Berkhamsted 2 vs Melbourn I
Weds 5th June
Melbourn lost 2-12
Melbourn 1sts came up empty handed after just about our longest away trip of the summer to Berkhamsted 2nds.
Jan Brynjolffssen (3) was first on court against Derek Brown. The opening game went swimmingly as Jan was able to occupy the ‘T’ position for much of it, Derek seemingly content to push the ball around. Jan was having success going deep to Derek’s backhand, and took the game 15-11. Derek stepped up his shot pace and speed of movement in the second, and Jan suddenly found himself behind for much more of the game. It was still tight most of the way through but a string of late points for Derek saw him level. Games three and four followed a similar pattern, Jan doing more of the scrambling, the scoreline staying tight until the death but breaking Derek’s way in the end. Game scores 15-11 11-15 13-15 12-15.
Next up was Kate Bradshaw (2) against Steve McBride. Game 1 was strangely streaky. Kate started extremely slowly and fell way behind, but then found her form late on. Too late to save the game, but it made the scoreline respectable. Game 2 started in the same way as Game 1, but this time didn’t change. However Kate was not willing to go with such a whimper and psyched herself up well for the third game to find her best Squash. Sharper movement was allowing her to take the ball earlier, which in turn gave control of the front of the court. Dropping from there as opposed to behind worked a treat as Kate took the game comfortably. The fourth finally saw both players playing well at once and produced a great spectacle. Kate was fighting hard, making a number of impressive stretching retrieves which showed great racquet head control, whilst Steve was chasing hard when Kate’s defensive shots found the back corner (as they often did). Both were vying for the front position, with neither able to command it comprehensively. Both players had their little runs in top through the game but things were basically evenly split. However, it was Steve who edged through narrowly in the end as Kate went down 9-15 5-15 15-9 13-15.
The top string saw the welcome return to action of Mark Oppen after missing the opening five weeks of the campaign with a very extended work trip to India and then a week’s holiday to recover… Mark had been practicing whilst in Aurangabad (during their hottest month of the year, average high 38.0C!) but match Squash is a different beast and he initially struggle to cope with the intensity of opponent Brendan Murphy, losing the first game pretty heavily. Game 2 saw Mark finding his form as he built a lead and then kept ahead. He got to 14 first, earning himself four consecutive game balls, but these slipped past one and by and then the breaker went Brendan’s way. Now the other aspect of match play came into effect as Mark struggled for fitness (asthma also hindering) and lost the third by a distance. Game scores 7-15 14-16 6-15.
Skipper Jan commented “It was three good games of Squash, which on another night we might have got more from as many of the games were close, but these all went Berko’s way. It was good to see Mark back, and he will benefit from having the match under his belt”