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Half Term report

1st team – lying just above the relegation zone but with encouraging back to back wins there’s a good chance that with good availability and DW back in the fold the 1sts will maintain Div 3 status for Knutsford Squash Club.

2nd Team – a good end to the first half has resulted in a significant rise in the table and a mad dash from promotion – they have an outside chance but much will depend on injuries, availability etc.

3rd Team – doomed! but won’t finish last as AZ have already dropped out !!

4th team – in a very small league with everyone playing each other 3 times the 4ths are mid table but a promotion place isn’t very far away (one more game this half still to play).

Hope everyone has a good festive season – it’s the longest lay off I’ve ever known so make good use of the time for practice etc. The courts are block booked on Thursdays for you to arrange games.

As my last task as team manager can I ask you to all make a big effort to complete and maintain the availability system – it makes life so much easier for the captains.

Posted by : Nigel Uttley at 20:45:PM on Sunday 7 December 2014
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Macclesfield 2 v Knutsford 4

KSC4 visited high riding Macc2, Hindley already negotiating a move down the order, was this for a crack at the lovely Annika!

First up a battle of the Rob’s, won by Rob who started at a blistering pace befit of the young player he was. Our Rob toiled valiantly gave it all in the third and sneaked a game in what will be one of the toughest 5th string games of the year.

Meanwhile Hindley was licking his lips at the thought of playing with Annika!

Next on John, against another improving youngster. This game threatened to turn dirty as John’s verbal outbursts set to dominate the young Tom. Tom kept coming back for more, his recovery demoralising for  the older KSC player, retrievals that at times appeared physics defying. With John asking for more and more (lets), Tom didn’t respond until midway through the third as he whipped our John across the back of the legs, branding him with a big letter C, (a racket shaped C)- ouch. But that spurred John on and as he took the game to Tom, pulling one back, but despite asking politely for more- “please sir, please sir, please sir” went down in 4. In the end all smiles, but that legs gonna be 50 shades of black and blue darker!

 Meanwhile was Hindley’s heart rate getting faster at the thought of Annika?

Next a rematch, Will versus Ollie. Last time Will ran Ollie into the ground and sneaked a 3-2 win, but would Will prevail on Ollie’s home turf? Well, Ollie took the first but wasn’t up for a running match as Will took the next 3- KSC4 were back in the match.

Hindley on next, dropping down the order to build his fitness. Alas there was no Annika, but a returning Div 2 player after an 11 year squash holiday and with a 2677 ranking, highest in Div 5, a ranking which would have got him in our first team! Valiant effort by Tony, a couple of very close games as he notched his first loss 3-1.

Finally the skip at 1 against Annika’s Dad, spanker of Slater last time round. No spanking this time as the skip edged 2 games out of 5 against a 2595 ranked Div 5 player.

Posted by : Ian Hopkins at 8:44:AM on Monday 17 November 2014
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Buxton 2 v Knutsford 4

OMG, Buxton away and with such a strong choice for selection, all players were getting in their excuses not to get picked for the fab 4ths long trek past the cat n fiddle! We had social (work, child care, on a jolly), travel (Spain, Corfu and must’ve been a KSC event in Devon by the number there!), not forgetting the medical stuff which sounded like a medical dictionary- broken wrist, hip replacement, heart attack, dodgy back, cant walk, sore finger and finally worse- given up and sold my squash racket!

Still the troops rallied and a rag tag bunch, all jostling for the number 5 spot, set off to Buxton, no snow but thick fog! - didn’t see that coming literally!

First up, we welcomed back Dalton junior - pushed up the order as the fittest looking of our team, despite coming straight from A&E having just suffered a shrapnel injury to the eye- (now that was a proper injury!) Unfortunately the injury left Andy a bit blinded and the first game passed him by to 1. Second game off came the eye patch and Andy got into the game, but the cold, slow courts favoured the home side as they drew first blood (not real blood- didn’t want any more injuries)

Meanwhile Graham, got the number 5 slot and looked good, the slow courts suiting his game as he dropped his way to the first 2 games. Alas his oppo started to read Graham’s game and from then on we had 3 games played entirely in front of the red service line except for one Thomson drive to the back corner in the 4th game. Unfortunately that shot was a limited edition collector’s item, not seen since. As Grahams legs tired Buxton edged in front, despite a 16-14 nail biting loss in the fourth. Graham- hope you can walk Friday morning!

Nigel on next, keeping a low profile down the order, and produced a classy, skilled, never troubled performance- watch out Nigel the 3rds may just yet beckon!

Skip at one, made short shrift of his opponent and levelled the tie. Meanwhile Nick at 3 had a tough battle and despite taking the first couldn’t keep it up, obviously disappointed to have missed out on a rematch with Annika the previous week. 

So a narrow loss 14-9, just a 2 point swing in one game in our favour would have made all the difference, but that’s the excitement of American scoring!

Finally, a big thank you for everyone’s responses to all the emails, especially those who turned up and filled all the slots.  

Posted by : Ian Hopkins at 9:52:AM on Thursday 25 September 2014
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Knutsford 4 v Macclesfield Leisure 2

After a summer of hard pre-season training, KSC4 were primed, their fitness to be tested in marathon games to 15, while those mighty prima-donna first teamers would take it to only to 11, obviously lacking in stamina.

Opening with the new scoring system Will; - knew how to play this new system, took no risks, just kept the ball in play- unfortunately he was playing a game of retrieval as his oppo, Ollie, attacked all corners and had Will huffing and puffing to stay in the rallies. But Will did huff and puff and having lost the first game got to 13 each in the 2nd when Ollie serve faulted, bonus!! - a much needed game point to Will which he didn’t waste- game on! After that Will kept running as Ollie the more attacking player tired and started to find the tin eventually giving a pulsating match to Will 3-2. 

Next Matt, fearing for his place had trained all summer, and warmed up with four games earlier that week, including pushing T.Hindley into hospital with a heart scare (was this a Roberts’ tactic to ensure his name on the team sheet??). Anyway when Matt’s oppo turned up, with a six pack worthy of a male Adonis, the balcony realised Matt didn’t look too fit!! Matt huffed and puffed, turned, (probably like Tony went the previous night) 50 shades of grey and luckily squeezed home in 3 excitingly close games- just 6 points difference translating into a 3-0 win. Afterwards Matt lost the i-candy game as his opponent strutted his stuff bare-chested on the balcony much to the delight of the 2 female players gracing KSC that night. 

Next, with the balcony, for some strange reason getting full, the real i-candy was taking to the court. The skip looking good in the warm up, but not half as good as the young Annika. Annika is very fit and had the skip huffing and puffing too, was this going to be a repeat of Nick Johnson's hedonistic tussle with Annika in her last match at KSC? Well not quite,  we had some nicely played balls......, well timed strokes......., and a bit of interference ......(ending in a let), before the skip prevailed over the beaten Annika. The balcony smiled, happy with a KSC4 win and no doubt looking forward to another 2 matches to come against Macc2, when the gleaming squash courts may have lost their shine and become 50 shades darker as the trilogy continues!

Ok not much to say about Joe and Tim, except Tim got Annika's dad and got spanked but that’s another story!

Finally, take it easy Tony and lets hope to see you back on court soon. 

Posted by : Ian Hopkins at 18:52:PM on Saturday 20 September 2014
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Knutsford 4 v Bollington 3

With KSC3 not able to win in 2014 could KSC4 show 'em how it’s done- course we could,  don't get fooled by our bottom of the table position!

We started 2014 and the balcony looked impressed with a fit, athletic looking, post xmas primed KSC4. Peter got the show on the road against another promising youngster. Long rallies, with peter always in control, a steady 3 -0. 

Joe on next, looking nervous against a steady female player. He narrowly lost the first 10-9, hit her in the next (ouch) then battered her in the next 3!!

Neil on third and didnt quite match the fitness levels of Joe and Peter. Up with game point in the first, but huffed and puffed to a loss in 3.

Next Tony 'Gareth Ainsworth' Hindley who made himself available only after the side to buxton had been picked (obviously painful memories still of a snow white out blizzard with a minus 10 wind chill at 1am and a only a tight red mountain rescue coat to keep him warm!). Anyway the look alike Tony had to settle for playing for Bollington against our Will. 'Tony' still had the shots and took the first looking the classy player he is, but Will was chasing everything down and after a tight third to give Will a 2-1 lead, 'Tony' had nothimg left and Will sealed the KSC4 win. 

Last on skip, looking to match the fitness of the 3 KSC4 youngsters, as he huffed and puffed to an easy 3-0 win and in one game we had more points than KSC3 have got in 2 games in 2014!

To see score click here

Posted by : Ian Hopkins at 19:54:PM on Sunday 19 January 2014
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Alderley Edge 5 v Knutsford 4

With the festive season on us, and no thirds game, would KSC4 get some Christmas cheer versus a usually weak Alderley 5. As the weather turned cold and wintery, KSC4 ageing muscles were starting to snap, so youth beckoned, and the skip put out a team with an average age of 28 overseen by granddad Dalton. 

On the mourn of the big day, scrooge Evans, with happy dreams of Christmas past yet nightmares of Christmas future, came knocking on the door, asking for more taxes and Father 'Skip'mas, appreciating the season of goodwill to all squash players, yielded young ‘tiny Will’. Father 'Skip'mas noted to himself,- he must mend Rudolph Walton's red nose- as all the thirds were lost in the foggy heights of first place, nowhere to be seen Thursday last!

To the games- didnt see them as early doors was tending the reindeer, and turned up near midnight to see if KSC4 had been good that night.

So here's half a page about me! Me at one, stuffed like an Christmas turkey, against a player usually in div 4 and yet to lose in div 5- not fair.

At 2 Peter, deservedly pushed up the order, against another div 4 player, this one yet to play in div 5- come on Alderley this ain't on. Peter was punished in the first to love as Dan bossed the T. Peter listened well and worked hard in the 2nd to move Dan off the T and get 2 confidence winning points on the score card. Third game and Peter told to be more patient and rally down the walls- he did just that, excelled and started to consistently win points, but alas, no present, and lost despite an 8-5 lead. Great test for Peter, each game better than the last, he's learning fast- well done.

At 3 Matt, against Tim, undefeated in div 5,vanquisher of Rich Holmes and pushed down the order by 2 div 4 players. Tough again and despite taking the first game, Tim dominated the next 3.

At 4 Joe, against another undefeated div 5 player- where had Alderley picked their team from ( oh yeah- there 4th team who had no game!). Match of the night here. Joe took the first and could have taken a 2 game lead losing the 2nd 10-8. At 2-1 down Joe kept at it, edged the 4th 9-8 as Mark went for broke, missed his chance and disappeared in the fifth- great scalp for Joe, first of many to come.

At 5 Geoff, looks like he struggled like the rest of the golden oldies in KSC4.

So begrudgingly mince pies in the end to Alderley 4! Santa please note, they were a bit naughty with their selection and don’t deserve any pressies this year.

Thanks to all those who supported KSC4 this half, especially those added last minute

Seasons greetings to all, Ian

Posted by : Ian Hopkins at 20:09:PM on Thursday 5 December 2013
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Prestbury 5 v Knutsford 4

Another 40 pointer, bottom of the table clash, for KSC4 versus Prestbury- this time with mid table in sight for either side with a win.

First up Joe, moved up the order to 3, versus an experienced player Barry Jupp, much to Geoff’s relief, he’d avoided this banana skin. Joe started well and literally out hit Barry to take the first game. Mistake for Joe in the second because he listened to his skipper advice and started to play some sensible squash with drops and drives- unfortunately Barry reads the game well, punished Joe’s drop shots and took the next 2. Bit more pace from Joe in the fourth and he squared the match. The fifth and deciding game could have gone either way, but unfortunately Joe’s raw talent wasn’t enough against an experienced player who was now reading Joe’s game very well. Great effort and nice to see Joe holding his own against a player ranked much higher.

Gwyn on next and he played some of his best squash this season against a new player with plenty of running. Gwyn’s drops and drives were deadly and he edged the first 2 both to 6. Third game was a formality as Adam disintegrated and Gwyn took the game to love, well played

Meanwhile Nick was playing against another new player, brought in for the final game so they could be ‘eligible for 2nd half of the season’. Tom, can play a bit, but his lack of squash (and fitness) over the last 18 months showed as Nick cleverly moved the ball around and used Tom’s lack of legs to effectively take a good lead. Nervous finish for Nick as 8-3 up in the third he stpped dropping and Tom looked like he was going to sneak back in, but too much for him as his lungs burst, Nick took the game and match 3-1.

Geoff on at 4 and playing against another ‘new player’, Prestbury were certainly strong this week. The courts were fast and warm, Geoff’s opponent certainly had energy and legs, so Geoff’s normal game of drops was abandoned as he drove his way to a 2-1 game advantage and 5-1 lead in the fourth. Unfortunately Ben just had the edge, kept plugging away and took some close games to beat Geoff 3-2 and level the match on the night.

Last up the skip, looking for a win to take the bonus points but up against Gareth, higher ranked and certainly suited to the warm courts with his vicious forehand drives. The skip battled away, trying to keep it off Gareth’s forehand and use some subtlety to disrupt Gareths play. Unfortunately despite some advantages in some games the pressure could not be exerted consistently onGareth and he took the win, 3 close games without reply.

In the end 10-10 in games but bonus went to Prestbury, a much stronger side on paper than they had had all season, but a result which lifted both sides out of the bottom 2.

Posted by : Ian Hopkins at 19:43:PM on Thursday 28 November 2013
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Knutsford 4 v Macc Leisure 2

With KSC4 rooted to the bottom of div 5, they faced a 40 pointer against Macc 2, but would Macc show up!

Well their first player didn't, easy win for Jacko, 6, 5 & 3.

Geoff next against a young up and coming player, but Geoff found the weakness, driving hard and low into the backhand corner and was quickly up a game and about to take the second 8-4 when he started to drop! Colm was quick, too quick for our Geoff, reached the drops and levelled at 1 each. Big reminder to Geoff, drive to the backhand! After a tight third game to set, Geoff romped home 3-1.

Third game and this was the one the balcony wanted to see. 25 yr age difference, would the skip handle the youth pressure and keep up with the long rallies ahead. Would home advantage count and could the skip teach his opponent a lesson. Course he couldn’t, he was playing Bader Khan, ex coach to the stars and master of the game who'd played on courts all over the world. First few points looked bleak for the skip as Bader killed the rallies quickly, the youthful skip's fitness advantage wasn't going to help here- the rallies weren't going to last more than 3 shots. Anyway the skip dropped his way to a 2 game lead, and Jacko's wonderful encouraging words of wisdom "watch Bader he'll take the next 3 easily" proved nearly true as Bader lost a 5 setter by 2 points- fantastic effort from a 69 year old and still a classy player.

Nick on next and the balcony stayed glued to their spots, looking forward to the visual feast of squash ahead, as Nick warmed up with 20 something year old Annika. Nick started strongly, Annika looked nervous, gave him a few strokes but was possibly overawed by Nick's experience. With Nick up one, Annika started to play, caressing the ball beautifully as her rhythm improved. Moving Nick into different positions he started to puff, and as she exerted more pressure Nick started to grunt (he did-  honest!). Annika took control as the sweat dripped from Nick's brow, she led 2-1. But this match was ready for another swing, Nick wasn't finished with Annika yet. He upped the stroke power, increased the speed and Annika wilted in front of him, as Nick pinned her down in the back corners. Nick looked relieved as his final shot won the game, but it had taken it out of him, he definitely looked a shade of grey.

Last up Joe, after Nick, not much to say about his game- graveyard shift for him as his opponent turned up late. This was a comfortable test for Joe, easy 3-0 win.

Overall good win 20-5- well played all

Posted by : Ian Hopkins at 8:59:AM on Thursday 21 November 2013
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Knutsford 4 v Buxton

Tough game for KSC4 against promotion favourites Buxton and vanquishers of KSC3 18-6, notoriously strong in the top order- it was going to be a tough night.

First on the skipper at 4, playing against an ambidextrous player who drubbed the skipper 3-0 last year with a drop and lob game on a very cold Buxton court, a car crash of a game, this time would home advantage and a warm court suit the skip. First game was tight went all the way but edged 10-9 to KSC4, second game very similar, extremely tight as the balcony bit their nails, the skipper edged it 10-8. More of the same and with 2 match points at 8-6, Buxton pulled a game back 10-8- uh oh. But amazingly the skipper had more fitness than Steve and took the match 9-5, with the Buxton player looking very stiff several hours later in the bar, he’d pushed himself hard.

Next on Richard, against Howard, coming in to strengthen their team, a player who only lost one game last season and ranked top in div 5 stats- he had missed KSC3 a month earlier. Things looked really good for KSC4 as Richard played aggressive low hard drives and tight boasts to take the first 9-4. Howard came good in the second and levelled the tie. The next 2 were tight, but Howard was in control and closed out the match 9-7, 10-8.

Neil on next and didn’t have the fitness to keep up with Steve Hollick who several weeks earlier had taken the scalp of Mike Walton. Despite Neil’s boasts, lobs and drops, Steve always seemed to be there, difficult for Neil and easy win for Steve.

Geoff on next and had the game plan for an easy win- drive it long, wait for the blocked return and just drop to win the point- but the drops kept going down!!! Unlike Geoff and he made it hard work, but through his grit and determination he won in 5, levelling the tie on the night.

So last match, John Ward, making a comeback after 2 years, ranked highest on our team put in at 3, the skippers banker for a win and bonus 5 points, except he hadn’t accounted for Gary Bramwell, probably one of the best number 3’s in this division- ranked number 7 in the division, and who snuffed out Rich Holmes in 3 against KSC3. But had Gary played a player like John who just keeps getting the ball back?- probably. Tough start for John, and then half way through the first he held his thigh, tweaked a hamstring and didn’t win another point, but well done for finishing the game.

Valiant effort by all, thought Buxton would be strong to 3, but they were strong all the way down. If they keep their small squad fit they should push KSC3 all the way.

Posted by : Ian Hopkins at 22:03:PM on Thursday 7 November 2013
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Knutsford 4 v Knutsford 3

The 3rds met the 4ths in the first local derby of the season.  The 3rds celebrated the occasion by being able to field the strongest team of the season.  O Hare making his first start of the season played 1, beating Jackson 3.0.  Cashmore beat Hopkins, 3.0.  Walton beat Dalton, 3.0.  There was an exhibition match when Joe Lasham put Cashmore through his paces before Pickering and McLeod took their respective illustrious opponents to 5.  Holmes and Smith were both lucky to edge the 5 setters and now must be looking over their shoulders at the emerging talent in the 4th team.  A good night all round and a 20-4 victory confirmed the 3rd team promotion credentials. The 4ths live to fight another day - picking up 4 valuable points and with Buxton next up will be hopeful of another bumper availability.

 For match scores click here

Posted by : Mike Walton at 8:35:AM on Thursday 31 October 2013
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