Noticeboard Post

Herts Summer League - Melbourn 2 v Berkhamsted 3, 9th May 2023

Melbourn 2 hosted Berkhamsted 3 in the second round of the summer league. Unfortunately Berkhamsted could did not have a late replacement for one of their players and so it was 2 v 2.

Liam (at string 1) was first on against Grant Kleiner, a very experienced campaigner in the Herts Leagues over many years. Liam started strongly and soon built a significant lead by moving Grant around the court with good lengths and widths. Grant was unable to break into Liam’s game and Liam took the first game convincingly 15-8.

The second game followed a similar pattern and again the result was 15-8 in Liam’s favour. Grant fought back immediately in the third and moved ahead with a 7-0 lead. Liam had lost his grip on the game and allowed Grant to use his wide array of shots to put real pressure on him. Liam responded but Grant was firmly in control of the rallies and took the game 15-7.

The break saw Liam reset his game and return to his earlier very effective game of keeping Grant at bay and not allowing him into the game. Liam never lost control of the fourth game and he clinically finished the game 15-10 and took the match 3-1.

Talk about changes in momentum, this game has more shifts than nurses did working over COVID. Roger came up against Mike Cowan, who physically had the upper hand, but Roger's experience and tactical mindset enable him to take control!

The first game saw each player feel out how they were going to approach and then Mike figured out quickly if he could move Roger around enough, he'd run out of puff. However, despite Mike taking a 10-4 lead, Roger realised good length and width were key. This produced a storming comeback to lead 11-10, but then Roger conspired to stray away from what was working and lose the next 5 points to lose 15-11.

Second game Roger made a conscious effort to stick to what worked and walked it with 9 straight points from 6-3 up to take it 15-3, with a little help with some unforced errors from Mike.

The third began in similar fashion with Mike up 5-4, but then a mixture of Roger losing his length and Mike pushing himself and Roger around the court led to an 8 point run, where Mike won 15-5.

Mike went into the fourth 2-1 up and with momentum. The game started very tit for tat with Roger leading 7-5, then Mike took 5 straight points and it looked for all the tea in China that he would carry on through. However, Roger hit back with his own 5 point streak to edge ahead 12-10. Mike only managed to make one more point and gave away the last 3 to Roger, to see Roger take the fourth 15-11 and into a decider.

These two brave warriors had slogged it out all game and the fifth was no different. Momentum swang back and forth with neither player able to take real control, only taking one or two points at a time. Roger managed to edge his way to a 14-11 lead but then Mike dug deep and strained every sinew of his tall frame to draw level to 14-14. Roger dug deeper still to clinch the next 2 points to claim the fifth and the match. If there is a lesson in perseverance Roger most certainly knows how to teach it!

Team captain Colm, who joined the players afterwards commented, 'another good night of squash and victory for Melbourn 2, well done especially to Roger for going the distance in a hard fought win'.