Just as the September equinox is upon us this week, so tomorrow (Thursday) will see the men’s North West Counties Squash League get fully underway with its first set of complete winter fixtures.

And the three clubs in and around our town – Bollington, Prestbury and Macclesfield Squash – are between them fielding 11 men’s teams in various regional divisions for the 2016/17 campaign that runs until early April.

The two highest-ranked individual sides from the area will be the First Teams of Bollington and Prestbury, in Division Two East. The ‘Bolly Firsts’ are seeking to improve on last term’s 10th position, while Prestbury enter the fray as Third Division South East champions following a highly successful season in which they suffered only one league defeat.

The third-tier division that Prestbury’s First Team has left behind will still feature the club’s ‘Seconds’. as well as Macclesfield Squash 1. Both teams found last year something of a struggle – finishing ninth and 10th, respectively – but, with their squads boosted by the arrival of new players, are set to aim higher this time around.

Division Four South includes two local teams – Bollington 2 (sixth last season) and Prestbury 3 (13th) – who, as coincidence would have it, played each other last Thursday when their sizeable division’s schedule began a week before those of the wider league.

Prestbury’s Third Team hosted the match, and earned some early bragging rights after winning by the odd match in five. Paul Bartle, Graeme English and captain Rob Thorneycroft chalked up opening-night wins to edge out their visitors, for whom Stuart Arnold and Mark Collins were victorious.

In Division Five South, all three clubs will be represented through Bollington 3 (third in 2015/06), Prestbury 4 and 5 (fourth and eighth) and Macclesfield Leisure 2 who last term suffered relegation from the Fourth Division. Additionally, Prestbury have reintroduced a Sixth Team that will also compete at this level.

In the Cheshire Ladies’ League, Bollington and Prestbury once again field a team apiece – albeit no longer at the same second tier, following Bolly’s relegation to Division 3b. Their fixtures are scheduled to start a week on Monday (3 October), and updates on those will also appear here in future weeks.

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