injuries in the team meant the opportunity was there for some new faces. Very fresh, as the match saw the debut in senior Squash of 12 year-old Mumin Bilen. He played at 5th string against Tayla Mounter, who is a member of the Cambs Ladies side and a level 3 qualified coach, i.e. she knows exactly what she is doing on the court. However Mumin was really confident and unfazed by this, working hard to command the middle of the court and staying tough as each game was decided by just a couple of points to win impressively 3-0.
Next door Dan (4) was taking on Bryan Williams. Our correspondent saw nothing of this game, so it’s only the scores to go by. Which is a pity, as those make it look like rather a lot happened. Dan won the first, and then the second on a tie-break, but lost the third 11-2! The fourth and fifth were closer than that, but it looks like a momentum shift had occurred, or was it out of gas, as Bryan turned things around to win 3-2.
Mark (3) was attempting to play through a chest infection when he took on George Zitko. This looked a mistake as George won the opening game very comfortably (11-2). Mark dug in though, playing more measured and patient Squash to level. Good though this was, it drained the limited energy reserves and George won the next two as it finished 3-1 to the home player.
Second string paired Malik (Mumin’s older brother, and a near veteran at age 15!) with an experienced and tough Division 1 player in Matt Nankivell. Matt is known throughout the Cambs leagues for his deadly shot-making skills, he is deadly when given the chance to attack a ball into the nick, which made it imperative for Malik not to just reliable on his brilliant defensive reach and reflexes but also to keep Matt from establishing station on the tee and dictating play. That meant many rallies long up the backhand, and also patience as this, though the right strategy, is also a hard one to execute time and again. Malik ground, Matt stepped in and attack, and the match swung one way then the other. 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2 the games went as it went the distance. The fifth continued the pattern, ending 11-8 to Malik as he claimed his best win of the season to date.
Top string paired Ed against Chris Reeve. The pair had also met last year at the same string in the same match, with Ed shocking the more experienced Chris 3-2. There wouldn’t be a repeat this time though as Ed’s level wasn’t quite as high as it had been then, and Chris was also in better form than 12ish months ago. Not that Ed was playing anything like badly it has to be said, he was moving well and putting in his usual stunning movement and defensive play, and that earned him the second game by a runaway scoreline. The associated attack wasn’t as sharp however, which allowed Chris to unleash his own devastating attacking power and blast through 3-1 to take the win for himself and his team.
Skipper Mark reflected on the evening “It was great to see Mumin make such an accomplished debut in Senior Squash!”