Friday, 26 February 2010

Thirds at The Dean (Wed, Feb 24,'10)

Here is The Dean account:
With second place under contention, Dean 1, under constant scrutiny from the pundits, were up against it. Grange, the Goliaths of division 3 brought their strongest team of the season. Who better to kick off the proceedings than our very own David. He fought hard for the Dean cause against Patrick, who had beaten Nick reasonably comfortably in the away fixture. Patrick, expecting an easy tie, playing the lowest he's ever played, was thrown left and right with David's constant trickery. He had to dig deep to pip David, 9-6 in the 5th.

While this was happening, James (speaking in the 3rd person), was up against a tricky opponent in Rob Pfab, showing signs of improvement given his poor form this year, he equalised the game at 1-1, taking the second game 10-9. Only to be quickly dispatched 9-1,9-0 by some incredibly clinical finishing in the 3rd and 4th game.

Dean 0 - Grange 2.... its looking like the pundits are going to be right.

On court one steps Craig, against an on form Alastair Gordon, who (normally playing at two) has yet to lose this season. Surely Craig must be up against it here?
On court two, Casey and Pete Cockburn begin to warm up. Pre-season statistics point towards a victory for Pete. But will home advantage play its part?

Craig narrowly loses the first game 9-7, but manages to claw back the second 10-9.
Meanwhile Casey's gameplan (of spank the ball and kill everything) seems to be working, as he heads towards an upset taking the first two games reasonably comfortably 9-7,9-6.

Craig manages to secure the third game to go 2-1 up, taking it 9-7 in another close game. However, Alastair steps it up a gear and levels with a clinical 9-2 win.
Back on court 2, Pete Cockburn turns the game around, dominating the rallies, changing his game plan to keep away from Caseys winners, levelling the tie at 2-2, taking the 3rd and 4th 9-5, 9-7.

This is the time for Heroes.

Casey, reminded by his team mates of how he won the first two games, steps on court reverting back to Plan A (if it aint broke, dont fix it). Slapping the ball around the court, and punishing mistakes from Pete he dominates the rallies, taking any chances he gets on his forehand and backhand. Pete, with a few lucky hits, and some nice length work keeps the tie even. The game heads, agonisingly, towards a close finish. But Casey hits hard to steal the game 9-7.

Back on court 1, all eyes are on Craig, who is in the form of his life, confidently killing the ball at the front of the court. Staying in rallies, with determination that can only Dean spirit can give you, he keeps the tie close, and takes it to 8-8 (having already had a few match points). Alastair clings in there, with a lot of luck, and also a lot of skill. The set is tied at 9-9. With match points left, right and centre. Some of the spectators can hardly look. Hearts in mouths as match point after match point is saved by both opponents. Until finally, with a punishing crosscourt Craig nicks the match 10-9.

2 games all.

Grange have seen it before, but have always come through in the end.

Nick steps onto the show court, against a strong opponent in Tony Gribben. Smelling Grange blood he dominates the first game 9-3. Meanwhile, James heads for a shower, expecting to return somewhere into the end of the second game. Returning, he hears the markers call of, "8-5, match ball".
James pinches himself to check he isnt having a wonderful dream, dashing over to the balcony. Tony manages to save the match point, but Nicks dominance shows as he eventually takes the third game 9-5 to steal the game, the match and the victory for Dean.
Well done everyone! (James Birkhead)
The Grange account
The Last of the Unbeatables....
..... has gone!

Disaster zone. Patrick Langley beat David Thompson at #3 and Rob Pfab beat James Birkhead at 4. Pete Cockburn lost to Casey Hurren 2-3 at 2 – didn’t see it. Ali G lost 10-9 in the 5th against Craig Wallace. The Nick Wood v Tony Gribben decider went pretty quickly to Nick who was on very good form. Overall 12-17 I think.

No word on food or MoTM - the troops are too shell-shocked. Well done The Dean.
The only consolation is that only 5 points have been chipped off our lead of ~50 points with just 3 matches to go.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Close Finish in Over 40's Final

Mike Slack took the honours in a topsy turvy match with Ian Gordon on Friday night, coming out 3-2 winner.
Mike made a lively start in the first set being quick to the ball and playing good length to close it out 15-11. Ian then began to get his eye in and started to take Mike's serves early with some nice drives down both walls. He began to dominate the centre of the court putting Mike on the defensive. After the loss of the second 15-9 Mike seemed to tense up and lost a quick run of points to lose the 3rd by the same margin. Mike's busier game was not working and it looked as if he might lose in 4.
The start of the fourth set saw Ian off again to a flier. This time however, Mike managed to pull a couple of points back and then began to tighten up his serve on both forehand and backhand. With Ian tiring and not able to pick up easy points, Mike came through the fourth 15 -11.

With the competitions secretary satisfied that another handicap final was going to a decider, the fifth set opened with Mike again in the ascendancy. He kept Ian moving but with the finish line in sight, both competitors became even more edgy to take the set to 11 all. Mike dug deep to get his nose in front finally taking the set to win the match 15-12.
Mike wins his first Grange trophy and a Titan bag from our sponsors as the spoils of victory, with Ian being consoled with with a bottle of red from the competition secretary's fine cellar.
{Report: Peter Young (Competitions Secretary)}

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Heriot Watt 3 vs Grange 4 Feb 17th 2010

The Grange 3rd team might have their fancy unbeaten record while the 4ths have to live with the ignominy of the sole defeat at Waverley early in the season, but the challenge is still being thrown down by the 4ths as to which team will end the season with the most points per match. The 3rds have 255 from 14 matches while after last night's second 20-pointer in a row the 4ths have 270 from 15.

A visit to the students can sometimes be a bit of a worry depending on the current crop who happen to be passing through this term, but on this occasion it was Grange 4 well in control all the way with a 20-5 win.

The night opened with Will Henderson at No 2 against Brendan Forrester. Will had contemplated being a late pull-out due an ankle injury he'd suffered just a few days earlier, but played on through the pain to record a good 3-1 win. He opened well and took the first two games in a close struggle by adopting a slow lobbing and dropping game better suited to a chap with a gammy ankle. Brendan finally got the hang of that in the third game and pushed Will around the court but in the fourth game Will turned the heat up and took it easily.

At this stage it should be noted that the panic level in regard to Andy Whitelaw's continued non-presence was low at Defcon 1.

Gordon Sloan took on Alistair Ross at No 4 and as is now virtually guaranteed every time Gordon walks on to a court for the teams he took games 1 and 2 for just the loss of a couple of points. Alistair then put him to a much sterner test in the third game and for a while Gordon was doing his best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He regained control though and closed out for a good 3-0 (again…).

Now at Defcon 2 for Andy Whitelaw….defined as "mild concern…but SURELY he knows he's playing….doesn't he?"

Alan Stokes at No 1 was up against Richard Gordon and also up against the clock as he was keen to be off for a dinner date. The dinner (and the date) had to get cold though as Alan was taken to 5 games in a titanic and high quality struggle. Alan took the first two and then went walkabout a little in the third and fourth. He controlled the fifth game well enough although it did take him four goes to actually take the match point. He was last seen singing snatches of "Fly Me To The Moon" as he quickly packed his kit and raced off to see what could be salvaged of his by now thoroughly shrivelled starter.

Defcon 4 raised so Mark Dutton now prepared for the ultimate sacrifice of playing at Andy's No3 spot in case he couldn't be found and we had to forefeit No 5. That match started against Michael Last Name Indecipherable On My Notes(Ross). A quick and quite heavy loss in the first game was reversed in the second with both players making sequences of mistakes to lose points rather than points being won. The very strange sound and grey front wall of the all-glass exhibition court really do take a little getting used to. The third game went to Michael LNIOMN(Ross) and Mark dug deep to save the fourth game to take it to a decider. Mark finally hit his straps in the last game and won it easily with just a couple of points conceded. 3-2.

In between games, urgent phone calls were made trying to find Andy's mobile number (which rather annoyingly isn't on his mini-league table). Finally got Christy on the second attempt who knew Andy's number. Called Andy who was in a quite relaxed state of blissful ignorance in front of the telly at home. Luckily hadn't yet had his dinner or the planned bottle of Chardonnay and was in a fit state to play and said he would be there very shortly. I can't be certain but I might've heard a muttered "oh damn..." when I informed him that "there" was in fact out at Heriot Watt.

Panic now over, Andy arrived just as the No 3 match had finished and walked straight on to court at No 5 against Zsolt Hosz (great name for a Scrabble triple-word square). The rush out to the courts didn't seem to have affected his game in any way and all three games were put away very comfortably to complete Grange's clean sweep.

A very pleasant surprise was to find that old Grange stalwart John Graham had taken a look at the fixture list and had decided to pop out to make his re-acquaintances with some old team mates. He was in fine form and says "hi" to all of the other folks at the club.

The food was pretty good. Hamburgers and chips all round. MOTM.....probably Stokesy.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Squash Dinner: all welcome

This year we will be celebrating a successful season on the courts with a night out to which all members and their forbearing partners are invited.

Date: Friday 9th April - Squash Dinner

Venue: Grange
Time: 7:30pm till late
Evening informal (not necessarily the same as the morose couple pictured ;-)
Partners welcome!

3 course sit down dinner with 1/2 bottle wine per person included. Tickets available from behind the bar or contacting Rob Pfab
Cost: £30 per ticket

Remember: all members welcome, whether you are in the 18th mini-league or you are the club champion.

Two's away in Dunbar (div 3, Feb 16,'10)

Grange 2 travelled long & far to meet Dunbar on their home turf. Grange 2 were defending their position at the top of division 3, and Dunbar, sitting in the lower half of the table, were looking to claim a scalp.

Robert Pfab (5) got Grange off to the start they’d hoped for, seeing off Richard Baty in 3 sets.

Pete Cockburn (4) had a bit of a tense start in his match against Philip Revell. His fitness finally saw him through 3-1.

Tony Gribben (3) never looked comfortable against Alistair Nichol. Alistair took advantage of Tony’s poor form to seize the 3-0 victory.

Robin Steel (2) used his trademark “blast ‘em off the court” strategy to good effect against Graeme Jones, securing a strong 3-0 win for the Grange.

Richard Van Lienden (1) got off to a slow start against a nimble David Legge. Richard started to wake up towards the end of the second game, but before he knew it, he was trailing 0-2. He then pulled his socks up and started to compete, winning the next two games to tie the match at 2-2. A hard-fought 5th set was finally won by a determined David.

Man of the Match: Richard "The slumbering red dragon" van Lienden, who finally woke up halfway through his match, put up a brave fight, and only just got beat.

Food comment - soup and sandwiches 4/10 - a long way from a Michelin Star.

All in all, a close 3-2 victory to Grange (16-9 on points) keeps Grange 2 in pole position. (A Pfab report)

Friday, 12 February 2010

Grange 3 v Waverley 3 away Wed 10th Feb 2010

Chicken fajitas, cous cous salad and millionaires shortbread. All homemade by David’s mum. That’s up there with Roccos for best food of div 4 2009/10. And it came at the right time for we had probably burned more calories than ever before - both playing and spectating. It was an anxious time as the unbeaten run hung in fine balance, and Waverley very nearly had us.

At 5, Mark Dutton looked truly beat by Richard Nettleton at 2-0 down and trailing in the 3rd, then made a progressive recovery to a neck and neck 5th game. Both players had 3 shots at match ball. The most spectacular being Mark’s full stretch diving dropshot – every last ounce of energy employed for a sure fire match winner, but an it was just too far to reach and went an inch into the tin. A thrilling match, but it was Richard who closed out. 2-3.

Andy Whitelaw played the unusually talented Paul at 4. In the few points I saw, Paul was slamming volley drops from all over the court and had Andy working at an alarming rate. Those that saw the rest said this was the general pattern, and his team mates said he was on fire. A sterling effort by Andy to steal a game from the whiz kid, and come close in the 4th 8-10. 1-3.

I didn’t see the no.3s, Alan Stokes and Damien Noades, but anyone watching must have thought Grange was in for a gubbing at this point. Having lost at 4 and 5, and with Al looking shakey at 2-1 down next door, Stokesy was now going to 5…. Never fear, the final score was 9-7. 3-2 to Alan.

Al played Allan Ramsay at 2. Both men truly knackered after a killer game 3, but Al seemed to survive a little better and won 4 and 5 to sneak it 3-2.

Patrick strode on at 1 against David. Grange were back in the driving seat as Patrick played hard but patient and finished in convincing style. 3-0.

Overall 17-12. A great night at Waverley.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Watsonians 4 versus Grange 4 - 9th Feb 2010

All the planets and biorhythms must have been lined up for all members of the Grange 4 team last night as they made very short work of a Watsonians team who had been performing quite well themsleves in the division having won two of their previous three outings. A 20-0 result on the night.

Rather than going into details of any individual match we can just give the same story for each of the matches listed below. The Grange guys simply all came out of the blocks like they meant business and the periods of resistance that the Watsonians guys mounted (and they all did) were swiftly dealt with to end 3-0 in all matches. Only 34 points conceded in all 15 games against perfectly capable opposition is a stat that couldn't often be quoted.

No1 Christy Looby v Andrew Constable 3-0
No2 Andy Whitelaw v Peter Thomson 3-0
No3 Gordon Sloan v David Hutton 3-0
No4 Mark Dutton v Gerry Clark 3-0
No5 Richard Nisbet v Barrie Turnbull 3-0

This report can't end without noting the area in which the Watsonian guys left us for dead….namely in the true excellence of the post-match scran. Easily the best food in the division so far with a marvellous Prawn and Chicken Pie plus new potatoes roasted with bacon and rosemary. Just fab. Mark and Christy didn't have to be asked twice to go back for seconds….

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Thirds at Bank of Scotland (Thurs, Feb 4,'10)

An ultra strong team turned up at Colinton... but BOS were pretty well at full strength too. Christy was first on against #5 John Burnett. John hit some great forehand winners and short boasts to win the first convincingly. Christy managed to get the ball behind the service box in the next three and John's killer shots went AWOL. Mark Dutton was being assessed for his reffing qualification which only encouraged the windmill into "trawl" mode. He single-handedly got Mark 9 appeals towards his count of 10, as well as winning 3-1.

Captain Ali G cleaned out Phil Brown which I didn't see. Mark transferred over to do the #2 match between Peter Robin v Robin Nisbet and needed two further games to get the one further decision needed to qualify him. It looked done and dusted at 2-0 to Cockburn but Nisbet to his credit started slotting some great drops and it went to 9-9 in the fifth. Cockburn's prayers were answered as Nisbet served out and Peter closed it 3-2.
Patrick Langley at #3 faced Rob Norris and this one was a belter too as Rob played some great dropshots and Patrick did some great retrievals. Patrick pulled one back but lost out overall 1-3.

There was a wind-up on the remaining match with both players being told the tie was poised at 2-2 but somehow they saw the true scorecard and were spared going into coronary territoy to gain the bonus points.#1 Rob Pfab faced Ralph Bain at #1 and in his own words "won 3-1 in tight games. Never very comfortable with a hangover and very hot courts".

Man of the match goes to Cockburnator of the East. Overall a tight and tricky match gave us a scoreline that flattered 4-1, 18-7? (Loob)

Friday, 5 February 2010

Dougie Brown brings home the bacon at Artemis

Well done to the Grange contingent who contested the Artemis. A few Derby matches with Perring and Mair plus Brown and Forbes in the E semi!

Dougie is pictured as a happy camper with something to add to his trophy cabinet, mingling with the pro's, schmoozing with the blazers, lucky sod...
(standing: Ladies Pro R-up Nicolette Fernandez, Simon Boughton(ESC), Ladies Pro champ Vanessa Atkinson, Andy Forrest(ESC), Adrian Grant (Pro Champ), Ian Williams(ESC), Saurav Ghosal (Pro R-up).
Front: ?, ?, Chris Weare (D? Winner, Watsonians), Dougie Brown (E winner, Grange)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Waverley 4 versus Grange 4 - Feb 3rd 2009.

A very good night for Grange 4 against a Waverley side who are the other serious contenders for the Division 5 title this season. Entering the night with a 27 point buffer (WVY4 does have a game in hand) we extended it to a 34 point buffer at the top with a 17-10 win.

Dougie Brown at no 2 opened the festivities against Donald Shearer. An excellent match of squash was characterised by tight wall shots, good width, good length, lots of volleying and lots of variety in pace….all the things textbooks tell you should be done. The first game was a tight stuggle with Dougie pulling away at the end to take it. Dougie further wore Donald down to take the second more comfortably but the third was a very hard fought match that could have gone either way. At 9-8 up Dougie's potentially match winning overhead volley just took a few atoms of paint from the top of the tin and Donald put the pressure right back on to come within a whisker of taking the game before Dougie finally closed it out. We folk in the gallery did have a momentary vision that the paint atoms were going to be the difference between 3-0 and 2-3, but Dougie is made of sterner stuff….

Next came Andy Whitelaw at number 3 against Colin Cruikshank and it was all looking like a bit of a no-contest at 9-0, 9-3 in two quick games to Andy. However, the words chickens, before, counting and hatched all came into play and for reasons unknown the "how to close out a squash match" button was disabled in Andy's head and the gallery was bemused to see a 0-9 in the third game. The fourth game was little better from Andy's point of view and it all came down to the last. This one was closely fought with much huffing and wheezing all round as the very effective new court heating at Waverley took it’s toll on both players. A number of desperate rallies from both players at the end of the set-two game could have seen it go either way but ultimately it was Colin who triumphed. 2-3.

Ian Forbes at No 5 was initially put under the cosh by John Allan to find himself two games down. Ian recognised that he'd not really been putting any pressure on John in those games and came out in the third with a much more attacking mindset and took it well. That continued in a closely fought fourth game which Ian took. By the time the fifth game rolled around Ian was well in control and closed out nicely. 3-2.

Mark Dutton then went on at No 4 against the very capable Peter Cochrane. The first two games were evenly fought but it was Peter who kept snaffling the bulk of the points on offer to take them both. The third game saw Mark muster everything he had in an attempt to save the match and he took the third going away. Any grand ideas that Mark might have had that the match was now his for the taking were soon swatted away by Peter who quickly raced to a 6-0 lead by dominating the tee. Mark was fast running out of juice, having used it all up in the third game and was simply unable to shift Peter from the tee and the front of the court. Some token swapping of serves for a while before Peter put Mark out of his misery and let him go for a nice little lie down. 1-3.

Poised at 2 rubbers each it fell to Alan Stokes at No 1 to decide the affair against Richard Nettleton. Alan's first two games were very comfortable and his new lightweight self was moving around the court very well to dominate all aspects of the games. The third was better defended by Richard but Alan still found himself at match point 8-4. At that point Alan hit a shot high up very near the side wall line that beat Richard and Richard just gave it away and approached for the match-end handshake. Alan kindly offered to replay the point as he thought it may well have been a high ball and for just a few minutes the observers in the gallery had an uncomfortable feeling that Alan might just come to regret his generosity as Richard took the hand out and then the next two points. Regrets avoided though and a 3-0 result to Alan.

All in all a very good result for Grange 4 with the key to the night being Ian Forbes' reversal of a potentially losing match at No 5.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

GrangeSquash website: visitors from all around the squash world

January was another big month for this website with 436 Absolute Unique Visitors, from such diverse locations as USA, Kenya, Canada, Sweden, Belgium, Australia, India, France. Ireland came a calling quite a lot in Jan but of course we are dominated by visits from UK, (predominantly Scotland I would think) and about half of it our own membership. Just as importantly, 40% are people who were searching for an active squash club and can see that the high level of club activity by looking on this blog.

Overall, 2000 pages served up to our visitors in Jan. Half the visitors swing by after typing in the full web address while 40% of them get here by way of Google search, the rest see us on links on other sites.

Welcome to everybody and haste ye back!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Results of 4th Winter Minileague

This was another very busy league, with 192 games played, which is up on the previous league and pretty amazing over the holiday period!

The results of the league are here ..... 2009 Winter League 4

Well done to leagues 1 and 5 for playing maximum games. League 6 also did pretty well with 18 out of a possible 21 games in a league of 7 people! Quite a few competitive leagues, but 5 was probably the closest. Although Allan Wallace was a clear winner, only 2 points separated the other 5 players.

Unbeaten players winning 4 or more games were Keith Schorah, Jim McIntosh, Rudy Puchy, Gordon Cowie, Rocco Pannozzo and Gordon Sloan (again!).

After these results, our club President has shot to the front in the running for Minileaguer of the Year! He obviously believes in leading by example! All the contenders have played 100% of their games (there are still 24 of those!) so going on total points score the top 5 are:

Alastair Ross .... 123 points
Ian Fraser ....... 113 points
Richard Nisbet ... 113 points
Brian Sloan ...... 109 points
Chris Mair ....... 109 points

Ian Fraser leads on average points per game at 7.1, so is obviously scoring well, but has been able to play less games due to opponents injuries etc.

To have a chance of winning the overall prize, you will have to keep playing all your games and score well as well! Perhaps Ali will find it tougher to score well as he gets promoted up, so he's still catchable!

For the 5th league, we are up to 114 players and a total of 18 leagues. I decided to make make 6 leagues of 7 this time to avoid disappointing people who had been promoted, but we had enough for 19 leagues, a new record!

For those interested, here is the full set of new leagues ..... 2009 Winter League 5

I look forward to another busy and competitive league!

Enjoy your games

Dougie Brown