Surrey League – David Lloyd Hampton 2 vs Spencer 2 – Match report
The first match of the Surrey Summer Cup took place last night with Spencer 2 playing in division 5 which is by far the highest level our second team has ever played at. A great testament to how far we have developed as a squad of players during the past six months. Unfortunately for us, we were facing a very strong David Lloyd Hampton second team who fielded their best line-up which comprised of the same team that recently won promotion from Surrey Winter division 4 and hence will be playing in Surrey Winter division 3 next season (equivalent to the lower end of Summer division 2). Our thoughts immediately turned to the fact that hopefully we were playing one of the strongest teams in our current division this season…! Fortunately we also fielded a pretty strong team and all of our players went into the match in good shape, having played a lot of squash recently.
First up was Dale at fourth string, battling against David Lloyd Hampton’s captain Paul who has a ranking of 2,435. Both players battled hard during the first few sets but Paul edged ahead early on, clearly more familiar with the court conditions which were very good but quite different to what the Spencer boys are used to. Paul went ahead 1-0 and then both players started well in the second as they traded blows until Paul managed to put a run of points together and take a strong lead. However, Dale was clearly very determined and battled back incredibly hard to get to 13-13, only to lose a few unlucky rallies and go 2-0 down. Despite some good strategic chat off the court and a determined push early on in the third, Paul found his A game and continued to play well as he took the third set and put the home side ahead with a 3-0 victory. No doubt that Dale will be very pumped up for the next match…!
On the other court at third string, Mike Pan faced a very strong opponent called Rob, with a ranking of 3,117. Rob played some good stuff in the first set and went ahead despite some strong resistance and good play from Mike, however Mike battled incredibly hard whilst 14-12 down to earn our first point of the season during a fantastic 16-14 exciting set. The match then levelled at 2-2 after another couple of long sets and both players did a lot of running early on in the fifth. Various supporters on both sides commented about Mike’s incredible speed and fitness which made for a great contest. However, in the end Rob showed his experience to just about hang on and put David Lloyd two matches ahead with a very excited 3-2 victory.
Dan then played at first string against Adam who is ranked at 3,873 points. The first set was pretty tight but Adam picked up a few points when it mattered and went 1-0 ahead. The next set was very close and from memory I recall that Adam sneaked it 15-13, with some classic miss-hits and nicks from both players, one in particular from Adam off a rare tight drive by Dan which stuck to the wall and spun off the corner of Adam’s racket and dropped into the front corner nick with some very weird spin on the ball! Adam started the third set very strongly and found his form, going into a dominant lead of 13-6 which is hard to recover from during PAR scoring. However, Dan was determined and fought all the way back to 13-13, with the crowd getting more and more excited as the comeback drew closer…! But Adam finally showed why he has such a high ranking and hit two incredibly tight kills at the front of the court to wrap up a 3-0 victory and win the tie for David Lloyd Hampton.
Leon then played at second string against another Adam with a ranking of 2,981. Adam went 2-0 ahead with some good squash however the games were closer than the scoreline suggested and the first two sets lasted for about 25 minutes. Leon had travelled a long way for this match (back from his “second home” in Milton Keynes) and was not going down without a fight! Another really tight third set and this time Leon got the breakthrough that he needed via a great comeback and pulled it back to 2-1. Leon continued his momentum with some great squash in the fourth to level the game at 2-2, including a most incredible display of agility to volley a lob onto the back wall that had gone over his head! Leon somehow chased the ball behind him, hit a powerful volley which bounced diagonally off the back wall and looped into the front corner, amazing Adam so much that he smashed his next shot into the tine, still trying to work out what had just happened! And so the game entered into a fifth set and Leon fought well but in the end Adam sealed the match with a 3-2 victory after one hour and 20 minutes!
On the other court, the two captains Dan and Paul took on Dale and their first string Adam in a very entertaining game of doubles! Dan and Paul took the first set 15-13 and then lost the second set 15-12, but then battled back and took the doubles contest 2-1 with another 15-13 victory in the third. Lots of fun and it reminded me of how much fun doubles can be! Looking forward to our Spencer Club doubles tournament later in the season…!
So overall, some really good matches but a 15-4 defeat against hopefully one of the strongest teams in the division. Everybody played some good squash and we will do well overall if we continue to train hard and compete well during each match. Well played everyone and we look forward to hosting Sandown Park in a few weeks.