Men’s team squash – Week 19 report

Four matches this week, with only the Seniors missing out. Unfortunately
only one win to report, so it is with 1a that we begin.

The reigning Bucks league champions found some of the form that took them to
last year’s title as they ran over Holmer Green 1 by 4-1.Victories for Tim
King 3-1 over Tor Stockdale at 2, Dan Colquhoun 3-0 over Phil Beukes at 3,
Will Gardner 3-0 over Mark Mellett at 4 and Andy Piper 3-1 over Bradley
Desborough at 5. Also a creditable two points for Sam Pothecary against Alex
Hartley at 1, only missing out 11-9 in the fifth.

The other division 1 match was rather less successful for 1b, going down to
very disappointing 0-5 against Beaconsfield Lions. A gory score certainly
but it probably doesn’t quite do justice to how competitive some of the
games and matches were. This is how it unfolded:

Simon Ross and Neil Hinds were on first. Simon playing Toby Johnson and Neil
against Nic Manley. Both were 2-0 down in no time, Si not feeling well and
Neil slow starting. Si’s lack of energy meant he wasn’t able to make an
impression in the third but Neil turned it round to win the third 9-2 and
went out to a big lead in the fourth. The knowledgeable Beaconsfield crowd
feared a standard Hinds 3-2 victory but credit to Manley for clinging in and
managing to close out the match with a 10-9 fourth. 1b were without Phil
Taylor and the Lions were missing Mike McLaughlin so it was Steve Sieff and
James Pearson on court next against Simon Rodwell and Mark Treadwell at 1
and 2 respectively. As with the previous matches, James struggled to get
into the first two games but he started to find his range in the third,
battling to a 9-5 lead. The canny veteran Treadwell managed to take the
cores to 6-9 where upon to gasps from the crowd he promptly served out! At
10-6 to James the home support were reconciled to a fourth game but like
Manley earlier the Beaconsfield player hang in there and managed to win it
14-12 to give him the 3-0. On the court next door Steve Sieff was having a
close match against Simon Rodwell. Contrasting styles made it interesting
with Sieff defending and slowing the ball down to combat the extreme pace of
the left hander. Steve had game balls in the first, second and third but
only managed to close out the second and then lost the fourth 11-9 to fall
to a 1-3 defeat. Captain Rob Parry then finished off the tie against an
impressive Alex Norman. All three games were competitive (despite Rob
managing to go 10-0 down in one of them!) but the youngster showed his
pedigree.

Despite the defeat, the 1b boys look to have achieved safety from relegation
with two matches to play as Aylesbury failed to pick up enough points to
keep the pressure on. The players will feel disappointed not to have won
more matches but given the thin squad and the inexperience of at least two
of the regulars safety is a very respectable achievement. Captain Parry will
no doubt be negotiating with chairman Ballingall and club captain Richard
Harvey for a contract extension shortly…

Two matches to report on in Div 2. So it’s over to Tim Leslie-Smith for his
excellent (and slightly edited) account:

‘The Juniors took on the RAF, determined to gather some points in their
relegation battle.

Amy Jones was first on against the athletic Dan, who looked like he’d walked
off the set of Top Gun. Amy soon trained her own guns on him taking the
first 2 games, including a come back from 8-1 down. Dan’s squash shirt
proclaimed “Combat Ready / Combat Fit” – but obviously not against a 16 year
old girl… However sustained pressure and a slight switch-off from Amy
allowed Dan to get back into the game and he ended up winning 3-2. Super
match and another great effort from Amy.

Ben Boulter was next up against the always competitive Len. Ben got off to a
slow start while Len’s low error rate paid dividends and gave him a 2-0
lead. But we know Ben never stops running, and he started to play much
better squash to work his way back into the match, setting up a thrilling
5th game shoot out. Sadly Len managed to secure the victory with a very
close 9-7 in the fifth, but I think Ben deserves “performance of the night”
for such a good come back. Another 3-2 loss for the Juniors.

Meanwhile I was on against the sprightly Geoff, who had the look of PE
instructor / paratrooper / bomb disposal expert – you know the kind of
thing. Needless to say he started in attack mode, battering me into a 2-0
corner. Apparently he has knee problems (I didn’t notice) and perhaps this
allowed me to secure a bridgehead in the 3rd game. However any advance was
short lived and I raised the white flag in the 4th – a 3-1 defeat.

I caught a bit of Rishi Chandra’s game against Nigel and was very happy with
what I saw. Pinpoint accuracy, low error rate, nice length – Rishi was on
fire. It was then that I was told he was already 2-0 down. However it was a
glorious spell of play and showed what Rishi is capable of. So the 3rd game
was in the bag for the Juniors, but that only seemed to provoke Nigel who
dashed through the 4th to win 3-1. Good effort Rishi and thanks for your
contribution this season.

No one expected Andy Piper to beat the sublime Iain Digby, but Andy had me
thinking again in the first game when he went ahead for a spell, only for
Iain to rather casually saunter back into the game and nick it 9-7. The next
2 games were rather one way traffic, but Andy persevered and produced some
great squash to slow down the inevitable Digby victory 3-0.

Final score Juniors – 6, RAF – 19. Certainly makes the next 2 games against
our 2 fellow relegation candidates very interesting?’

No detail on the Upstarts I’m afraid save that they lost 4-1 to Holmer Green
2, nicely balancing out the Div 1 clash from the day before. Chris Wildman
pulled off a good 3-2 win over Ross Baker at 1. Chris won the first, lost
the next two, won a tie break fourth and then ran away with the fifth.
Credit too to Paul Bartington at 3 who went down 7-9 in the fifth to Trevor
Howes.

Week 20 starts with the Seniors at home to bottom of the table Beaconsfield
Bears on Tuesday 17 March. The Bears need the points to go back ahead of
Aylesbury 2 and the Seniors are far from clear so this is a crunch match.
Wednesday 18 March then sees 1a host WSRC 1 in Div 1. No other matches on
the Wednesday or Thursday but tension will be building towards an absolutely
crucial Sunday night ‘clasico’ between the Upstarts and the Seniors (two
matches in a week!). With both perilously close to the relegation zone this
will be one to watch.

All fixtures and tables can be found at
http://buckssquash.leaguerepublic.com/l/league/850183189.html. Some of the
results are being queried though, so tables might not be 100% accurate. As
ever – tell your friends/family/pets to give us more traffic by reading the
report!