Match report no 33 – Cup Semi Final 2th May 2013 Racket Ball Winter Cup
Well we won’t be going to the final or at least not as players. Bad night last night beaten by West Hants 3
The team was Martin, Ben, Dave and myself (Paul on the bench if required). Not a bad line up and near to our full strength. (Nigel injured and Lee on family duties)
First up was myself playing at 4 and Dave playing at 3.
Well I got off to a reasonable start playing a clever and experienced opponent. I won the first game but was finding it hard work and when he came back at me and won the second I was struggling. A quick talk from Nigel lead to an immediate improvement which enabled me to work the ball to the four corners and he started to slowly lose ground and as he did so I became stronger and eventually won the third and forth to win 3-1
Dave on the other court was struggling to find any form or rhythm. His shots were a bit wayward and errors crept in. His opponent was tall with a long reach who seemingly could get everything back. Dave was using his incredible speed and agility but it was only just enough to stay in the match. Having lost the first two games he was up against it and in spite of winning the third was rarely in control. The fourth game slipped away as the errors came back and Dave finally lost 1-3.
So all in the balance and all to play for.
Next up Ben & Martin.
Martin’s match followed a similar pattern to Dave’s. The first two games were lost due to errors as much as his opponents good play. But come the third game his opponent was visibly tiring and Martin was at last starting to hit the ball as sweetly as we know he can. Martin took the third game in some style. He also started the fourth in the same way and quickly raced to an 8-1 lead. I don’t know what happened at this point and I suspect nor does Martin, but his opponent worked his way back into the match and after a fantastic number of quality rallies took the fourth 10-12 and therefore the match. Martin lost 1-3.
On the other court Ben was setting about his opponent and after dropping the first game came storming back to win the next two. Ben was now on top but after some marathon play and some great rallies lost the fourth 11-13. The fifth was very nip & tuck with neither player dominating or getting more than two points ahead. It is to Ben’s credit that he fought as hard as he did because by now Martin’s match was long over and the match was lost no matter what his result was. Neither player would give in and it went well beyond the length of normal matches with Ben finally prevailing 14-12 and the match 3-2
The match was 2 each but they won 9 games and we only won 8 so they won and are through to the final.
The end of the winter season. Not bad only two defeats in 13 matches. League winners clear by 18 points. At times the dress sense has been a bit questionable (you know who you are) but our fitness and application cannot be questioned.
I am proud of all the players and the supporters who made the effort to come and watch and mark. It has been one of the most enjoyable seasons that we have had.
On to the summer leagues and hopefully we will build on this for next winter season. Fixture dates to be announced soon.
If any of you who didn’t play in the winter but would like to be considered let me know and we will see if you can play in the summer.
Match report no 32 – Final match 25th April 2013 Racket Ball Winter league division 2
Many thanks to Nigel for his match report and kind words about the performance of the team. I was unable to get around to a match report on Friday and in fact there really is very little to say but here goes.
The team was Lee, Dave, Myself and Paul.
The match was against Canford who are bottom of the league by some margin.
First on were Dave and myself. Dave was his usual dynamic self, getting around the court very well and forcing errors from his opponent. Dave’s racket ball game has improved a great deal in the last six months and he has managed to adapt from a good Squash player to a good racket ball player. Still a work in progress but he is becoming formidable opponent. Dave won 3-0
I was on the other court and in spite of a strangely erratic game from both of us I managed to make fewer errors. It was all over quite quickly with me winning 3-0
Next up was Lee and Paul. Lee was playing at number 1 against a good opponent and it was to Lee’s credit that he made him look fairly ordinary and pedestrian. Mind you most players look slow when Lee is on court. The only threat to Lee was when he allowed his opponent to reach 10-10 in the second game. Lee took it 12-10 and went on to win 3-0.
Paul was similarly dominant and overwhelmed his opponent who took two games to get the hang of the way Paul plays (who doesn’t). The only threat to a 3-0 victory came when he was behind in the third game but he was able to up his game and hang on to win 12-10 and the match 3-0.
A fine maximum points score and unfortunately for Canford zero points for them. Which is a shame because it was the Canford lads who talked us into moving from Squash to Racket Ball. A point that they constantly reminded us of as the evening moved from playing to eating and drinking.
Thanks for a great first season and winning the league at our first attempt. Thanks also to the many supporters and injured players who have come along to watch, support and sometimes mark the games.
Also a thank you to Justin and Jan for the support we get from the club who provide the courts and supply the meals.
On to the Cup semi final this Thursday 2nd May at home 7:30 start.
Match report no. 31 – 07 March 2013 Racket Ball Winter league division 2
Well this is the report that we have all been waiting for. Last night we amassed enough points to win the league and with our nearest rivals, Dorchester having two matches left to play cannot beat us.
Last night’s team was Martin, Ben, Lee & Dave and we played David Lloyd Ringwood.
Again we had a small band of supporters, Myself Nigel Bob and Mike.
We had the advantage over Dorchester of playing our penultimate match before them and at home. Starting the night 18 points up.
Talk about keen, when I arrived, by way of Dave’s new Porsche (what a ride, still shaking), Martin & Lee were on court practicing. It is this dedication that gets them selected each week.
The first matches were Dave & Lee
Dave immediately got stuck into his opponent, playing with great skill combined with lightning speed around the court. His opponent was visibly shaken by Dave’s speed and I wouldn’t say he had already given up by the end of the first game but the writing was on the wall. Although he put up a fight in reality he never got close. The longer the games went on the more frustrated he became and I think Dave winning put him out of his misery. Dave won 3-0.
On the other court Lee was having a much harder time of it. Two players fairly evenly matched. Whilst the shot making was not always of the highest order the chasing down certainly was. This was a match of attrition, with some very long rallies. By the time the fourth game ended with Lee winning from 2-1 down the fitness was becoming more and more vital. As I have said before in previous match reports above all else the thing our team has more than any other is fitness. Last night once again it proved to be true. Lee will run for ever and he appeared to up his performance for the fifth game and was able to dominate and win the match 3-2.
This was a vital win as it set us up with a winning position. 2 – 0 up 2 to play.
Next up was martin which in truth started, due to Dave’s quick win, way before Lee had finished. Martin was playing a little more like we know he can. Last week he struggled and won ugly but this week the style and skill returned. He played an opponent who also had some lovely shots and never made it easy for Martin. There were still some errors in both players games but it was out of being forced into the wrong shot as opposed to unforced errors. It was a great match to watch because it had a bit of everything, control, accuracy, power and great retrieving and that was from both players. However Martin was always comfortable and was doing enough to be in control, except for the second game which he lost 12-14 having been 4-9 down. Just a slight slip up and normal service was quickly resumed. Martin won 3-1.
So match won but we were 3 points short of our target to guarantee winning the league.
Next was Ben who was playing a fellow Sunseeker colleague. Ben set about him with a zeal that said there is no way I am going to lose this match. It was still hard fought and both players doing a lot of running and playing some good shots. Once Ben had won the first two games, at this point we could not lose the league but one more point was required to make it safe. Ben’s accuracy and general ability to mix the game up was his opponents undoing. After some superb play Ben won the third, the match and we became league champions.
So with maximum points taken once again, well played to all those involved this year. Our first season in Racket Ball and I think a very enjoyable one. Some of the reluctant Squash players are now starting to be convinced and find this a great alternative. One match still to play against our old friends from Canford, our last league match is 25th April at home
No fashion photos this week I am afraid. It would appear that with the warmer weather Ben has dispensed with the tights. He says that if the weather remains warm then he will now be able to wash them ready for next winter.
Next match is again against this team but this time in the cup. 28th March at home 7:30 start.
See you there.
PS JAZZ NIGHT on at the club……..
Match report no. 29 – 20th Feb 2013 Racket Ball Winter league division 2
Last night we were away to West Hants playing their 4th team
Team was Martin, Ben, Lee & Dave.
We were also well supported by myself, Paul, Nigel & Bob all staying on for a drink and a meal
First on was Dave & Martin. (Ben and Lee were on duty elsewhere reading bedtime stories.)
Dave started a little hesitantly, slowly getting into his stride. His opponent was never going to trouble him and playing at number 4 Dave is a very strong player. After winning a close first game. Dave stepped it up and won the next two with considerable ease dropping only 6 points in the two games. A very strong performance and a good test for his leg which has recently recovered from injury. Dave won 3-0
On the other court was Martin. Now his opponent was a different proposition, young, tall and athletic (just like Martin). The opening exchanges set the tone for the match. Martin playing with control and poise whilst his opponent rushed from one side to the other and a rather frantic way (to be fair I think this is how we all play against Martin). Martin’s disguise and power of shot is totally deceptive. He appears to always have time on the ball. However he did not have it all his own way and the frenetic play of his opponent did get some reward and it was a relief to those watching when he won the first game. The second followed a similar pattern with the frustration starting to mount in his opponent. Now the one thing you must never do against Martin is get frustrated and just hit it hard. This is meat and drink to Martin who just picked him off with a superb display of shot making. Martin won 3-0
Next up was Lee on Dave’s court. Playing at 3 Lee is easily better than most number 3’s, but last night he was made to work for every point. Some of Lee’s shots were a little less accurate than normal but his opponent wasn’t much better, both playing a very open game marred by errors. Now as I have mentioned before the one thing you get with Lee is effort and last night it was this which made the difference. Although his game was below its normal level he wore his opponent down. By the third game, with a combination of improved shots and great retrieving Lee ran out the winner 3-0. A very well fought match.
Ben like Martin also gave a good display of shot making. His Racket Ball game is improving all the time and the more he plays the more assured is his game. The one thing you need in Racket Ball over squash is patience. Patience to wait for the right time to make a winning shot and the ability to play safe in between. This he has now got and he played well within himself last night. His opponent didn’t stand a chance. Ben won 3-0
So Lee & Ben, what were you wearing? Now I know I have a limited knowledge of fashion, but shorts with a frilly edge on the legs and Ben with black tights? See photos, can’t see the frilly knickers too well but the tights are superb.
So we started the night 16 points behind Dorchester and we ended it with a maximum points score of 17 leaving us 1 point clear at the top of the league with a game in hand. 3 matches to go
Next match is again away to West Hants 3 rd team on the 27th February.
Nigel’s recovery from his operation is going well.
Match report no. 28 – 23rd January 2013 Racket Ball Winter league division 2
A slightly briefer report today I am afraid as, shock horror, I have some work to do. Another reason is that last night we suffered our first defeat of the season at the hands of a very strong Dorchester team. This was not totally unexpected because as some of you will remember we beat them at home earlier in the season. This time they were out for revenge and brought in a new number 1.
That said we still did well.
Team was Nigel, Martin, Ben and myself. First on was Ben and myself.
I was playing 4 against a player who had previously played at 2. He is recovering from an operation so was not at his best. He never allowed me to settle and was able to pick me off with shots of great accuracy. Although I covered the court well I could not get enough of the play to make a difference. In fact it wasn’t until late in the third game that he made a mistake and although I clawed it back to 7 points it was too late. I lost 0-3.
Ben did a lot better and won the first game. Unfortunately that was as good as it was going to get. His opponent was tall and commanded the court with his long reach. Ben put up a great fight recovering the ball well and hitting some shots with great power but in the end was forced into one error too many. Ben lost 1-3
Next was Nigel, who as you know is carrying a knee injury and the operation is scheduled for Monday. He was visibly far below his best and found it hard to move around the court is he would have wished. He tried hard but coupled with his injury and the fact that his player was brought in specifically to win this game he didn’t stand a chance. I was glad when the match was over because a know he would not give up and I was afraid his knee would get worse. Nigel lost 0-3
However I have saved the good news to last.
Next on was Martin. He was playing an opponent who we know is (at least at our standard) very good and has yet to be beaten by anyone in our team. Martin started slowly and found himself behind in the first but managed to fight back and win 11-13. A great start and a great shock to his opponent. The next two games went the other way Martin lost the second 11-3 and the third 12-10. This third game was the turning point. Martin was in great form, making some incredible recoveries and hitting winners from impossible places. Had it not been for a little bad luck at 10-10 he would have won. But as I said this spurred him on to an even higher standard. He absolutely dominated the forth and won it 11-3. So into the fifth. All credit to both players, both equally determined not to loose. They fought for every point, both of them making some remarkable winners. Martin has the ability to produce an outstanding winner when least expected and this was the deciding factor as it just gave him the slight edge which enabled him to win the fifth and the match 3-2. Very well played.
So only 4 points from our first defeat but vital points at the end of the season.
I have to say what a very sporting and fair team Dorchester are. Their sportsmanship throughout the evening was good to see.
Next match is away to our West Hants on the 20th February.
We all I am sure wish Nigel the best for his operation and a speedy recovery.
Match report no. 27 – 17th January 2013 Racket Ball Winter league division 2
Last night we were back in action for the first time since before Christmas.
Our first opponents of 2013 were two Riversmeet Christchurch. A side which contains some good players.
Team was Nigel, Martin, Lee and Paul.
Since our last match we have sustained some injuries. Some minor and some more serious. Nigel has been having problems for some time with his knee and this has culminated in him requiring an operation later in January. This means he will miss the rest of the season. Dave tore a muscle in his leg, which fortunately is on the mend but he will miss at least two matches. I have been suffering from an injured hip which won’t go away, so I am resting it. Marin is playing on in spite of pain in his Thumb, elbow and knee. So we are a sorry bunch.
Still on to the match report.
We started the second half of the season in second place by one point to Dorchester but with two games in hand. With only 12 matches in a season points are crucial.
First on were Lee & Paul.
Lee’s match started, as Lee usually does, with some long rallies, The one thing you will always get from lee is effort. He has proved many times that he will fight to the bitter end and last night it was needed. The quality of play was not the best with both players alternating between some good and some poor shots. However Lee’s retrieving is superb and last night it proved to be the decisive factor. he took the first game 12-10 the second 13-11 and the third 11-9. Other players may have been tempted, after two very tight games to rest in the third but not Lee. A superb win 3-0 and it set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Paul had a slightly more straight forward win. It still however required him to be at his best. His opponent was tricky and could easily have proved to be trouble. Once the first game was half way through Paul found his rhythm and began to dominate, with each game being won by a larger margin than the previous one. Paul won 3-0
So now we were two games up and we only required one more point to win overall.
Next on was Martin and Nigel. Nigel as I have already mentioned will soon have an operation on his knee but in the mean time he has volunteered to play. Last night however, even a fully fit Nigel would have required all of his skill to win. His opponent is very good and in the top two or three players in our league. So it was no real surprise that he unfortunately lost 0-3. He did however put up a great fight and did not go down without trying. Great effort if unrewarded.
On the other court was Martin. Now Martin is quality, whilst the rest of us win through effort, fitness and it has to be said quite a bit of skill. Martin is skill first and foremost, but coupled with fitness and superb tactics. He appears (to me at least) to have shots of such finesse that you don’t see them coming. Last nights opponent was no mug and put up a great fight. The first game was tight and Martin won 12-10 but thereafter Martin was well in control and ran out the winner 3-0
So another win 3 matches to 1 and a further 14 points. We are now top by 13 points with a game in hand.
It is easy when reading these reports, and we keep winning to think that it is easy. It is anything but. We have developed within our team a winning mentality and the lesser players such as myself benefit greatly from having players like Nigel, Martin & Lee as examples.
Thanks also to Dave and myself for coming along and marking all the games, drinking the beer and enjoying a nice curry.
Next match is away to our rivals Dorchester next Wednesday 23rd January
Have a good weekend.
Match report no. 26 – 13th December 2012 Racket Ball Winter league division 2
We were back in action last night against West Hants 3.
Apart from our friends at Dorchester this is the team which I thought may give us the most trouble so I am please to report that they didn’t prove to be as good as I had feared. Team was Nigel, Ben, Lee and myself. After last weeks problems getting a team I was very pleased that I had more players to chose from this time and could field a nearly full strength side.
The first matches were Myself and Nigel.
I am afraid that I once again played below what I would consider to be my best. From the start I struggled with an opponent who had a considerable range of shots and appeared to be able to play a winner when I least expected it. I lost the first game but managed to change tactics and won the second. I did this with muscle and power play rather than skilful shots. I was found out again in the third which I lost but recovered again and won the forth. This was becoming a little predictable and unfortunately so it proved as I lost the fifth. I lost 2-3 . Not as bad a result as I had feared in the knock up but none the less a loss. If I carry on like this I am in danger of being dropped.
On the other court Nigel was engaged in one of his titanic battles. They were early in the forth game when I had finished five games. Nigel was playing with a swollen and painful knee which unfortunately may keep him on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. He will be getting an opinion on it next week. Back to the match. Nigel deliberately played the long game so as to do the least amount of forward movement, which he found painful. He won the first game but narrowly dropped the second. However as we all know he can, he came storming back to take the third and forth and although the rallies were long the result was never in doubt. Nigel won 3-1.
Next up Lee and Ben.
Lee is playing with a lot more poise and control these days. He still retains the speed around the court and appears to be at full fitness. Last night he met an opponent who appeared to be confused as to how to tackle Lee. What ever he did whether it be hard hitting or soft drop shots, Lee was a match for him. To say this was an easy game does not do credit to Lee’s play but easy it looked. After 3 relatively short games Lee won 3-0. A fine result over an opponent who I believe can play a lot better if he is allowed to.
At the same time Ben was on the other court. His opponent was left handed and this always proves to be a little tricky. Ben’s game still retains a lot of his squash playing and is built on pace and power. It is however very effective and you can watch his opponent wilting under the pressure of the relentless shot making. Ben probably makes a few to many unforced errors at vital times but is still able to recover because his overall game is so good. As I said you could see his opponent wilting and he finally bowed to the inevitable and was unable to put up any more fight. So Ben won 3-0.
Match won 3-1. 16 points to 4. A very good result against an experienced side which I think will be near the top come the end of the season.
So now we have played all of the teams and are half way through the season and we have won them all. A very good effort from everyone who has played or supported.
Next match home to 2RM 17th Jan 2013
Wishing all of my match report followers a happy Christmas and a great New Year. See you in 2013 and I hope more success.
MATCH REPORTS – PETER FOULGER “Ace Reporter”
Match report no. 25 – 5th December 2012 Racket Ball Winter league division 2
After another long gap but last night we were back into league action.
Our opponents were Canford. Canford are familiar to us as it is with them that we played some friendly’s last year when we were considering entering the Racket ball league.
Team was Nigel, Peter, Mike & Player X (who I won’t tell you who he is just yet)
Yesterday morning I had 5 players available to select from but by the match start time of 7:15 I was down to only 3. First Paul withdrew due to a cold and as he was to be the spare player I was not too concerned. But later in the day Lee called to say he had been sick and was needed to look after the children who were also showing signs of sickness. Hence down to 3.
As we drove to Canford I had resigned myself to giving away the number 4 match. Martin was on his way to Germany, Ben is injured and Dave could not be contacted. Nigel then had a light bulb moment and suggested he would try player X. X agreed that he could make it by 8:00. So better than giving the points away he would come along and play.
First on were Mike and myself. I was at the giddy heights of number 2 and Mike at 3. Mike was straight into his stride playing as we know he can with controlled drop shots and boasts. When Mike is on form he is difficult to beat and so it proved. Indeed it was only in the third game that questions were asked and he just raised his game and won 3-0. A very good performance.
Whilst my opponent was probably a better player than me he is one who I should have done better against. I don’t know if it was the confusion over the team or what but I wasn’t in the first game. After some suggestions from Nigel, I slowly started to improve but still lost the second. The improvement continued in the third and at one time I lead 8-5, but too many errors cost me dearly because I let him back in and I lost 0-3.
So the match, was now poised at 1 rubber each.
The plan now was for Nigel to win 3-0 and X to take one game and we would then win on count back (number of games won). Simple.
Nigel started well and won the first 2 games. On the other court X lost the first game 10-12, but then he came back to win the second 12-10. So we had our extra game if Nigel could just win the third all would be well.
Nigel doesn’t do quick games and before the end of his third, X had lost his third game. So Nigel winning was looking even more vital. In spite of a terrific effort Nigel lost the third.
Now the match was back in the melting pot. Over on X’s court he was starting to get his game going and the shot making and movement of old was flowing through his veins and with a magnificent effort he took the forth.
So we were back in front. Before Nigel could win the forth which I knew he would (because he gets that steely look in his eyes that says he was distraught to loose the third and it is not going to happen again), X turned in the performance of the night with an 11-0 win in the fifth (yes eleven nil). What a match it was a pleasure to watch it unfold.
Nigel won 3-1 and X won 3-2
Match won 14 points to 6
Next match is next Thursday 13th December Home to West hants 3 7:30 start.
All the best Peter
Oh nearly forgot. The identity of the mystery player, who having eaten his tea and was around with his mum & Dads left the dinner table to come and play. It was your Director of Squash & racket Ball none other than Mr Andy Collins. You were worth 8 points on the night Andy and rescued the match. well done. With that he went home for his pudding.
Match report no. 23 – 25th October 2012 Racket Ball Winter league division 2
After a four week gap last night we were back into league action.
Our opponents were West Hants 4. West hants have two teams in our league and two in the first division so they are very strong on Racket ball. Although having said that, like us this is the first season for the 4th team. So it was going to be interesting seeing how we compare to their standard.
I was able to field probably our strongest side which apart from the absence of the great Martin Birt is as good as it gets. The team was Nigel, Ben, Lee & Dave. On this occasion I was relegated to number 5 non playing captain, marker & general dogs body.
The first matches saw Nigel playing no 1 and Lee playing at no 3. Nigel took a little while to get into his usual fluent pattern of play. This was probably due to him having been away on a weeks holiday to lanzarote, indulging in a little too much eating and drinking. Hamworthy players must realise what highly tuned specimens they are and respect there bodies. Still Nigel quickly shook off his holiday sluggishness and got down to business and like the athlete that he is swept to victory in three games. Winning 3-0
Lee also appeared to be suffering from sluggishness, without the holiday as compensation. Lee’s problem appeared to be more about lack of sleep from looking after young children than anything else. He was slow to start and before he knew it he had lost the first game. This was to be only a temporary set back and he woke up in the second game and went from strength to strength winning the next three games to win the match 3-1.
Next up Ben at no 2 and Dave at 4. Dave was also slow to start and was 6-0 down at the start of the first game. I didn’t know what was happening. Maybe it was the time between this match and the last one but there was a slight lack of our usual match sharpness. However not to worry, Dave got his act together and in spite of having to go to 13-11 to win the first game, he again swept to victory. He baffled his opponent with his powers of recovery and retrieving and it got to a point when his opponent looked truly bemused as to what to do next. Dave Won 3-0.
I am not convinced that Ben actually has any tactics when he plays. He is more reactive than most players. He does however combine hard hitting powerful play with softly struck drop shots to good effect. His opponent ran and ran but rarely threatened, apart from the second game when Ben abandoned the drop shots and hit the ball even harder. This played into his opponents hands and he took the second game. Ben stormed back and apart from the odd wild shot was well in control and he recovered to win 3-1 with a very tired opponent.
So another win and pretty convincing 17 points to 2.
Once again the overall fitness of our players was very apparent and what we may lack in skill, although this is rapidly improving, we will be unbeaten for fitness and stamina. Our skill level was well above the level of our opponents and I would have been disappointed to have lost any of the matches. We also have an improving squad with last nights players being very even in standard and could have played in any order and got the same result. These are backed up by at least four other player who with the exception of the great Martin Birt are only just below last nights standard. So hopefully we can continue this improvement within the racket Ball leagues.
Next match is in two weeks, 7th November away to David Lloyd Ringwood 7:20 start.
All the best Peter
Match report no. 24 – 7th November 2012 Racket Ball Winter league division 2
Just a two week gap since our last match and we were back in league action last knight .
Our opponents were David Lloyd Ringwood away. Prior to the match they were the only team above us in the league. They lead by 6 points albeit having played one more game.
The team was Nigel, Lee, Dave & myself. With a couple of our better players missing this was still a strong side.
Nigel at 1 and myself at 4 were the first matches on court. Nigel had probably one of the easiest games at 1 that he is likely to get in this league. He ran out the winner in three straight games. Of course it always appears to be easy when one player is playing so well and Nigel is doing just that. He played and a very calm and controlled manner and opponents often under estimate his determination to win. Good win 3-0.
On the other court I faced an old adversary from our squash days but who is inexperienced at racket ball. I got off to a slow and some what lethargic start and found it difficulty to get my timing right. However just as I started to improve and the rallies got longer he started to suffer. In fact suffer is the correct word because several times he delayed the start of a rally complaining of chest pains. As I improved so he suffered more and as I won the first game 11-9, we took an extended time out. After some deliberation we both decided that it would best if he stopped so I won by default 3-0. Not the way I would have liked to win but probably a fair reflection of the eventual score.
So 2 matches won 3-0 and just a point needed to win overall.
Next up Dave playing at 3 on my court and lee playing at 2 to follow Nigel. Dave played an experienced opponent and had a far more difficult match than the either Nigel or myself. A lot of long rallies and great recoveries forcing errors to creep in to his opponents game. In common with Nigel and Lee some of the recovering shots just left his opponent astounded and rooted to the spot. Dave is noted for his ability to read his opponents game and this he did to great effect making some great winners with a great variety of shots. Dave also won 3-0.
Lee’s turn to see if we could make it a clean sweep and take maximum points. His match didn’t quite go to plan and after two games the score was one all. The play was made more difficult by his opponents reluctance to leave the tee position which caused some rather cramped play in the middle of the court leading to errors, lets and strokes which as I was marking was at times difficult to judge. However Lee’s superior fitness was the key because the effort was starting to take more of a toll on his opponent than it was on Lee. Gradually the match swung in lee’s favour and after some extended rallies forcing errors from both players when in good positions to play winners Lee won the next two games to take the match 3-1. A very good effort against a difficult opponent.
So a good win over the top of the table team 17 points to 1. This should leave us 10 points clear with a match in hand.
A good night slightly spoilt by my opponents illness which thankfully didn’t seem to effect him once he had stopped playing. I will be checking on him in the near future.
Next match is not for 4 weeks when we are away to Canford on 5th December 7:15 start.
All the best Peter
SQUASH & RACKET BALL - by Peter Foulger
Squash and Racket Ball finals held on Saturday.
The first thing to say is how proud we should be that a small club like us with just two teams and both of them get to the finals. Some clubs with six or eight teams struggled to get one team in the finals. Well done to all who played in the summer and made it possible.
The squash team playing in Division 2 and run by Ben was first on and what a treat it was to see some superb play. Ben had managed to secure four players so he was not called upon and could save himself for the racket ball.
I won’t go into great detail about the individual matches because I didn’t get to see them all. What I did se was strings 3 and 4. Well if that is the standard these days I am glad I am playing racket ball. Every point was hard fought with some superb rallying. Shots were hit so hard that at times it was hard to see the ball, whilst the retrieving was outstanding. If fact it was a particular feature that no shot appeared to be un-recoverable. this in turn lead to some outstanding play. (No wonder Ben opted to play racket ball,,, no just kidding).
They run out 4-0 winners, a great result and well done Ben. Division 2 champions Again.
So we move on to the racket ball. Well we were up against our old enemies Dorchester, who I have to say have some very strong players and won out league with 157 points out of a maximum of 170. We were second on 137 points with the next best on only 94 points. So they are good.
First on Lee. He was playing a big and strong opponent who hit the ball well and ran everything down. After some early play where Lee was establishing himself, Lee’s retrieving was starting to tell and as the match wore on and fitness began to tell so he became more and more dominant. Some of the time, out playing his opponent, who had no answer and could only watch the ball go for a winner. He finally won the match 3-1. A very good result.
On the other court by now was Ben. Ben’s opponent was technically very skilful with a good range of shots. After some early skirmishes Ben let the first game slip away and he lost it. However Ben then started to work it out and began to use his brain and like Lee became more and more dominant finally winning 3-1. Again a very good display of racket ball.
So 2 rubbers up but only 6-2 in games. As you know with only four in a team it is vital to win games so that count back will be avoided.
Next up Dave. Now Dave and Ben are our least experienced racket ball players, some thing both are determined to put right. But for now they are still able to win by their fitness and speed around the court, of course coupled with natural racket skill. However Dave’s opponent probably made the least unforced errors of anyone. He hardly made a mistake until he was 10 points up so therefore Dave was always playing catch up. Dave played very well himself and kept forcing the ball wide and made some great recoveries, but in the end the lack of errors from his opponent told and he lost 3-0.
Match now standing at 6-5 to us. So it came down to the last match. 3 points from Nigel then we win the match, if he lost 3-2 then it would be decided on count back and we were ahead at this point. So no pressure.
Now Nigel’s opponent is one of the best players we have meet. He is strong and hits the ball very hard and low. One slight different feature is that he plays wearing a glove. The match took its usual course with Nigel getting to every shot but just not quite winning enough points to win the game. In the second however Nigel was superb and played some great racket ball, long, short, hard & soft and it did the trick. Nigel won the second and Dorchester were visibly shocked and at this point started adding up the points in preparation of a count back. But unfortunately after a fine effort by Nigel he was just beaten in the third and forth so loosing 1-3.
So we came second by 7 games to 8.
A great effort all round and well done to all who played in the finals or helped us get there.
I’m off to buy a glove and hope it does the trick.
Next Match Home on Thursday 27th September when we play Dorchester again.
Match report no. 22 – 27th Sept 2012 Winter league
Well, after the excitement of the Racket ball finals last Saturday, this evening we were back to the winter league.
As fate would have it, we were up against our finals opponents Dorchester, who if you remember beat us for the third time this summer.
We were without Nigel and Lee two of our strongest players. To be fair they were also without their number 2 who is out with an operation on his knee.
Last nights team was Ben, Dave, the great Martin Birt (making a guest appearance) and myself. Paul and Mike in a supporting role.
Martin and I were on first. I made a good start and won the first game reasonable comfortably. However the second game was very different with little fluency, short rallies and play broken up by both of us making mistakes and getting in each others way. This gave Paul, who was marking a bit of a nightmare and he did well to sort it out (I am told I can be difficult). I lost the second game and I think we were both glad it was over. However I took heart from my performance in the first game and trying to repeat this, all was back on track enabling me to win the third and forth reasonable easily. I won 3-1
On the other court Martin was finding it very difficult. The first and second games were shared one a piece. Martin’s racket ball skill level is better than any of us but last night he was suffering from a cold and this showed. He lacked the usual speed around the court and generally lacked fire power. However after going further behind by loosing the third, 10-12, he finally found some form and started to get back into the match by winning the forth. The final game was not pretty but like the true champ that he is Martin slowly drew away from his opponent and ran out the winner 3-2.
So we are now 2 matches up but on count back only 6-3 in games and as you know if the match is tied at 2-2 then the games count.
Next it was Ben’s turn playing at 1. Now we knew that whoever played at 1 was a bit of a sacrifice, but Ben had high hopes of improving on Nigel’s 1-3 result against this opponent last Saturday. In all fairness he should have taken the first game. both players were striking the ball well and very hard. The rallies were fierce with some great recoveries from Ben. Against this opponent you can not afford to give him a start and in each game he was able to get a few points up at the start and this put pressure on Ben. But for the start, and one or two errors, Ben would have won but unfortunately it was not to be, he lost the first game. The second and third games followed the same pattern. At one time Ben won 6 points on the trot but this still left him trailing by two points. He played a good game and tried very hard and as always blamed himself when he lost points but he was up against a very good opponent. Ben lost 0-3
The match was nicely poised at 2-1 to us in matches but 6-6 in games. If they won the forth match then they would win no matter how many games Dave won. So the only hope was for Dave to win.
Simple then Dave had to win. So he proceeds to loose the first two games albeit the second 10-12. All looked lost. Up steps the road runner. Dave took off in the third and ran everything down and with his opponent being a bit complacent in his superior skill this allowed Dave gradually get on top and win the third. And again in the forth, more running and incredible recovering against an opponent who was bigger, stronger and hard hitting. Dave wore him down to take the forth. So now the improbable started to look like the possible. The fifth was a dominant display by Dave against a bemused and very tired opponent, with Dave running out the winner 11-6 and the match 3-2. Great work.
Overall the match was won 3-1 and with the bonus we scored 14 points to 8. What a great result against very good opponents and a great start to the season two games, two wins.
This once again demonstrates the overall superior fitness of our team. Also a thank you to Paul who ended up marking two games.
Just a note about our oldest player Andrew Mackenzie, he is in hospital for an operation on his back and I hope to go and see him today. I will pass on your best wishes.
We don’t have another match until 25th October but the Squash team is at home next Thursday 4th if you want to go along and support.
All the best Peter