Squash men confirm league place
In the knowledge that promotion will have to wait for another season following second placed Newton Abbot's narrow victory over Riverside, Exeter Sidmouth Squash went into their final match of the season at Exeter G and CC keen to end their season on a high note and confirm third place in Division 3 of the Devon leagues for the second consecutive season, writes Rob Cann.
Unusually the top strings opened proceedings and Sidmouth No 1 Chris Woodruff duly completed an unbeaten season with a 12-15; 15-10; 15-6; 15-11 victory over Golf & CCs Al Hutchings.
Still in the final stages of recovery from injury, Chris opened at a sedate pace allowing Al to dominate the middle of the court and take the opening game, from then on however the match was completely one-sided and Chris dominated all aspects of play to win at a canter.
On the adjacent court Paul Clare lost out in straight games to fellow fourth string James Channings, eventually going down 13-15; 12-15; 5-15.
Golf & CC took a 2-1 match lead with victory in the next rubber on court when home fifth string Brian Copp narrowly defeated Sidmouth captain Rob Cann in a marathon 14-16; 15-12; 9-15; 16-14; 15-13 rubber. Rob was kicking himself after the match for not winning when excellently placed to win with match ball in the fourth but an errant volley drop saw the point disappear and Brian sealed the game on the tie-break before narrowly winning the decider.
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Sidmouth levelled the match when third string Paul Symington came from a game behind to defeat fellow No 3 Ralph White 10-15; 15-13; 15-6; 15-8.
Sidmouth’s chances of team victory looked slim when second string Chris Marriott lost the opening two games in his match with G & CC No 2 Mark Mills.
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Undeterred Chris stuck to his game strengths and a greater percentage of shots brought success, he raced through the third conceding only three points and dominated the majority of the fourth to level at 2-2. Looking shattered and a little shell-shocked Mark had few answers to the swing in momentum and Chris took every opportunity to push home the advantage to conclude the rubber 10-15; 13-15; 15-3; 15-11; 15-8.
Exeter Golf & CC 2 ( 10 pts ), Sidmouth 3 ( 16 pt )
All that remains is the traditional end of season meal at sponsors Dukes before a well-earned break.