Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Grange 4 home vs Waverley 3 - Tuesday 9th November 2010

Grange 4 was beaten 18-9 by a strong Waverley 4 side in a close match at the Academy last night. The 18 points for the visitors was well deserved but just a handful of rallies going Grange's way in the 5 setters at key points in the night could have reversed it to a 12-11 in the home sides favour. T'wasn't to be though….

First up was Brian Sloan at no5 against the very experienced Donald Shearer. Brian started slowly and was soon 1-6 down. He clawed his way back into the game but the damage was already done and Donald took it 6-9. The second game was a much closer tussle with both players getting their noses in front but once again it was Donald who had it in front at the critical moment…ie the end….7-9. The third and final game was an exact repeat of the first with Donald again racing away only to be clawed back ...but not quite enough and 5-9 was the result. A 0-3 loss for Brian.

At No5 Neil Love had a long and close battle with Waverley debutante Neil Porter. The first game went Neil Love's way 10-8 after both players had edged in front at points during the game. The second game began in the same close fashion with the scoresheet showing 12 rallies being needed to break out of the 3-4 mid-game scoreline. Once Neil Porter had taken that point he grabbed the rest in very short order to take that game. The players' very similar boasting/volleying styles led to another long tussle in the third game which Neil Love took 10-8. History repeated itself as the fourth game was identical to the second with Neil Porter racing away from a tense 2-4 to a comfortable 2-9 win. The final game could have gone either way as it went point for point to 6-6, but once again Neil Porter held it together at the tail end of the game to close out 6-9. A 2-3 loss for Neil Love.

At no3 Will Henderson began well against a very sharp Stephen Gullan. Honours were even to 5-6 but as had been the pattern during the night it was the Waverley player taking a quick sequence of points at the end. Stephen began to dominate in the second and despite Will's best efforts the 3-3 scoreline soon turned into 3-9. By the third game Will was well under the hammer with Stephen playing some excellent squash and Will visibly running out of steam. Just four hand outs to show for Will during that game. A 0-3 loss for Will.

With the match already having been lost, Jonathan Frame was playing to restore team honour at no2 against the very useful Richard Nettleton, and restore it he did. Unfortunately, this author didn’t see much of that game due to umpiring another at the same time but the few snippets glimpsed showed that there was some tight and fast squash being played by both players. Jonathan took the first 9-3 and repeated the exact scoreline in the second with Richard replying in exact kind in the third. Jonathan came out of the blocks very well in the fourth to race to a 6-1 lead which Richard managed to partially peg back only to see Jonathan add the necessary few points to take the match 1-3.

At no1 the final match between your's truly (Mark Dutton) and Damien Noade was a see-saw affair throughout. Damien was easily the stonger in the first game and didn’t really give me a chance to get a start and he took it 3-9. I knuckled down in the second and began to force some errors out of Damien and a comfortable 9-2 was the result. In the third Damien was once again on top with some very effective backhand volleys winning points as I failed to go wide enough or deep enough on a regular basis and Damien took it 3-9. The fourth was very tight with both players playing periods of very decent squash bit also making a number of unforced errors each. At 5-5 it was finely balanced but a surge of tight drives and drops gave me a 9-5 win. Damien shot to a 1-6 lead in the fifth and all looked lost but a battle of attrition followed that saw me claw it back one at a time to 5-6. I thought the gods were smiling on me and I could go on with it, especially after the first aerobatic dive of the season saw a rally successfully saved. But…the gods frowned again and Damien found the necessary couple of winners to take it 5-9. A 2-3 loss for me to end the night.

All in all, a very enjoyable and social evening with all 10 players heading back to the Grange and tucking into some of Franco's finest produce and the very well kept IPA.

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