Hertfordshire Men’s Over 55’s Team Retains Its Premier Status
beautifully scripted by Phil Collins
Hertfordshire Men’s Over 55’s Team retained its position within the elite of inter-county squash teams by successfully negotiating a relegation ‘play-off’ in Leamington Spa on 26th March 2011
Following a late injury to the new Number 1, Paul Harris from Coolhurst, the non-availability of team captain Phil Collins due to a long-term injury and holiday commitments of other potential squad members, one new face, four stalwarts and the wounded team captain travelled to Warwickshire knowing they needed to finish in the top two to avoid relegation. Matters were made a little easier by the withdrawal of Cumbria but this meant two consecutive games on the Saturday with little rest in-between; not the ideal situation for this particular age group! So the team, consisting of regulars David Cooper (Broxbourne) at 1, Bill Nissel (Tring) at 2, Peter Leary (Nuffield) at 3 and Pete Quarman (Tring) at 4 were joined by ‘new-boy’ Tom Bryan (West Herts) at 5.
First up were Warwickshire at 11.00 a.m. on the Saturday morning. Tom made his debut against a very strong number 5 for Warwickshire, Richard Lowe, and went down 3-0 whilst on the adjacent court the evergreen Peter Leary was weaving his magical tricks that saw him narrowly defeated in the recent Over 60’s World Championship Final and came through by 3 games to 1. Pete Quarman went on court against Irish International, Alf Kavanagh, who following a recent lay-off was probably playing two or three places below his rightful position. Whilst Pete asserted himself well, Alf proved too strong and took the match in straight sets. Meanwhile David Cooper took on the ex-captain of the England Over 55’s team, Geoff Redfern, at 1 and performed heroics to produce a most unexpected but thoroughly deserved victory by 3 games to 2 showing his usual tenacity coupled with some great squash. So it was all up to Bill at 2 to bring us through to victory. Playing another Irish International, Bill Todd, it was an extremely topsy-turvy affair with virtually as many lets as points. At 2-1 down it wasn’t looking promising but Bill dug deep and despite what appears on the score sheet as comfortable wins in games 4 and 5, was made to work hard for his victory.
So, with a 3-2 victory under the belt there were hopes of a winning weekend. However Hampshire had overturned Herts 4-1 in the first half of the season so there was no air of expectancy – particularly with such a quick turnaround to get the second match underway at 2.00 p.m. Tom started off well but an element of tiredness and nerves saw a one-love lead slip to a 3-1 defeat. Pete on the other hand seemed to thrive on the competitive battle he found himself in with Dave Harris at 4 and it was nip-and tuck all the way until Pete eventually emerged victorious by 3 games to 2. Peter Leary meanwhile was always on top against an old adversary and Scottish International, Chris Wilson and produced some excellent squash to emerge victorious. Bill’s game at 2 was foreshortened by an injury to the Herts player and so Hants secured their second victory. However David Cooper playing some of his best squash for a long time again produced a magnificent display to completely demoralise his opponent and secure his second victory of the day against Mark Lewis – a brilliant achievement and one which none of us perhaps thought possible at the beginning of the day; never under-estimate Cooperman!
So another 3-2 victory, a celebratory pint in the local Inn and a satisfying journey back for the victorious team. It all starts again in November but buoyed by the weekend, the team is ready to face anyone!
Herts Over 55’s Team Captain
|1||Geoff Redfern||David Cooper||2-3||9-2, 3-9, 9-5, 3-9, 0-9.|
|2||B. Todd||Bill Nissel||2-3||9-5, 5-9, 2-9, 9-0, 2-9.|
|3||Steve Ewer||Peter Leary||1-3||9-6, 1-9, 5-9, 3-9.|
|4||Alf Kavanagh||Peter Quarman||3-0||9-3, 9-4, 9-2|
|5||Richard Lowe||Tom Bryon||3-0||9-7, 9-6, 9-3.|
|1||David Cooper||Mark Lewis||3-0||9-2, 9-3, 9-3|
|2||Bill Nissel||Paul Reader||1-3||9-6, 1-7 Retired|
|3||Peter Leary||Chris Wilson||3-0||9-2, 9-0, 9-5.|
|4||Peter Quarman||Dave Harris||3-2||3-9, 9-2, 6-9, 9-3, 9-4.|
|5||Tom Bryon||Brian Purdy||1-3||10-8, 3-9, 3-9, 7-9.|
|1||Rob Shay||Mark Lewis||0-3||2-9, 4-9, Retired|
|2||Geoff Redfern||Paul Reader||0-3||1-9, 1-9, 6-9|
|3||B. Todd||Chris Wilson||3-1||1-9, 9-5, 9-4, 9-5.|
|4||Steve Ewer||Dave Harris||2-3||6-9, 9-8, 9-1, 0-9, 3-9.|
|5||Richard Lowe||Brian Purdy||3-0||9-2, 9-0, 9-3|