Weds 29th November
Melbourn lost 9-15
Wednesday evening saw the 2nds on the road in the west of the county, to take on what we thought were new opponents in Kimbolton 2nds, only to find a number of familiar faces from the St. Neots 2nds team! What has apparently happened is St. Neots have had an influx of strong players (their 1sts currently lead Division 1...), which had pushed a number of people out of their 2nd team, and the St. Neots Leisure Centre couldn’t accommodate a third side. Hence the switch across a few miles to Kimbolton School.
Ewan Conradie (5) took on one of these old foes in Anthony Charters, in a match that would have more than its share of chaos. Ewan put in a good first game, pushing Anthony back, but at what cost? He certainly came off blowing, and also announced that he had broken the frame of his racquet towards the end of the game, but didn’t have a spare with him and would continue to play with it for as long as possible. The wisdom of this was unclear in a second game where Ewan didn’t seem willing to take balls off the wall, possibly in fear of a complete collapse (mostly of the racquet). Armed with a teammates wand in the third, he also looked on the verge of this physically as he fell 2-1 down. Impressive resilience in game four established a lead that Ewan just about held on to until the end. It turned out this against the tide game had been helped by Anthony losing a contact lens! Once it had been found, lost again and re-found game five was ready to start. With eyesight fully restored (but not Ewan’s energy levels), the final game was one way traffic as Ewan went down 15-11 9-15 10-15 15-13 7-15.
Back-to-back with Ewan’s match (the court arrangement at Kimbolton is a little unusual!), Rich March (4) was taking on Andy Rettie. This was a decent match, but one Rich always looked in control of as his movement and tactics were spot on, pushing Andy deep into his backhand corner repeatedly and drawing errors. Not much more to say really as the match never deviated from its initial pattern, Rich winning three or four points for every two he dropped and always edging away as he won 15-10 15-7 15-8.
Colm O’Gorman (3) was next on against Dave Parker, and produced a good first game to claim the lead. In the second Colm moved away from what had been working, instead drawing Dave into front corner exchanges that were the home player’s strength. A re-focused effort saw Colm regain the structure in his game, his tight length again drawing mistakes as he opened up a 2-1 lead. Game four was tighter as Dave battled hard, but Colm always had the whip hand and closed out a well constructed 15-11 7-15 15-7 15-11 victory.
Ian Blows (2) appeared to still be on holiday in Zimbabwe during his first game against Nigel Harper, losing it heavily. This woke Blows up and he began to read Nigel’s attacking shots whilst also cutting out the unforced errors, allowing for a more aggressive court position and more competitive Squash. However despite the improvement, and some gutsy play to claim the third Ian went down 4-15 11-15 15-7 9-15.
That set up a decider between Jan Brynjolffssen (1) and Joe Turton. Jan also started slowly and was 9-1 down in rapid order, which cost him any chance of the opening game. Game two was also going the wrong way as Jan couldn’t shift Joe from the dominant position on the tee, the home player taking advantage to play his attacking shots. Some late game resistance made the score closer than the game had felt, with five game balls saved before a loose serve on the sixth gifted the opportunity to close it out. Game three followed a similar pattern, though not quite as tipped in the Kimbolton player’s favour as Joe committed less to his attacks. Despite that, he still built to three match balls. Jan saved the first with an audacious volley-drop winner on return of serve, and then dub in to nullify the next two. However Jan had a fourth to save following a cross-court drive kill from Joe (probably the signature shot of the match), and couldn’t do it this time as he went down 7-15 12-15 14-16.
Defeat meant Melbourn failed to take advantage of the first vs second placed sides meeting elsewhere, so remain in third place in Cambs Division 4.