22nd/23rd June 2019.
Birmingham University provided the venue for this year’s Inter Counties Finals, with Essex being Yorkshire’s opponents for their quarter final tie.
First on court for Yorkshire at No.3 was Steve Forster. After a slow start, he gradually clawed his way back into contention, only to lose the first game narrowly. From this point forward he took control of a relatively tight match to run out a 3/1 victor.
At No.1 was Phil Wakefield and he also found himself well down in the first, however, he remained patient and eventually closed out the game. From there on the result was never in danger, as he won the second and third comfortably to secure a 3/0 win.
Although the match was now won, Mark Shipley played out the number two string game. Mark continued the trend of his colleagues by starting slowly. Mid way through the first, he began to find his length and from this point forward the result was never in doubt, as he went on to win 3/0.
This set up a semi final against current champions, Lancashire, who sadly due to injuries were only able to field two players, but both were International standard.
Steve Forster sat this one out claiming a walkover at 3, meaning that if we could win one of the remaining matches it would take us through to Sunday’s final.
Unfortunately this was not to be the case as the Lancashire players showed their true class to win these two matches convincingly.
At 1 Phil was never able to find his rhythm against Allen Barwise and the same applied to Mark at 2, who found Steve Johnson in fine form.
This left Yorkshire to contest the 3rd/4th play off against Northamptonshire on the Sunday morning.
The play off began with Steve Forster at No.3 and right from the start he dominated his opponent, playing and moving extremely well, giving Yorkshire the ideal start with a 3/0 victory.
Next on court was Phil Wakefield facing England International, Simon Evenden, a re-match of their British Open semi final encounter and this proved to be the game of the weekend.
Having narrowly lost the first, Phil managed to up his game taking the next two to lead 2/1. Despite having one match ball in the fourth, sadly it was the Northants player who took the set to level at 2 all.
The fifth set was a tense and nervy affair with both players playing some very good squash but equally making mistakes. The writing looked on the wall form the Yorkshireman as Evenden opened up a 4 post lead. However, the best was still to come as Phil stormed back to reach match ball, but was unable to close out the match. After a series of opportunities Phil eventually won the set 20/18, to secure 3rd place for Yorkshire.
Mark Shipley played out the 2nd string game against Ian Holmes, and after levelling his game at one all, he lost his rubber 3/1.
A great weekend and perhaps with a better draw, the team could quite easily have made the final.
Well done to everyone.
Steve Everitt 23.06.2019.