The lottery of the annual club handicap reached its conclusion with 4 lively finals on Friday 29th November with two Watts looking to light up proceedings at either end of the squash draw.
The squash plate saw Nick first on court three in deficit to his opponent, first time finalist Jonathan Baker, to the tune of 11 points. After some tit-for-tat early blows, Nick eventually eased his way into the match by taking the first. Jonathan, gaining another two points advantage looked set to win the second only for Nick to claim it with a run of points at the end. Jonathan got himself on the board by taking the third and pressed on by comfortably taking the fourth. An anticipated tight fifth followed with all parts of the court (and rackets) being used, Nick finally seeing it out to 12.
The main squash final was next up on court three with an as yet undefeated Nick Rodgers - who was unable to defend his 2011 title last year - was the opponent for the other Watts brother, Callum - possibly the clubs’ youngest main draw finalist. Nick, surprised by his opponent’s well coached style, managed to eventually wear him down to take the first. Callum surged ahead in the second and Nick could not recover. Nick reasserted his length game in the third to take the early points and despite some spirited play by his opponent, continued to run through the third taking it to 10. Callum won a point for point fourth to take the match into a final game, only for Nick to crush the chance of an upset with the more experienced man coming through comfortably.
The racketball plate saw Colin Turner face yet another first time finalist, Keith Loader. Colin quickly pulled back his handicap in the first with a succession of drops from all around the court. Keith hung in the game however and, once he got their measure, began to exert an element of his own control to the encounter. A tussle ensued with Keith coming through on sudden death. The second saw Colin again worked back his starting disadvantage and Keith again responded but this time Colin strung the vital points together. The third proved an even affair to begin with before the ‘Turner drop’ again began to reign, coupled with some uncharacteristic errors from Keith, saw Colin grab the game. The ‘length against drop’ battle continued in the fourth with Colin again taking early proceedings. A tiring Keith had to draw on his reserves to grasp some vital points and send the match into a decider. An enthralling encounter reached its deserved conclusion. Keith looked to have the match in the bag leading 12 - 7 before Colin struck back to make it an all or nothing sudden death point. Colin, starting the rally with an attempted cork-screw serve (a shot worthy of losing any match), ultimately held his nerve to claim the game that neither deserved to lose.
The final court entertainment for the evening was the racketball main final as Lyn Stockham tackled Paul White. There is seldom a finals night without one of these club stalwarts and it was a battle in the trenches for the first as Paul looked to overcome a seven point gap. This he failed to manage as Lyn worked enough to take the first, maintaining his starting advantage. More rallies that tested the concentration of players and spectators alike as Lyn took the second before the repeating theme of the night took hold and Paul grabbed the third and fourth. A calf problem hindered Paul in the middle of the fifth and Lyn took full advantage easing to a 15-6 conclusion and perhaps a fitting end in what he later admitted will likely be his last club tournament appearance.
Thanks to David Whittingham for this write-up. Photos to follow shortly
: 12th Nov 2013 13:14:00