On the weekend of 24/25th March, Nottingham Squash Club was the venue for Inter-county Finals.
In their Semi Final match Yorkshire faced Northamptonshire, who were winners of their Stage 1 group.
First on court for Yorkshire at No.3 was Steve Forster. In the first game Steve started very well, building himself a good advantage and despite a late push from his opponent he took the first game to lead 1/0. The second game saw the Northamptonshire player start much stronger and take a big lead, however, Steve held his nerve gradually narrowing the gap and eventually taking the second to lead 2/0. The third started in a similar vein to the second but Steve again came from a number of points down to take full control and take the match for Yorkshire by 3 games to nil.
At No.1 Anthony Kettlewell faced current England International, Simon Evenden and after a slow start Anthony found himself trailing 1/0. The second and third games were much tighter, but sadly this resulted in a 3/0 defeat for the Yorkshire player.
With the match now tied, everything rested on Robert Taylor at No.2. He was also up a very experienced player in Ian Holmes. After a cagey start where points were traded by both players, Robert manged to get himself in front and take the first game to put himself 1/0 up. The second followed a similar pattern, with Taylor taking this one also to extend his lead. Needing just one more game to take the tie for Yorkshire, the third proved to be a much tighter affair but Taylor maintained his composure to this one and the match for Yorkshire.
Yorkshire 2 Northamptonshire 1
Following a team meeting, Fred Harrison, kindly agreed to stand down for the second match, resulting in an unchanged team to face Lancashire in the final.
Steve Forster was on first again against former National Champion, Steve Johnson. Despite the first two games being close, the Lancashire player managed to edge both games to take a 2/0 lead. In the third Forster gained the advantage and when leading 12/9, the Lancashire No.3 pulled his calf muscle and was unable to continue. Game to Yorkshire 3/2, taking a 1/0 lead in the match.
The No.1 string game featured current National Champion, Allen Barwise from Lancashire. Anthony started the game extremely well frustrating his illustrious opponent. Despite having two chances to close out the first game, Anthony eventually lost this one 18/16. The second game was also evenly contested but again the Lancashire player gained the upper hand at a critical time, taking this one 15/12. Despite a valiant effort in the third Anthony eventually went down by 3 games to nil.
The match was now evenly poised at one rubber each and again it was down to Robert Taylor to attempt to win the match for Yorkshire. His opponent was current England International and National Over 60 Runner Up, Ian Bradburn,
Robert started the game strongly taking the game to his more experienced opponent and clearly this tactic worked with Yorkshire taking the first game. Bradburn was clearly unsettled and raised the tempo in the second game and after a fairly even start the Lancashire man levelled the game at 1 all. Despite Robert’s endeavours, the rallies were now quite punishing for both players and sadly from a Yorkshire perspective Bradburn came through to win 3/1 and take the match for Lancashire.
Overall this was an excellent effort from the Yorkshire squad and to finish the competition was a terrific achievement.
Thanks should also go to Dave Lines who captained the team once again this season.