Image Credit: Luke Snell
AFTER DOMINATING the majority of their fixtures in autumn term, the Squash club was named the York Sport Union club of the term for performances by the Men’s and Women’s teams. Their most recent BUCS fixture saw them face Dur - ham 3s, who they beat 2-1 last time they met.
First up was the club’s president, Phil Smith, against Durham’s Tom Barrett. Barrett managed to establish a good lead in the first game and after going 6-4 up, he started to take the play away from Smith, who was losing points by hitting twice above the side wall line. Barrett won the last five points, ending it 11-5.
The second game was much closer, but Smith was being moved more than his opponent and lost the game to a shot that died straight off the side wall, it was completely unplayable.
By the third and final game, frustration had clearly set in for Smith, who after missing a crucial shot at 5-3 down, which he should’ve returned, began losing confidence. Barrett capitalised and made it to game match ball at 10-3. Smith, unable to come back and upon losing the final point, threw his racket onto the floor. An unlucky outing, with a lot of his shots just narrowly hitting the tin in the early stages and the frustration taking away some of his quality - he will undoubtably come back stronger.
The second match saw number two seed Doug Bichan take on Tom Foster in a more hotly contested match, Doug taking the early lead in the first game. It started tentatively until 3-3, and then Doug started to pull away with great backhand control throughout the set, forcing his opponent into mistakes. He let Foster back into the game however, first with a big effort for a point which came to nothing. Foster won five of the next seven points but after recovering from his big effort, Bichan placed an array of shots into both corners of the court to take an 11-8 win.
The second game was largely plagued by a controversial decision for the third point. Bichan is known for his speed, and regularly gives whoever is officiating his matches a tough time with whether the ball has bounced twice. In this instance, it was very tight and Foster made a huge appeal for the point, as did Bichan, but probably out of good sportsmanship, Bichan gave Foster the point. For the rest of the set he was just stuck chasing Foster in terms of score and on the court- he was giving a lot more effort into each point, but nothing was falling for him. He also seemed to pick up a minor injury which was definitely bothering him as the game went on. It finished 11-3 but Bichan had been resilient until the end of the game, taking a lot out of him.
Foster won the last two games 11-8 but it didn’t seem as comfortable, Bichan not giving up despite the knock he had obviously picked up. Doug again was running a lot more than his Durham opponent, who wasn’t winning all the points, but seemed more in control.
He continued to move Bichan around the court, with big hard hitting smashes into the corners. Taking both the last games, Foster drove to a 3-1 win, that controversial decision being the defining moment.
The final game was between Sam Greenrod and Sam Gemmill. The quality had clearly been upped by the number 1 seeds. Greenrod forced his opponent into making difficult returns on his backhand, which took him to a strong 8-6 lead but he wasn’t able to capitalise on this and threw away the first game.
Gemmill won five points on the trot to take the game after taking all the momentum into the late stages. Greenrod produced a great re sponse in the second game, winning 11-5. He continued on his momentum in the next and came back from a 3-0 deficit to win 11-9 with some great forehand play hitting them into unplayable areas.
He appeared to have taken control back from Gemmill and looked confident to take the match. He looked set to do so, taking the game to 9-4 in quick time, Gemmill seeming deflated after winning only the first game. He found a second wind however, as Greenrod seemed to let up the pressure he was applying throwing away his 5 point lead, and losing the game 11-9, a big missed opportunity.
Gemmill wrapped up the final game of the day for a Durham 3-0 victory, perhaps summed up best by Greenrod losing the game match point on an obstruction. A difficult afternoon for the boys, some big missed opportunities clouding lots of fine play. All three are strong players, but perhaps this just wasn’t their day