Inter-County Over 55 Mens Team

The Yorkshire Men’s over 55 team headed down the M1 for their rearranged stage 2 match with Hampshire and Buckinghamshire on Saturday 14th April – the previously scheduled weekend having been cancelled due to the inopportune arrival of the beast from the east.

We arrived at the rather smart Chesham Bois tennis and squash club for our 2 p.m. . match in glorious sunshine with the Hampshire team sitting out watching the tennis and topping up their vitamin D. It transpired they had lost 5-0 against Bucks in the 10 a.m. match and with only one team certain of promotion from Div 1 to the Premier division we set about trying to emulate that score line. Which we did.

Ged Martin played super tight squash to overcome the Hampshire Captain, George Kousseff, Phil Wakefield had too much guile at 2 for Simon Dancer, Blacksell steadied the ship after a shaky start to come through against Doug Chandler 3-0 at 3, with Steve Smith playing classy squash to defeat Chris Edwards at 4, and with Yorkshire debutante, Randolph Victor proving too strong and fit for a skilful (but less fit) Steve Ralphs at 5th string. Credit to Hants who bore their second heavy defeat with good humour and excellent sportsmanship.

Which set us up for the crunch Bucks match at 5 p.m. with the Bucks players strolling in nonchalantly at 4.55, so cutting it fine. The 5th and 3rd strings were quickly in action though with Rod Erridge at 5th string playing an epic 5 setter (saving a match ball in the 5th) against Bucks Captain Chris Gildersleve, before prevailing 13-11! Blacksell came through 3-0 against the hard hitting deceptive Neil Hinds and Yorkshire were off to a very solid start. Darren Withey played excellent squash to defeat Ged 3-0 at first string (no sign of the dodgy back that had been troubling Darren of late) leaving us needing one more win from Phil at 2 or Steve Smith at 4. Phil had a tough battle against Mark Treadwell but held out to win 3-1 with Steve playing some very solid squash to win 3-0 at 4th string. So a 4-1 victory and promotion to the Premier division secured.

After a splendid home cooked meal from the wonderful Mary who looked after us magnificently all day we headed back up the M1 only to find it closed between junctions 22 and 23! So 7 hours driving and 6 hours of squash – a long but thankfully successful day!

Many thanks to Chris Gildersleeve and Mary for their excellent hosting and catering. Thanks to the selected Yorkshire players for their support and participation and to all of you on this e mail for your involvement and support.

And thanks also to Allam Marine for supporting Yorkshire County squash.

Looking forward to Premier Division IC squash next year.

And just as a final comment directed toward England Squash – the 3 team one day format again demonstrated its severe limitations. It completely destroys the social element and confers an advantage on the home team that gets a 6 hour break between matches whilst the other teams play back to back. All the Bucks players went home (understandably) after their morning match (why would you hang around for 5 hours before your second match?), the Hants players all (understandably) went home after their match with Yorkshire and before the Bucks players had returned to the Club, and there is no point in the day where everyone can sit down to a meal together – so you play your two matches in splendid isolation with little or no atmosphere with people wanting to get off after they have played, rather than sticking around for a drink and a meal. Please bring back the 4 team weekend format!

Stephen Blacksell

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