September 6th, 2016

Mixed fortunes for Stratford squash team

STRATFORD Squash Club’s first team have experienced highs and lows in recent Warwickshire Squash & Racketball Association Winter League Division Two encounters.

They entertained bottom of the table Sutton Coldfield during week seven of the season.

Proudly sitting on top of the division, the home team were keen to take maximum points, but they had to settle for a 4-1 success.

Making his first start of the season, fifth string Rolf Wilson used his experience to conduct proceedings and brushed aside his opponent comfortably by three games to nil.

Stratford’s top junior George Owen then took to the court to play another junior within the ranks of Sutton. Both players appeared evenly matched with the first two games shared.

However, Owen managed to pull away in the third and fourth games to take the match 3-1 for Stratford.

At third string, the match went all the way to the fifth game between Simon Kemp and his opponent. With Stratford requiring victory to take the match, Kemp managed to see through the decisive fifth game and secure an early victory for the home team.

With the match secured, Simon Johns played out a nip and tuck match against an unorthodox opponent. However, Johns successfully sneaked the match with a 3-1 victory.

Despite putting in a huge effort to try to secure a 5-0 whitewash, Stratford’s first string Richard Rosenthal could not manage to fend off his relentless opponent’s running and court coverage, eventually going down 3-2 in a very entertaining and closely fought match.

After a decent break, Stratford played another home fixture against West Warwickshire 2nds, who travelled with a very strong team having drafted in a number of their regular first team squad.

Having played at number four for the majority of the season, Owen commenced proceedings at fifth string, and he proved to be too fit and agile for his opponent as he secured a well earned 3-0 victory to give Stratford the early advantage.

Having been out with an injury for eight weeks, Freddie Milles returned to the squad at fourth string. Playing an England ranked junior, Milles’ recent lack of match practice and speed around the court proved to be his downfall as his young opponent took the initiative and won the match in three straight games.

Taking to the court earlier than usual, Rosenthal commenced battle with one of West Warwickshire’s regular first team players.

After securing a relatively comfortable first game, the Stratford player then injured his knee, thereby limiting his movement around the court. His opponent managed to capitalise on the injury to seal three successive games and achieve a 3-1 victory for the away team.

At second string, Johns played against another regular first team player who had beaten him three games to nil last year.

This match was played out in a far more competitive manner for Johns, who took a 2-1 lead against his tiring opponent. However, his opponent managed to claw back the deficit and secure a 3-2 victory in a very tightly contested fifth game.

With the match lost, Kemp attempted to obtain as many points as possible for the home team. Playing the number one ranked under 13, Kemp quickly lost the first two games.

Kemp’s fortunes turned around though, playing some varied and accurate points and pulling his young opponent around on the court.

With the match square at two games all, the fifth game went to the wire and Kemp eventually won the decider 15-13 to win the match 3-2 and limit the visitors’ overall success to 3-2.

Although Stratford lost the match, it was an encouraging performance given West Warwickshire had included a number of their regular first team players.

With the season now approaching its halfway point, Stratford presently sit two points off top spot with a crucial match against Birmingham University around the corner.

Anybody who is interested in joining Stratford Squash Club and would like to hear about its junior and senior squash and racketball programmes can e-mail admin@stratfordsquashclub.co.uk or visit www.stratfordsquashclub.co.uk.

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