Saffron Walden 2 vs Melbourn 2
Weds 26th February
Melbourn won 20-1
The Seconds made the short journey to Saffron Walden for our latest match. Twisty though, with driver Colm not exactly enjoying the narrow blind bends of the B1039 on the way there – too much like home, apparently!
Once at the Lord Butler Leisure Centre, we found the home side were missing a few from our clash earlier in the season after players had played up for their 1sts too many times, becoming committed to the higher team so unavailable for selection against us. That explained the run of losses that Walden had suffered since Christmas, which has seen them drop to ninth in the table.
Knowing this our team was looking for the 5-0 as every point is important in the Division 4 promotion battle; the 2nds went into the match level on points with St. Ivo and one behind Newmarket in the chase for runners-up spot. One point is a vanishingly small margin in a Squash league, the equivalent of a solitary game won or not.
That was the scenario as Colm O’Gorman (5) and Gareth Jones (3) took the court against Charles Arthur and Mick Thorday respectively. Neither Melbourn player entirely found their best form, but then neither entirely had to as both came through 3-0. Colm dominated the front of the court in his match, whilst Gareth benefitted from a number of strokes conceded by an opponent who was hard running and hitting but a little too loose in his play.
Next on were Mark Asker (4) against Brian Finch (non-canine in spite of the profile pic on the league website) and Matt Walker (2), who took on Joshua Graham. Mark put his normal power game into operation, forcing Brian into the back corners. But he found his opponent surprisingly tenacious and was visibly relieved at closing it out 3-0. Matt was under even more pressure as he trailed for much of his opening game as Josh’s pace around the court drew uncharacteristic errors from him. Matt had to save a game point and only just did that, scraping one shot in the rally back just before the second bounce. However after surviving that scare Matt closed the game out and benefitted from that, Josh’s head dropping a little and his unforced error count rising whilst Matt brought his own under control; Matt saw it out 3-0.
The final match of the evening pitted Jan Brynjolffssen (1) against John Goodfellow. The players knew each other well, John having played for Melbourn 2nds last season, and the opening rallies were nip and tuck before Jan began to control the front court in the later stages of the opening two games. John upped things in the third though, having the better of exchanges down the backhand wall as he repeatedly found a lovely dying length. Jan found himself 14-12 down and though he saved the first game ball with a forehand drop he couldn’t repeat the trick in the next rally, tinning a clear backhand volley drop opportunity; Walden were on the board. The fourth saw Jan front running in the early stages, only for the lead to dwindle and eventually reach 12-all. However from here Jan powered to victory, or more like tickled as he read three consecutive short balls, latching on to each with counter-drop winners as he came through 3-1.
Jan, skipper for the evening, commented “We knew Walden were missing a couple of players from their strongest team, but none of us had it easy and arguably they deserved more than one point from the evening. The final score undersold how close and competitive the matches had been.
“From our perspective getting the maximum of 20 points was an excellent night’s work. Results like this keep the pressure on our rivals for second spot.”