reports summer 2013

29th August

Away Sobell1 vs BA  won 5-0   Sobell II vs Uxbridge  lost 2-3

obell 1 got back to winning ways last night to finish of the season in style after losing narrowly 3-2 last week against Paddington, their opponents British Airways had only wish they had stuck to flying planes instead of playing in this particular match. 
On first was mix Nationality Gavin who was playing at no2, and myself playing at 1.  The last thing I wanted was a defeat bearing in mind the BBQ on n Sat.  Can you imagine Adam and co drooling down my ears at my resident on Sat?  I don't think so. 
My opponent had one of the weirdest backhand shot you can imagine which was hard to read. As the match progress,n he caught me out with a couple of forehand boast.  The first game was a long encounter which suited me because it took it's toll on my opponent later on in the match.  I took the first game 15/17. In the second game I played one of my favourite winning shot and the marker called it down after I contested it. I went down in the second 15/12.  I won the next 2 games quite comfortably 11/15 11/15.   3/1 up, 1 up Sobell.  I didn't see much of Gavin match but he had a good win in 3 straight sets and possibly one of the longest game ever recording which Gavin took 22/20 in the first.  3/0 up, 2/0 to Sobell.
Up next was Adam playing at no4 against someone who was a couple of years short of a TFL freedom pass card holder.  His opponent looked anything else but a squash player, so Adam knew what was coming If he had lost this match.  He definitely knew what was coming after he lost the first game 15/10.  A few chosen words from Gavin and myself at the start of the second game maybe confuse Adam, even more especially that we had an agreement that if he had lost the match that he had to do 50 press ups. Whichever way you look at it he had nothing to lose. You also had Paul waiting in the wings to give him some stick at the BBQ if he had lost.  So Adam decided enough is enough and went out all guns blazing even though there were a few tricky moments along the way.  The second game was crucial in which Adam took 12/15. He took the next 2 games 8/15 12/15 and spared himself 50 press ups and a mouthful from Paul. 3/1 up, 3/0 Sobell. Match won. 

Jack playing at no3 was on crt the same time as Adam.  With the match already won there was no pressure on Jack.  His opponent played more like a tennis player than a squash player, so it was hard to read his game. Jack had his number and won the first game 11/15. Even though he lost the second game, He took the next 2 games 6/15 9/15. 3/1, 4/0 Sobell. 
Up last was Paul playing at no5 to keep up his 100% win record.  If you ever wondered how to do a proper warm up before a match, then Paul opponent was an example to anyone because he had the lot.  Shuttle runs, Press ups, good forehand and backhand drives and look a tidy player during the knock up.  Unfortunately the knock up was the best part of the match because Paul took control from the off and he didn't look back and he won in 3 straight sets and kept his 100% win record  3/0 up, 5/0 win for Sobell 1.
So everyone is spared an ear bashing at my BBQ on Sat.
Overall a very good summer of team squash. With the addition of Antonio I think he made the difference to the team and I'm sure everyone will agree with that.
So you can sit back and relax and get ready for those cold winter months of squash.
I'd like to say thanks to everyone who was part of it, and a special thank you to Barry once again  who was our no1 supporter.


Sobell II pitched up last night for the last game of the season against bottom of the table Uxbridge with only 4 players, because once again, the captain left it too late organising the game to get enough players.  Judging by the post game soft drinks that he has, one can only assume he must be 'partaking' of a few too many herbal remedies during the weekday evening to get the matches organised.  Tip captain, before you sit down to 'relax' in the evening, send out the fixture email first ;-).

 Anyway, on to the squash.  By the time I turned up, el capitano was already on court and 'team Tim' was on at 3 on the other court - I say Team Tim as the player on the court bears no resemblance to 'league Tim', or even 'Saturday session Tim', no this Tim is a player I am sure you would all like to play down at Sobell.  

 Anyway, more of that later,  El Capitano who was facing a player who while I am sure was in possession of his bus pass, was also in possession of a decent range of shots. However, while he was more than capable of playing a decent range of shots, he was up against el capitano, who if awards were being handed out, would win most improved player by a mile.  The mistakes are still there and the patience definitely needs to  improve, but this season he has proved to be a more than capable number 3/4.  While the games were tight in scores, the captain got the job done in 3.

 Back to 'Team Tim', Team Tim was playing at 3, but as a strange twist of fate, he was playing the same guy that he played at 2 in the home fixture and it seems as though the argument I had with him about switching from 2 to 3 had an effect on him (to be fair, saying to his opponent I hope you win, might have been going to far) as he started off playing as though he was determined to lose the match, rather than win it.  He lost the first game without even a whimper, playing probably as bad as he has for Sobell II.  In the second game, things improved and he got the job done in 4 and disappeared early (which spared him the post match food, which definitely wouldn't win any awards).  There are some of you who might think I am being harsh, but having just seen him take out our number 1 in 4 games, he really should be doing better.

 Both matches finished up at the same time, which meant that I didn't see any of Rohan's match against the Duracell bunny Chemistry student that Rohan beat in the home fixture.  Either, the student got extra charge in his batteries or Rohan was still in holiday mode, but this time around student got the job done in 4.

 Finally up, was yours truly.  Some of the team may have felt that the criticism dished in previous reports was a little unfair, but hopefully this report will show I can dish out to myself just as much to others.

 Where do I start, this was as bad a performance as I have played for Sobell I or II, I was playing the same guy I played at 3 in the home fixture, who I beat so easily that  when Tim asked me how it went, I said it was so easy, I didn't even need to shower after the match.  Well, I needed a long sit down at the end of this match, much less a shower after this match.  When I got onto court, I thought that it was going to be a walk in the park and I didn't need to play properly in order to win.

 Well, how wrong I was.  I started off like I didn't need to do anything other than treat this as an easy Saturday friendly and after a hard first game which I narrowly won, you would have thought I would have changed my approach, but oh no, not me and I played into my opponents hands by playing with pace and no length/ width.  He took the next two games, but more importantly, by the end of the 3rd, my I was feeling shattered.  El Captiano came down to give me a pep talk, basically saying, you can beat him, he is tired as well, keep going.  But while he was very encouraging, the pep talk i needed was coming from the ghost of Barry upstairs.  

 'Play with line and length you must... if you want to win the game'. 

 So staring the defeat in the face, I turned away from the dark side and went back to basic squash, took the pace off the ball, kept it tight.  What is amazing is how ordinary an opponent can be if you don't give him anything to feed off and despite a few tough points in the 5th, I took the game.  But no hiding the fact that was a poor performance and I should have won easily in 3.

 Just a final note, to say well done to the team and all those who played for team 2 in the summer and despite the stick I have given him in the reports and in person, well done to the captain for organising the team, I know it is a lot of work and it isn't unappreciated.

 Roll on the winter!

22nd August

Home Sobell II vs  Finsbury Outplay  won 4-1

Sobell II vs Finsbury outplay

Wednesday night was the return fixture against a team Sobell II had comfortably beaten away earlier in the summer.

First up for Tim at playing number 2 was Tim. Tim was playing a guy who for what he lacked in technical ability, more than made up for in speed and fitness. I missed the start of the match, but when Tim came off after the second game he looked like he had played 5 games, whereas his opponent looked like he was just warming up.  Even though Tim was 2 up, it was clear that the match was by no means over.   This assessment proved right because in the third, because while Tim was clearly the superior player, his opponent continued to run and work for every point and took the game to a 4th.  Whether you like the approach or not, you have to admire that with the match at 2-1 and his energy levels low, Tim continued to go for his shots and in the 4th to take the match 3-1.

Next up was our returning number one Rohan who was back after a two week holiday in the sun.  Rohan was up against another guy who wasnt the prettiest of players, but was more than able to get around the court and was able to put it away if it was loose.  However,  Rohan does what Rohan always does, which is to get around the court well, plays good shots with lots of variation and most importantly, make very few mistakes.  Rohan won both the first and second games and looked set to close out the 3rd, but the 3rd went to a tie break and his oponent pulled one back.  I wasnt able to watch the 4th, but Rohan got the job done and normal service of him winning at 1 resumed after 2 valiant, but ultimately failed attempts by Tim and yours truly to keep his winning run intact.

Up after Tim, was el Cappitano.  His opponent was probably the best number 4 I have seen in this cycle. He was a very tidy player, had good variation of shots, including a decent lob and moved around the court well (EDIT – Adam took a look at him playing for 5 minutes and didn’t think much of him).  In the first two games, he looked a class above the captain, who despite playing well, was definitely looking like he was a level below his opponent and there didnt seem much hope for him at 2 down.  In the third, it beciase clear why he as playing at 4, as his legs started to go and the captain took advantage and pulled one back.  The 4th was a tighter affair, but again, the captain got the job done and closed it out.  So in the decider, it was all set for the captain to complete the come back, but sadly failed in a very tight game.  He probably didn’t like a couple of calls I made which he thought were clear strokes (sorry), but overall it was a good game and another good performance the much improved captain.  If he can add a little in game nouse, he will definitely be able to start converting games like this sooner rather than later.

Last on was yours truly who after watching the captains game and Tim's at 2 was a little concerned at what the opponent would be.  Went on to the court and in the warm up, did the usual assessment of my opponent and his game.  Quick, fast and fit, not great line / length and definitely weaker on his backhand (like Vernon doesnt like to attack a floated backhand – sorry Vernon), so strategy to win was in place, dominate rallies on the backhand and use as platform to win game.  However, when the game started, the ego took control and said, you surely are good enough to win at 3 playing for the second team without tactics and proceeded to treat it like a training game where all I needed to do was to keep it tight to win.  After about 6 points of chasing boasts and drops and my chest burning, I decided to put that ego back in the box and go back to tactics.  Keep the ball on his back hand where (a) im in control and (b) he cant hurt me that much.  The games were still tight as he was able to counter drop me well and I was down and it was hard work, but ultimately by keeping control of the rallies whenever he had chances he felt he had to force the points, so he made mistakes and when I had my chances, I had the time on the ball to make it count.  So in the end, I won 3-0, but by no means was it an easy game.

Once again, big thanks again to Glen for fantastic post match food – the fried chicken was amazing.

15th August

Away Sobell1 vs  Cumberland  lost 2-3   Sobell II vs Brondesbury  lost 2-3

Sobell 1 came across a strong Cumberland team whom we had whitewash at home earlier in the  season.
Up first was Vintage Vet Paul playing at no 5 against a youngster the same age as his daughter and someone whom I had beaten in the home fixture at no 2. Playing into his young opponents hands and losing the first game, Paul knew he had to level things up in the second game otherwise it was lights out. After shading the second game in which Paul took,  I decided to go down and give him a pep talk at the start of  third game.  The third game Paul started to play his normal game, floating the ball around and frustrating his young opponent.  That's more like the Paul.  Paul came of the court after the third in which he took as if to say,  that was a piece of cake, or the pep talk work.  There was some nervy moments towards the end of the fourth,  but Paul kept his nerve and his 100% record intact.  3/1 up, 1 up to Sobell.
On the other court Jack who was playing at no 4, had another 5 setter.  Maybe he has been watching a lot of Cheyne matches recently. Taking a 2 games to 1 lead, Jack had match point in the fourth in which he didn't take and lost the fourth.  With both players going all out in the fifth, the match was swinging one way then the other. Eventually Jack played 2 killer lobs to finish of the match. 3/2 up, 2 up Sobell.
Adam was on next Playing at no 3 against a former Sobell league player. Adam was a bit of key. Maybe he is concentrating on winning the Sobell internal league. I'm sure Jack has got something to say about that. He lost in 3 straight sets. 3/0 down, 2/1 up Sobell.
Gavin was on Court at the same time I went down to play their no 1. Gavin after match comments suggest he should have taken it.  Easier said than done.  So went down 3/1. 2 match all and down to the other Vintage Vet to take the match.  The first game was as tough as it could be against a very tidy player.  Things were looking good up until the 10 all mark, after that there was no looking back after that for my opponent.  I lost the first and the second.  I needed to take the third to stand any chance of a comeback but lost it 15/10.  Sorry chaps.  3/0 down 3/2 win for Cumberland.


Sobell II rocked up to the very nice Bloomsbury club in Cricklewood last night for a match against a team we lost 3-2 in the home fixture.

 First up was our team ringer, AKA undefeated champion, David Butter playing at 5 against what was a very limited, but energetic player.  Watching the match with Tim, I asked him what he would suggest to David to do to do better, Tim's response was absolutely nothing, which shows how straightforward it was (although he did say a few minutes later that he should try and hit his serves 'over' the red line, which is always helpful in a game of squash J).  David was off the court before he worked up a sweat with a 3-0 win.

 On the other court at the same time playing at 4 was Vernon (which I thought was a strange decision when he is in box 2 and El Capitano is in box 3 and which I let both of them know was a pretty stupid idea 19 or 20 times to much L).  I was proved to be wrong (for the first time ever) as it turned out to be a good decision.  Vernon's opponent was an energetic leftie who was very mobile and had a good forehand.  As the game developed, I also asked Tim what he would say to Vernon between games as a team talk.  Tim's advice once again was directed at what Vernon should so which I thought was interesting as I was far more interested in what Vernon's opponent was doing.  Tim's view and mine were both correct.  Tim's view was that Vernon was rushing the game and needed to play with patience and mine that his opponent had a not too shabby forehand, but a very poor back hand.  So after the first game, which vernon lost, I went down and explained that all he needed to do was keep his opponent on his backhand and the game would be his.

Vernon proceeded to ignore everything I said and play his opponent on his forehand and 10 minutes later I was back downstairs telling him exactly the same thing!  This time Vernon listened a little bit (still played a bit too much on his forehand), but a combination of taking the pace off and playing down his backhand side meant that the in the 3rd game vernon made him look like the limited player he as and won it easily.  The 4th game advice went the same way though, but this was a much harder game physically as his opponent was working hard in points and although Vernon took it, you couldn’t call who is going to win.  The first thing I said to him after the 4th was see if you had listened to me, you would have won, didn’t go down to well, neither did tim saying now you have come back from to 2-2 you have to win – which I thought was a bit rich from Tim J, but Vernon got back on court and pulled away once it got to 9-9 and closed the game out.

Overall a good win, but if you don’t know your opponent's game, it limits your ability to beat him.  Within a few shots I could see that his opponent didn’t have a backhand, yet Vernon made his life a lot harder by not seeing / ignoring it.  A common trait in our team play that needs to improve if we are going to get better results.

Up third, playing at three was el capitano playing a very classy player who moved well, hit the ball well and played with a lot of disguise.  Again watching the game with Tim, Tim agreed that his opponent was very good and thought that Richard needed to keep the ball at the back of the court, I thought his opponent was very good, but he needed to try and stay in the rallies as he was prone to the odd mistake.  Richard managed to level the game up but the next 2 games went against him and he went down 3-1.

The penultimate match was myself at 2 this week due in part to having done a 10K at lunch as part of half marathon training.  Once I got on court, I knew I had my work cut out as my opponent it was a very obvious my opponent was a classy player.  I started off well and was 6 up, but with very good tight squash  he was able to dominate the points.  I came off the court and realised that just playing tight squash was not going to work against this guy has he was a better player, so in the second game, I looked to take the game to him with harder hitting mixed up with drops / boasts.  This strategy worked and I levelled very easily.  I started off the 3rd in the same way, but my opponent changed his strategy and just concentrated on dominating points and the effects of 10K running kicked in and I lost the last two games pretty easily.  Was interesting talking to him tactically after the match as we both agreed that whoever dominated the game tactically won the points and it turned out that he game Vernon's opponent the exactly same tactical advice – my type of squash player a guy who not only plays his shots, but plays his opponent…

Finally up was Tim, playing a regular from Sobell Saturday sessions in the past Paul, a very fit, tidy player.  I didn’t get to watch this match, but Tim lost the first game, levelled at 1-1 and then lost 3-1, which I think is a very good result against a player that wouldn’t look out of place as a number 2 in our first team and is probably the strongest player in our league.

So overall a 3-2 lost against probably the best team in the league was a very good result.  Time to get back to winning ways though next week.

7 August

Home Sobell1 vs  Cottons  won 3-2   Sobell II vs Finsbury  won 4-1

On Wednesday Sobell 1 narrowly beat table topping Cottons 3-2 with 3 hard fought matches along the way. Just in case you are wondering it was only 3 matches played, Cottons turn out a team of only 3 players which I think was a disgrace considering I was inform prior to my match with their no 1 player.  Looking on the Brightside, Sobell started the evening with a 2 match lead, and odds on for the victory. 
Talking of no 1, the Stallion tweeted his back a day or two before so he was force out through injury.  I started the proceedings of against their talented female player. Jetlag was never an issue considering  I only landed 5 hours prior to my match from sunny Croatia. In the first game I had the measure of my opponent but she was steady and hardly made any mistakes. Her volley drops was here pet shot.  I went down 10/15 in the first game.
I decided to change tactics in the second game which work for a while but my female opponent was not to be move and I lost the second 13/15.  Staying with my game plan, I thought it was only a matter of time before the table turns.  The third was another hard fought battle and I went down 13/15. 3/0 down. 2/1 up to Sobell.
So it was down to the new  facial look Hernan who was playing at no2 to tie things up for Sobell. Judging from what I saw,  his opponent was a class act. But Hernan had other idea's. After taking the first game 15/13, his opponent decided to rally a lot more which was right up Hernan  street. well almost.   His opponent fought back and won the second 10/15.
The third was the crucial game and could have gone either way, eventually Hernan lost it 15/17. The fourth was similar to the third, with Hernan opponent keeping his nerve and taking it 13/15.  3/1 down. 2 match all and winner takes all in the final match.
Up steps up Jack the new Sobell league champion to take the glory (well only if you beat the original Sobell Champion) Don't worry Jack your dream might come true one day.  Your aim is to try and beat me in a league match before I become a grand dad again!  So you've  got from now until February.  Back to the Match.
Jack must have been wondering if he was going to have a return and revenge match against the TFL card holder which mug him at their place earlier in the season.  Bu it was not to be. He played a very different type of player who was good at retrieving and nicking points when he can. Jack won the first 2 games 15/13 15/13. The third was a formality and he won it 15/11. 
So another win for Sobell 1 all be it with only 3 players and peeing of Cheyne and Nadeem  in the process. So my apology for that guy's even though it was no fault of my own. As for Cottons, Merry Xmas.


Tim kicked off events playing at 2.  His opponent was a tidy counter attacking player, but Tim always looked the better player.  There were still a few too many mistakes in the his play, which meant that despite going 1 nil up, he let his opponent back in to level things up at 1-1.  In the end class told and Tim took care of business to win in 4.

 On soon after Tim was El Capitano Richard playing a guy I know very well from Finsbury club sessions.  A reasonably good player with who has obviously been coached very well, but has the mental strength of a twig (private joke).  In all three games he matched Richard up until about 8-8 and then when the going got tough at the business end of each game, his mind left the building and he made lots of mistakes.  Richard did what all sensible players in that situation do and let his opponent hand the game to him on a plate and said thanks very much for the 3-0.

 Matt followed Tim on playing a guy that had a basic game but that was probably a level of two below him.  It was a pretty uneventful game in that Matt always had too much for his opponent and when his lack of fitness kicked in, it made it a pretty straightforward 3-0 win.

 After playing so well for the first team last week, that the other team thought he was a ringer, Paul was aiming to make it 2/2 this season at number 3.  His opponent was mobile and had a few shots especially a nice backhand drop, but in reality like Matt, Paul was at least a level or two above his opponent.  However, as much as I hate to agree with Barry at times (as it re-inforces the belief that he is always right) Paul played way to many loose shots and cross courts which was pretty silly against a guy with a decent volley drop.  Paul, tightened up and got the job done in the end, but I think the general consensus was that he was a bit generous in letting his opponent get 2 games.

 Finally up was yours truly playing at one, I have to admit feeling a little bit nervous after getting trashed by Paul on Club session on Saturday.  I got on the court and noticed that like me he was a lefty and unlike me looked very fit and hit the ball harder than me on the forehand.  Cue thoughts in my mind of a very embarrassing loss and lots of stick from Tim post match.  The one thing I remembered though was that whenever you play a left hander, always play him on the side you are better than him on and since I knew I had no chance on the forehand, I decided to play it mostly on the backhand.  Although I had a strategy in my mind, the nerves were also there and I started out not playing relaxed squash playing silly shots and making too many mistakes which meant that I lost the first game.  In the second game I cut out more of the silly mistakes and based my game on trying to hit a decent length and for the next two games worked on keeping it tight and to a good length (many hours of drills with Barry paying off – thanks Barry) and took the next two games.  Sadly, the physicality of the game started got to me and my opponent was no mug who knew that to win, he didn’t have to be the best player on the court, he just needed to be the last man standing.  So he hung in there and in the end the last two games were pretty comfortable for him.  Overall, I was happy with my game, but less happy with mental approach in the last 2 games, note to self, when you are 2-1 up, make your opponent win each point, don’t just give them to him, no matter how tired you are.

 Just one final note of top food as always from Glen.  As well as top of the league points, don’t think we eat better on any of our away matches.

 Edit.  Just re-read the match report and see it is a ball by ball breakdown of my match with a couple of sentences on everyone else's, sorry J

30 July

Away Sobell1 vs  West Herts

We had a hard match last night, up at West Herts, with some of our top players out.
I played at number 2 against someone I had lost to in the past. He is a tidy player with tight shots and great drops. Basically he makes his opponents look bad. Unfortunately I ended up helping him. I tried hard, but wasn't really ever in the game and lost 0-3.
Gavin, playing at number 1, hadn't read the script that we were supposed to roll over tamely. His opponent was very good and won the first two games, but Gavin won the third. The fourth game was hard fought, but Gavin went down in the end. A loss, but a very honourable one.

Played 2, lost 2....

Paul was playing a talented, but inconsistent player at 5. Paul lost the first, but played calm sensible squash (!) and kept cool in the face of dodgy marking (!!!) to win the next three games. The comeback was starting.
Cheyne played at the same time at 3 against an older, but fit and talented player. Not fit enough or talented enough though. Cheyne won 3-0 quite comfortably.

So Nadeem, it is all down to you.

Nadeem's opponent was a big guy with great touch and real power. He piled on the pressure, but Nadeem was moving well and hitting fluently. Nadeem won the first, then the second. The third was tight. Nadeem was having to work very hard on a hot and humid court and was clearly feeling it. But his opponent was hurting too. It was all about who could fight through the tiredness and pressure best. Nadeem kept playing sweet squash and his opponent tinned too many shots. 3-0 Nadeem, to give Sobell a great victory.

Next week we play at home on Wednesday against top-of-the-table Cottons. It is a big match, let's get out a good team.
Nadeem, Cheyne and Glen can play. I want to play, but I'm not sure my form is good enough! Who else would like to play?

17 July

Away Sobell1 vs  Hammersmith

Sobell 1 played an in form Hammersmith  on Wednesday who have only lost one match all season.  Sobell return the compliment  with a 4-1 victory at their patch  after losing to them at home earlier in the season.

  On first was Nadeem who was  playing a ringer at no 5 in which I found out afterwards.  The Hammersmith player who  has never even set foot in the centre let alone played for them.  I think its great shame when it comes to the rules book .  At the very least judging by the string orders he should have been playing at no 3 minimum.

 This match was all about seven’s with Nadeem   losing the first 2 games  15/7  15/ 7.  Nadeem  fought  back in the third and he took it 7/15.  After some long rallies in the fourth one in particular should have been the turning point in favour to Nadeem  but his opponent  kept his nerve and came through and took the fourth.  3-1down, 1 up to Hammersmith.

 On the opposite crt Cheyne who was playing at no 4 had a straight forward win in 3 sets.  In previous  matches  Cheyne who has had some 5 setters battles which went against him decided enough is enough and took the match by the scruff of the neck and won 0-3.  1-1 in matches.

 The Stallion playing at no 1, has drop only one  game in the summer league to date  this season came across an  opponent who has only loss  one match all season,  so something had to give.

From  what I witness  in the first  game there was only going to be one winner.  The Stallion was firing from all cylinders which even surprise me.  His opponent Wil could not live with him. Keeping his opponent to the back of the court with his straight drives  and cross crts widths then playing the killer drops, the Stallion took the first 2 games with a stroll.  By the third his opponent ran out of steam and the Stallion took the third 10-15.

 I remember those days when the Stallion use to beg me to play squash with him.  From what I witness from this match especially against Wil, that he has come a long long way hence  his comments after the match is to never judge a book by its cover. He couldn't be more right.  0-3 up 2-1 to Sobell.

 Jack playing at no 3 had an aggressive affair,  and I am not talking squash with racquets.  This was far from It.  In his last outing Jack came across a character by the name of Tin Tin.  In this paticicular match it easily could have turn into the rumble in the jungle.  Whatever Jack was on in the first 2 games he fell right into his opponents trap.  Pushing, shoving, barging, eyeballing the marker and losing the first 2 games it was lights out if he had carried on playing like that.  A few calming words from myself of do’s and don’ts  calm Jack down.  Whether it was my advice or Jack just took another pill to calm himself down did the trick.  Jack crawl his way back like a true Sobell champion he is to take the next 2 games. The fifth was one way traffic in favour to Jack. 2-3 up, 3-1 to Sobell match won. Now that's the Jack that I know.

 I went on crt last with no pressure.  My match was a straight forward affair winning in 3 straight sets. 0-3 up, 4-1 to Sobell.

 Next up is the local derby against Coolhurst.

26  June
Home Sobell 1 vs Paddington  Won 4 - 1

Home Sobell II vs PAddington  Won 5 - 0

On Wednesday Sobell 1 recorded another good victory over Paddington who was without their talisman James Doolan.
24 hours before the match Paddington Team Captain requested that their no1 needed to shoot of early and needs to play first and could I can accommodate that?  The message was forwarded on to our no1 Antonio. 
At start time of the match, myself and Paddington captain exchange string orders. There was  no sign of their no1 and Antonio who I believe was running late.  Paddington captain who was playing string 2 and myself decided to make our way down to the squash crts to start our match alongside Nadeem.  At that point the Paddington no1 appears.  They decided to switch position to accommodate their no1 as he needed to get away early.  Still no sign of Antonio. As laid back as I am, decided to go along with it, but I think that was a bit naughty.  I am pretty sure if Barry was in that the same position he would have had a few words to say. So I ended up playing their no1 and Antonio played their no2.
Talking of no1, I went on crt first against my wrongful opponent and I knew from the of that I had my work cut out. My opponent was playing as if he needed to get away early, Volleying every opportunity and never really gave me time to settle.  I lost the first game 15/9  gave it a fight the next 2 games but went down 15/6 15/7. 3/0 down Paddington 1 up.
On crt the same time as me was Nadeem  making his debut at no5. I didn't see much of Nadeem match but he had a great win in straight sets. judging by his result I think he is going  to take some shifting at no5.  8/15 7/15 11/15. 3/0 up. 1 match all.
Next up was Gavin playing at no3. His opponent looked shattered during the knock up. How he manage to win the first game is beyond me because he looked like he had just finish running a marathon.  After losing the first game,  Gavin compose himself and won the next 2 games 10/15 7/15.  By the fourth game his opponent had enough of Gavin's volley and volley drop's and  so went down 6/15. 3/1 up. 2 - 1 to Sobell.
Antonio playing at no1, went on crt with my original opponent and judging from what I witness looked like no mug.  With both players hitting good lengths and widths, only the pace of Antonio shots got him through the first game in which he won 13/15. Both players was trying to take control of the second  game, Antonio eventually  took it 16/18. The third was straight forward Antonio taking it 9/15.  3/0 up. Sobell 3 - 1 up match won.
The next match was all about the tin and a return match between both players in which Jack won at home. 
Jack who was playing at no4, got of to fast start and won the first game 10/15, then he lost the second 15/13.  From thereafter it was all about the tin.  Those of you who are old enough and remembers the character Tin Tin?  This was more than Tin Tin.  This was all about Tin Tin Tin Tin?  If the match was decided on how many shots hitting the tin, Jack's opponent would have won it outright. After the tin taking a good battering, Jack finally came through 13/15 10/15.  3/1 up,  4 - 1 to the Sobell and up to third place in the league table.
The second team  also had a great win away to Finsbury  Outplay with a 5 - 0 victory.

19  June
Away Sobell 1 vs Cumberland  Won 5 - 0

Away Sobell II vs Brondesbury  Lost 2 - 3

After narrowly losing three encounters 3-2, It was only a matter of time before Sobell 1 recorded their first win of the season.  Standing in their way was Cumberland whom we had played at home on Wednesday evening. 
But before I start the match report, I would like to mention a big thank you to Mike Campbell who kindly donated 12 match balls for the first and second team before Wednesday matches which resulted in a 5 - 0 white wash for the first team, but unfortunately  the second team going down 3-2 again.  I don't know if it was luck or good luck charm in those balls, but It certainly did the  trick as Cumberland found out last Wednesday.  I know one thing is for sure, I'm going to rap those match balls up in some cotton wool and get them ready and prepared for our next home match on Wednesday week against British Airways.
Thanks again Mike it was well appreciated.
Back to the report.
Cumberland arrive at the centre around 20mins late and only wish that they had stayed at home.
As Team Captain playing at no2 I decided to go on crt first  (Yes you've guess it) against a 22 year old.  At that point I thought I'm in no mood for Child Care duties.
After taking first game 15-13, the young student wish he had taken an early nights rest and prepare for his exams the next day because things was about to get worse in the second game. The young protégé lost the second game 15-9. By then he was out on his feet and wish he had taken my advice with an early nights rest. The third was one way traffic and he went down 15-5.  My only worrying point in the match is when my opponent through his racquet down on the floor at the end with anger and almost catching my big left toe.  3-0 up and 1 up for the Sobell.
On crt at the same time as me was Gavin playing at no3. I didn't see much of Gavin match, but after last weeks result  had a point to prove and he won in three straight sets and recorded his first win of the Summer.  3-0 up and 2 up for the Sobell.
On next was the Italian Stallion playing at no1.  Now this was a match of big hitters, also it was a big contrast to the Antonio that played in his last outing.  From floating the ball around and playing a slow game last week, Antonio decided to revert back to the game that he knows best.  His opponent was no mug either.
The first game could have gone either way with both players asking for dodgy lets and hitting good lengths and widths in the process.  After taking the first game 15-12, Antonio had to work hard to take the second game in which he took 15-13.
I think by then his opponent realize who was boss and Antonio took the third 15-8. Stallion up 3-0 and 3 up for the Sobell. match won. But it does not stops there.....
Up next was Jack playing at no5. After last weeks episode against a Freedom TFL Card Holder, Jack decided he is not going to be mugged  twice in a week and stand for any antics.  His opponent who I have known for about 20 years, also had a few tricks up his sleeves, but judging by Jack's attitude it was once bitten twice shy.
Jack took the first game 15-9 and the second 15-12.  The third was a close affair in which Jack just shaded it 15-13 job done.  3-0 up and 4-0 to the Sobell.
So now it was down to Hernan playing at no4 to record the biggest win in the division by any team to date in the Summer.
I didn't see much of Hernan match but he won in three straight sets 15-9 15-9 15-11.
Well done all, and a great win for the Sobell.
The second team lost a close match to Brondesbury with Rohan losing 3-1 at no1, Vernon also lost at no2 3-0, Team Captain Richard winning at no3 3-1, Matt lost at no4 3-1 and Gareth winning at no5 3-2.
So next up is Mr Paddington better known as James Doolan away next Wednesday.

13/14  June
Away Sobell 1 vs Cottons Lost 2 - 3

Away Sobell II vs Finsbury Lost 2 - 3

After the last 2 weeks of hard working baby sitting, some members of the team decided to take some T.O.I.L which was well deserved.  Up steps up to cover was Richard Bangay, (Captain of the 2nd team) and our new recruitment of the team, The Italian Stallion, (no not Sylvester Stallone) but our very own Antonio Petronzio.  Our opponents were those City workers Cottons from London Bridge who gave us a run for our money and just got the best of Sobell taking a victory 3-2.
Up on crt first was the Stallion playing at no1 against a female opposition.  Everyone who has seen and watch Antonio in action on a squash crt, would have thought this is not the Antonio that we are all use to and come to see.  No this was a control and different Antonio.  Floating the ball around from left to right, slow boast, frustrating  his female opponent and toying with her. After taking the first 2 games 5-15 and 11-15 Antonio decided to take his foot of the pedal. Still  playing his control game Antonio lost the 3rd game 14-16. Things almost backfired for Antonio when his female opponent race into a 12-13 lead in the 4th game.  At that point Antonio decided enough is enough,  got out of 2nd gear and started cracking the hell out of the ball.  Now that's the Antonio that we all know.  The Stallion finally took the 4th 13-15. 1 up for the Sobell.
On crt at the same time as Antonio was Richard playing at no5 against a French Dude. Both players had similar styles hitting the ball to a good length and waiting for the opportunity to play  winning shots.  Richard lost the first 2 games 15-4 and 15-13. He came back in the 3rd winning it 10-15 but finally lost the 4th 15-8.  3-1 down and 1 match all.
I went on crt with a tosser from New Zealand playing at no2.  Kiwi is one of my favourite fruits and I just wanted to eat this guy alive.  They are certain words I would use to describe my opponent  but I think I will stick to the Queen's language. 
After losing the first 2 games 15-8 and 15-13 things almost backfired on me.  well almost... 
The Stallion and Gavin gave me a pep talk at the start of the 3rd game  which help me a lot.  The New Zealander didn't know what hit him the next 2 games in which I took 7-15 and 7-15.  He started complaining of back pains with every shove I gave him while going for my shots (no such complains in the first 2 games) then he started giving me the eyeball treatment.  I knew then I had to keep my cool.  In the process of all that, my racquet broke in the final game.  After a good start and and taking the first 2 points, the New Zealander race into a 7-2 lead in the final game even though he was in a drastic mess.  After getting used to my racquet replacement, I crawl my way back and took the final game 12-15.  3-2 up and 2-1 to the Sobell.
Up next was Jack playing at no4  against a TFL card holder who I believe has been and played in every squash crt in Britain. As we all know being a TFL card holder does not mean a thing and age is nothing but a number.  This was a crafty Veteran who had every trick in the book. When I mean trick I don't mean playing winners from all over the squash crt.  No this was a player who knows how to win a match by all means necessary. 
Jack race into a 2 games lead 13-15 and 14-16 then things took a drastic turn.  Whether it was tactical or tiredness the crafty Veteran came out with all his antics and it worked in his favour and it disrupted Jacks game. The Veteran started blowing his left and right nostril continuously with his hanky chief,  started rolling the ball around on the crt every given opportunity and he won the next 2 games 15-10 and 15-5.  After words with the marker from Jack which I think didn't help, went down in the 5th 15-13.  3-2 down and 2 match all.
So it's down to our mix nationality Gavin who was playing at no3.  No pressure son.  The only advantage Gavin had was time. The time was fast approaching 10pm and we knew if the match didn't finish within that time scale Cottons would have to concede and the overall victory would have been Sobell's.  But his opponent had other idea's.  
After losing the first 2 games 15-8 and 15-10, all Gavin had to do was to keep the ball in play and that would have been that.  As you all know being in that situation it's easier said than done.  His opponent started playing winners knowing that time was against him and he took the final game 15-10. 3-0 down and a 3-2 win for Cottons.
The Second team narrowly lost out to arch rival Finsbury Leisure 3-2. Tim going down 3-2, at no1, Vernon playing at no2 went down 3-0, Olver playing at no3 had a great victory winning 3-2, Matt went down 3-2 at no4 and team captain Richard playing at no5 won 3-0.

5  June
Home Sobell 1 vs West Herts 
Lost 0 - 5

Sobell 1 came across a very strong West Herts toddlers team on Wednesday and went down 5 0. The trick was to get those toddlers to sleep before the match but that didn't work.


Up first was Tim at no4, who was playing an overweight but very tidy player.  As we all know with Tim when he goes for his shots they are either up or down nothing in between.  The overweight shot maker stole the first game and Tim came back the second. Tim lost the third,  and the forth could have gone ether way after some patience squash from both players.  After some good rally's Tim eventually lost the forth 15 13.  3 - 1 down.


At the same time Cheyne who was playing at no5, had another marathon match.  After going 2  games down, Cheyne  came back to level the scores at 2 games all.  As we know with Cheyne, he likes to concede the first 2 games just to get him going, but once again losing out in the fifth 11 - 15.  3-2 down.


Jack was playing a 16 year old Junior champion, who playing squash since he was 5 years old.  Pretty frightening.  Jack gave it his best shot to keep up his 100% win record. Things were looking good in the first  game with both players neck and neck with Jack just losing out 14 - 16. Jack lost the second 10 -15. The third was a tight affair with the toddler taking it 13 -15. 3-0 down.


Talking of Junior Champion, the toddler that I was playing first pick up a racquet when he was four years old. I new I had my work cut out playing at no1 after experience jack's opponent  playing at number 3. Playing those youngsters and losing to them is no disgrace.  They are just in a class of there own especially if they are being coach by the ex England no1 Paul Carter.  I lost the first game 9 - 15. I tried some of my rock a bye baby tactics in the second and just lost it 13 - 15.  The toddler eventually got the better of the old fogey in the third and I lost it 7- 15. 3- 0 down.


Hernan playing at no2, came across a veteran who has been  around the block a few times.  Very steady,  very tidy and very few mistakes. Hernan had a slow start losing the first 15 - 5. He pick it up in the second and just losing out 17 - 15 before losing the third 15 - 5. 3- 0 down. 


Well that's enough childcare from me for at least a month and next up is Cottons mix  next Friday.  

30 May
Away Sobell 1 vs Coolhurst 
            Lost 2 - 3
          Sobell 2 vs Finchley Manor 
  Won 4 - 1

Sobell I – Glen

Just a brief report on the match at what happen at Coolhurst last night. When I say brief, I don't mean Marks and Spencer brief.I got to the venue around 8.20,and Gavin our no2 was in and out of the showers. You can only guess what happen in his match? That's right, he went down in 3 straight sets.At the same time Cheyne was playing at no 5. His match was at 2 games all but run out of steam in the final game against a kid who I can call my Great Grand Son.

Talking of Great Grand Son, I went on Crt at no1 playing against a 22 year old who had just finish University and starting life in the fast lane while in contrast to myself getting ready to draw my pension. Now that is a big contrast. I think my knock up was longer than the match itself. I went down 3-0.

I didn't see much of Jacks game who was playing at no 4, but he kept up his 100% record winning 3-1. That's 2 wins out of 2 for Jack.

Hernan had a great win at no3. After loosing the first game, he crawl his way back to win the next 3 games.

Once more a couple more points on the board and a good night baby sitting.

Up next are those kids from West Herts at home next Wednesday.We've got possibly 4 down for child care duties for that one.

Sobell  II – Kevin / Richard

 Sobell II were away at Finchley Manor playing their second team.

 We ran out 4-1 winners. In all the matches we won none of our opponents took more than 1 game.

 First on was yours truly at 3, who was playing their number 4 due to a very last minute withdrawal.  During the warm up, I noticed that he always let the ball bounce on his backhand side which is music to the airs of a left hander and just by playing some reasonably basic tight squash I was able to put him away 3-0 quite quickly without having to rely on my world famous (lack of) fitness.

 The match finished in time for me to go and see the end of the first game on the other court where Oli was playing at 5.  This match was unusual, firstly that it was two left handers and second in that they had very similar styles.  It was a good battle between Oli's legs versus his opponents experience.  In the end Oli forced a match ball and during the rally one of the guys watching dropped a glass of water from the viewing gallery.  Fortunately the glass didn’t break and it didn’t hit either player.  The home team captain didn’t look very pleased and a very sheepish spectator rushed down to try and dry the court up which was now unplayable.  So they kicked Matt off court who was warming up for his match and Oli got the job done and closed the match out (3-1) I think.  All I could think of was what a great tactic if your feeling really tired in the match J

 Next on was Matt playing at 2 (despite my not so subtle hints to the captain that I should play there J), but after a good win last week, captain said he should stay as is.  Matt started the game off well, but he was up against a wily opponent who realised that Matt liked to run around the court and saw no reason not to let him do so – unfortunately by the end of the second game Matts legs had done all the running it could and he was despatched 3-1.  I'm not saying I would have beaten him but… ok I will stop now J

 Next on was Rohan at 1, playing a very wily number one who was a decent mover, kept it tight and didn’t make many mistakes.  Very good game to watch as both playerss were playing decent squash, however as I remarked to Matt in the gallery, playing it too loose on Rohan's forehand is suicide as he will kill you with a trickle boast that looks almost identical to a straight drive (noted for if we play a league match J ).  His opponent made that mistake a few too many times and Rohan punished him for it and closed the game out (3-1) I think.

 Finally on was the captain at number 5 whose opponent was probably thinking the same as Glen except that Richard could almost be his great grandchild.  He played some decent shots, but Richard was never in danger and won easily.

 Comedy moment of the night.  When I went to the viewing gallery when I first got there, there were the Richard, Matt and a couple of other guys on court about to start warming up, I said to captain, when is the rest of our team turning up, the Richard pointed to Oli and Rohan and said, this the rest of the team – oops J

 The second team have got a bit of a break until our next match due to the late re-shuffling of our division. It'll be another away match against Finsbury leisure on 13th June at 19:20. Its not much of an away match though as Finsbury leisure center is pretty close by in Old street:

22 May
Home Sobell 1 vs Hammersmith
    Lost 2 - 3
          Sobell 2 vs British Airways   Lost 2 - 3

Sobell 1 and 2 got of to a reasonable good start  on Wednesday by putting a couple of points on the board but sadly both teams going down 3- 2 which suggest it's going  to be a long hard summer of squash. 
With  Sobell 1 playing West London opponents, no not Fulham but Hammersmith,  Adam went on crt first with a patch up knee bandage version of Paul Howard.  Adam was playing his normal usual  game, good lengths tidy lobs and waiting for his opportunity, but his opponent was just as tidy and the knee bandage was just there for show. He started moving Adam around the crt and playing winners from all over the crt.  Adam lost the first game 9 -15. 
After the first game, Adam's opponent team mate let the cat out of the bag by stating that he was the clubs coach which suggest to me that he should have been playing at number 1 and not number 3.  Adam stuck to his guns and lost the second game.  The third could have gone either way but in the end Hammersmith nicked it. Adam down 0-3.
Next up was chef and team captain Gp who was playing at 1.  I had a discussion on the viewing gallery with one of the Hammersmith players and I made a point of asking is Oliver Adam's playing at 1?  He replied no will Brand is playing at 1.  At that point I decided to have my stop watch ready during rallies.  After 20 or so years of watching and playing will, I thought he isn't going to catch me out with those disguise drop shots at the front of the crt. well I could have been fooled.  Out of about 20 or so of those ridiculous drop disguise, I got to about 2 of them and that's being generous.  I am pretty sure If Will was playing himself  he would have fooled himself with those disguise.  I have to say you give credit where credit is due. I went down  8-15 11-15.  The third was a tight affair and will took it 14-16. 0-3 down.
I didn't see much of Gavin match who was playing at number 2,  but from what I gathered Gavin just got of a plane over the weekend and was feeling a bit rusty. Gavin also mention I'll eat my opponent alive in the return.  That's one for the diaries folks. Gavin down 11-15 8-15 11-15
Jack and Cheyne who was playing at 4 and 5 had good wins. After loosing the first game 14-16, Jack who was playing at no 4 crawl his way back to win the next 3 games. 
Cheyne had a good win at no 5 winning in straight sets.
Some points on the board thanks to Jack and Cheyne, and next up is the local derby against Coolhurst away next Thursday.

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