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.