On 12 January, the first full set of fixtures following the North West Counties League’s Christmas break brought mixed fortunes last Thursday for the men’s teams from clubs in and around our town.
This contrast was illustrated in Divisions Two East and Three South-East, which featured respective victories for Prestbury’s First and Second Teams – while the ‘Firsts’ of Second Division Bollington and Third Division Macclesfield Squash both began 2017 with defeats.
Bollington’s First Team had seen their previous five results alternate neatly between wins and losses every time. With the last match of the old year having ended in triumph, and a daunting trip to unbeaten leaders Crewe Vagrants 1 next on the schedule, the odds on this sequence continuing were rather short! And so it proved, as the ‘Bolly Firsts’ suffered a 5-0 reverse to drop three positions to 11th and back within the heart of the relegation places.
Prestbury 1, meanwhile, stay sixth after visiting and beating The Northern 2. Captain Nathan Mayers, as well as brothers Mike and Brian Lomas, won to secure victory by the odd match in five and a ‘double’ over the West Didsbury side.
The Prestbury ‘Seconds’ reversed their 4-1 opening-night defeat at Crewe Vagrants 3 in September by hosting and winning the return-fixture by the same scoreline. Victories for Chris Dunkerley, Rick Bower, Mike Brauckmann and Andrew Worsley saw the Third Division team move up a position to seventh.
Divisional basement side Macclesfield Squash 1 remain bottom, and are over 30 points adrift from safety, after losing 3-2 at home to the First Team from Knutsford Sports. But wins for captain Adam Colebatch, who missed much of the first half of the campaign due to injury, and James Douglas earned valuable points for the hosts and offered a possible glimpse of hope for the remainder of their season.
It was a disappointing evening for both local teams in Division Four South. Bollington 2, after five consecutive wins, were defeated 4-1 at home by promotion rivals Club AZ, who leapfrogged their hosts – now down two places to fourth – for good measure. Malcolm Kendrick registered a consolation success for the ‘Bolly Seconds’.
And Prestbury 3, like Bollington 1, faced a tough travelling assignment, as they visited the table-topping side – in this case, Knutsford Sports 1, who similarly beat the guests 5-0. The ‘Thirds’ stay 12th and are 14 points away from escaping the drop-zone – albeit with an appeal against a pre-Christmas points-loss pending.
In Division Five South, leaders Prestbury 4 braved wintry conditions in navigating the High Peak roads to visit New Mills 2. Their endeavours paid off – just! – as wins by Dave Jones, captain Gareth Evans and 18-year-old Matt English saw the relieved ‘Fourths’ home 3-2.
Their lead at the top is cut by a point to 19, after second-placed Bollington 3 enjoyed a resounding 5-0 victory at Alderley Edge 7. Aldo Palazzo, Andy Phillips, Gareth Ainsworth, Martin Ogden and junior player, James Walton (15), collectively ensured the rout.
Macclesfield Squash 2 suffered their second 4-1 defeat of the season against Radbroke Hall 2. The result at the Leisure Centre, with Annika Hall claiming the hosts’ sole win of the evening, keeps them in seventh place.
Prestbury’s other two sides faced each other – with the Fifth Team regaining some dressing-room bragging rights following their defeat by the ‘Sixths‘ at the beginning of the campaign. Prestbury 5 are now up to fifth, with an unbeaten run that stretches back over two months, after wins for Ben Parker, Dave Marwood, Pat Hunter and junior player, Greg Stanger (17), offset 14-year-old Jonny Murray’s fine straight-games victory at first string for the ninth-placed Sixth Team.
Three days earlier, the Cheshire Ladies’ League resumed. But there was disappointment for both Bollington and Prestbury, who, respectively, suffered 3-2 and 5-0 losses at home against the high-flying Second Teams from Warrington and Heswall.