Surrey League – Spencer 2 vs Purley 5 – Match report
They say that every point counts and this was certainly the case for Spencer 2 the other night against a very strong Purley side who never allow anybody an easy victory against them. Fortunately, Spencer Squash Club lined up with a strong side and another huge home crowd…!
First up at third string was the on fire Mike Pan, watched by various WAGs and very keen to get us off to a flying start against a tough opponent in Russell. The two sets were pretty tight but Russell won the key points to take them 15/11 and 15/12 before Mike P discovered his form and strategy with some tight squash to pull back 1-2 on sets after a 15/12 third set win. However, Russell then counter-punched with some strong hitting and wrapped up the first set 15/6 to win the string 3-1 and put Purley ahead on the night.
Danny stepped up at fourth string on the other court against Jon. This was always going to be a tight contest and so it proved as Danny edged the first set 15/10 before Jon fought back 15/11 to level at 1-1, which resulted in Danny’s squash racket “accidentally” slipping from his hand at the end of the second set and crashing into the side wall about five metres away – oops…! Danny then sat outside looking rather unhappy during the break and shouted “I don’t want any help from you” as coach Dan approached him with a few words of advice (i.e. stop hitting the ball to the back of the court ten times in a row during every rally…!) Clearly Danny remembered his coach’s “worst advice ever against New Malden” when Coach Dan told him to carry on doing what he was doing when he was playing really well…! Jon stormed comfortably ahead in the third set and took a commanding 13/7 lead after a tight rally which resulted in an argument between the two players about Danny not clearing the ball after a loose drive. The same thing happened in the next rally and this time Jon apparently barged Danny out of the way. This resulted in a huge argument and some unpleasant exchanges, plus some very poor language directed at the umpire despite the fact that there was clearly only one correct decision which both team captains unanimously agreed on. After a bit of a rage, Danny made minimal effort to return Jon’s next serve at 14/7 and so the third set went to Jon 15/7. With the fixture getting rather close, would countback come into play and the lack of desire to nick a few points at the end of this set prove costly…?! This time it was clear that Danny needed a bit of space and after a long gap between sets he picked himself up very impressively indeed and stormed the final two sets 15/8 and 15/9 to clinch a very impressive 3-2 victory that proved so important for Spencer Club. A combination of fitness and a slight niggle for Jon in the final set. Very well played and a remarkable run of form for Danny who has now won 41 out of his last 42 points for Spencer Squash Club since November 2015 which is a wonderful achievement…!
Next up was Leon versus Paul at second string. Leon is now living London again and life has clearly improved for him. He turned up along with his lovely wife Lana and there were various comments about Leon’s recent half marathon t-shirt which appeared to suggest that he now has a new ice lolly manufacturer as his main squash sponsor… Ice lollies were never going to last long in such humid heat and Paul soon melted away under the pace and intensity of Leon’s game which perfectly suited the conditions. The crowd witness various flavours of emotion and before you could even say “I’d like a double chocolate peanut butter-flavoured Magnum, please” Leon had already wrapped up a comfortable 3-0 victory to put Spencer Squash Club 2-1 ahead on the night – well played!
Finally, up stepped Captain Dan at first string against a very capable opponent called Paul who had previously beaten ex-club number one Jamie last time out. During a tight first set, Dan squandered three game points and lost it 17/15 which really was a waste of a good chance to take an early lead despite some reasonably good squash. Dan then took the second fairly comfortably at 15/7, before Paul adjusted his strategy and took the third rather convincingly 15/8. Paul then went ahead in the fourth but Dan battled hard to level back at 11/11 and looked to be heading for a vital victory, before Paul played three very tight and well-disguised shots to earn match point at 14/11. After a very tight next rally, Dan retrieved some tricky shots to pull back to 14/12 but Paul then found a winner and wrapped up the set and tie 15/12 and 3-1. Well played to Paul!
This left the overall fixture tied at 8-8 and required several team members to embark on some fairly basic principles of mathematics to work out who had won the overall tie. Unfortunately, some of the Spencer team players’ recent exposure to some basic addition did not match their high levels of squash practice and at first Purley were declared the winners by four individual points. A re-mark took place, only to identify that Purley had now won by one point. At this stage, confidence was lost in our well-educated team’s ability to apply some 11-plus style basic academia and hence in stepped Spencer team’s two Big Four auditors Leon and Dan to take control of the situation. Third time proved lucky for Spencer as this time the tentative conclusion was that Spencer Club had actually won by a single point. Clearly this outcome meant that we did not want to audit the scoreline and risk losing this match due to yet another re-mark however our victory by a single point was indeed secured after Dan decided that we needed to enter the scores into the online league master website as soon as possible to 100% conclude upon this one…! Indeed the Big Four auditors were proved correct as the website showed that Spencer nicked the closest fixture I have ever been involved in by 205 point versus 204 to gain a 9-8 victory and move us up the table into fourth place. Well played everybody and please focus on your maths homework going forward…!