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Herts Summer League - Melbourn 2 v Chantry 1, 23rd May 2023

Melbourn welcomed Chantry for a home tie in the fourth round of the Herts summer league.

Will at string 3 was first up against a very experienced John Grieves. Will started superbly, playing accurate and long into the back corners, positioning himself very well to pick off the first two points. John however using his experience and deft touches to recover, and the game evened out. Both players used good variety between drives, drops and cross courts in a very entertaining match so far. As John got into his stride, Will was more than matching him and at 7:9 down, it was anyone's game. John however dug in and nicked a run of points in a row to take an unassailable lead, taking the game 9:15. The second game followed an almost identified path, very competitive until 8:9. John again was able to exert that little bit more pressure and using drops and boasts, picked off the remaining points to take it 8:15, the scoreline wasn’t a true reflection of how competitive the game had been. In the third, Will again in determined fashion piled the pressure on, playing some excellent squash, particularly moving John from side to side, forcing the errors. John’s experience told again however and he evened it up at 4:4 and was able to dominate with the variation in his game to take it 7:14 and the match. Well done to Will however, showing a lot of shots, energy and determination to compete very well against a strong experienced opponent.

Next up playing at string 2, Sean was against another power player in Rory McGurk. Contrasting styles were evident early on, Sean with accurate driving especially on the forehand while Rory’s power hitting and backhand volley drops were highly effective. Sean started well, taking and early lead but was pegged back and it was 4:4 in a very well contested game. Rory was taking chances and going for early winners and this paid dividends as he outscored Sean to take a 7:10 lead. Sean was getting good return from moving Rory from side to side and into the back corners but due to Rory’s power hitting he seemed reluctant to get forward, Rory was picking off winners with his obviously trademarked volley drops and took it 8:15. In the second Sean was determined to step forward and keep Rory to the corners. The momentum was swinging from one player to the other and evenly poised at 8:9. Rory however went a run of scoring, having upped the pace and taking many shots earlier than Sean was expecting. Sean was unable to counter and the game again went to Rory 8:15. Although the pace of the second was unsustainable, Sean came out fighting in the third, full of energy and dominating early on. Unfortunately, Sean got into a habit of serving out repeatedly and the lead was conceded a lot more easily than Sean would have liked. This seemed to energise Rory who pushed on to a 4:8 lead. Sean continue with unforced errors unfortunately, and was unable to recover to prevent a 7:15 game to Rory and match.

At string 3, Colm was up against Josh Beaumont. The first few points were vigorously contested, neither player will to take a step back, an edge was evident. The play was accurate and rallies were lengthy as Josh enjoyed pushing the ball to the back corners and Colm liked to hit the front corners occasionally. Colm was exerting a little more pressure and rewarded with a 6:2 lead, only for Josh to fight back and bring it to 7:6. Another run of scores by Colm, having moved Josh around and forced the errors, brought it to 11:6. But rather than see out the game, Colm allowed Josh to take the initiative, and recover to make it 13:13, the momentum and energy now with Josh and he took the game 13:15. Colm was feeling the pace and in the second fell behind 0:5. A change of tactics was needed with Colm varying his game a little, some lobs along with accurate drops, and brought himself back into the game to level it 6:6. Colm was feeling more confident in his game now and took the next 6 points in a row. He didn’t look back to take the game 15:10. Josh still appeared the fitter player with the energy however and reasserted himself in the third game. Colm was struggling physically, hanging on and lucky to have it at 7:7, and sucked into playing on Josh’s term. Josh was moving Colm around the court, hitting the corners and even when in difficulty, he was able to disguise his boasts and drops to dominate the rest of the game, taking it 9:15. Colm was visibly tiring, and at 4:9 in the fourth game, it looked ominous. He dug in however, served deeper and somehow managed to get it back to 7:10. Josh had been playing at a very high pace up to now and it was inevitable that he would not keep this up. Sure enough, Colm’s deeper drives were starting to force half court returns, and Colm was able to use his drops to take point after point and the game 15:12. The momentum now appeared with Colm, however Josh started the final game with determination and focus, taking an early 0:3 and upping the pace again. Colm was able to break Josh’s momentum, disguising drops and cross courts to make the game more of a scrap and it was 9:9, anyone’s match. Colm ground out a 12:10 lead taking some risks, but then overdid the drops, mainly due to tiredness, with Josh picking them off, and it was 13:12. One final push and Colm forced an error from Josh in the backhand corner, gratefully taking the game 15:13 and the match.

Team captain Colm was very happy with the performance of the team against tough opponents, ‘Special mention to Will who came up against an experienced and skilful player, making it competitive for long stages and impressing with some great shots and showing an ability to get around the courts so well. Will has improved immensely in the last few weeks and I look forward to seeing how he gets on for the remainder of the league’.