Spencer 1st vs Reigate 2nd
Back on Track!
After last week’s mauling at the hands of Bourne the first team could have spent a week licking their wounds, talking about “challenging” court conditions, dodgy marking, lucky nicks and generally feeling pretty sorry for themselves. Instead a week spent doing nothing in the sun of our brief 3 day summer proved that a rest can be just as good as extra training in an entertaining hard fought victory over Reigate.
Mike was first on against Reigate captain Peter at fourth string in a rematch from the first half of the season. From the perfunctory handshake it was clear that neither player was particular looking forward to this one after a niggly victory for Mike last time. And history repeated itself. In stifling heat the ball failed to stick to the walls and neither player was able to slow the game down to take control and, inevitably, the niggle started. Mike’s killer forehand volleying and supreme fitness shone through and he took the first 15-12. Stronger legs and athleticism saw Mike pip the second 17-15 in a game that stretched Peter’s body and temperament who engaged in a lively debate with Harry on the standard of his marking. Unperturbed as ever Mike recorded a 15-8 victory in the 3rd wrapping a highly impressive 3-0 win. Just worth calling out that Mike’s ranking in now up 25% since the start of the summer to 2,500…
I was on court at 2nd string against Ian in another rematch. Ian’s recuperation from injury is continuing and his fitness levels are getting better so I wasn’t as confident of repeating the 3-1 win from last time. Being the build of a flanker he hits the ball hard, really hard, which in summer meant that this was never going to be one for the purists. Ian hit a lot of tins allowing me to stretch out an 8 point lead before something of a comeback. However, a couple more mistakes let me sneak the first 15-13. A few stern words of coaching from Grant dragged my head out of trying to burst the ball with each hit and the second was a little better squash from both players although neither able to find any real tempo. I took the second 15-12 thanks to my marginally better fitness levels – and I do mean marginal – although we did nearly have to stop to listen to Peter “debating” with Harry as the volume intensified from the other court! A tight start to the 3rd kept the match alive before the remainder of the Reigate team turned up to support their man. Ian then made 4 straight mistakes and I was able to pip the match 15-11 in the 3rd. The fact there is so little about the actual squash in this report probably tells you everything you need to know.
Grant then went on against Nick in yet another rematch at 1st string. A feisty first half affair was not repeated as Grant’s control of the court forced Nick into long rallies in the first game. Nick’s whippy cross courts were sitting up in the heat and Grant kept the ball tight and pushed him forward with boasts when the opportunity arose. 15-9 in a good first game. In the second and third games Grant took commanding leads in each before Nick started to play some high risk shots. In the second he fought back somewhat but the legs were gone in the third and Grant closed out 15-10 followed by 15-6 to seal the tie for Spencer in another strong display at the top of the team.
With the tie won, Harry decided to save the best till last. Playing the unbeaten Godfrey at 3rd string the audience were treated to an entertaining match of hard-fought, good-natured squash that makes these evenings so enjoyable. Godfrey’s movement and consistency is seriously impressive and he put a lot of pressure on Harry in the first. It showed as Harry hit boast after boast into the tin and lost 15-6. A brutal second game ensued as Harry started to open up the court, played more drops to vary the pace and more importantly stopped hitting everything into the tin. Despite all this Godfrey pipped ahead to game ball at 14-13. And then came the obligatory show of “gees”. In fact a huge Spencer Special (© Jannus Botha) showing of it. A minute long rally was then played at breakneck pace with both players lunging around the court legs and lungs burning. Game point was saved and despite a few more wobbles Harry took the game 19-17 and in hindsight the match. Godfrey was unable to recover in the third which Harry won 15-9 by doing the basics better than his opponent. A good 4th game saw Godfrey dig deep to avoid defeat but Harry had his nose in front from 9-9 and won the tie 3-1. A great match to end the evening. Some enjoyable beers in the bar after and looking forward to seeing the Reigate team in the Winter leagues.
So 4-0 to Spencer and a maximum 15 points and the push for promotion back on track…a fortnights break before New Malden.