Ups and downs

Newton Abbot 5 (20pts), Sidmouth 0 (3pts)

Sidmouth squash team have played the first two league matches of the new season with a weakened side as number one string Chris Woodruff is out for the foreseeable future with a hairline fracture of his ankle, writes Alick Russell.

After a convincing home win in the first league match the players were thinking that maybe they would not miss their number one as much as they had thought. One game played, maximum points, top of the table!

They were bought back down to earth with a jolt when they played their second league match away to a very strong Newton Abbot side. On hot courts that seemed to suit the home side much more than the Sidmouth visitors, Sidmouth only managed to muster three points out of a possible 20 and were soundly beaten.

Paul Clare, at number five, put up a great fight in losing 3-1 to Nick Whalley. Had the close third game gone his way, the outcome may have been different.

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String four Alick Russell, did plenty of running and had three close games but ended up losing 3-0 to Nick’s brother Matt Whalley.

Paul Symington at number three was the only player to really have a chance of a win and played some excellent squash in narrowly losing 3-2 to his opponent Mark Hedge.

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Nigel DeSousa met young and fit opposition in the Newton Abbot number two Luke Rudderham and struggled to get the ball tight to the walls in his 3-0 defeat.

Sidmouth First string Chris Marriot drove down from Bristol to play and met an in-form Steve Lewis who dispatched him quickly in another 3-0 score line.

With the game over relatively quickly, attention was turned to the club bar for the after game meal, drinks and post match banter. Sidmouth are hoping for a better performance in their next match against Exeter Golf and Country Club.

Sidmouth 5 (20 pts ) ,

Torquay 4ths 0 (8 pts)

The squash team played their opening fixture of the season at home to newly promoted Torquay 4ths, writes Rob Cann.

With the top two strings missing Sidmouth’s makeshift team were expecting a difficult match but each player stepped up to the mark to overwhelm their visitors 5-0.

Cann opened proceedings with a hard earned 3-2 win over fellow fifth string Ian Huddart. Having won the opening game, Cann made too many errors and found himself 1-2 down. Finding a better length and variation of shot he seized on every opportunity to level and, following a series of well-constructed rallies in the early stages of the decider, it was just enough to hold on for victory 15-11, 12-15, 11-15, 15-10, 15-12.

On the adjacent court Sidmouth No 4 Paul Clare was involved in an even game with Torquay’s Andy Williamson. Despite the close 10-15, 15-13, 15-11, 15-9 score line however Clarel always looked to have the upper hand despite losing the opener

The match result was settled in the next rubber on court when Alick Russell got the better of Torquay captain James Cayford. The deciding factor in a very entertaining and close 10-15, 19-17, 15-11, 15-9 result was Russell’s boundless energy and fantastic retrieval skills.

Second string Paul Symington showed his usual early season in a topsy turvy 3-2 win over opponent Steve Hill. The players shared the opening games before Symington, playing some of his better squash, secured the third. Hill hit back taking the fourth in quick time before Symington, who had saved his efforts, shaded the close deciding game. The resultant 10-15, 15-12, 16-14, 4-15, 15-11, score line a great boost to Symington who will only get better as the season progresses.

What a difference a year makes for top string on the night Nigel Desousa. Having won only one match from 10 attempts last season he secured victory at his first attempt this year. Looking fitter and sharper DeSousa dominated the opening two games with Torquay No 1 Kristian Forbes with excellent width drives and drops. Forbes fought back and extended the rallies at every opportunity to level at 2-2. DeSousa regained his composure in the decider and went on to record a fabulous win 15-9, 15-10, 5-15, 4-15, 15-12.

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