The last matches of the pre-Christmas squash season were played last week to determine the winners of each league.
EasyGym are the A League winners despite losing their final match to team AON. AON won 3-2, however, the victory wasn’t big enough for them to overturn the 46-point deficit they needed to take top spot from their opponents. Jason Crease and Chris Cave gave AON the perfect start with 3-0 victories at four and five. Dave Norman and Malcolm Levy levelled the score with victories for Easygym at one and two, with Levy surviving a five game battle with Robin Crease in the closest match of the night. Mason McLarney took the deciding win for AON at three.
EasyGym’s winning margin after all fixtures were fulfilled stood at 21 points, having lost just twice all campaign – both of those defeats against AON.
In the top tier’s other fixture, Cannell Print saw off Stoneart 4-1. There were 3-0 wins for Thom Whiteway, Ashley Sandyford-Sykes and Rob Colquitt, while teenager Ben Peach registered an impressive four game victory over Allister Crossley. Steve Baker got the only win of the night for Stoneart as he overcame Mike Hayler 3-1. By winning this fixture Cannell Print secured the third spot in the table leaving Stoneart in last place.
Crowe Dragons were crowned B League Champions by the finest of margins despite a 4-1 loss in the final match of the season against Island Exhausts. Shaun Callow and Josh Green won 3-0 for Exhausts at five and two respectively. The games at third and fourth string were closer but again ended in wins for Exhausts James Martin and Mark Grace over Jon Shepherd and Steve Gaylor respectively. The final match was between Dragons’ Ben Peach and Dave O’Neil. Ben needed 42 points to win the pre christmas league and he came out like a man possessed, going 8-0 up and taking the first 15-6. A similar second game was followed by a much closer third with some fantastic rallies, ending in a 15-14 win for Peach who took Dragons only win of the night. The points gained ensured Dragons top the table for Christmas, only four points ahead of second placed Outcasts.
Sharks versus Conister Racketeers Pioneers was a match in which the performance of the lower order was key with Mark Stratford, Alan McNair and Greg Ansara all triumphing and ensuring the win for Sharks. McNair had the longest battle of the night against James Leith who took him all the way to 15-13 in the fifth game. Although Douglas Jacobsson was looking back to his old self with a hard fought game against Rob Boyles he was defeated 3-0 in very close games. The other win for Pioneers was courtesy of Dafydd Lewis. This result sees Sharks finishing third in the league although they were the only team to win more than four of their eight matches.
Island Exhausts Vets motor to top spot in Division C after their last match against Browne Craine Dragons. This was a good and competitive fixture which was tighter than the 4-1 score suggests. The match of the night was undoubtedly at five between Jimmy Fick and Fatheha Essa with Fick looking gone at 0-2 after Essa played some really good squash. Jimmy managed to claw it back to claim the win for Vets 15-6 in the fifth game. Dragon Darren Smethurst was too strong, fast and mobile for Phil Shaw gaining a 3-0 win for his team. Lee Loughren, Peter Sharples and Ian Sheard proved a bit too experienced for their opponents gaining the win for the Vets, which saw them claiming the league for this half of the season.
Dandara Falcons and Hansard Racketeers met for the third place play-off in a close friendly match. Although Falcons won 4-1 in games Racketeers were ahead on points before the 25 bonus added to Falcons score ensured their third place ranking. The closest matches of the night were at second and fifth string, both going to five games. Falcons’ Lewi Long and Racketeers’ Lucy Kerr had four very close games going to 2-2. then Long upped his game,reduced his errors and won the fifth 15-5. Fiona Baker and Daryl Richards had another five game battle at five with Baker just pipping Richards 15-14 in the fifth taking another win for Falcons. Other wins for Falcons were from Vusimbe Zivave and Jon Cox, who beat Dave Johnson 3-1 in four close games. James Leith had a decisive win at one taking the only match of the night for Racketeers.
Junior Academy had a good 4-1 win over Santander Racketeers Academy. Oliver Wait, Oliver Williams and Max Birchall won for Juniors at one, two and three respectively. The closest match of the night was at four between Junior Ben Leith and Charlie Beard with Leith winning 15-13 in the fifth game. Simon beard, making his debut for Racketeers, took the only win of the night for his team.
The Photo shows the EasyGym squad. They are Left to Right – Malcolm Levy, Rob Boyles, Steve Morley, Paul Barnett, Dave Hedley, Peter Ferguson and Dave Norman. Squad members not pictured are Dave O’Neill and Mark Grace.