Match goes to the wire

Despite a narrow first defeat of the season to visitors Newton Abbot, Sidmouth Squash Club held on to top spot after the fifth round of Division 3 matches.

The opening rubbers were classics and really close. Paul Clare, despite leading 2-1, lost out to a very fit and youthful Dan Gough. Paul could not sustain the early pressure, which brought about the lead, and can be excused for his 11-15, 17-15,8-15, 15-7, 15-8 defeat to a player who was just over a third of his age.

Fourth string Alick Russell made a welcome return and looked to be well on his way to victory when taking the opening two games. Opponent Shaun Mutton had different ideas and, buoyed on by his fellow players, levelled the rubber at 2-2. The final game was tight and littered with errors from two very tired players. With little between them at 10-11, Alick regained the service with a marvellous rally and maintained his composure to serve through the remaining gruelling points to win 15-13, 15-13, 11-15, 11-15, 15-11.

Third string Paul Symington produced his best display of the season and maintain his winning start when defeating Newton's Rob Salmon 10-15; 15-10, 15-9, 15-8.

Despite losing the opener Paul looked sharp and pounced on every mistake or loose shot. More of the same will surely result in elevation up the ranking order at the mid season break.

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Chris Marriott came up against his squash nemesis in the form of Newton second string Steve Lewis. Having lost twice in each of the last two seasons to the same player, Chris was under pressure from the off and, uncharacteristically, made many unforced errors.

His only opportunity came, and went, when leading 9-6 in the second, alas, it was not to be and Chris went down 15-5, 15-11, 15-7.

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The match hinged on the final rubber between Sidmouth's Nigel Desousa and Newton's Luke Rudderham. Luke had not beaten Nigel in four previous meetings. If Nigel had taken his game ball opportunities in the opener and made the best of his lead in the second, he would surely have won. Unfortunately, Luke secured both games and ran through the third to record a thoroughly deserved 17-16, 15-13, 15-6 win.

Sidmouth 2 (8 pts), Newton Abbot 3rd's 3 (17 pts).

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