Here’s the weekly round-up of north-west Squash action by Gareth Evans – Squash Column for Macclesfield Express
Last Thursday saw nine of the 11 men’s teams from our local clubs in North West Counties League action – with a roughly balanced contrast in fortunes.
Of the five sides to suffer defeat, a trio narrowly went down by three matches to two – including Bollington 1, from Division Two East, who remain in ninth and are five points above the drop-zone, after wins for Rick Walters and Lyndon Stonier were not quite enough to see their team over the line at fellow strugglers Hyde 2.
Divisional companions Prestbury 1 had, like the ‘Bolly Firsts’, returned to winning ways in the previous week – but, unlike them, registered a second consecutive triumph in the latest round by winning 4-1 at Alderley Edge 2. Three members of the Lomas family (brothers Mike and Brian, as well as cousin Paul), together with Rob Alcock, made sure of a victory that saw the ‘Firsts’ leapfrog their hosts into fifth place.
In Division Three South-East, Prestbury 2, having also rediscovered the taste of victory seven days previously, came promptly back down to earth with a 5-0 reverse at home against unbeaten table-toppers Crewe Vagrants 2. Any post-match disappointment was, however, tempered by the news of results elsewhere that mathematically ensured Prestbury’s safety from relegation.
Already-relegated Macclesfield Squash 1 came close to recording a first success of the campaign at home to second-to-bottom Buxton 1. But, in spite of wins by James Douglas and Martin Hall, the basement side was edged out by the odd match in five.
Bollington’s ‘Seconds‘ were without a fixture in Division Four South on a night that culminated in their dropping down a couple of positions, and 17 points away, from the promotion places – albeit now with a match in hand over the top two teams.
At the other end of the table, Prestbury 3’s position continues to improve – despite a 3-2 defeat at home to Sandbach 1, which denied the hosts a third win running but still saw them inch up one place to ninth and 29 points clear of the relegation area. David Fitzpatrick and acting captain Paul Maher picked up Prestbury’s two individual victories on the evening.
It was all-change at the top of Division Five South, as long-time leaders Prestbury 4 had no match – and, like Bollington 2, had to watch in frustration from the sidelines as they were nudged two places downwards.
Bollington 3 took full advantage by hosting seventh-placed Macclesfield Squash 2 and achieving a full points-haul with a 5-0 victory, thanks to Andy Phillips, Martin Ogden, Gareth Ainsworth and junior players James Walton (15) and Ben Gayne (17). The ‘Bolly Thirds’ find themselves in pole position, and eight points clear at the top, as a result.
Prestbury’s two other Fifth Division sides were in action at home, and both celebrated 3-2 wins. Fifth-placed Prestbury 5 made it three triumphs in four matches by seeing off Alderley Edge 7 – following wins by teenagers Matt English (18) and Keon Raked (16), as well as one by Bauke van der Ploeg. And the Sixth Team, four positions below, edged out New Mills 2 – with 15-year-old Harry Mattocks claiming his first-ever Thursday night success, alongside victories for Ben Parker and Dave Marwood.
At the beginning of the previous week, the Cheshire Ladies League’s winter campaign drew to a close – with confirmation that both Prestbury and Bollington will, in all likelihood, be playing in their current divisions next term.
Prestbury dropped two Second Division positions for a mid-table finish in sixth, after losing 5-0 at Bowdon 2. And Third Division Bollington, despite a fourth win running by way of a 4-1 triumph in West Didsbury against The Northern 3 (with victories for Annika Hall, Louise Goodhind, Jennifer Robinson and Charlotte Dewar), ended their season as the third-placed club, just shy of promotion.