Broxbourne I vs Melbourn I
Weds 8th May
Melbourn won 11-5
Week two of the season took the firsts on the shortish trip down the A10 to play Broxbourne.
On arrival, we found a large crowd gathering in the bar ready. There to watch our game [the Court 1 balcony at Brox is right off the bar]? No, they were settling in for the Ajax-Spurs Champions League Semi on the telly. It promised to be a noisy night on court…
First on, and before the Football fans really got going were Aidan H (1) and Dan Collinson for the hosts. A few early nerves from Aidan, which resulted in a bit of overhitting, were soon overcome as he found himself dictating play. The warm conditions and new, very bouncy ball were also helping as Aidan was able to take his time and play close to very the solid squash we see in training. Games two and three were a bit closer as Dan got into things, but Aidan was always in control and wrapped up an impressive 15-5 15-10 15-12 win.
Next on was Jan B (3) against Rory Flynn. This started well, Jan keeping things solid and benefitting from Rory’s mistakes to take the first by a distance. The second was closer, but Jan was still ahead all the way and made it 2-0 to have the side within a game of victory. A quick start to game three… was made by Rory who powered to 7-0 up. That was the turning point as the home players confidence in his shots returned. Games three and four escaped Jan quickly as the match went the distance. The decider was closer, with the lead being exchanged a number of times. Jan even got a few points ahead mid-game, but a run from very solid rallies from Rory towards the end gave him a comeback 0-2 to 3-2 win that had been on the cards for a good while… Game scores were 15-5 15-13 6-15 7-15 10-15
That sent it to a decider, which pitted Kate B (2) against Shola Bello. Shola is a well-known player around the Herts League, the sort often called mercurial; talented, can play every shot, but as capable of extraordinary misses as winners. The task for Kate was to keep the pressure on, stay solid and focus on her own game rather than being distracted by the ups and downs of her opponent. She delivered to order in the first game, but in the second Shola found his range and was well up as it reached the latter stages. Those were marked by a misplaced (and full pace) drive from the back from Shola which hit Kate flush in the thigh, felling her and instantly producing a large bruise. After a minute or two Kate was back on her feet, and despite a wobble during the next rally when she first tried to put weight on that leg (a rally she won despite nearly collapsing) she was able to continue.
Shola saw out the game, but as expected was rather repressed in next, which meant Kate’s continued solid player and drops from deep on her backhand put her 2-1 up. A reset from the home player lead to another hot streak to give him the fourth. That took us to a decider, both in the string and the overall tie. Kate was again focusing on her own play, chasing hard to pick up short balls and ask tricky questions by lifting them to depth. This worked a charm as she won 9 straight rallies from 3-2 down to establish an 11-3 lead. Shola fought tenaciously and also argued his case on a couple of marker calls, but a key point won on a let at 11-5 edged Kate further in front, and clever boast added another despite a full length dive and on her second match point she closed out a superb 15-5 10-15 15-7 8-15 15-10 win.
The final point came just as the Football fans were seeing their team going into injury-time still needing a goal. Interestingly, Kate’s kit choice for the evening matched that of Tottenham extremely closely. Were they subconsciously inspired by the 3-2 away victory that had been gained by a similarly attired player of another sport in another country just a few minutes before? Well, you’ve all heard of the butterfly effect, right?
Skipper Jan commented “It was a great evening of Squash, and the celebrations afterwards were raucous.”