Sunday, 31 October 2010

Mini Squash

Six springy little uns were on court this morning with coach Claire Kidd. Aged between 5 and 7, Claire had them captivated for a whole hour, whilst parents retired to the balcony (or cafe).

Mini-squash is great fun, using small light rackets and larger bouncy balls - a great way of developing hand/eye co-ordination and introducing younger players to the game. If you have a child in this age group, or know of other youngsters who might like to have a go, the details are:-

When: Sundays - 7th and 14th November
Time: 10-11am
Where: Grange squash courts
Cost: £3
Contact Alasdair Gordon at

Friday, 29 October 2010

Stunning Results in 2009/10

Click to enlarge

The Matrix

You can now follow the teams on The Matrix (if you don't already). It's well worth a look around. Here are a few pages to get started:

A solid result for Grange 1

Grange 1 sitting at the top of div 2

The Pfab unbeaten record ....until recently ;-)

Grange player rankings

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Grange 3 v Waverley 2 - Wednesday 27th November

We were all anxious to get started our first match of the season, but turning up 2 hours early for an 8pm fixture was going overboard. Thanks to the players for forgiving this little mishap on my part.
PosPlayerRubbersGamesPoints PlayerRubbersGamesPoints
1Alasdair Gordon0117Greg Nicolson1328
2Gavin Fulton009Scott Tulloch1327
3Duncan Walker0240Mike Read1342
4Allan Wallace1339Paul Osinski0227
5Dougie Brown0115RetiredJamie Wood1331
Competition Points717
Dougie sadly retired with an injury just when he had the measure of a class opponent. Allan Wallace did amazing stuff against the cunning of Paul Osinski. Duncan had an awkward opponent in Mike Read and a very close run but lost 10-8 in the fifth. A big effort from Gavin, but Scott Tulloch, was too quick and so light on his feet. Ali G sneaked a game off Greg Nicolson, but trailed in the next 3, leaving us in 2nd place with 9 points to 19.
Not a disaster seeing as Waverley 2 were division 2 last season, missing out by 1 point, and we have just moved up from division 4. We'll have them next half though... Pizza and jammy dodgers for tea, no complaints there.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Grange 4 home v Colinton Castle 3 - Tuesday 26th October 2010

Or..."Unaccustomed as we are to public beatings…."

The 4ths long winning streak from last season finally came to an end against strong CCS3 side last night at the Academy.

Alan Stokes went on first at no1 knowing that Eric Donohoe was likely to be a handful, and so he was. The first game was over pretty quick smart with Alan managing only a handful of handouts. The second was a lot more competitive but Alan was still generally just off Eric's game and despite managing to draw level at seven a-piece at one point Eric stepped up a gear and closed that one out. The third (and unfortunately final) game was Alan's best and a high quality one all round. Alan came out of the blocks to a quick 5-1 lead followed by a long period of tough squash with Alan applying all of the tricks of the trade to see him with a game point at 8-6. Right at the death Eric turned on a spurt of good form and raced off the four points in a row he needed to close out the match. A 0-3 loss for Alan.

Mark Dutton was on at no2 against a very useful James Burnet. He came out of the blocks in good form to race to a 4-0 lead before James hit back with a similar good streak to square at 4-4. That was the last point James was to see though with another tight period from Mark picking that game up. James more than returned the favour in the second with some excellent tight boasting allowing Mark only a meagre few handouts for his troubles. The next two games were very competitive with both players dominating for periods of the games. Both games got to 6-6 but James always looked the more likely to go on with it and he took both. A 1-3 loss for Mark.

At no4 Mike Gore had a good struggle with John Hamilton. John's excellent touch was giving Mike troubles at some points in the match but Mike was equally putting John in trouble with good width and length. The early games went 4-9, and 10-8, 9-10 but unfortuantely Mike injured a shoulder muscle while serving near the end of the third. He persevered but the difference showed as he was no longer able to move John around the court as he had and the 2-9 final game score was virtually inevitable. It would only be fair to point out that John was having some troubles with a back injury during the game too. The battle of the crocks ended in a 1-3 loss for Mike.

At no 5 Andy Whitelaw had an even contest against Mark Williamson. The first two games were shared 7-9 and 10-9 but after that it got away from Andy a little bit and by his own post-match assessment he felt he was just a little to slow round the court to cope with Mark's pace and he ended up on the wrong end of 3-9 and 2-9 games. A 1-3 loss for Andy.

The final match was the best of the evening with Grange's Mr 100% (Gordon Sloan) taking on the very capable Colin Grant at no3. A tight first game went to Colin 7-9 but after that the pattern of the match was an increasing dominance by Gordon saw him begin to push Colin around the court more and more to a point where the majority of the rallies had Colin forced into a series of stretched retrievals that gave him little chance to mount attacks of his own. Gordon took the second 9-3 and then the third was a closer 9-7 as Colin increased his efforts to get back into the game. The final game from Gordon was probably the best that this particular reporter had seen him play for the teams. A faultless display of crisp tight hitting and court position that Colin simply couldn't compete with on the day to close the match out at 3-1 (and maintain his 100% record for the Grange in all competitions…).

Overall an 8-18 loss for the 4ths against a good CCS3 side. (report: M Dutton)

Grange Two's at ESC (Tue Oct 26,'10)

The second match this season saw yet again a completely different 2nd team with only 2 out of the 5 from a fortnight ago playing tonight. In a similar vein to the last match we welcomed another new member to the club and team squash, this time in the form of Duncan Walker from Trojans squash club in Hampshire.

Getting to ESC proved particularly troublesome tonight with Belford road being completely closed off, and ean bridge being a nightmare. This resulted in certain members of the team turning up late, or dumping cars at the top of the road and walking. However picture one experienced unflustered member of the Grange who through the extraordinary talent of sixth sense predicted the closure and arrive in fashion on his scooter winding his way through the road works----> Christy.

The first game on court was new man Duncan Walker vs Ken Steele at 5. This game was a hard fought 5 setter with each of the games being tight but with Duncan pulling through in the end to take the match. Duncan gets the man of the match prize. (Ed note: Duncan worked like a trojan in this one, hehe)
Score 3-2 (9-6, 7-9, 9-7, 7-9 & 9-5)

At the same time Christy Looby was playing JJ Tait at 4. The first game was a very long game in fact taking up 3 columns of score sheet. 9-9 was handed over a least ten times between the pair. You got the feeling that whoever took the opening game would win over all, and so it was. JJ won 3-0.
Score 0-3 (9-10, 4-9 & 6-9)

Next on court was Ian Forbes at number 3 vs. Pete Brierly. A long hard fought tactical game with points being traded back and forth and games going back and forth. Challenging calls, tight shots, complaints to the ref, tantrums and the odd curse featured in this game. In the end Ian won by the narrowest of margins.
Score 3-2 (5-9, 9-5, 7-9, 9-4 & 10-9)

At the same time Gary Walker began against Chris Brock at number 2. I didn't see the game but what I am told is that new boy Chris to ESC was certainly a very good player and finished off Gary quickly with a few errors thrown in to help him along the way.
Score 0-3 (1-9, 2-9 & 1-9)

Finally at number 1 Mike Hall took on Senga Macfie. Again I only saw the third game which was a tough game. Senga took this one to win all three.
Score 0-3 (3-9, 1-9 & 5-9)

Over all score 18-8 to ESC 3 with Grange 2 still seeking its first victory this season. Excellent food of sausage & chicken cheesy pasta with bread and rocket/tomato salad. (Report: Ian F).

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Grange 5 Barbarians away to Watsonians 4 (Wed, Oct 20,'10)

PosPlayerRubbersGamesPoints PlayerRubbersGamesPoints
1Richard Nisbet0012

Andrew Constable1327
2David Grieve1328

David Hutton0016
3Brian Sloan1342

Peter Thomson0236
4Mike Douglas0124

Sandy Henderson1336
5Rocco Pannozzo1335

Barrie Turnbull0224

Competition Points13


And the Babas roll on ... this time to a dark and windswept Myreside to play the mighty Watsonians 4. The day started with the matchday call that all captains dread “ Hi Mike, Rocco here. I’ve got a problem ...”. My heart sank, who did I have as sub? where are they today? and what did they think they were doing tonight? Turns out my panic was misplaced – Rocco just needed a lift. Determined not to be late, I picked Rocco up at the restaurant and we were nearing Myreside as my second call of the day came in. My phone showed “Dave Grieve”; I thought “omg” it was ten minutes before the start – he better have something terminal. Turns out he was at Myreside, but couldn’t see anyone. A few minutes later Rocco and I turned up to darkness. The main door was locked, most of the lights were out and there was no-one around. A tour of the outside of the building found a separate ‘squash courts’ entrance with a few lights on – hurray. But it was locked and no-one answered the buzzer – boo. It was now 7pm, and we were late. Soon a car arrived in the car park – the first Watsonian had arrived, and seemed a bit surprised to be the first. At least he got us into the warm.

Tonight we had a strong team with Richard Nisbet (1), Dave Grieve (2), Brian Sloan (3), me (4) and Rocco (5). With Rocco’s opponent running late, we agreed to play 3 and 4 first, so up stepped myself and Brian Sloan. My opponent was clearly too tall for the match and my protests that anyone who had to duck to get onto court shouldn’t be allowed, fell on deaf ears. However, I had been playing well and was confident of a strong contribution to the team. The first was a tight affair with my opponent being not only tall, but capable of teleporting to any part of the court at will. This proved to be a little disconcerting as he repeatedly hit boasted winners from my own winners. The first game edge out 9-5 and the second went instantly to 6-1. A steady recovery to 6-6 put me well in place for the second until some poor play saw Watsons win 9-6 to go 2-0 up. At this point, my opponent was standing awfully near the defibrillator, but I was sure it was just gamesmanship. The third was tight with no-one getting more than a single point ahead. And at 8-7 up, I served for the game – unsuccessfully. At 8-8 I called for set 2 and promptly went 9-8 down. At match point down, a hugely long rally ended in a well deserved frame shot for me! At 9-9 I served to stay in the match but again lost out and had to save another match point before finally winning the game 10-9. It was to be the turning point of the match – or so I thought. The fourth was tight at 3-3 before a series of herculean shots proved too strong for me and I had lost 3-1. But more of my excellent contribution later.

On the other court, Brian was involved in a tremendous scrap. He started well going 4-0 up before some dogged returning saw his opponent get back to 6-4 up. With the game poised at 6-6, Brian saw a few points just slip away and lost the first 9-6. The second was also tight and at 5-5 mental strength was the name of the game. At 8-7 down, his opponent served for the second, but an excellent forehand from Brian was too tight and he followed this up by levelling at 8-8. A brave call of set 1 saw Brian serve for the second game. He lost, but then so did his opponent and Brian was serving again for the second game – hurray a great drop shot and it was 1-1. The third game saw Brian’s joy short lived as he went 8-2 down, but a great recovery brought him straight back to 8-8 and another tiebreak. This time his opponent called set 2, got serve and proceeded to close out the third game. By now, Brian was getting a bit animated with himself as we went into the fourth. Head down, focus and before we knew it, the fourth game was over – a 9-3 win for Brian and another 5-setter for the Barbarians. Into the fifth, and I was sure Brian’s superior fitness was going to tell. And so it proved as Brian moved off from a 5-5 tie, to win a Titan (sponsorship please Christy!) match 9-6 in the fifth. One-all.

With the game finely balanced, Rocco was next up. And didn’t he do it with style and composure. Yes, you heard me right – composure. This is where the captain’s skills of knowing his players and adjusting his management style to suit proves its worth. Not that I was able to give any guidance or coaching to Rocco, but rather I had arranged for Dave Ferguson to come to the match and put me through my refereeing paces. So with me in the chair (and Dave watching closely at the side) Rocco had to be on best behaviour to ensure we got the two refereeing points this week. This was a game which swung back and forward. In the first, Rocco was in cool control and at 5-3 up, he served out beautifully for a 9-3 victory. But his opponent was deceptively fast around the court and from 3-1 up, Rocco just couldn’t get points on the board and lost 8 serves in succession as his opponent went 6-3 up. This game was getting a bit physical as both players vied for the T and temperament was tested as I had a significant number of calls to make. Luckily Dave agreed with the calls and the testosterone didn’t boil over, but Rocco lost the second 9-6. Watsonians were hotting up now and seemed to get into their stride running out 9-2 winners of the third, and again we were 2-1 down. But Rocco’s new composure saw him play with statesmanlike poise as he denied his opponent position on the court. He was quickly 7-1 up and after a mini-rally by his opponent, won the fourth 9-3. It was now 2-2 and we headed into the near traditional Barbarians fifth set. The first few serves were shared as the two players tested each other’s fitness. But Rocco, at 1-0 up displayed Federer-like poise as he rattled off 8 unchallenged rallies to win the last 9-0. 2-1 to the Babas.

Next up was Dave Grieve who missed last week’s defeat with a typically lame excuse like a free dinner or something. But today, Victor the Meldrew appeared to be on the happy side as he imposed his game on his opponent from the off. An early 5-1 up, quickly saw the game won 9-4 and the second was dispatched equally efficiently 9-3. But his opponent was beginning to warm up and the third was much more of a challenge. At 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3 down, Dave was getting more of a run around than in the first two games. It was clearly time to question the referee’s educational standard! This seemed to be having the desired effect as Dave got to 8-6 up and served for the match. But in the Barbarians, simple things are cast aside as dull and trivial. A couple of tight rallies rescued with lots of running around, brought the game to 8-8. Dave called set 2 and proceeded to win both the serve and the next point to lead 9-8 and serve for the match. But alas it was not to be and a lost serve was followed by another point and his opponent served for the third game at 9-9. And he should have won it, had not a weak winner been rescued by Dave who then served for the match. Surely now, but no! His opponent saved the chance to rescue his match with another winner, and Dave faced his second game point. By this time Mr Meldrew’s temperament was in overdrive and a rally of at least 20 shots went Dave’s way. Match point number 3. The crowd were silent, the players tense and the referee panicking that Dave might give him another ‘I don’t believe it stare’. But Dave won the match to bring in an excellent 3-0 victory. The match was now 3-1. Time for Richard.

Richard took to the court with the confidence of a man who knew his team had already won. A bit like Inter Milan at half time. However his opponent was quick, deadly accurate and tight and soon had Richard huffing for points. The first saw a quick exchange of points before Richard fell behind and the first was lost 9-6. By now, the Watsonian was getting into the groove and Richard’s dedly accuracy of last week again saw him hit the red line at the tin several times. In a blink of an eye it was 9-1 and we went into the third. Again Richard got off to a steady start, but the pace of the game took over and a 9-5 victory brought the last tie to Watsonians 3-0.

So in the end Grange 5 Barbarians won 3-2 with the games at 10-10. But our winning bonus of 3 and 2 ref points gave us a 15-10 victory. So all-in, a successful outing on court, if not in the kitchen. After a great match it seems that someone forgot to open the kitchen and bar and we had to retire to the Ettrick for a beer and packet of Walkers crisps. Not the best hospitality, but at least there was time to stop off at the chip shop on the way home!

Now, as you would expect, I have been taking the position of captain seriously and have been studying the early season form. And although it is only three matches in, I’ve already spotted the trend that will ensure our success this season. You see, we only win matches, when I get beaten. If I win, it seems to spook the others to such an extent that they lose. So, next week I’ll be taking my captains responsibilities even more seriously – I reckon that excuse could last me all season! (Report: Mike Douglas)

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Ladies at Edinburgh Sports Club 1 (Oct 11,'10)

The ladies first sortie in the dizzy heights of Division 1 was away to the Sports Club and their annoyingly low ceiling courts. First up was Karen at 5 who had already netted the team two refereeing points so anything else would be a bonus. The first game was over in a bit of a blur as the ESC player whacked seven bells out of the ball. The second game was a much more even affair and could have gone either way at 8:8 but sadly went their way. By the third game, Karen had managed to bring her opponent down to her level and speed and took the third game with a shocking 7 points in a row! Sadly some inter game coaching for ESC meant that the fourth game was a lot faster than the third and ESC won 3:1

Next up was Sarah-Jane at 4. The good news is that S-J found her engagement ring back in her flat later on. The bad news is that she realised her ring was missing just before her game so concentrating on a squash match was a very tall order. The other good news is that Matt phoned during her game to say that he had completed the first leg of his journey home from Afganistan. So, a very happy evening for the young lovers and, given the circumstances, it was a resounding 3:0 to LOVE and to ESC.

Number three for us was Jules who didn't have a good squash night either - her opponent quickly had the measure of Jules' legendary hammer serve and was equally quick around the court so not many easy points for us. ESC kept up the pressure and the score was soon 3:0 to them.

Next up was one of Grange's newest and youngest players, Lottie Fulton, who had Moira Aitkinson slightly shaken during the warm up. There was some fantastic rallies during the games and quite a few oohs and wows from the balcony. With the score one all, Moira decided that the best way to victory was the fastest way as she was never going to out run Lottie. Final score was 3:1 to ESC but I would happily bet the mortgage on this score being reversed next time round.

And finally, the number ones were on. Words such as ding dong, yoyo, switch on, switch off aptly sum up the first four games but the fifth was a different story. Both players were definitely switched on and some great rallies ensued. With the score tied at nine all, both players had their chance to serve for the match but neither player wanted to lose after such a close fought competition. Finally, after several attempts, ESC bagged the game and match. Final score on the night was 20:6 to ESC but given that they were overall Champions of Division 1 last year, not a bad result for our first outing in Division 1.

Now, the food report: It was FaB! Floury baked potatoes that even Christy would approve of, with about 10 different fillings. A high bar indeed but we also do dessert:)

PosPlayerRubbersGamesPoints PlayerRubbersGamesPoints
1Donna Cruickshank0233Kirsty Craig1334
2Lottie Fulton0129Moira Atkinson1335
3Julia Lutte0010Arlene Black1327
4Sarah-Jane Rennie0010Catherine Dekiewiet1327
5Karen Kennedy0118Claire Thomson1329
Competition Points418report:KK

Results: Sept 2010 Winter League 1

For those stattos/saddo's among us who like to review our decline over the season(s)...
Scroll the frame below to see how our scores totted up in September. Acknowledgement Dougie Brown.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Grange 5 Barbarians away to Dunbar 2 (thu, Oct 14,'10)

Fresh from our victory against early favourites Dean 2, our intrepid Barbarians took to the road for the first time with a visit to Dunbar. In this week’s squad were three of last week’s team; the match winning Richard Nisbet, the victorious Brian Sloan and the disappointing team captain – me. Fresh blood was introduced with two virginal players in Matt Pearson and Doug Sherriffs who were playing their first competitive squash match for Grange.

The evening started well. I picked up Richard Nisbet who told me the quick way to find their courts. Unfortunately, we didn’t think to phone the others and they duly turned up having been through the mystical maze that is the back streets of Dunbar. Luckily, we were all in place and on time.

First up were our two Baba virgins, Matt and Doug. Matt began the match meekly conceding the opener 9-3, before turning it around and evening it up with a 9-3 in his favour. However he quickly fell behind in the third and though he steadied the ship, he was edged out to go 2-1 down. At this point, his playing partner was beginning to wind him up. It was like playing Alan Stokes’ twin but with a psychotic twist. Every call was challenged, and every lost point moaned about. And if it didn’t go in his favour, a threat of a head butt was the remedy most often suggested. Matt used this to his advantage to grind out the fourth and take us into a decider. From 3-0 up, Matt was pulled back to 3-3 before again opening up a three point gap. At 6-3 up, the balcony was getting quite excited. And so was Matt as he began to leap around the court like Tigger. However, his opponent’s greater experience began to tell and he rattled off six points in a row for a 9-6 victory to Dunbar.

Meanwhile, on the other court Doug managed to rescue near victory from the jaws of defeat, only to fall back into the very same jaws he had previously escaped from. Showing signs of tension that befitted the occasion, Doug managed to throw the first game by failing to claim at least 5 clear strokes. The worst example was when his opponent hit the ball over his own head only for Doug to mishit the volley – coaching need identified here! This seemed to get him down and the second game fell the way of the first. The third game was more competitive, but his opponent’s greater experience again shone through as he led 8-6 and served for the match. But a tremendously gutsy performance saw Doug pull level to 8-8. And when his opponent called for a ‘set one’ Doug held his nerve to win the third and take us to a frankly unexpected 4th game. The fourth game was quickly dispatched by the taciturn Doug and at 1-0 in the fifth, he led the match for the first time. With both players struggling on the humid courts, Doug found a streak of form to move to 7-5 up. The excitement on the balcony was now intense as both matches reached the latter stages of the fifth game at the same time. Doug served a reasonable shot, only to see the frame of his opponent deftly drop the ball in the corner, just above the tin. This proved the turning point as Doug lost four consecutive points to go down 3-2. A really promising start in their first games, but we were now 2-0 down.

Next up were Brian and I. Obviously, I didn’t see Brian’s game but he had previously been complaining of a groin strain (I didn’t ask) so I was concerned as we were staring defeat in the face. But from the scoresheet, and the yells from the court, it was clearly a tit-for-tat match. Brian took the first 9-3, before giving the second up 3-9. He rallied to take the third 9-4, only to lose the fourth 4-9 and take us into our third five setter of the evening. The last game was a game of three halves as Brian went 4-0 up only to be pegged back to 4-4. It looks like Brian got a bit fed up with being pegged back though, because he then ran off five straight points to win the game 9-4 and make the evenings score 1-2.

On my court, I was keen to make up for the previous week’s loss, but again started slowly and lost the first 4-9. I’d mention my opponent by name, but I can now only remember him as ‘Lob Man’. Every flaming serve! I’m sure I had a ten minute nap during one particularly high serve. However, as I began to warm up, some form started to return and I managed to take the second and at 8-6 up in the third, I could feel things coming together. Until my first experience of a home howler that is. I can only describe the tackle that prevented me from hitting a winner as closer to grievous bodily harm than a stroke. But as I turned to the ref and lay my racquet down, I was dismayed to hear that immortal phrase ‘Can you play a let please?’ I politely enquired as to whether the police had been called, but he seemed to be serious, so I picked up my racquet and walked back to the service box. Being a little perturbed by the incident, I lost the next three rallies and found myself 8-8. A little extra composure was needed and I went for a walk around the court and tried to influence the ref with a ‘I’m no happy’ look. However, the break did me good and I managed to close out the third 10-8. I felt good now, and ready to close out the match. So I was a little surprised to be 7-0 down and lose it 9-1. On to our fourth consecutive five setter. The game started with an exchange of a few points but I managed to get my nose in front and close it out 9-6.

So far, it was 2-2 in matches and 10-10 in games as Richard took to the court. His opponent looked impressive in the warm up and soon the match started to drift as Richard showed off his pinpoint accuracy – if only that red line over the tin had been in! The first game flew by at 9-1 but in the second, Richard steadied the ship and there were frequent changes of serve as the game reached 4-4. But again, Richard’s accuracy proved his downfall and his opponent closed out the second 9-5. The balcony was a little tense now. The match had had lots of long rallies, but Richard was struggling to keep up with his whippersnapper opponent. The third game became frustrating as a couple of clear winners from Richard were not only retrieved by his opponent, he actually hit winners from them. This proved a fluke too far and the match was lost 3-0.

So, a 13-10 defeat in the Barbarian’s first away match. But four of the games went to the fifth, and ten points isn’t a bad contribution from a defeat. Particularly encouraging was the contribution from our two Baba virgins who had narrow defeats. They play in mini-league Division 8, so if you’re wondering whether you are good enough to play in the Barbarians I hope this encourages you to get your name down. Email me on is you fancy pitting yourself against another club.

A final mention of the evening deservedly goes to the food. A good end to a good game saw a beer and a man-sized portion of homemade lasagne placed in front of us. Beats yesterdays sandwiches and tea in the tennis matches any day. Click here to see who is heading the division after 2 rounds Report: Mike Douglas

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Firsts home v Watsonians 3 (Wed, Oct 13,'10)

PosPlayerRubbersGamesPoints PlayerRubbersGamesPoints
1Will Kerr1327

Alastair Carruth003
2Clive Allison1327

Hector Milne009
3Ian Green1327

Mike Callaghan005
4Robin Steel1335

Gordon Fruish0232
5Richard Van Lienden1327

Andrew Forrest005

Competition Points18


Having opened last season in mostly (Ian Green excepted) forgettable fashion against the Titans of Watsonians 1, this year's opener against Watsonians 3 was a slightly more enticing prospect.

Despite being without our own pocket Titan Allan Hamer and having lost two players to relocation and one to hopefully-temporary 'team squash retirement' since last season, the first four ties were won by Grange in convincing style – none lasting beyond 25 minutes - with the quality of the squash leaving this author wondering what he was doing in the same team.

Will Kerr's match at 1 was the shortest of the lot at just 17 minutes, never really taking his foot off the pedal. At 3, Ian Green continued his rapid emergence from Summer hibernation, as it were, with some excellent squash, the accuracy of his drops, including several deft cross-court dead-weighters off a high backhand, was just too much for Mike Callaghan.

Clive Allison looked solid at 2 leaving Hector Milne no chance in the first two games. But then came something of a momentum swing at the start of the third. A couple of sapping, hard-fought, high-quality rallies won by Hector developed into a real challenge for game 3, with Hector showing some excellent touch and impressive ball-striking – but ultimately to no avail as Clive edged over the line 9-7.

Richard van Lienden was up against Andrew Forrest at 5 who showed frequent glimpses of class, but in the end did not have the consistency to pose a real threat. As he said himself 'I know the theory', but tonight at least reality was another matter. At 4, while the pizza cooled upstairs,

Robin Steel had a prolonged battle with Gordon Furnish, who showed commendable alacrity in reaching the 'T' – usually arriving there about half a second before delivering his serve. After starting slowly in the first, Gordon got better and better as the match wore on, and Robin was lucky to escape with a 3-2 victory.

Final result: 18-2 to Grange 1. Report: Robin Steel

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Grange 4 vs Dalgety Bay 4 (Tue 12th October 2010)

Well it was a grand old battle to kick off Grange 4's campaign this year….a battle against the clock as much as against a strong Dalgety Bay side.

The moment we turned up at the Academy courts for our 7:30pm start we were given a polite but firm warning that lights go out at 10:00pm. Seemingly the 5ths had a very long match the week before and pushed the envelope a little. More about that later…….

We got a swift start with Alan Stokes up at no1 against a very useful and fast young player in Stephen Literacki. Stephen gave Alan a particularly hard time at the start of the first game and it wasn't till half way through that game that Alan started to get into the contest with some good boasting and lobbing to start moving Stephen around. Alan left his start a little late though and lost that game with 7 points. Alan came out in the second game in the same improved vein and just went from strength to strength with an excellent display of beautifully weighted boasts making Stephen run in huge arcs around the court chasing shadows more often than not. Alan took games two and three very comfortably. Stephen slowed the game down in the fourth game and that nearly got him back in but Alan was equal to it and ran out a 7-9, 9-2, 9-3, 9-7 winner.

At the same time we had Andy Whitelaw take the court at No5 against Graham Small. Andy started very well and looked thoroughly in control with only half a dozen points conceded in the first two games. Graham came out in a more resistant mood in the third and a long struggle ensued in which Andy ultimately came out second best. The final two games went pretty much to the same pattern with Andy staying close but always a couple of points behind the pace to lose the match in five. 9-4, 9-2, 3-9, 5-9, 5-9

Next up was Mike Gore at No 4 against Scott Drummond. A good even struggle through the first two games saw honours even although Mike was very unlucky to not take them both, with Scott rescuing a game point at 9-8 with a very finely judged boast that was only a coat of paint above the tin. The third game was all Mike and the fourth game was all Scott. The final game was a huge tussle with both playing good quality squash and a 4-4 scoreline after quite a long battle to that point. Mike suddenly found the magic at the right time and it was 9-4 before Scott had a chance to catch his breath. 3-2 to Mike. 9-6, 9-10, 9-2, 3-9, 9-4.

Will Henderson went on at No3 against Gordon Latto. A slightly bizarre start to this one with both players happily starting proceedings and getting half way through the first game before any potential referees bothered to look over the railing. They eventually accepted that it might be good to have a referee and one was duly appointed. Two fast high-quality games opened the affair with Gordon taking the first and Will the second. Will looked very strong in the third and ran out a comfortable winner and looked a sure bet to go on with it. Twasn't to be though. A booty of only three points for Will in the last two games tells the tale well enough.

Queue the more interesting end of the festivities…

By this time we were at 9:20pm with very little chance of getting through the first string match before the lights went out. The novel idea of decamping to the Grange was cooked up and phone calls made to put the cunning plan in effect. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Margaret got wind of the plan and called back to remind us that matches at the Grange have to stop at 10:00pm as well. Having wasted some time doing that we eventually got under way at 9:27pm with Mark Dutton facing the very skilled Grant Sinclair at No1. Both players agreed just to "go for it". After about 22 seconds of warm up the match commenced and it started just the wrong way….ie scores level at 2 points each after many long rallies and a dozen hand outs each with six minutes already having elapsed. Both players realised that this was no good to man nor beast and the idea of rallies just went straight out the window. It’s a bit hard to describe a match in which both players are trying to win every point with every shot. The general gist was that it was a contest between Graham's devastatingly accurate forehand and backhand boasts …and Mark trying desperately to stop him doing it by any means in the textbook ...or elsewhere. Mark took the first game after the close start and was then thoroughly bested in the second and third by the agency of the aforementioned boasts. Mark managed to a bit of a handle on them in the fourth and managed to snatch the game having been 0-5 down at one point and having rescued one match point and then taking advantage of Grant's call of "Set 1". Having taken no break at all between any of the games (poor old Stokesy didn't even have time to write the score down), there was a fighting chance we'd get the match completed. A see-saw battle to enused with Mark managing to keep his nose in front and finally closing out. The whole 5-game shooting match was over and done with by 9:50pm…..a total of 23 minutes. Gotta be a record…

A good start for the troops with an 18-11 win under the belt. Report:Mark Dutton

Monday, 11 October 2010

Grange Twos' @ Deerpark (Mon, Oct 11,'10)

The first match of the season for Grange 2 saw a markedly different team to the one that brought home the trophy in 2009. Those in particular to mention were Grange debutants Gavin Fulton and Gary Walker.

The night started out with everyone making it on time to Deer Park in Livingston; as far west as we are likely to go all season. Locals to Livingston might dispute whether they were actually part of the East of Scotland as most of them seem to associate themselves with Glasgow. However Deer Park are part of the east of Scotland Leagues and we will leave it at that!

The first game on court was former Agilent player Gavin Fulton at number 5 vs. Andy Duff. This game looked to be taking on the signs of being a marathon however once Gavin got into the game it ended up being a comfortable victory executing a number of excellent drops to take the game away from his opponent. At one point Gavin may have cursed his first game with his new club by potentially having to retire injured but managed to recover and finish off the match.

Score 3-1 (9-1, 8-10, 9-3 & 9-2)

The second game on court was Robert Pfab at number 1 vs. Colin McMullan (the first of two brothers). I only caught 2 of the games but they were very tight and of a high standard. Colin was particularly efficient, floating round the court with a silky touch. Rob pushed him all the way, but finally conceded.

Score 1-3 (5-9, 8-10, 9-7 & 7-9)

Next on court was Ian Forbes at number 4 vs. John Millar. A particularly hard fought first game which could have gone either way, certainly gave the upper hand to Ian but then immediately gifted the second game back to his opponent. Finally a second wind allowed Ian to take the next 2 games.

Score 3-1 (9-7, 3-9, 9-6 & 9-4)

Fourth on court was Patrick Langley at number 2 vs. Eric McMullan (brother number 2). This without doubt was the match of the night with observers getting out of breath just watching the effort put in on the court. Eric mixed in tight well executed shots along with seriously powerful shots when he chose to. Patrick matched him with some excellent dropping in each corner and tenacity that kept Eric having to work. Each game was extremely tight and Eric pushed Patrick to the brink in the fourth game forcing Patrick to defend 3 match points to win the fourth game. Finally in the fifth Eric won through!

Score 2-3 (8-10, 9-6, 5-9, 10-9 & 5-9)

Finally former David Lloyd member Gary Walker hit the court at number 3 vs. Milan Govan. Gary had just come back to squash after an injury and said tonight was certainly a "wake up call" but was delighted to be back playing team squash again. The games were a lot tighter than the score suggests but even with Gary's speed and clear skills Milan, who is built like a rugby play but is extremely swift round the court managed to win a lot of good rallies and take the match.

Score 0-3 (0-9, 6-9 & 0-9)

If the scoring is the same as last year it was as close as it could get with Deer Park winning 16-11 by the time you included the 3 points for the win and ref points. Food was soup and sarnies!!
Ian F.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Grange 5 Barbarians home vs Dean 2 (Thurs, Oct 9, '10)

Having assembled a fine group of the best scramblers in the club, the ‘Grange 5 Barbarians’ team took to the court for their inaugural match against Dean 2. The evening started well with both teams managing to arrive at the correct venue – the new courts at Edinburgh Academy. Alarm bells started to ring as the Dean team began to introduce their new players to the rest of their team and we got ready for the battle.
As the new Captain, I thought it only fitting that I should lead by example and so took to court first, along with Brian Sloan. My own game started well enough before my ability caught up with my confidence and it wasn’t long before I was 2-2. As we took a break in an effort to reduce the chances of an early season coronary, I was impressed to hear that Brian had gone 2-0 up on the other court. Although, having played 4 games to his 2, I did wonder what was taking him so long. Needless to say, that while Brian concluded an efficient 3-1 victory, I failed to recover from a 6-0 losing start and we ended the first round 1-1.
Next on stage were Neil Love and David Grieve. Neil was on against Richard Maspero who several people recognised from the now defunct RBS team. As they got ready to start, the first warning came when one of their players remarked that it wouldn’t be long til Richard was playing for Dean 1 – a remarkable feat I thought for someone playing at number 3. The game was very tentative with three stretches where no-one scored a point for 8 serves, but eventually Neil was consistently edged out for a 3-0 victory to Dean. What none of us had realised at this point was Neil’s remarkable foresight and planning – more of that to come.
As Richard Nisbet went onto court, attention turned to Dave who yet again (his words) got to play the ****** teenager. Dave won the first from a tie-break, then proceeded to move 9-1 7-1 up and was within touching distance of the finishing line when a twang is his sensitive area turned the match around. As he lost that third game 9-7 and progressed to lose the fourth 9-3, so he slowly turned into Victor Meldrew at one point politely remarking that he ‘didn’t believe it’ and enquiring as to whether the referee has ever had the opportunity to peruse the rules. At this point his youthful opponent sensed a new purpose in Dave’s play and in the 5th game Victor was Victorious 9-2 for an excellent, if grumpy, win.
With the match poised at 2-2, Richard began what was to be a match of 4 halves. After losing the first, he rallied to take the next two games leaving the balcony in expectation of a final push in the fourth. However, it was his opponent who got the initiative, winning 9-1 to leave the match all square going into the last game. Richard’s schizophrenic match continued as he went 4-0 down and I began to think of how I would write up this close, if ultimately lost match. What excuses to make? Do I take responsibility? Or do I blame Neil? But I had clearly underestimated Richards’s inner strength as he gritted his teeth and fired off 9 unchallenged points to win the game and match 9-4.
So, an excellent victory for our band of veteran scramblers – all down to excellent leadership. Just one point to end on. You see, the commentary so far glosses over the heroic contribution from Neil to the night’s victory. Unknown to the team, the Edinburgh Accies centre closes at 9.50pm with doors locked at 10pm. As Richard came off court just before 10pm and we were escorted from the premises, Neil’s remarkable foresight dawned on us all. If he hadn’t lost so quickly, Richard wouldn’t have had time for his excellent comeback.
You see, it’s a team effort at all levels. Overall win 16-13 points. (Report: Mike Douglas)

Friday, 1 October 2010

Dougie schools 'em at Stonehaven..

.. Last weekend, Dougie Brown had 3 wins at the Stonehaven Masters in the Over-55 age group. He had to give second best to Ernie Cowell in the top match. Dougie now sits second in the scottish rankings for his age group.

Hopefully he can achieve similar strong results in the other 6 masters tournaments around the country and secure selection by his country for the home internationals.