Surrey League – Spencer 1 vs Purley 4 – Match Report
A Festival of Sport – Spencer 1st vs Purley 4th match report – 14th June 2016
The Euros are underway, the cricket team have won the test series and even the England Rugby Union side managed to upset the Aussies in their own back yard. But in my opinion, Purley away is always a tricky match. The courts are hot, it’s a long way from Earlsfield and the opposition are always seasoned squash players who don’t like giving away a single point. Due to transport issues we had to walk from the station to their club which allowed Grant and I some in-depth tactical discussions and Charlie to have a pre-match “conditioning” roll-up whilst offering his musing on Brexit. For the record this was first against third in the table so we weren’t too sure what to expect.
Charlie was first on against Andy at fourth string. Now Andy has played more squash matches than Charlie has had cigarettes and proceed to use his experience to full effect. Lulling the youngster into some serious first game running Andy controlled the tempo of the match superbly on a very hot court. Charlie rallied hard and held his own till 10 all in the first game when a couple of superb lobs gave Andy the game. Energy reserves mostly depleted the second and third games were significantly harder and Charlie was unable to get a foothold in either going down 3-0. In the bar after Charlie admitted, between slightly emphysemic wheezes, that he knew he had lost when he stepped on court against a veteran…I’ll let you draw your own conclusions!
Grant went on court at first string against the uber-fit Matt. The court conditions allied to Grant’s natural style meant for a attritional hard hitting game of squash. Drop shots were prized as the ball was simply too hot to play them effectively and neither player was able to gain any significant foothold. Matt’s superior speed helped take the first two narrowly by a couple of points helped by some unforced errors . Grant was getting angry by this point (in a polite South African sort of way) and the third game showed a marked turnaround as he substituted drops for trickle boasts and started pushing Matt forwards. The tactic was a success and opened up court space into which to hit winners and a hugely impressive display of tactical acumen saw the third game secured. Confidence and tactics sorted, Grant won both the 4th and 5th working hard to fatigue his opponent and take the opportunities when presented. Another hugely impressive win and 4 out of 4 for Grant this season.
I went on court against Mark at second string and suffered similar issues adapting to the court conditions. Neither Mark nor I were able to keep the ball tight which led to a niggly match with a lot of lets. A relatively comfortable first game was followed by a closer second which I managed to sneak to take a 2-0 lead. Never one to let a good debate of the rules stand in way of a squash match I spent most of the third happily chatting to the marker and pointing out the error in his decisions (although I do have a cut shin and bruised hip as evidence). Whilst I was whinging away Mark decided to play squash and pulled back to 2-1. Parts of the 4th game were described by Grant as “it was like watching somebody else play” as I regained my focus, took an early lead and never looked back. Unfortunately I don’t think Grant was complementing the rest of my performance. A 3-1 victory and Spencer up in the tie 2-1.
Spencer Club Captain Dan made his bow this season for the firsts in the final game. Against a very good opponent whom has been out of the game for three years with bruised heels (no – me neither) this was a tough, tough match. Fuelled by his Roy Keane endorsed tiger prawn risotto dinner Dan made a good start taking the first, narrowly losing the second and taking the third. However the hard work and his impressive retrieval rate was taking its toll on Dan. Drives began to lose their width and length and fatigue meant he tried to play winner to early. Shaun took the opportunities offered and won the 4th to level the tie. A tighter start from both players led to a great 5th game and Dan found himself trailing 12-13. At this point a glint of steel appeared in Mr Wells eye, Shaun missed a sitter and Dan never looked back winning the match and tie 15-13 in the last game. Another impressive win for Dan who has re-found his squash mojo again and reeled off a number of impressive wins against higher ranked opponents.
So a 3-1 win, 12 points and next week is a top of the table clash against Surbiton!