Stage 1 2016-17 Cornwall V Devon V Wiltshire
@ Truro Saturday 5th November
DEVON GUYS ON FIRE TO BURN CORNISH HOPES!
England Squash restructured the world famous inter-county competition to make it more regionalised but in doing so stronger, bigger counties were drawn with the minnows (like Cornwall) at stage 1. Wiltshire (surprisingly) withdrew early to leave Cornwall and neighbours Devon to fight it out – the squash version of the Tamar Cup! It was Bonfire Night and you would have thought it would have been fireworks on court but unfortunately the hosts were plagued with late withdrawals and injuries to key players so an under-strength Cornwall went down with hardly so much as a damp phut against a very strong Devonian five. In fact, Cornwall didn’t win a single game in any of the five rubbers but when you start to analyse the pedigree of the opposition you will understand why.
At 1 Devon had Michael Harris who recently got to 115 in the WORLD RANKINGS and is now the D&E senior coach. He rallied Cornwall’s rising star Jared London almost to a standstill which us humble Cornish folks have never witnessed. The 27 year-old PSL Bristol pro showboated the final game with every trick shot he could muster (entertaining) and inevitably won the match 3-0. Jared, however, still only 18, looked every part the pro in the making and competed brilliantly in the first two games. The home support in the balcony certainly appreciated his dogged determination not to give in. Then Jared hurriedly left to compete in a tournament at Street in Somerset – amazing!
At 2 Devon had Mike Gregory who has many years of experience and played for England at youth level. Launceston’s Phil Thomas (Deaf World Champion a few years ago), his ‘oppo’, can certainly pack a punch on a squash court, and he gave everything but had no answer to Mike’s better shot play. Truro’s Dale Diment, now based in Bristol and playing for Redlands in the highly competitive Avon leagues (ranked 27 in Avon), played at 3rd string against Fort Stamford’s top player Jon Gliddon. Dale put in a great shift with his usual silky smooth quick movement on court and looked to have fully recovered from recent injuries, but again it was shot choice and accuracy that counted with the veteran representing Devon scoring all the decisive points especially in the first two games. Falmouth’s latest prodigy Ben Macdonald came in late to help out but had no answer to Mark Chapman’s power and movement. The UWE student and current Redlands player tried his best and has bags of potential to improve further – go for it, Ben! At 5th string the evergreen Cornwall non-playing captain Neil Counter found himself on court when he really wanted to be in Benidorm (pardon the joke but Neil tops up his tan there regularly and even speaks the lingo). He surprised his opponent in the early stages with typical Counter-esque unothodoxy and looked likely to take the first game but the Fort Stamford favourite, Plymouth’s Tony Tremain, then upped the ante and soon found cruise control to comfortably complete the rout with another emphatic 3-0 win for the Devon guys.
So it’s back to the drawing board for Cornwall and we can only hope they can put out a stronger side for the away fixture early next year. At least next time the counties at the weekend will be the other minnows from the south west. But for now, FORGET FORGET the Fifth of November…….
Tony Bowyer, roving reporter
Afterthought: with Wiltshire’s no-show we came 2nd – really!!!
Full Men’s Team Division 2 Stage 1 2015-16
@ Truro S&RC Saturday 7th November V Avon V Dorset V Wilts
Cornwall came second in this SW encounter in the All England Inter-County Competition. The team comprised of Jared London (1), Rory Brickell (2), Phillip Thomas (3), Dale Diment (4), Matt Harford (4&5) & Neil Counter (5). Avon pulled out so it became a triangular match all in one day thus avoiding the dreaded Sunday morning 3rd match. Cornwall started strongly beating Wiltshire 3-2 but found it much harder against the traditionally stronger county of Dorset losing 4-1. Jared came up against some very court hardened wily senior number ones but put in good accounts of himself just losing 3-1 on both occasions. Rory battled throughout the day against good oppos but lost 3-2 twice; Phillip Thomas won one and lost one 3-2 and 3-1 respectively whilst Neil was awarded a WO 3-0 against Wiltshire and Dale lost 3-2 in one of the best games of the weekend (still recovering from long injury). Man of the Weekend was Matt Harford who pumelled both his oppos 3-0 and 3-1 by playing excellently and taking full advantage of the T with some superb winning shots. Cornwall will need to be on top form for Stage 2 in the promotion group in the new year.
Dorset 55, Cornwall 46, Wiltshire 31 & Avon 0 pts Tony Bowyer
for full results at Stage 1 go to http://intercounty.countyleagues.co.uk/