Squash team’s close call

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Squash generic picture - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Squash had a disappointing opening two games to the second half of the season with narrow 3-2 defeats at Torquay and at home to Newton Abbot, writes Rob Cann.

The defeat at Torquay was all the more disappointing as the team beat their hosts 5-0 in the opening game of the season.

Rob Cann did get Sidmouth off to a good start with a 3-1 victory over fellow fifth string Ian Huddart. The cool, dead courts suited Cann down to the ground and excellent drive lengths and pin-point lobs kept his lively opponent at the back of the court and unable to use his speed and agility. Cann won 15-8; 15-11; 12-15; 15-13.

Torquay levelled the match scores when their third string Joe Marler defeated Alick Russell in straight games. It was clear it was not going to be Russell’s night when at 9-9 in the opener, his opponent hit four consecutive winning nicks on the way to winning. Despite improving as the rubber went on Russell finally succumbed 9-15; 11-15; 12-15.

Fourth string Paul Clare played one of his best matches to date with a 9-15; 15-8; 15-12; 15-11 victory over Torquay captain James Cayford. Excellent retrieving and patient rally building proved the key.

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Despite losing the opening two games of his rubber, Paul Symington was disappointed to lose 15-7; 15-12; 7-15; 6-15; 15-11 to fellow second string Steve Hill. Hampered by an opening game twinge to a hamstring, Symington looked all at sea during the opening games. Things improved in the second and he raced away with the third before letting a winning match lead disappear to end in defeat.

The deciding rubber of the evening saw Torquay top string Kristian Forbes overturn his defeat at Sidmouth with a four-game win over Sidmouth No 1 on the night Nigel Desousa.

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The opening game marathon was a thriller with Forbes taking it 20-18 in the tie-break. Newton’s No 1 continued his winning run by taking the second before Desousa showed signs of his A game to reduce the deficit. Forbes’ game is built on patience and endurance and he duly shaded the fourth to complete his win and Torquay’s team victory.

?Sidmouth managed to get an almost full strength side out for the visit of league leaders Newton Abbot and ran the champions elect all the way during an excellent evening.Fifth string Paul Clare was disappointed with his 3-1 defeat to Newton’s Nick Whalley. Having lost the opening game with ease Clare was on equal terms throughout the remainder of the rubber and rued his poor start in the 5-15; 12-15; 15-13; 13-15 result.

Sidmouth levelled the scores when fourth string Alick Russell defeated opponent Rob Salmon 12-15; 15-10; 16-14; 15-3. Russell’s superior fitness told in the end.

Top string Chris Woodruff was on top form in defeating Newton No 1 Steve Lewis. Despite the close-looking 15-11; 15-12; 15-10 score line Woodruff was completely dominant in the early stages of all three games and allowed his opponent back into the games before closing out the rubber with ease.

Newton Abbot levelled the team score at 2 – 2 with victory for Luke Rudderham over Sidmouth’s Chris Marriott. It was not Marriott’s best display of the season but Rudderham, the eventual winner 15-9; 15-10; 15-8 is a good second string player.

The deciding rubber was a thriller, Sidmouth’s Nigel Desousa and Matt Whalley providing a fitting end to the evening. Both had spells in charge before Whalley got the upper hand to win 15-6; 15-7; 11-15; 14-16; 15-13.

Matt started the better and looked to be the odds on winner after taking the opening two games. Nigel to his credit dug in and turned the rubber around with some excellent squash. He won the third and later the fourth setting up a final game and match decider. Both players tiring did not affect the quality of the squash and extended rallies were the norm as neither wanted to make the mistake. There could only be one winner and on this occasion it was Matt who to his credit did look the fresher of the two at the conclusion of the result.

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