First racketball clash

Sidmouth 1 (6 points), Culm Valley 4 (17 points)

In their first ever Devon League racketball game Sidmouth hosted last year’s runners up Culm Valley at Sidmouth LC and put up a valiant effort despite losing 4-1, writes Rob Cann.

The evening started well for Sidmouth when fifth string Andrew Rugg-Gunn defeated opponent Lorraine Barns. Rugg-Gunn’s seamless conversion from squash to racketball was clear to see, winning in straight games 11-5; 11-6; 11-7.

On the adjacent court fourth string Keith Spring suffered a recurrence of an old back injury midway through the opening game; he did battle on but a very adept opponent, Stuart Wilson, was too difficult to overcome, the Culm No 4 winning 11-2; 11-3; 11-7.

Club captain Rob Cann was next on court and things looked rosy in the early stages of his rubber with fellow third string Tim Johns. After winning the opening game and leading early in the second it was all downhill for Cann from then on as Tim’s superior racketball skills came to the fore and he closed out the rubber 6-11; 11-6; 11-6; 11-7. Sidmouth’s most experienced player Bruce Ash was next on court and he showed his full array of shots in winning the opening game of his rubber with fellow second string Nigel German. In contrast, Nigel dominated games two and three before winning the rubber 4-11; 11-6; 11-4; 12-10, securing a tight fourth-game tie break.

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With the match result decided the packed balcony was treated to a marvellous match between top strings Nick Whittaker and Culm captain Duncan Lyons. In a rubber full of quality play and exhausting rallies, Lyons came out on top.

The result may well have gone the other way had Whittaker taken his game ball opportunities in the third, but it was not to be and Lyons ran out a relieved victor 8-11; 11-7; 12-10; 11-3.

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The team next play fellow debutants Paignton.

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