Thursday, 30 December 2010

Whitelaw in the papers....

Scotsman, Dec 27, 2010...
Matthew Hunter training with Andy Whitelaw in 2003 at Marcos

Monday, 20 December 2010

Rocco rocks up and claims the booze...

The Xmas team trainers handicap took place with 12 folk turning up to contest the Xmas booze.
Brian Sloan(+4) and Rocco Pannozzo made it through the round-robin as runners- up. They faced group winners Jonathan Frame and Mike Douglas(+5). Jonathan won his but Mike fell victim to Rocco and took his rightful place in the best-of-3 final.
It went all the way to the third game and Rocco(+6) took the whiskey while Jonathan(+3) consoled himself with the runner's up prize of a bottle of wine provided by the captain.
Laugh of the night was when Ali G questioned whether Richard van Lienden's handicap should be adjusted from -4 to -8. Richard got the wooden spoon off -4!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Fives home v Colinton Z(Thurs, Dec 16,'10)

Barbarians go third

A great win for the Barbarians against Colinton Castle 6. This week, injuries again caused a reshuffle with Jonathan Frame making his debut at 1 supported by regulars Brian Sloan, Richard Nisbet and Dean Wood. And following his stunning debut last week, Robin Pollok again took to court at 5. A freak golfing injury had left me on the bench, but I played from the balcony to get the 2 ref points (Dougie, please note J).

First on court was Robin. Now, many of you may realise how sensitive the real Robin is. But following his hilarious report of last week, Robin remarked that he was going to have to watch how he played in case it made the match report. I thought he was joking, but gone was the skipping in the corridor, and there was only one ball on court for the warm up. I was worried that I’d broken his pre-match preparation and that he’d fall apart under the pressure. But I worried in vain. Just like last week, the composed Mr Pollok commanded the court from start to finish. His serve dominated his opponent, winning 27 of his 39 serves. And his returning left his opponent wondering how to get a point as he lost only 8 points from the 27 serves he faced. A great start for the team in a 9-1, 9-4, 9-3 win.

In the absence of Mr Meldrew, our very own Mr Grumpy (Dean) took to the court at 4. As usual, the first match had enough lets and strokes to qualify the entire team as referees. In a nip and tuck game, Dean went 4-1 down and was wondering what he had to do to get a point. He’d served 10 times, and scored just once. But then a run of points brought back 4-4 and so the game edged forward to 7-7. The lets and strokes were still flowing and the requests from the players were getting more and more outrageous. As I turned down a let call from his opponent (who was at least three paces from the ball) Dean decided to get in on the refereeing act by asking his opponent “did you really ask for a let there?”. A number of serves were exchanged before Dean found himself facing game point. An excellent rally followed with both players having the opportunity for a winner and both retrieving well. In the end Dean held on before finding himself game point down again. Again the point was saved and Dean brought the game to 8-8. Set 2 was called and Dean took the game to 9-8 for a game point of his own. But his opponent wouldn’t lie down and had his own chance to go to 9-9. But Dean just persevered and took the first 10-8. At this point, I was exhausted from having to concentrate on both players and their antics. I now know what the umpire felt like in that McEnroe vs Connors game. But I needn’t have worried, as Dean took control of the game and his opponent lost a bit of concentration. The game was closed out 9-1, 9-1 – 2-0 to the Grange.

Next up Richard, who is the Barbarians highest ranked player. He began well, racing to a 5-1 lead and edged on to 8-2 before closing the game out 9-4. The second game followed a similar pattern, although his opponent was putting up more resistance and Richard could be seen to be getting a bit hotter. But he again prevailed 9-4. But by now his opponent was truly warmed up and as Richard looked for some respite, the game began to turn. The third started as a game of cat and mouse (not commenting on who was who) as Richard moved into a narrow 5-4 lead. But a run of points brought his opponent to 8-5 and despite an almighty “What the **** are you doing Richard?” from the man himself, the third was lost 9-5. In the fourth, Richard raced to a 6-3 lead before being pulled back to 8-8 and a ‘set 2’ call. The game was now fast and furious with both players fit to burst. Richard lost the first point to face game point at 8-9, but rallied magnificently to take the game 10-9 and the match 3-1. An epic.

With the match won, Brian took to court against a strong and fast opponent who I worked out was the son of Dean’s opponent. Not because they looked alike, or because I had spotted they had the same surname, but rather because he too tried more ‘lets’ than the ESPC. In the first game Brian raced out to an 8-3 lead as his opponent got used to the court and up to match warmth. But as he moved into top gear, he clawed back to 8-7 before Brian just held on for a 9-7 win. But his opponent was looking good and making some retrievals that looked genuinely impossible. As he moved into top gear, Brian struggled to stay in touch and the game edged away 5-9, 2-9 and 3-9. From a Captain’s perspective, I would like to thank Brian for playing this week, cos if I had played it would have been me against the same guy and I’m not sure I’d have got a game at all.

Last up was our Baba virgin Jonathan who played a sublime game against a strong number 1. After closing out the first 9-4, a run of points saw him 3-6 down in the second before a commanding run of six consecutive points took the second. The third was another lesson in control, especially on the lob, as Jonathan rounded off an excellent night 9-6.

So back to the Grange where a party in the main club saw us dine on Franco’s finest in the Committee Room (with coasters!). A good sociable evening ensued with lots of banter on both sides. There are two options for the best comment of the night:-

1: Robin; who after being asked to pass the veggie pizza to Dean commented that he hadn’t known Dean was a veggie. And given that he cycles everywhere, how come he’s so big ! Or

2: Richard; who, reflecting on a night where four players won, and Brian lost 3-1, commented that he’d never lost to someone on the balcony before ! (I reference to my 2 ref points I believe).

Voting will finish before the next match, and the winner will win another Babas beer. (Report: Mike D)

ED: Here are the stats for those who are short on arithmetic and have made it this far...;-):

PosPlayerRubbersGamesPoints PlayerRubbersGamesPoints
1Jonathan Frame1327Chris Green0016
2Brian Sloan0119Mark Williamson1334
3Richard Nisbet1333Kevin Vincenti0126
4Dean Wood1328Sandy Williamson0010
5Robin Pollok1327Fraser Steven008
Competition Points164

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Two's @ Watsons 2's (Wed, Dec 15,'10)

Ian Forbes got out of playing at #2 by arranging for his wife to drive off with his gear in the car. Up stepped Patrick Langley to play Chris Weare who needed to get away early! Ironic, cause this one started first, and was still stuck at 2-2 when #5 match finished. Anyway, Patrick would compete in every other game but was almost grannied in the odd numbered games. 2-3, good points for the cause.
Christy played Derek Davidson at #5, boy has that man got a nice touch but he was a bit gingerly in risking himself to get the last ball in every rally. Christy bludgeoned his way through the first 2, got out-squashed to be 0-7 down in the 3rd game, out came the bludgeon again and he raced through to a 9-7, 3-0 win.
Didn't see much of Ian Forbes except his opponent Mike Robson was immune to Ian's attacks. Steve Eyles against PKN Wilson was a toughie, Steve hadn't come across trickle-boasts like Peter's before and once Steve started reading them, PKN started changing up to the dying boast and clinging drives. Steve made a stand at 8-8 in the third with his own clinging drives and drops but PKN saw it out: 0-3. Didn't see Mike Hall lose out to Graeme Murray 0-3.
Up at the bar, Banger's 'n Mash, only 8 of us, seconds all round, smashin'! Peter Wilson was bemoaning the fact that the Over-55 is the most supported group in the masters and the Over-35 is poorly supported. (Report: Loob)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Grange III @ Dean 1 – 15 Dec2010

Grange III were away to table topping Dean on Wednesday. With 3 Grange teams out on the night a quick re-jig was required but 5 bodies turned up ready to roll!

First up Gordon Sloan, at 3, took to the court down in the dungeon to face Matthew Hunter. The first saw both players trading shots in which appeared to be a training session at first!! Gordon soon started to play his shots and got his opponent moving and edged the first 9-6. A similar game for the second with Gordon and Matthew trading blows until Gordon stared producing a few winners to nab the second. With confidence high Gordon closed out the third in style with some great volleying and dropping using the conditions fully to his advantage. 3-0 to Grange. Excellent start!

Meanwhile up on the warmer court Alan Wallace was taking on Dave Thomson. Didn’t see any of this one however Al came second in which was probably and tight and edgy match. 1-1.

Back down in the pit Duncan Walker was up against Drew Mackenzie in the second string match. The court had either got colder or neither player was willing to give it a whack. A tight match with both players volleying and dropping the ball far out of reach. Unfortunately, being unable to apply his trademark speed and stamina to the match meant Duncan came of second best. 3-1 to Drew.

Mike Gore at 5 took on James Birkhead. A back and fourth match with Mike taking the lead on 2 occasions. Giving away a few years (by his own admission) Mike unfortunately came of second best as the Dean man fought back from 2-1 down. Great five setter although were Grange done!

With the match done it was up to the numero uno to try and grab some points!! Who brought Cockburn?? Up against the skilful Nick Wood, Pete had his work cut out. Nick didn’t bring out the drop shots as much as I was expecting however he did bring plenty in the way of serves, boasts, drives, volleys, cross courts and roundhouse kicks (well maybe not the last one!) Nick brought the game, Cockburn little else other than minor comedy, 3-0 and 4-1 to the Dean.

17-8 in the end. MOTM to the Sloan . His stint at accies last week put him in the zone! Beers and Franco’s (5 pizzas!) upstairs afters. Outplayed and out eaten! Tough times for last years champs! (Report: Cockburnator)

Grange 4ths home v Inveresk 1 - Tuesday 14th December 2010

The 4ths returned to winning ways after a long sequence of nearly-theres but it was a close run thing, only being decided on the last rally of the night.

First up was Will Henderson at No 5 against Robin Carse. Will was in top form and really gave Robin little chance to get a start in any of the games and ran out a 9-1 9-2 9-2 winner.

Gavin Fultons's match at no 4 against Willie Wood went the same way. Gavin was simply too strong and controlled throughout and took the games 9-0 9-5 9-1.

Christy Looby was up next at No2 against Harold Nesse. Christy started very well, having Harold well foxed with his customary sharp and steeply angled boasts to take the first 9-3. The second game started the same way, but a different Harold suddenly emerged to reverse a 0-4 deficit to a 6-9 win. A battle of attrition then ensued with the next two shared at 9-7 6-9. Harold held it together better in the last to take it 3-9 to consign Christy to a 2-3 loss.

Gary Walker at No1 had the thankless task of taking on the division's top ranked player Adam Lord. Despite his best endevours Gary wasn't able to make much of a dent in Adam's control of the match. The first two games went 1-9, 3-9. The final game was more evenly matched but Adam took that 5-9 to leave Gary with a 0-3 loss

At 2 rubbers each it fell to Mark Dutton and John Brown to slug it out to decide the match. It didn't start well for Mark, being unable to find the width or depth to stop John volleying everything powerfully and accurately and it was quickly 0-7. A good recovery by Mark ensued but the game went west 8-10. Similar story in the second game with Mark staring at defeat at 2-8 before a too-late recovery saw that game go 7-9 to John as well. A bit of wise advice from Christy (…"for god's sake just hit the bloody thing, will you"…) saw a reversal of fortune with the next two going Mark's way 9-5 9-5. The final and deciding game of the night started very badly with John racing to a 0-7 lead but Mark finally managed to drop the anchor in and then got moving himself to square it 7-7. Near disaster as John snuck the next point and a few match points were saved to finally see the match and the night balanced at 8-8. John called set-one and was immediately made to regret it as the serve drilled into the nick to see the Grange team snatch victory from the jaws of defeat (as opposed to the usual other way round). 3-2 to Mark.

A good 16-10 win to see Grange 4 now not too far off the leading pack in terms of points despite the relatively lowly table position we occupy at the half-way point of the season. Report by MotM Mark Dutton. 5 pizzas between the 6 players that stayed, kept everyone's gums going as anecdotes from the snowy experiences of the last 2 weeks were entertainingly recounted.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Five's home to Heriot Watt 3(Wed, Dec 8,'10)

Barbarians in Aussie Ashes-Style Collapse

This week the Babas were up against the students. A bunch of 40-somethings against a pile of kids, what could go wrong? This week saw the team badly affected by the snow, so a hurriedly put together team of Dave Grieve, Me, Neil Love and Brian Sloan took to court along with a virgin appearance by Robin Pollok.

Neil, playing 3, needed to get away so was first on court. I hadn’t realised he was in that much of a hurry. How best to describe that game? Neil Love love.

So, one game down we reverted to the order and Robin Pollok took to court – eventually. A lengthy warm up off court, was followed by a quick skipping lesson and his opponent looked on bemused as Robin brought out a second ball and proceeded to warm up on his own side of the court. Eventually the referee had to call time and the game began. Robin got off to a great start going 5-0 up before driving the ball into his own head. Nobody laughed (too loudly). A quick couple of points for his opponent were followed by a controlled performance as Robin served out the game 9-2. This assured, calm and controlled performance (yes, I can assure you it was Robin Pollok) continued into the second as his opponent got only two serves on his way to a 9-0. In the third, Robin got off to a 3-1 lead, but you could see some life start to spark in his opponent. Robin clearly sensed the rising pressure as he served from the forehand court, only to hit the ball straight back into his own hand. This time, we definitely laughed. Points were exchanged up to 6-6 and we wondered if Robin’s nerve would hold. But Robin made good use of his long reach to close out 9-6 and record a 3-0 victory in his first game for the Babas. Great performance.

Brian was up next and had a very tight game against the speedy Scott. Both players retrieved like their lives depended on it in the first. Eventually Brian got into a 5-1 lead, only to concede four successive points to bring up 5-5. Some further excellent retrieving saw serves exchanged before Brian began to edge ahead, one point at a time. Brian was the victor 9-5. The second game was nothing like the first. Brian raced out to a 7-0 lead on a single serve before being pulled back to 7-7. But again, some excellent retrieving saw Brian edge the second 9-7. The third reverted to the style of the first with both players having 18 serves just to reach 6-6 before Brian again proved the stronger mentally to win 9-6. 2-1 to the Grange.

I was next up. The first was a gut bursting tale of an opponent without the respect to understand when a shot is so good, that getting it back is simply rude. Time after time I had the ball deep and low in the backhand court only to lose the point to an attacking boast and a nick. But patience (and tight serving) won the day 9-5 after an amazing 32 serves (and that’s just mine). At this point we were 1-0 up, but I felt like I’d played 5 already. The second was a recovery game as my opponent simply refused to miss and it was lost 9-4. At this point, I was surprised to see Dave on the balcony – surely he couldn’t have finished already? But it turns out that his knee was simply not up to it this week and had lost 9-4, 9-0, 9-3. So the match was now 2-2, 1-1 and I felt as fit as a pensioner (sorry Harvey).

The third was very tight as I began to anticipate the inevitable boasts, but it turns out that it doesn’t help knowing where the ball is going if it is stuck in the corner. Points were traded to 5-5 and the balcony was giving constructive feedback (to be honest, I’ve never lost from the balcony either). But just as I began to believe I could take the game, some tremendous (not what I thought at the time) boasting from difficult positions saw my opponent take the game 9-5. In the fourth, the game was again tight and at 2-2 we had each had 10 serves. But his superior fitness and accuracy saw the game edge away for a 3-1 loss.

So all in all, a 12-9 loss from a leading position with a collapse at the top of the order. We’ll never win the Ashes this way.

Afterwards, back at base much pizza was shared as Heriot Watt 1, 2 and 3 were all on site having played their relevant Grange team. A good social evening, despite the result. Onwards to next week, when another new player joins the babas.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Grange III Vs Dalgety Bay III – 09 December 2010

The 3s were at home to the Fifers on Thursday with the Dalgety boys unfortunately 2 men short!! With only one match needed Cockburn, Walker and Sloan went to work.

Pete Cockburn was at number one against Scott Boswell. Scott took the first fairly convincingly 9-2 as Pete got used to the courts (note Dalgety Bay were doing routines when I showed up, they thought it was a 7pm start!!). From 5-2 down Pete decided he could no longer out hit his opponent and started to haul out his legendary dropping and volleying. This worked for a while as a tight game ensued with things getting to 8-8. Scott edged it 10-8 though and by this time the Grange man was buckled! Christy (who came to mark) tried to motivate Pete before the third saying Scott was looking like he was waning but it wasn’t to be. Scott stuck in and made some excellent pick ups in the third to take it 3-0 as Pete ran out of steam.

Retiring to the balcony I caught up with Duncan Walker’s match against Neil Shepard. A match that actually started before mine!! Duncan was 2-1 down and trailing in a match that had been tight all the way! Could the Fifers be about to level the match!!! Some excellent squash was being played with both players chasing and picking up everything! On cold courts!!! Duncan came from behind to level it in the fourth and then powered across the finish line in the last. A superb effort to clinch the match. Man of the Match!

With the pressure off Gordon Sloan was up against Colin Boswell at 3. Colin took the first as Gordon struggled to deal with the courts and Christy’s spare shoes as he had only brought one of his own! Gordon got back into the match in the second and shaded it 9-7 He then took the third with some nice touches at the front and excellent retrieving. Colin was still playing excellent squash himself and managed to match Gordon’s skills with some nice shots of his own to level the tie in the fourth. The fifth was close with Colin keeping his nose in front. Sloan looking a bit broken at this stage! Gordon dug deep though and brought some big shots out at the end to power past his opponent to take the last game 9-7. Another great effort for the Grange.

17-9 Grange in the end. Highly likely to be a different story if they brought more guys. By the sounds of it plenty of fire power over the other side of the bridge!

Beers and pizza down the club. All good!

Cheers to Looby for turning up and supporting/marking and bantering! (Report: Pete Cockburn)

Three's home v Dalgety Bay 3(Thurs, Dec 9,'10)

Dalgety sportingly let us know days in advance that they had only 3 players and would fulfill the tie anyway. And they turned up at 7 for a 7:30 booking, well warmed up.
I reffed #1 Cockburnator v Scott Boswell, a guy who makes our "young" guys look old. Pete had a few unforced errors to lose the first quickly. In the second, Scott just soaked up Peter's best shots and threw them back in his face to go 7-2 up. Then Peter really started slotting winners that had to roll on the floor to stop the guy getting them back. He fought back to 8-8 but Scott got a handout and finished it better. Pete didn't have much left in the tank and Scott took the next game and the match 3-0. Bloody good match though.
So we still needed a win at #2 or #3 to get the bonus points. Duncan Walker at #2 was his usual steady self against Neil Shepherd but still found himself 2-1 down and it wasn't looking good. He got even steadier, if that were possible, to level it and ran away with the fifth: 3-2. Man of the Match.
At #3, Gordon Sloan turned up with one shoe. He looked like he was playing on one foot in the first as Colin Boswell started with intensity 9-2. Gordon put on his game face to level it and playing some sublime volley-drops and counter-drops, went 2-1 up. He went back to playing on one shoe for the fourth, then woke up at 3-8 down and looked to have the momentum only for Colin to level it. Stung, Gordon re-focused and left Colin for dust in the fifth: 3-2. A gripping match with some great sportmanship and skill from both.

Overall 17-9 and we're heading back into mid-table safety with 3 or 4 consecutive wins. Topics discussed during the pizza fest were: who has the coldest courts in the league and whose shoes will the Sloan Ranger fill next week.

HWU2 "home" v GRG4 Wed 8th December 2010.

This fixture had been rearranged to Arboretum as HWU's courts had been booked for a function, but the home advantage didn’t quite prove enough for the 4ths to overcome a good Heriot Watt 2 side.

First up was Mark Dutton at No 1 against the good young player Nick Spath. Mark didn't make a very convincing start with Nick adjusting to the cold courts much more effectively to comfortably take the first 1-9. The second was a different story with Mark dominating to an 8-4 lead but being unable to convert three game points to let Nick sneak it at the death. The third game saw Nick well on top to run to a 1-8 lead before Mark dug in well to bring it back to 4-8. Then commenced a very entertaining struggle to the death that saw Mark save nine match points (didn't believe it myself …but I have the scoresheet in front of me as I type this) and lose quite a bit of knee and elbow skin in aerobatics before Nick finally got the break he needed to close it out 4-9. A 0-3 loss for Mark.

Next up was Alan Wallace at No3 against the very speedy Alistair Ross. It was a high quality match with the first two games close at 5-9 and 9-10 to Alistair. The key being Alistair's constant ability to retrieve nearly everything Alan did through his speed round the court. Alan picked up the next 9-7 but was unable to repeat the perfomance in the last 6-9 game to run out a 1-3 loss.

Will Henderson played very well at No2 to give Bendan Forrester little chance to get a look in on the night. Brendan began to mount something a recovery from Will's initial 9-1 9-3 victories to go blow for blow to 4-4 in the third game but Will put his foot down again to take it 9-4 for a good 3-0 win.

An entertaining match at no5 saw Andy Whitelaw take on the hard hitting Umair Saeed. Umair's pace and accuracy saw him take the first 4-9 but Andy found his touch in the second and began weighting his drops and boasts beautifully in the cold conditions to more often than not leave Umair at a stretch to retrieve anything and he took the game 9-4. The third game could have gone either way after Andy raced to a 7-0 lead that Umair pegged back but it was eventually Andy's at 10-8. The final game saw Andy completely dominate through the well-weighted slow game that frustrated Umair's preference for pace. He took it 9-3 for a very good 1-3 victory.

With things evenly balanced, John Loftus went on for the no4 decider against Colin Gray. Both players afterwards described the match as being somewhat scrappy and a a few too many mistakes on both sides. Some good sessions of play from time to time but overall the player's own description was a good summary. Colin took the first 4-9 and John returned the favour playing his best squash of the night for 9-7 in the second. John couldn't repeat that though and Colin was the one to get his game under better control to run out the last two fairly comfortably 3-9 and 2-9. A 1-3 loss for John.

Overall a 10-15 loss (incl ref points) for the Grange 4ths to continue our too long streak of gaining decent points but not being able to get the match.

A final point to note is the very good performance of Franco's who managed to get 15 pizzas to the Grange in time for the 1sts, 4ths and 5ths all to be fed. Good work.

Mark Dutton

Two's home v Heriot Watt 1(Wed, Dec 8,'10)

Following Heriot Watt's defeat of Grange 1 at the same venue the week before, Grange 2 knew this was going to be a tough match. Due to the snow, the guys initially only turned up with four. Luckily Stokesy honourably offered to sit out of this one if needs be, but in the end that wasn't necessary since Michael was able to play so thankfully no-one went without a game.

Steve v Jim: Grange Open Finalist (C Grade) Jim's fitness and general level of play got the better of Steve in this one.

Mike v Phil; Unfortunately I did not see any of this match, but it was judged that Mike was between 2 and 2.5 feet behind the ball a lot of the time, with Phil's speed getting the better of him.

Patrick v Scott: The captain lead by example with the lowest points haul in the match.

Stokesy v Michael: Man of the match Stokesy was able to salvage some much needed points from this fixture coming back from 2 games down.

Pete v Jon: Another hard-hitting youngster with good fitness won through against our Grange man Pete.

In the end a whupping for HWU (17-5) who look likely to gain promotion to Div 1 by the season end. Francos pizza and drinks were enjoyed with two other sets of Grange and HWU teams. (Report P Langley)
Grange 2 vs Heriot Watt University 1

PosPlayerRubbersGamesPoints PlayerRubbersGamesPoints
1Mike Hall0012Philip McWilliams1327
2Patrick Langley007Scott Mosley1327
3Pete Cockburn0012Jonathan Taubert1327
4Steve Eyles008Jim Watson1327
5Alan Stokes1332Michael Ross0226
Competition Points317

Friday, 3 December 2010

Seconds at David Lloyd, Newhaven(Wed,De 1,'10)

After several days of snow, there was every chance that the teams would not be able to play their matches tonight, but with some car sharing, public transport and skiing everyone managed to arrive for the away fixture at David Lloyd Newhaven.

The glass-backed courts were in good condition, the only issues being lighting. One court had a pair of fluorescent tubes not working, and the other court had a mysterious "lights off" incident in the middle of a rally. With the outside temperature at around -2ºC the court temperature was not surprisingly fairly cold at 15ºC, which was going to cause some sluggish starts.

And indeed, Patrick (#4) began his match against Charles slowly, taking until halfway through the first game to get into his usual speed around the court and rhythm of play. Charles dominated the T well and choose shots which forced Patrick to do a lot of work. But in many cases he would let Patrick off the hook by tinning a drop shot that would otherwise have been a winner. Patrick's retrieval skills and shot selection improved into the match which put more pressure on Charles (as did a couple of well timed frame miss-hits!). Once he was able to move Charles off the T and force him to do more retrieving, the match turned slightly in Patrick's favor and he came off court with a close 3-1 victory.

Ian's (#3) match against Dave began at a fair pace with many great lengths and drops from both players. Dave was ahead for most of the first game and got to game ball. But Ian fought hard to get the score back to an 8-8 tie-break, only to serve the ball out and lose the game! The rest of the match was great to watch with Ian winning many rallies from great slice drop shots and tight sharp angle boasts. It was a very clean match with very few let calls needed. But there were several occasions where Ian was in position for a definite stroke but opted to play the ball and continue the rally. On a couple of occasions, the referee had already marked the stroke on the score sheet because it was expected a let would be called! So it's great to see Ian playing the ball where at all possible and keeping the squash flowing. After many great rallies, Ian came off court with 1 game to Dave's 3.

My match (Steve, #5) also started slowly (as is my tradition), taking time to warm up and to get to grips with Taryne's game, who took the first two games fairly comfortably. I found a way to stay in the rallies longer in the 3rd and managed to take the game. In the 4th game, I had more time on the ball to play tighter shots, which was paying dividends and held back Taryne's advantage at 6-3 for many rallies, before he surged past on the scoreboard and winning the match 3-1.

Before Rob (#1) could play, an announcement came over the PA system that the club would be closing at 9pm due to the weather, so it was decided to return the Grange Club to play out the match there. But even the home court advantage didn't seem to assist Rob. Ken's playing was solid and consistent, and this forced many errors from Rob, who played an uncharacteristally large number of shots into the top, middle and even bottom of the tin. Rob was moving well and his retrieval skills were on form making for some impressive and great to watch rallies, but Ken had the initiative throughout the match, and the scoreboard rewarded Ken's vintage performance with a comfortable 3-0 win.

Unfortunately, I did not observe enough of Mike (#2) and Ali's match to comment, but can report a comfortable 3-0 win to Ali. Food and beer was had back in the comfort of the Grange club bar. Man of the Match would have to be awarded to Patrick for braving the elements to walk down to the local pizza shop to pick up the pizzas! (Report: Steve Eyles)

Teams:Grange 2 vs David Lloyd Newhaven


1Robert Pfab009

Ken Maxwell1327
2Mike Hall0014

Ali Fleming1327
3Ian Forbes0127

Dave Jubb1332
4Patrick Langley1334

Charles Robertson0130
5Steve Eyles0125

Taryne Lowe1336

Competition Points5