Monday, 30 November 2009

Firsts home v Dalgety Bay (Wed, 25 Nov,'09)

GRG1 were up against league topping Dalgety Bay 1. With the Fifers battling traffic across the bridge the matches went on as the opposition filed in.

First two matches on were Brian Buchanan against Richard Northin at 3 and Chris Mair against Neil Bennett at 2. Brian and Chris were trading blows in all the games to about 4 all but with relentless efficiency the fife men would come strong and pull away to take the game. Net result - two 3-0 losses for the grangers.

Robin Steel then took on Mike Sutherland at 5. Over 3 close games the Steel man hammered out some driving bullets but Mike had just a boast and drop too many in the end and came out 3-0 winner.

Al Hamer was next up against Allan Tasker at 1 and really came out of the blocks flying. Al took an 8-3 lead in the first game before tasker hauled him back to close out 10-8. Again in the second al put the pedal to the metal and was covering the court well but ultimately the game slipped 9-6. With the legs a little less willing in the third Tasker went on to take a 3-0 win in the end.

Last up was Rich against Ian Paltiel. After loosing the first and as the crowds have come to expect the grange man dug deep and took the second before the depth and precision of Ian's shot took their toll and he came out the 3-1 winner. So, some good games, but ultimately 20-3 against - the final score.

Overall 0-5, 3-18. (Report: C Mair)

Friday, 27 November 2009

Thirds "home" v Dean1 (Thurs, Nov 26,'09)

Second placed The Dean Club came to fortress St George's to see if they could knock us off our pedestal. Ross of Dean kindly supplied marking sheets at St George's as our stash had disappeared.

First up at #4 was a Marco's Old Boys reunion as Grange's Andy Whitelaw took on David Thompson. Andy caught a few Z's for the first game but somehow came alive to chase back to 8-8 and straight on to 10. Crucial, as David won the next one and was playing well. Andy became a bit hampered in his movement with a niggle. After another exchange of games, Andy managed to keep his creaking body from falling apart and stumbled over the finishing line 3-2.

At #2, Dougie Brown was blasted out of it in the first by Casey Hurren. For the next 3, Dougie pushed the ball to the glass and stopped Casey hitting out, closing out 3-1.
At #5 Christy Looby got enough errors off Ross Anderson's racket to take the first two. Credit the Dean man, he used his reach and big forehand to get back on even terms. Somehow he returned to the original gameplan of a few tins, serve outs and strokes to let Christy push on for the fifth 3-2.

There was a good #1 match on one court but everyone crowded to see the drama of #3 Stokes v James Birkhead. This was disputed, not just with the players but with the ref too. Some excellent retrieving from James and Alan pulling the strings, it went to 2-2 and included a lengthy discussion of the "turning" call. In the decider, Stokesy off to a flyer to get a decisive (or so we thought) 7-4 lead, but James had the stronger finish: 2-3.

Meanwhile another Marco's Old Boys reunion, Patrick Langley was playing out of his skin at #1 against Nick Wood. Nick is the type of guy that makes my back ache just thinking about him and all those clinging drops and volleys you have to dig up off of him. Patrick lapped them up, sweeping them wide to the glass or angling an exquisite counter-drops. At two down, Nick raced to an 8-1 lead in the third and a few people jumped into the showers to be back for the fourth... but Patrick had other ideas & survived numerous game-balls and clawed his way back to complete the clean-out. Man of the Match stuff, Patrick.

Overall, 4-1 and 19-10, this was one that could have gone the other way. Keeps us at the top, almost 20 points ahead of the next team, away to bottom club Heriot Watt 2 next Wed. The Dean ran up a record tab in the bar and mused about how much more they were paying for their pizzas and whether Stokesy should be "harried" or "consulted" about the history of the turning rule ;-) (Loob)

Friday, 20 November 2009

Grange 3 v Waverley 3 Thurs 19.11.09

Grange 3 continued on their winning streak tonight.

5. Christy played Donald Shearer, who had a remarkable talent for reading the Looby game and multiplicity of angles. Better than I could from the balcony anyway. Reading it wasn't enough though, he still had to get there, which eventually wore him down. 3-0 to Christy.

4. Andy Whitelaw played Richard Nettleton, dropped the first game, but came through 3-1 in convincing style.

3. Stokesy v the young David Munro was hard fought in all departments. 6 referees were required to complete the match. Al took first stint before having to play his own game and 4 others declined to take over before Richard Nettleton stepped forward to take the flak! The squash itself was exemplary though, with Alan taking the first 2, working David to all corners and near matching the youngster for court coverage and pace. David made a strong comeback in the 3rd and 4th and took the 5th 9-5. A point dropped, 2-3 to Grange. (Perhaps Alan could invite his students for a practical demonstration of the rules next week...?!)

2. Al got a class opponent in Damien Noade who played a great rallying game. Long evenly matched games slipped Al's way, 3-0.

1. Patrick was all guns blazing against Scott Gibson. The moustache also in good Village People form, showing healthy growth since Tuesday. 3-0.

Alan Ramsay also made an appearance as injured Waverley team mate.

Overall 4-1, 19-4 on points, which keeps us top of the table.

Man of the match without a doubt goes to Rocco. Non playing on this occasion, but he dished up the best Pizzas in town (he has the newspaper cutting to prove it, if you don't take our word for it). Conversation ranged widely from self dissolving contact lenses (no need to take them out and have similar effect to beer goggles) to BSCs (don't ask) and nipple tassels. Any threats to re-seat us outside, far side of the street, we took to be in gest.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Fours home v Watsons 4's(Wed, Nov 18,'09)

The 4's won 4-1 tonight with Mark going down at #1 in 3, Peter Young at #2 winning in 3, Will Henderson in 3, Mike Douglas in 5 and Rocco in 4. Team score 15-6.
The bill was a little more expensive than anticipated £62 vs £56 as budgeted for. Food however was great.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Dunbar's report on their visit to Grange 2's (Tue, Nov 17,'09)

There is an expression in Sport, a rather crude one, which applies when any Team suffers a particularly bad loss. It refers to the losers as having “had their a**** felt”. Well the Dunbar Team will have had some trouble sitting down at the breakfast table this morning, having taken a right good spanking at table topping Grange last night.

Read on only if you have a robust constitution……..

Richard Baty v Patrick Langley.
The strength of the Grange Team was evident by Patrick’s position at No.5. Patrick had beaten Dunbar ’s No.1 in a Tournament in January of this year, and if anything had improved since then. Richard was making his 2009/10 season debut and is struggling with a niggling injury which didn’t help. It also couldn’t have helped to see an opponent sporting a Moustache that was apparently being grown for Children in Need, and scared the living daylights out of those on the balcony never mind having to share the court with him! Richard was always up against it here and never stopped working, but a hard hitting, fast running, great retrieving, bad assed mustachioed opponent is tricky for anyone. 3-9, 0-9, 1-9 and Dunbar are one down in quick time….

Graeme Jones v Pete Cockburn
Two fit players and a hot court can mean only one thing – running – and lots of it! Graeme of course is very good at this, and competed really well in this match against an opponent of similar age but much more experience. The first game in particular was close, and notable for some fantastic retrieving. Not many shots were dying to a length and so the rallies were loooong. A couple of errors at seven all proved critical though, and Graeme was one down. Pete began to find some nicks in game 2 which quickly ran away from Graeme, but game three saw a return to the long rallies, back corner boasts, and ‘last man standing’ type squash. Pete took it in the end, but Graeme is visibly improving each week, both in shot selection and execution, and probably deserved a game in this match. 7-9, 2-9, 5-9.

Alistair Nichol v Robert Pfab
Regular readers of these match reports will recognize something of a consistency in the description of Alistair’s encounters, but this week you’re all in for a shock! Drop shots – no no no, don’t be ridiculous – if you go and see the latest Blockbuster, ‘2012’ at the Cinema you’ll witness a plot line more plausible than that. No, in this match we saw the normally mild mannered A.N. turn the air blue with a ball chucking, racket throwing outburst that J P McEnroe himself would have been proud of. The flash point came at the end of Game 2. Robert had sneaked a very close first game, and had game ball at 8-5 in the second. A boast to the front by Robert was chased heroically by Alistair, who got to the ball and played a counter drop which was only just up. What he didn’t see was Robert flying back up to the front wall to a position right behind Alistair – who hadn’t cleared the ball at all. Alistair wasn’t looking behind him and just collected the ball and prepared to serve at 5-8, only to hear the marker call “stroke – game to Robert 9-5”.

What ensued will not be forgotten in a hurry by all those present. First the ball was dispatched somewhere down Raeburn Place, then the language that would have made Gordon Ramsay blush, finally followed by his Wilson Hammer 140 flying in a perfect arc towards the front wall. Alistair looked at me up on the balcony and asked “was it a stroke Dave?” I don’t think he liked my answer, and he then proceeded to lose game three in ONE HAND – ‘THE GOLDEN GRANNY’ as it’s called. Will he return is the question we’re all now wondering as the normally loquacious Alistair denied us all his usual post match banter, jumped in his car, and sped off home to Berwick. Watch this space…….7-9, 5-9, 0-9.

Evan Green v Tony Gribben.
I had played Tony before and was familiar with his low hard hitting game – a tactic that means you need to be well up the court to avoid spending the evening lurching forward to dig out all those shots. Evan was well prepared as a result, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier! Tony is the last guy you want top play if you have a slightly dodgy back, and Evan was certainly feeling sore after the match having spent 30 minutes stretching forward every almost every single shot to retrieve those short hard drives. As with Graeme’s match, this was a very competitive game, and Evan had leads in all three games, particularly 2&3, being I think 4-0 and 5-0 ahead in each. Tony managed to weather those storms though and was not to be denied, just proving the slightly more consistent player. Again Evan deserved a game but it wasn’t to be, 7-9, 8-10,6-9 and Dunbar were still without a game, and staring down the barrel of the dreaded 18-0 humping!

David Legge v Nicolas Valuev – sorry I mean Robin Steel.
My opponent really was unfairly tall - probably the tallest bloke I’ve played at around 6’5”. He also hit the ball unfairly hard, was unfairly young, and added to very warm court conditions, meant that there were precious few balls he couldn’t get back. Game 1 was long and extremely hard. The decisive point was when I served at 7-7 and Robin left the ball, thinking it was down. The serve was called ‘good’ and that made it 8-7. it helped me sneak the game 10-8 to wild cheers from the balcony (not true) and Dunbar were at least on the score sheet! That was to be all I got unfortunately. The next three games were competitive, but increasingly ‘let ridden’ as we both tired a little – me more than him to be fair – and interference became a problem. Two tall players don’t make it easy of course, and we must have been a referees nightmare (in fact we were – or at least I was - sorry Robert!) The difference possibly came down to Robin’s superior retrieving and fitness as the next three games slipped away, to end a miserable night for Dunbar . 10-8, 7-9, 6-9, 5-9. (Report: David Legge of Dunbar, thanks)

Monday, 16 November 2009

Grange Open 2009 sponsored by Titan (Nov 15,'09)

The fourth running of the best wee tournament in Stockbridge came with a record entry of 41 including, impressively, 7 women. Dean Squash club to the rescue! What sporting neighbours we have. Click here for scores/results.
The ladies commenced battle mid-week with 16 year old Catherine de Kieviet our youngest competitor overall taking on two-time champ Elaine Inglis. Despite her attraction for the tin, Elaine managed to avoid diving into the plate.
Newcomer Danielle Fulton caused a stir by taking out ex-finalist Brydie MacLearnon 3-0. She then made life difficult for Moira Atkinson in the semi-final, taking her to five games before finally succumbing. Elaine had a giggly semi with Senga MacFie but it was like tilting at windmills with the much-capped Senga dominant. Grange woman Donna Cruickshank had to use her years of experience to beat Catherine in the plate final. Click on pics to enlarge.

The final saw Senga also dominate her clubmate Moira to take her debut Grange Open(GO) title.

The D-for-Dirt-trackers grade featured 10 players, none of whom would be out of place in previous years GO's C -grades. 19yo Sean Robinson proved to be no respecter of age nor reputation, by dumping out the #1 seed Dougie, almost 3 times his age. Patrick Langley showed similar disdain for rank, beating his captain & #2 seed Al Gordon. Stokesy beat Sean to avenge Dougie's defeat in their semi.

In the final, Patrick was clinical in his hitting and retrieving to take the D title. Deansters Ross Anderson & James Birkhead are contesting the plate midweek when James' posterior has recovered from Sunday's charity bike ride.

The C was dominated by the duo of Edin Uni Studs, Henry Pearce & Mahmoud Boaz El Saoud. Mahmoud had a titanic struggle with Roger Moore & then Eric Donohoe to get to the final while Henry cut loose, chopping down Robin Steel as #1 seed and then Chris Weare. Robin rescued his seeding somewhat by taking the plate from Graham Morrison while Henry had the upper-hand against a passionate Mahmoud in the final.

In the B, PKN Wilson was rolling back the years for the plate against Craig Pounder but the Dalgety Bay lefthander proved too strong to take the plate. Mike Perring lost out to fellow Granger Allan Hamer in the B final proper.

Some classic duels in the top Grade. Grant Gray was brought comedy to sufferance, telling Peter O'Hara to "F off, Peter" as he had him floundering around in the front court only to float the ball back to make him run an extra mile or 2 rather than slot it away. Colin Grant contested well with Richard McBride before being consigned to the plate where he played out a well-disputed match with Grant Gray. Colin Grant won the entertaining plate final.

Richard McBride showed good angles, counters and kills all weekend, none more so than when getting a win against one raider from the West, Iain Logan in one semi-final. John Grindley wasn't short for fitness in the other semi against O'Hara but the magician from Newlands could make the ball disappear at will with an array of shots. In the final, McBride was up for it against O'Hara and hit plenty of winners on service return but getting a point was hard work. Work he was willing to do, he was 2 games down and worked himself to a winning position in the third at 8-6 but Peter screwed the nut down and got back to parity and won the match in straight games, his second consecutive GO.

Great competition played in a very sporting spirit, thanks to all competitors. My thanks to lunch helpers Caroline Burns, Karen, Fiona McLaren and Bill Marshall. Ross Anderson & Al Gordon for running the Dean matches and Mike Perring and Chris Mair for the Grange matches. Dave Ferguson for arranging a referee for one court throughout, as ref assessor. Most of all, for sponsoring the Open and logistical help. It couldn't happen without you guys. See you all next year. (Loob)

O'Brien Bucket 2009

With 20 entrants and all the rounds played off on time, the O'Brien Bucket 2009 was as well contested as ever. Des O'Brien himself would have been proud.

As is usual these days, Wednesday's semi-finals were witnessed by a few observers in the balcony. Mike Douglas saw ex bucket holder David Grieve to the fifth game and with both men at the pin of their collars, Mike made it thru. Brian Sloan also had a marathon before coming thru against Peter Roberts.
So on Friday as the baying crowd turned up on the balcony, it was "Contender ready, Gladiator ReadddDDAAAYY" as they played off scratch. Brian got off to a blistering start running down everything to go 6-0 up. Mike soon learnt not go short so often and stopped haemorraging points but by then he'd lost the first 9-15.
It took him a little longer to adapt to playing a left-hander. He took the second 15-12. Brian was no longer getting the clean winners he had in the first. By now Brian was taking tennis-length gaps before serving but once he was advised to speed up from the official, he started serving on the call of the score. The faster tempo suited Mike more and he took the 3rd 15-13.
One rally saw a dive from Brian leaving him prostrate whereon Mike did the sporting thing and dumped a sitter in the tin. The next dive saw Brian lying helpless and legs flailing like an upside-down beetle, this time Mike understandably played the ball safely up to the wall for a presumed winner.. only to his horror to see Brian rise Lazarus-like and slash it away for his own winner. Cue guffaws from the balcony as Mike holds his head in both hands.

However it was to no avail as Mike kept his nose in front though Brian brought it back to 12-12 before tinning and losing 12-15.

So Mike adds his name on the Bucket, having previously won the O-40s cup. He received a Titan TT racket worth £75 for his cup, er Bucket run while Brian was able to treat his partner to a bottle of wine (it's in the post, honest).
Well done, guys, good show. Next up, the Inaugural Over-50's Quaich.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Results of the 2nd Winter League

This was another record-breaking league. The total number of players was up by 21 to 109, as a number of late starters and new members joined in from October. The number of games played jumped up to 207, 28 higher than our previous record. Incredibly, 90 out of a possible 96 games were played in the first 6 leagues, showing the intense competition to get a place in one of the teams.

The results of the league are here ..... 2009 Winter League 2

There are many, many contenders for Minileaguer of the year so far - too many to mention. Keep playing as many games as you can and you could be in with a shout of the main prize (a Titan racket!) or one of the extra prizes we are introducing this year. More details and standings to date next time round.

For the 3rd league, we still have 109 players and a total of 18 leagues.

For those interested, here is the full set of new leagues ..... 2009 Winter League 3

I look forward to another busy and competitive league - get your games in early to avoid disappointment with court bookings (and remember there is always St Georges if you are stuck)

Enjoy your games

Dougie Brown

Friday, 13 November 2009

Firsts @ Waverley (Wed, Nov 11,'09)

And so the fun bus took to the streets and headed over to the south side for an encounter with old div 2 rivals Waverley. Cold as it was outside Ferguson and Co were having none of it inside and the courts were healthy warm and bouncing big.
First up was Robin Steel against Mike Reid. Robin slammed the ball around from the off and stormed to a 2 nil lead but inch by inch Mike hauled him back and eventually overcame Robin to sneak a 3-2 victory. Mike Perring was up against Rob Speight as the number 4s clashed. Mike played a steady game and was able to take a 3-1 victory to level the match early on.
Chris Mair and Niven Simpson took to the court in the 3rd string match. Things were tight at one all until Chris tried to mix it up with some alleged drop volleys only to give away an easy 3rd and bow out 3-1 down. Our Guyanan national Rich picked up the baton and took on Dougie Kempsell at 2. A couple of winning games were meted out by Dougie in quick succession before Rich dug in and got the 3rd but Dougie's touch prevailed to take him home the 3-1 winner.
Will Kerr and Chris Ferguson rounded proceedings off with some fast and furious hitting. Will had some nice touches especially in the second but ultimately couldn't stop the bookies favourite taking it 3-0.

Pints and pizza afterwards were all good banter but in the words of MPs blog from last week............... perhaps another opportunity missed. 18-9 against. The final score. (Report: Chris M)

Thirds home v Bank of Scotland (Thurs, Nov 12,'09)

In St George's, Mark Dutton broke strings that he wasn't happy with anyhow early on. With a borrowed racket he was much happier and had the usual corkscrew and corkbreak serves to discomfit John Burnett 3-0.
Christy swished his way past Phil Brown in 3. Ian Forbes didn't have one of his better performances in his own estimation but still beat Bruce Melvin 3-1. Patrick saw off Robin Nisbet, also in straight games.

Stokesy and Rob Norris played out the match of the night, a contest to see who could keep their trackie bottoms on the longest. In the end it was a draw as they both decided their muscles were warm enough after the fourth game! An exhibition in ball placement by Alan versus a demonstration of telecopic arm retrieving by Rob with Alan just shading it and the Man of the Match award. 3-2.

Thanks to Andy Whitelaw for support, checking out his team for next week onwards after a good spell with the dirt-trackers aka Grange 4. Back at fortress Grange with just two bank men showing for the hospitality, there was enough pizza for an army. Talk turned to the refereeing assessment at the Grange Open this weekend with 2 bank men down for trial by squash player.

5-0, the thirds train trundles on with a 20-4 score which doesn't reflect on how competitive the tie was. Report: Loob

Grange 4 home v Waverley 4 (Wed Nov 11,'09)

This was the first defeat (but a narrow one) for the Grange 4th team. Two Grange players (myself included) were 2-0 up but lost 3-2. A win in either game would have converted a narrow loss into another healthy win.

5th string - Mike Douglas v Heather Spens
This was always going to be a tough game but Mike deserved his 2-0 lead. The game swung either way with good squash from both players. In the 3rd game Mike had a match point to win 3-0 but Heather refused to give up and won the 3rd and then the 4th game. Mike went 7-2 up in the 5th but Heather came back again and won it 9-7. Mike can feel very unlucky even though Heather played some good tight squash and refused to give up.
3-2 to Waverley

4th string - Will Henderson v Neil Kempsell
Will was up against an experienced player who could hit some excellent drop shots and hard driving winners when given the chance. However Will had the speed and fitness advantage and also had enough shot control to keep the advantage throughout most of the game. A good win against an experienced player.
3-2 to The Grange

3rd string - Neil Love v John Allan
I didn't see much of this game as I was marking another game. However Neil said that he used his favorite tactic to good advantage i.e. boast the ball. If that works boast it again. Rinse and repeat until your opponent loses the will to live. However there was more to Neil's game than just boasting and he won both of the last 2 games convincingly 9-0. Another good win for the Grange man.
3-2 to The Grange

2nd string - Dean Wood v John Usher
Dean said before the match that he had not been feeling 100% fit. So it was just his luck to come up against an extremely quick and fit opponent. Dean could match his opponent's shots but his opponent's fitness was a huge obstacle. He reached any shot that was not an outright winner and looked like he could do it all night. The 3rd game went to 10-8 so Dean was unlucky not to pick up a game at least.
3-0 to Waverley
1st string Andy Whitelaw v Peter Cochrane
With the overall result being decided on this match things were looking OK for the Grange as Andy went 2-0 up. However as tiredness set in Andy's shots became looser and the number of unforced errors increased. Peter kept his game together well and pressed home his advantage to deservedly take the match 3-2.
3-2 to Waverly

The overall match result was only 16-12 to so this was a narrow defeat and certainly not a major set back for the 4th team.

Food - Franco's Pizzas (were you expecting anything else?) Report: Andy

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Grange 2 v Mammas 1 Tues 10.11.09

Good matches against the Mammas team.

5. Al was in the comfort zone with Brian, 3-0.

4. Pete Cockburn had his work cut out with John Rae who has a sixth sense giving him superb anticipation. Pete was undeterred though and came though 3-1. Chris Mair was being assessed as level 3 referee, but this gentlemanly affair produced only 2 out of the 10 decisions he needed.

3. Chris moved onto Dougie's game against Stewart, but such tight shot making and graceful clearance of the ball gave no decisions after the first game! In the end Dougie won 3-1 with only 2 decisions in total, but Chris had given up and gone next door after the first game...

2. Lets, strokes and appeals abounded and Chris was done in no time, quickly followed by Robin Steel! Mike Hall and Scott's high paced game was close on points but Mike held control throughout to win 3-0.

1. Tony played Roger Moore. Roger did everything right and with forward T position was able to pick up Tony's low shots that are deadly to the rest of us. I shan't let Tony forget losing the second from 8-4 up. A good match to watch. Roger won 3-0.

Overall a solid 4-1 win, 17-7 on points. Pizzas are probably not the best choice when Mammas visit, but we had them all the same. Much of the bar chat centred around experiences of Jim Dougal, and how best to deal with unusual players. John Rae proved to be a font of experience in this regard, and shared with us the safest place to be on court with the Looby windmill (under his armpit apparently).

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Firsts home v Edin Sports Club (Wed Nov 4,'09)

Mike Perring went on early at 5 against J.J Tait who was a last minute replacement and looked like he needed to be elsewhere in a hurry as Mike won comfortably in 3.

Will Kerr went on at 3 and had a titanic battle with John Hibbert. Will was moving really well around the court and playing some really tight squash but was matched point for point by John who covered every inch of court 2 several times over as it went to five. The younger legs of Will saw him pull away for a hard fought and impressive victory.

Allan Hamer had his hands full at 2 as it looked as if he had met his match in terms of fitness with Rab Mcgill. The former grange club champ played error free squash forcing The current champ into some uncharacteristic mistakes. Al wasn't helped by the fact he'd been floating somewhere in the north sea and not played any squash for a few weeks. Rab won 3-0 but on another day I think the result could have been different.

Ian Green drew the short straw having to play Simon Boughton at 1 and realistically never stood a chance. Ian put in a good show though and made the Sports Club star man break a sweat and racked up a few points in the process but the result was never in doubt as Ian went down fighting 0-3

With the tie in the balance Richard VL was up against Barry Masson at 4 and this one could have gone either way. Barry won the first without too much trouble but Richard got into the match in the second but was pipped 10-8. However Barry looked as if his lungs were about to explode and Richard took full advantage in the third winning it in double quick time. It looked like Barry was on his last legs and the energiser bunny style of the Van Man was going to triumph but a second wind meant Barry clawed his way back into the fourth and sneaked it - 1-3.

Overall 9-16 which isn't a bad result but could be seen as a missed opportunity to register a first win. (Report: Mike P)

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Squash Matrix

Click here to see the new Squash Matrix, and rankings of Grange 1 v Waverley 1 for this weeks fixture.

I'm not going to publish the Grange team here, but Squash Matrix says we could take this at 3, 4 and 5...

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Dean's version of Events 03.11.09

Thanks to Ron and Ross Anderson for their report.

Dean lost 4-17 last night, but put in great performances when missing 4
players from our usual team and taking on probably the best side in
division 5. (Al's italics) Not much wrong on the night that a few Sunday sessions won't
sort out.

5. Andy vs. Will Henderson

Saw just the last 2 rallies, thought that they were rallying fairly
evenly. The scores show that Andy must have had the worst of it, though.

Perhaps at this level Andy needs to be able to straighten the ball
slightly more, and push his opponent into the back corners when he gets
a chance. That will come, though. 0-3.

4. Derek vs. Pete Young

The usual sublime squash that we have come to expect from Pete, where he

makes a mockery of opponents' superior speed and fitness with
well-chosen,. well-executed strokes. Derek fought very well in the first

game (which I refereed); but I was still most impressed that he managed
to take a game subsequently, as Pete has run a few of us all over the
court in the past few years. A very good point for the team. 1-3.

3. Ronnie vs. Neil Love

Ronnie played the most controlled squash of anyone in the Dean team,
despite a late call-up and being dropped in at #3 instead of #5. Neil
was very comfortable attacking anything that was short in the court,
even fairly tight balls, and played a lot of outright winner. Ronnie was

getting his measure as the match progressed, and putting a bit more pace

on the ball to force his opponent to take it deeper in the court. The
fitness advantage and modified tactics saw Ronnie's score ramping up 1,
3, 5 - but he ran out of games before he could get to 9. 0-3.

2. Mark vs. Andy Whitelaw

Andy's drops were even more accurate than those we usually see from
Nick, as long as he had time to play them. Mark shook him a bit with
some powerful, tight driving; but the most controlled squash we saw from

the Grange side all night proved just too tough a task. The driving game

on the backhand side from Mark was very similar to the game that Craig
often plays: just needs a little more consistency, and a couple of
attacking options so that his opponent doesn't have the luxury of
sitting deep in the court. Managed to take it to a tie-breaker in one
game, I seem to remember. 0-3.

1. Craig vs. Mark Dutton

A determined performances from Craig, and an almost as determined
performance from Mark. Think it was finally won with a tie-breaker in
the 5th game. As usual with Craig, some superb tight drives on the
forehand, and some slightly slower but equally accurate drives on the
backhand. Fitness may have been an advantage, with Mark not chasing some

drops towards eh end that weren't exactly outright winners. The
corkscrew serves from Mark probably tipped the balance: they are not yet

"bankers" for him, to put it mildly. Great resolve from Craig to avoid
the 5-0 defeat.

Overall I think we can be pretty pleased not just with taking that many
points against far more experienced team players, but also with the
quality of the squash our team played. Stuck to the basics well under
pressure, and never gave up. (Report: Ron Todd, thanks)

Grange 4ths vs Dean 2nds. 3rd November 2009.

The growing strength in depth of the Grange club was very evident last night when a 4th team that had three withdrawals on the day before the match was able to call on further players at short notice and still defeat a capable Dean 2nd side by 19 points to 4 in their inaugural meeting (inaugural meaning that neither Dean nor Grange have had that many teams before….).

First up at No 5 was Will Henderson against team squash debutante Andrew Johnston. Will played a very strong match all the way through and was always in control against Andrew who played very well in patches but looked to have a few first match nerves to deal with. Might have to watch those foot faults though….a couple of them involved neither foot within six inches of the box. 9-2, 9-1, 9-2.

At No 3 Neil Love took on Ronnie Hynds and likewise was in control for the majority of the game, particularly at the front of the court. Ronnie began to ramp up some serious resistance in the 3rd game but Neil went up a step in response and closed it out. 9-1, 9-3, 9-5.

At No 2 Andy Whitelaw ran out a 3-0 winner against Mark Macefield. Very tight and controlled squash from Andy saw him maintain his 100% record for the season so far. Mark took him to a tie-break in the second but Andy successfully defended that and resumed dominance in the third. 9-1, 10-8, 9-2.

At No 4 Pete Young took on Derek Mills after having come over direct from a 5 setter mini-league match. Pete has a good record against Dean sides and so it proved again with plenty of tricksy hobbit shots to keep Derek constantly on his toes and often on the back foot. Derek rose to the challenge with a convincing 9-3 defeat of Pete in the third but Pete turned on the heat in the 4th to run out a winner. 9-4, 9-2, 3-9, 9-0.

The main entertainment of the night (at least in sporting script and closeness of contest terms) was provided by the No 1s Mark Dutton and Craig Wallace. A perfectly executed corkscrew serve in the opening minute looked like it might set the scene for some fun … but some not so perfect ones in the rest of the match may better be left unreported. The first game was hard fought and went Mark's way 9-7 after Craig had led for much of it. A similar story in the second and third with the lead changing hands several times in each game with Craig taking both, primarily through some excellent drop shots to the backhand corner which Mark had little answer to. Mark changed tactics in the fourth game and managed to keep Craig away from the deadly front corner and in the back of the court for much of the game. The fifth game saw the lead change a number of times as well with Craig's dropshots coming to the fore once more. Mark began hanging back too much (some say through fading fitness…some say in resignation at his own disbelief that he kept feeding Craig's forehand drop) and that gave Craig enough chance to close it out 10-8 after a few exchanges of serve at 8-8. A good hard match that could have gone either way….and did. 9-7, 5-9, 7-9, 9-6, 8-10.

A great result at 19-4 to the Grange. Big top of the table match at Waverley next week….

Grange Open teams over 33 seasons: finishing positions

Grange 2 away to Watsonians 3 - 3 Nov 2009

Strongest team that we have come across so far, but a great win 17 - 10 (4 ties to 1).

Pete Cockburn had a very tight first game with Mike Callaghan, secured with some deft boasting, but then Mike's legs were gone and Pete raced away to a 3-0 win. Dougie caught Ed Murray just after a 2 week break in St Lucia and it showed - Ed was not getting to his drops. Dougie was sharp to go 2-0 up then Ed rallied to take the third. Dougie let 7-0 and then 8-3 slip to go 8-9 down in the fourth, before clinching it 10-9. (3-1)

Mike Hall had a titanic struggle with the legendary Jim Dougal with the umpire much troubled for decisions. 2-0 up before the Dougal rally, Mike held it together to make it in the fifth (3-2). Tony Gribben had some very long rallies with Ally Carruth, but the opponent was too strong on the night and despite a close third, Tony went down 0-3.

The number 1 match was a corker. Robin Steel took on the very useful Mike Sinclair and the audience marvelled at the incredible retrieving and skill by both players and levels of fitness the rest of us can only dream about! Robin eventually prevailed 9-7 in the fifth. Superb.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Grange 3 @ Royal Bank of Scotland 03.11.09

RBS started with 3 players tonight and finished with 2.

Ian Forbes and Christy were opponent-less but came down to support, referee and eat. They also played each other, refusing a referee but they report good clean squash and 3-1 to Ian.
Stokesy had a close run with Richard Maspero, 10-8 10-8 9-4.
All I saw of Patrick v Steven Hart was Steven flat out on the changing room floor. Patrick was 2-1 up, but Steven had retired with back trouble.
From 7-0 up, Al inexcusably lost 18 consecutive points. Eric repayed the mistake by calling set 1 in the 4th. The 5th went 9-7 to Al. Both were compared by Stokesy in the bar to the style of Rab McGill, if that helps you imagine it!

Overall 5-0 20 points to 5.

Chat in the bar strayed onto Real Tennis at the Grange and the forthcoming EGM. Richard and Eric rustled up pies and beans. We all retired on full stomachs, except Stokesy who threatened Patrick with a night on the tiles....

Let's hope RBS's injured players are back in action soon.