02 AND 03 MARCH
England Squash tried a new system that saw several age-groups playing at the same venue. The venues on each day though differed. In addition, there was yet another design of team shirt for Yorkshire players to wear. Universal approval for any of the three was not apparent.
However, the team ventured over to Grove Park for their first match. The opponents were Merseyside. Start time was an early 10:00.
First up at three was team captain Edward Winter from Sheffield. He was under treatment for a problem with his right hip. Seeing as you ask, not the joint but the imaginatively named greater trochanteric pain syndrome. Although he moved gingerly, he beat Les Callow 3-0 (15-11, 15-13, 15-6).
Next up was first string, Scot now York resident Brian McRobbie against Pete Sharples. Brian sneaked the first 16-14, was less troubled in taking the second 15-8 but had another close one in the third although it went his way 17-15.
So two up; good start. Last on was two string: Barnsley’s Steve Williams against Ian Sheard. In his characteristic unflappable style, Steve cruised through 15-9, 15-13, 15-7.
After an excellent beginning the team now faced old adversaries Lancashire. The match began at 14:40. Edward Winter continued where he left off and countered the challenge from Phil Shacklady with a near pain-free 17-15, 15-13, 15-9.
Similarly, Brian McRobbie resisted Robert Holdsworth 15-13, 15-13, 16-14.
Steve Williams completed the clean sweep with a 15-13, 20-18, 15-12 victory over Geoff Wilcock.
What a Saturday.
Brian with wife and travelling-supporter Margaret, stayed over. Steve and Edward returned to their respective homes. All three contemplated the match against Cumbria the following day.
The four arrived safely at Manchester Northern ready for a 12:10 start.
A slightly sore Edward Winter eased past Roger Furniss 15-13, 15-9, 15-12.
Brian had a tougher encounter against England international Terry Belshaw. Having let slip a lead at game ball, Brian lost the first 16-18. He then lost the second 15-11 but took the third 15-7. However, Belshaw came back strongly in the fourth that he captured 15-12.
This was the first rubber the team had lost in eight matches.
Steve Williams began well against Chris Lilly and secured the first 15-13. In the second though, Lilly had a string of the-ball-could-have-gone-anywhere type shots that turned out to be winners and took the second, also 15-13. Lilly started the third with another run of winners in the third but the run petered out. Besides, Williams is a tough opponent. He held in and then eased to take the game 15-11. His opponent was now tired and Steve pressed home his advantage to take the fourth 15-8 and the rubber 3-1.
Against the ante-post odds perhaps, Yorkshire had beaten all three of their opponents. Each of the three-man team had acquitted themselves well.
The finals scheduled for 22 and 23 June now beckon, at a venue to be decided.