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Melbourn II vs Swavesey II (30th January)

Melbourn lost 8-15

The 2nds didn’t lose many matches in the opening half of the campaign, which made the 20-3 reverse at Swavesey stand out. Nothing went right that day, starting from players getting lost on their way to the venue and rolling on from there. There was a determination in the team to try and put on a better performance on our nicely familiar courts.

The first match on was also a significant one as 14 year-old Will Bradshaw (5) made his long awaited Melbourn debut. Will show his usual nice rally construction, and did well when he managed to get the ball past opponent Henry Spelman and into the back corners. However he also tired as each of the opening two games progressed, and also found himself pinned down by Henry’s serving especially in the later stages of games. After both the first two were close at the mid-point Will saw each race away from him. His head was on his chin from the start of the third where we didn’t see the real Will as he lost 8-15, 7-15, 1-15.

Next door it was Roger Woodfield (4) who was the experienced head as he took on Henry Miller. This match was pretty tight as Roger’s deadly drop shots were put up against the younger player’s speed and movement. The opening game was the key – maybe if Roger had taken it to establish a 1-0 lead what followed might have been different. But he didn’t, Henry won the tie break instead and thereafter was able to keep his nose in front as Roger lost 15-17, 11-15, 10-15.

The third string clashed paired Gareth Jones with Adil Rivzi. Adil had proved to be an oddly effective player back in the first clash of the teams, beating Colm 3-1 and leaving the Melbourn player extremely frustrated as his game just hadn’t been there. It looked initially like Adil’s somewhat idiosyncratic approach to Squash was going to leave Gareth seemingly unbalanced, but having lost the first the Melbourn player was able to amp things up, give more length to the ball and draw Adil into the sort of up-and-down-the-walls rallies that were clearly to Gareth’s advantage. This worked to the extent that Gareth came roaring back to win 11-15, 15-9, 15-13, 15-9.

This seemed like it had put Melbourn into a strong position as whilst Gareth was turning things around Jan Brynjolffssen (2) was building a 2-0 lead over Marcus Tsui. He had managed this despite giving away a slew of strokes in the opening game as he struggled with his hitting lines, but managed to grind out enough points to recover a deficit to level at 13-all and then win the next two points to claim the game 15-13. Jan was cleaner in the second, which he won comfortably, and then relaxed hoping to see out a 3-0. Too much, as game three started with a string of low energy rallies that gave Marcus a foothold back in the match. The visiting player took the third despite Jan attempting to battle back, and then claimed the fourth as he confidence in his high, loopy game grew (“horrid, pace-less balls” to quote Jan afterwards). Four straight tins late in game four were also costly. The decider was nip-and-tuck until the mid-game, but from there Marcus refused to make another mistake and claim a comeback win as Jan went down 15-13, 15-6, 12-15, 12-15, 11-15.

Jan’s defeat was said because it ended whilst Mike Herd (1) was putting on arguably his performance of the season against Simon Hudson.
Simon is a strong player at Division 3 level, and came into the match having won 9 out of 10 encounters this season. Mike was in excellent form though, digging Simon’s attacking shots out, lunging well to keep the ball going and showing great control when he was forced into this stretches. Most notable was a pair of backhands in game one, the first a full length reach that Mike somehow control into a perfect lob down the wall the took Simon out of the attacking position and made him lift the ball from the back wall… straight into Mike pushing up to play a cut-out volley drop that rolled out of the nick. Awesome. With play like that it was little wonder that Mike complied a 15-10, 15-9, 15-12 win that he ought to be really proud of. If he can play better than that… well it would be great to see it! 😊

Melbourn’s skipper on the evening was Jan, who commented “We won a number of close ones in the opening half of the season, so maybe that luck had to turn in the end. My match turned out to be the key one, and I thought I had it under control at two-nil. But Marcus played very accurate Squash thereafter. It wasn’t to be.”