Noticeboard - Match reports Posts

Herts Summer League - Melbourn 2 vs Letchworth 2, 7th May 2024

Melbourn lost 6-9

Two teams with opening week wins clashed as the Seconds welcomed our equivalent from Letchworth to Melbourn.

First up was El Bandido, Moises Estrelles Navarro (3). He was taking on/drawing a ‘M’ on to the stomach of Paul Davidson (who knew you could do that with a racquet?!?). The pattern to come was apparent from pretty well the opening three shots of the match – Moises served, Paul went for an immediate short kill, Moises raced forward and picked it up, Paul looked concerned. And that pattern was to be repeated for much of the next half-hour… apart from the bits where Moises got a bit bored and tried to kill himself. Those didn’t go so well, but when Moises relied on his legs and his speed he took Paul’s game away from him, Moises winning 15-8, 15-8, 15-8.

At this point we spilt on to two courts, so I only know the outcome of Colm O’Gorman’s match at second string against Nishan Ramnarain second hand and by the comments of the players when they were outside the court. Which was that Colm was being Colm, keeping the rallies short, using his retrieving and counterpunching skills and looking for unlikely short reverse angles thanks to his strong wrist/adapted hurling skills. For two out of three games this worked, Colm establishing a 2-1 lead, but Nish was gradually wearing the Melbourn skipper out by looking for extended up-and-down-the-wall rallies and in games four and five a tired Colm was just failing to execute. It was still close, but it added up to a 15-10, 12-15, 15-8, 12-15, 12-15 defeat.

Going on concurrently with the second string was the top string match, which pitted Jan Brynjolffssen (1) against Jason Attwood. Both players had clearly had significant amounts of coaching in the past as this was quite a classical match, lots of rallies up and down the backhand wall. There was little in it in game one until Jan benefitted from some unexpected unforced errors from Jason to go 1-0 up. A favour Jan then returned in game two to level things up. Oops. But it wasn’t that one causing lack of sleep afterwards – no, this was the butchered chance at 14-13 in the third when Jan had a clear backhand drop shot chance to win the game… only to skew it, catch the side wall first and end up standing in the way to give away a stroke. D’Oh! Two points later it was 2-1 to Jason and despite Jan putting together four clinical rallies to open up game four with a 4-0 lead that tie-breaker in game three proved the decisive moment as Jan lost 15-12, 10-15, 14-16, 9-15.

That meant an overall 9-6 win for Letchworth – disappointing, but three good games and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening. Which, surely, is the point of County Division 4 Squash.

Herts Summer League - Nuffield (St. Albans) 1 vs Melbourn 1, 2nd May 2024

Melbourn won 9-5

The firsts kicked off their 2024 summer league campaign with a daunting away trip at Nuffield.

First on court, were the second strings. This pitted Jason Burgon (an honorary Melbourn team member for the second summer in a row) up against the sizeable Tim Bloomer. Tim is known around the Herts circuit for his low and hard-hitting approach, which was fairly evident in the first game as he continued to drive Jason deep. Jason was able to negate this power play with some of his tricky boasts catching Bloomer off guard to remain in the first at 7-7. A couple of errors from Jason and lucky bounces in Tim’s favour eventually swung the first game to Tim, 11-7. The second game began in much the same fashion as the first with Tim trying to pin Jason into the back corners and Jason trying to wrong-foot Tim with one of his stylish shots. As the game wore on, Tim started reading some of these shots and was able to move forward in anticipation and put Jason under pressure. Tim ultimately taking the second 11-5. Jason, now feeling a bit looser from the long drive, started the third game well and was able to get in front of Tim more often and dictate the play. With Jason moving more freely and Tim tiring, the third was nip and tuck. Unfortunately for Jason, the backhand corner was clearly working favourably for Tim and a couple of fortunate nicks helped Tim win the third 12-10.

Next up was the third string tie which saw Mike Herd take on a familiar face to the Melbourn team in Teejay Sogunro. Mike started off strongly, holding the T and keeping Teejay behind him – this allowed Mike to dictate the rallies and attack when the opportunity presented itself; resulting in Mike taking the first 11-4.  The second didn’t start as planned, with Mike losing a bit of width and Teejay taking hold of the T. Mike did well to keep in the game at 7-7, but suddenly lost his way falling to an 11-8 loss. After some advice from the chauffer for the evening (Jase) Mike went back to basics in the third, keeping Teejay in the back and commanding the rallies. This helped Mike build a 10-5 lead; only for Teejay to pull back to 10-9…Fortunately for Mike, he was able to pull out a ‘Tim Bloomer’ shot and hit a fortuitous nick to seal the third 11-9. The fourth started at a frantic pace with Mike building a 3-1 lead when a ‘discussion’ broke out between the players and marker. Fortunately for Mike this helped him concentrate even more so to develop a 7-1 lead and ultimately unassailable lead to win the fourth 11-5.

The final tie, and the one for the match, had Matt Sampson up against newcomer for Nuffield Andy Duckworth. Matt dazzling in the warmup with his vast array of shots was able to take this into the first game and saw him wrong-foot Andy on a number of occasions. With the game keenly poised at 7-7, Matt was able to put this deception to good use and close out the first 11-8. The second saw Andy come back strongly to take the second. So, there we were…1-1 in matches and 1-1 in the decider. Matt clearly feeling the effects of not having played competitively for a couple of months went on for the third and produced some great (and some not so great) squash to take the third 11-9. Could Matt seal the win 3-1 and ensure Melbourn first team had their first win in Div 1 for two seasons? Of course he could, closing out 11-8 in the fourth to take the match 2-1.

A good win to start the season!

Herts Summer League - Gosling 3 vs Melbourn 2, 30th April 2024

Melbourn won 9-7

After the briefest of respites (our fault for getting to a Cup Final) the Seconds were right back in to action, albeit the somewhat more casual stuff of the Herts Summer League.

The Herts Summer League is three person sides – our team of Jan Brynjolffssen, Matt Walker and Moises Estrelles Navarro made the shortish trip down the A1 to Welwyn to take on Gosling 3rds. First up was Moises (3) against Adrian Rates… and it was quickly apparent what both players strength was – running, both fast and lots of it. Rallies were extended, the ball was pinging around and the match see-sawed as both took control and then relinquished it again. Often multiple times per point. The up-and-down nature of the contest saw Moises lose the first game having led it comfortably, but then win the second and launch a comeback of his own in the third. 2-1 up it was time for Moises to drop a game. So we were into a decider. This looked to be heading Moises way as he moved 12-8 ahead, with one particularly lung-busting rally when he made about five extraordinary retrieves before killing it off on the counter particularly memorable. But even Moises was tiring by now and this turned from four points up to match-ball down at 13-14. However a clutch of running and cautiously consistent hitting rally levelled things up, a mistake from Adrian edged Moises to match-ball instead and then a great length was too tight for Adrian to dig out and Moises had his victory! Scores were 11-15, 15-11, 15-13, 11-15, 16-14… and both players seemed spent afterwards. As you would be.

Next on court was Jan (1), who took on Matt Robinson. Again the pattern was rapidly clear as Matt had shots, and was willing to use them – anything other than getting into an extended rally! He took game one easily, helped by three total mis-hits that went for winners. Jan tried to attack more in game two to avoid a repeat, and found some excellent touch on the drop shots. That got his nose ahead, all the way to a game point at 14-13, but this wasn’t converted as Matt played a strong rally. And the match was slipping away from Jan from there, Matt winning the next two points to establish a 2-0 lead and then racing into an enormous lead at the start of the third as his trickle boast caught Jan out repeatedly. Jan tried what he could to edge back in, but it was a lost cause by a margin of 8-15, 14-16, 7-15.

So all eyes were on Matt (2) and Chris Tutton. Here there was a clear contrast in styles as Matt wanted extended rallies he could snap off with his volley drops, whereas Chris was keeping as much as possible short. Game one saw Matt predominating and looking more in control than the 15-11 score would suggest, only for errors at the start of the second to get under Matt’s skin and buoy Chris. Pegged back to 1-1 and angry about it, Matt laid it all out in game three pinning Chris deep in the court – where he didn’t want to be – and racing home with it by a distance. Keep the concentration and keep the ‘t’ position high and it will be 3-1, right? Well, no, as Chris came again to level up as Matt got a little tight with the finishing line in sight. He wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice though, putting together a strong final game that pounded Chris deep on the court, established a big lead and saw Matt home 15-11, 10-15, 15-6, 12-15, 15-11.