SQUASH: Cricklade see off Wessex

First published in Sport

CRICKLADE one narrowly overcame Wessex one in their crucial top of the table clash in the Wiltshire Winter League.

Wessex one were without their tattooed talisman, Adam Giles, at in the first slot with James Roue stepping in. Cricklade’s Rob Brady was clinical in combating Roue’s movement playing with pin-point accuracy to take the opening game.

Wessex’s Anthony Dennington overcame Cricklade’s Tony Thomson in a close second game. Dennington forcing Thomson into a large amount of retrieval.

In the third Justin Cox’s huge effort was not able to combat the pace of Cricklade’s James Glazier, with the Wessex man losing out out 3-0.

Cricklade captain Mike Stannard started slowly against Ed Crane, giving up a 2-0 healthy lead. Crane almost squandered that advantage, allowing Stannard to draw level before edging the out the final game to take the match to a decider.

With the match balanced at 2-2 Wessex’s John Pierce had to beat Damian Smith to give his side the win and keep the title race open. Both men played some great squash, swapping command of the T regularly.

The game went into the final leg where Smith got ahead early to secure the game and match 3-2 for Cricklade, who are now favourites for the league title.

Wessex two’s needed to win their crucial match with undefeated Trowbridge to move away from the demotion zone.

Wessex drafted in 14-year-old Todd Bennett into the number one string. Bennett was just too quick and hit the ball too well for Trowbridge’s Richard Holdway, to pick up an easy 3-0 win.

The scoreline was reversed in the next game as Trowbridge’s Tom Oatley dominated John Walker to win comfortably At one match apiece next Rich Elsden and Jerry Francis took on their Wessex counterparts Mark Cains and Neil Marshman.

Cairns almost contrived to lose having led Elsden 2-0; but managed to snatch victory 10-8 in the fifth having faced match point.

Marshman failed to capitalise on two 7-2 leads giving Francis a five game win to make the last match-up a decider.

The smart money was on Trowbridge’s Mark McGuinness against Steve Bessant, especially after he took the first game.

Though Bessant changed his tactics in the second leg mixing up his style; with his low hard cross courts paying dividends.

The switch allowed Bessant to take the next three legs to win the game and match for Wessex.

Wessex three were able to see off second-placed Cricklade two 16-8.

Wins from Andy Heavens, Howard Wilson and Ian Thompson meant that Wessex were Joely Bennett and Dave Hutton’s losses were not costly. The win moves Wessex away from the bottom of the Division Three table with four games remaining.

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