Melbourn won 19-3
Having gone top of the table after the previous round against Newmarket’s first team, Melbourn were keen to follow it up with a win over Newmarket’s second team. Interestingly, Newmarket’s second team had put in a good performance against their first team a few weeks previously, nearly winning on the night so it wasn't a foregone conclusion that Melbourn would win it.
First up was Sean at string 5 against Matt Harber. Sean has been playing really well, and needed to be on on his game to match Matt’s energy and skill levels. This was nip and tuck from the start but Sean continued his good form and was playing well, fighting for every point, driving well and also bringing more drops into his game. Sean was moving his opponent around the court very well and was able to hold off the challenge in the first and second games with his consistency and shot selection, each game following an almost identical pattern. Sean took both 15-12. The third was an even closer affair, but Sean's confidence in his game probably made the difference and took the game 16-14 and the match a creditable 3-0 against a tough opponent.
Gareth, playing at string 4 was next up. Gareth has been on a run of 4 wins from 4, and 6 wins from 7 in the season so far. He was up against Graham Clark. Gareth surged ahead early in the first game and into a commanding lead. However, a series of unforced errors along with good attacking play from Graham brought the scores closer before Gareth steadied himself to take the game 15-12. In the second game, again Gareth took an early lead, this time however he maintained his concentration and with tidier drives, more energy and bringing some variety to his shot selection, he maintained the lead to win it 15-7. The third game was similar with Gareth again going ahead early and he didn’t let up, finishing the game 15-6 and taking the match 3-0.
Colm was playing at string 3, against Oliver Pynn who he had played previously on a number of occasions, usually closely fought but Oliver always edging it. At 9-9 in the first it was close again. Ominously, Oliver took a 2 point lead at game point but let it slip and Colm nicked the game 16-14. The second game was 12-12 and again nothing between the players. A touch of luck and determined play by Colm gave him game ball, which he took to lead the match 2-0. The 2-game cushion seemed to enable Colm to play with a bit more freedom and in the third he went on a run of points to take an 11-5 lead and wasn’t going to lose from there. Colm took the match 3-0.
Playing at string 2, Jan had Paul Bragg to deal with. Paul had recently beaten their first team string 1 player and was really up for this match, so Jan had his hands full. The first game was hard fought to 11-11, when Jan found an extra gear and with some accurate play, deep drives and clever drops, he took the game 15-11 with a late surge. Back roared Paul who dominated the second game, getting Jan to do a lot of retrieving and then picking off winners. Paul took it 8-15. Jan was struggling a little to come to terms with Paul tactics and the third went Paul’s way also, this time 6-15 with a run of points early the game doing the damage. Jan changed it up a little, played smarter, lengthened the rallies to find better court positioning, basically playing to his strengths, and managed to deservedly grind out the game to win it 15-13. Going into the fifth game, the momentum was marginally with Jan, but Paul started strongly. Jan dug in to keep it close and brought it to 12-12. At this point, it was anybody’s, and Jan appeared to have the fitness and shots to apply the necessary pressure. Unlucky to hit the tin and then handing Paul an opportunity to get to match point, Jan still hung in and dragged it back to 14-14. Both players played bravely, and really went for it. It was a lottery at this point, and Paul was able to eek out a second match point, and taking the game 15-17 to win the match.
Miles, unbeaten so far in the season in Div 3, played Tony Archer at string 1. Tony was quick out of the blocks in the first game, playing on the edge, going for winners and getting them most of the time. Miles wasn’t phased and knew he had the squash level and fitness to bring the game back in his favour. At 11-11, Tony again took his opportunities to win the next 2 points and put Miles under pressure. However Miles was able to take 5 of the next 6 points and the game 16-14. Tony had put in a big effort to stay with Miles in the first game. Miles knew by increasing the pace and lengthening the rallies, it would be to his advantage and so it proved. Miles dominated the second game to take it easily 15-4. Back came Tony in the third to make a real fight of it, but it was a step too far and Miles again with his accuracy and excellent retrieving took control of the game, winning it 15-10 and the match 3-0.
Team captain Colm noted ‘While on paper we were expected to win this match easily, we knew Newmarket 2 were strong and would put up a big challenge. The team responded really positively and this was demonstrated by Jan’s determination in bringing his match down to the wire, even though he knew Melbourn had already won the match overall’.