Originally a 4 team event reduced to 3 after Lancashire’s 11th hour withdrawal.
All matches played on the Saturday.
We were in a tough group with the current champs and one of the finalists from
last year. First up Cambridgeshire. On first local lad Paul Adams. A real tough
encounter over 3 games. Paul winning 3-0 but all three games only a couple of
points in it. On next debuting for the team John Riley. John was up against a
very quick talented player and after losing the first he went on to win a tight
match 3-1. On next at 1 Matt Stephenson also making his debut for the over 45’s.
A really difficult first outing for Matt up against the former world no.7.
After a hard fought 3 games Matt lost out 0-3. 4th on court at number 4 Rick
Saunders, playing a former foe from his Cambridge days. After a brutal 12-10 in
the 1st Rick had knocked the stuffing out of his opponent and ran out a fairly
comfortable 3-0 winner. With the match already in the bag it was left to the
number 2 strings to play. Jonathan Lilley winning the first 11-2 with his
opponent clueless as to where the ball was going. However, after some helpful
words from his teammates he worked out how to combat Jonathan’s shot making.
Jonathan eventually losing 1-3. Win for Yorkshire 3-2. Great start against a
really good Cambridge team.
For our second match of the day we were facing a difficult challenge playing the
current Champions Durham & Cleveland.
At 3 John Riley playing his second match of the day who was up against a really
good player who was fresh and had not played yet. In a really close match the
freshness made the difference. John losing 10-12 in the 5th. At 5, another “new
boy” Mark Swift. Mark was in control against quite an unorthodox shot maker. He
ran out an easy 3-0 winner – great debut. On next at 4 Stuart Hargreaves.
Stuart was up against one of his team mates from Pontefract in a game where
both players were familiar with the other’s game. After some really hard rallies
Stuart eventually going down 1-3. Next at one Matt Stephenson, for his second
match of the day. After winning the first 11-4 Matt was flying only for his
opponent to retire at 2-0 down in the second. Disappointing for Matt but a win
is a win! So with the match at 2-2 it was left to Jonathan Lilley to try to win
the whole event for Yorkshire. He was up against an opponent who he has played
many times over the years where the matches are always nip and tuck. Jonathan
moving and playing well went into a 2-0 lead only to be slowly and painfully
clawed back to 2-2. Both players were fighting exhaustion in the fifth and
eventually Jonathan lost out 7-11 in the fifth.
A really tough but good days squash from all concerned. Hopefully enough to make
the finals in March.