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

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