Melbourn II vs St. Ivo II
Mon 5th November
Melbourn won 19-8
Remember, remember the fifth of November, Squash, Squash and more Squash!
Yep, it was fireworks night but for the second straight match all the action and drama was on the court with the 2nds as they got through another evening without any of the strings finishing 3-0 (or 0-3).
Let’s start from the bottom as is traditional in team matches with Ewan Conradie (5) vs Danny Caulkett snr. For two games this was pretty straightforward stuff, Ewan’s hitting forcing Danny back deep and his pace to pick up short balls seeing him through to two relatively comfortable 15-10 scores. There was no indication of what was to come in the third, which was frankly bananas. After sharing a pair of rallies, Ewan suddenly looked exhausted, and was also letting serves drop and getting stuck at the back. This saw him concede ten consecutive points as the score went from 1-1 to 1-11. In fact, in hand-in scoring this would have been a 0-9 game. Right, so Danny is going to level easily. Well, no, wait. Again a pair of rallies are exchange and then Ewan, having woken up, took control of the front court to win 9 consecutive points of his own to recover from 2-12 to 11-12. What is going on?? If he could just level, it would be a 3-0, but obviously now neither player could win a point on serve, because they hadn’t both just won a great slew in a row, had they? The exchange started with Danny one ahead and winning the first point, so he got home 15-13.
Nothing could match that for craziness, and in fact the fourth was pretty mundane, Ewan recovering from losing the first three points to forge ahead and win it 15-9 and the match 3-1.
Nothing could quite match that for drama, though the battle of the Sean’s, Melbourn’s Hamilton against St. Ivo’s Gant did try its best. Sean (our Sean) found Sean’s (other Sean, their Sean) game difficult to get a rhythm against with all his touch play and fell 1-0 down. Slightly calmer play won the next two comfortably, and Sean H worked his way to two match balls at 14-12. However a snatch at a high ball that was there to be attacked and a good rally from Sean G saved them, and he followed it up with two more strong rallies to level. It was all set for a close final game, until our Sean decided otherwise, finding the pattern of play at the death to run away with it 15-5 and take the match 3-2.
Third string paired Colm O’Gorman and Rob Bresler. The first three games were extremely tight with no more than three points in any of them. Rob took the first, but Colm focused on his line and length, and also improved his patience in the face of Rob’s high class retrieving to claim the next two. That appeared to break the back of it, Colm putting in his best performance of the evening in the fourth to win it straightforwardly and his match 3-1. Which, of course, gave Melbourn the overall win on the night.
The closest encounter on a night of evenly matched contests was Matt Walker against Alistair Paul. Matt was able to get just enough of his deadly volley drops in to win the first two, but then was pegged back as Alistair ended game three well. The St. Ives player also started game four decently, building an 8-3 lead but Matt dug in and was the first to reach 14 points at 14-12. He didn’t convert either of these match-balls, but then earned himself a third chance at 15-14 and this time sealed the deal.
The final match of the evening pitted Jan Brynjolffssen (1) against Harry Aldridge. Jan started well, playing solid up-and-down the wall Squash to win the opener 15-11. He then raced out into a 7-1 lead in game two, but then relaxed, changed his game and saw things turn around as Harry came back to level at 8-8 and eventually moved ahead to win the game 15-11.
Game three saw Jan once again controlling the front areas, pushing his opponent deep and counter-punching winners off attempted death or glory kills. Once again Jan was 7-1 up, but this time he converted it into a 15-6 game. From there on it was all downhill for the Melbourn player though, Harry upping his level to win the fourth and fifth comfortably. And doing so whilst displaying good sportsmanship, deliberately serving out after what he felt should have been a stroke against him was only given as a let.
Acting skipper Jan commented “This was another excellent, and tiring, night of Squash. All the players, home and away, tried their socks off. Each result seem a very fair reflection of the games, as our players looked to be marginally the better in each pairing but my one, which Harry deserved to win”