After some withdrawals and unavailability, Yorkshire travelled to Newcastle to play Northumbria and Durham and Cleveland in stage 1 of the inter counties. With
a slightly weakened team our best chance was to win lower down the order.
First up Durham and Cleveland, who also had a slightly weakened team but had managed to win against Northumbria.
On at 5 and 3, both making their debuts for the Over 45’s, Robin Mannall and Ian Tooms. Robin played well against a very experienced and unorthodox opponent coming out a 3-0 winner at 5. Ian at 3, played some excellent shots against a wily opponent and proved way too strong. Again another comfortable 3-0 victory.
At 4. Phil Davis managed to impose his control and shot making ability against a hard hitting opponent, running out a 3-0 winner. At 1 Stuart Hargreaves played
some excellent squash with a mixture of power and deft precision touches to go into a 2-0 lead against a very good player. As the match progressed, his
opponent started to get the better of the exchanges going on to beat Stuart 3-2 in a very tough encounter.
Finally, with the match already won, it was still important to get “points in the bag” Rick Saunders, another debutant, went on at 2. He raced into a 1-0 lead
but after a very long, strenuous match he eventually lost out 3-2.
Result 3-2 win for Yorkshire.
On to our 2nd match against Northumbria. We were up against it playing the host county. Not only did we have to turn around with just over an hour, for some
players, Northumbria were able to call on two very strong players at 1 and 2 who hadn’t played earlier.
On first at 5, playing his first match, Simon Hepworth and at 3 Phil Davis. With a mix of power, pace and technique, Simon was far too strong for the Northumbria number 5, winning 3-0 with ease. Another great debut. Phil started well winning the first but after a number of errors and being on the wrong end of some tough rallies lost out 3-1.
At 1, backing up after a gruelling five setter earlier, Stuart Hargreaves faced a fresh ex-professional player. Stuart battled hard and pushed his body to the
limit, playing some brilliant squash to win the match 3-0. At 4 Robin Mannall was looking to make it 2 from 2 but unfortunately ran into a “machine” of a
player who was just too strong and fast resulting in a 3-1 loss.
Finally on at 2 Rick Saunders. Again, like Stuart, coming off a really tough 3-2 loss earlier and facing a very strong and fresh opponent. Rick fought hard as
always but didn’t have the necessary “zip” or energy reserves to mount a significant challenge, going down 3-0.
Match to Northumbria 3-2.
Yorkshire 26 points
A great effort by all the guys.