Noticeboard Post

Melbourn I vs Nuffield II (4th May)

Melbourn lost 4-10

The Herts Summer League returned after missing two entire seasons (reasons) with Melbourn 1sts in Division 2, just as we were way back in pre-history (2019) when we finished 3rd. But given the water under the bridge since then and the associated player churn, the new season brought more questions than normal – mostly how would a bunch of new look teams do?
The first challenge for the 1sts was taking on St. Albans side Nuffield Health 2nds. First on was skipper Jan Brynjolffssen (2), who was up against Andrew Green. The opening game was nip-and-tuck as Jan was able to stay up the court and avoid being picked off by Andrew’s touch shots often enough to battle through 15-12. The visiting player picked up his accuracy and speed getting forwards in the next two games though to completely dominate as Jan found himself pinned deep and dropped to death. Both ended 15-4. The fourth was also over by the mid-stage as Andrew built another substantial lead, though Jan showed some late resistance to get back out of the pattern of being pushed into a back corner and then dropped, winning enough rallies to close to 9-12 at one stage before finally going down 3-1 (15-12, 4-15, 4-15, 9-15).
A withdrawal on the day of the game due to injury had resulted in a scramble to find a third player. We eventually got Tom for a debut for the 1sts… having first got him to stop the solo practice session he was having at the club when the phone call came (commitment!). Tom should no ill-effects of the 20 minutes already in his legs as his movement was at its usual exceptional level. This clearly got into opponent Douglas Hudson’s head, a few incredulous looks to the balcony early on as if to say “how did he get to that?!?” being followed by the standard string of errors from trying to be too tight as Tom turned a 7-2 deficit around into a 15-10 first game success. Douglas cleaned things up in the second, with Tom maybe getting a little passive towards the end as this game went the Nuffield player’s way 15-11, but Tom stepped up and fought back to claim the third 15-13 (Douglas is probably still having nightmares about serving out when 13-12 up!). The key to this game was Tom slowing things down and moving up the court even more, and these tactics worked a charm in the fourth as Tom built an big early lead and then cruised home as Douglas’ confidence drained away. Final score 3-1 (15-10, 11-15, 15-13, 15-2).
With the top two strings taking a while to complete Mark Oppen (1) and Teejay Sognuro moved next door to play their game. Which means I didn’t see that much of it (being on court at the same time). But it appears that Mark played pretty well in the opener, albeit with more Oppen-boasts than is totally advisable (one is too many!). Except these shots were so unusual they were catching Teejay out. He began to read them coming in time though, and his own excellent kills came into play to win the game. Oppen-boasts are often a sign that Mark is struggling physically, and the second game escaped fairly quickly as he struggled to stay on the power. But a bit of a breather helped for the third, which Mark succeeded in making reasonably tight, though he was mostly on the defensive and not in the end quite tight enough to claim a game from the evening. It finished 3-0 to Teejay, the game scores (Mark’s first) 12-15, 7-15, 11-15.
Skipper Jan commented “It was a good evening of Squash, but in the end they were just a bit too strong. Tom played really and looked every inch a first team player.”