team winter 2010

Away vs. Princes -  30th March

Our last game of the season was away at top-of-the-table Princes.

First up was local lad Ian - he played at this club when he was 9. His opponent was a good player and a classic tough veteran. It got to 8-8 in the fifth, but in the end Ian went down 2-3.
Tomas was playing their #1, who was a very proper player. Playing #1 for us is often a bit of a sacrifice and Tomas got beat quite soundly.
Petr played their #4 - a 15 year old boy with great shots and a killer volley drop. Petr just stayed strong, played cleverly and exploited his opponents mistakes to win 3-0.
Eva played their captain at #3. She won the first game, but in the face of dogged play from her opponent and some dodgy marking, she lost 1-3.
I played a handy player at #2. No-one was very surprised when I lost the first game quickly. But my serves started to get under his skin and I ended up wining 3-2.

That's the end of the season. We will almost certainly end up second bottom and probably get relegated, but I still think we played a lot of good squash. We had 4 or 5 matches that we lost 2-3. If we could have turned a few of those results around, we would be mid-table. Many of the squad are new to team squash and they are playing better and getting match tougher quickly. Let's hope we can continue to do great things with this team.

Home vs. Portobello Green -  16th March

Last night we played Portobello at Home. Wayne’s mob.

In a calamitous turn of events we lost 3-2 and, I suspect, lost Hernan for the last 2 matches of the season (groin twang).

It was a fun evening against a friendly bunch – perhaps we were too friendly…

All games were 3-0 with Hernan losing to a godlike french baby. Tomas lost to Wayne. Dan refound his form. Gavin was taken out and I contrived to win.

 So two more to go.

Home vs. Finchley Manor II -  9th March

Without wishing to sound like a downer - times at chateau Sobell are tough - relegation looms. We won at home by a narrow margin, the stuff that relegation is made of - maybe it will be enough.

Hernan and Gavin won easily. Paul won...but sadly both Daniel and Tomas were undone in matches they could have won. Still mustn't grumble.

Away vs. Southgate II -  9th Feb.

Another night of squash in north London, this time with Southgate’s 2nd team at their home ground. Important game as Southgate were bottom of the league and we were just a few points above them.

First on court was Girts at #3. I didn’t see much of the game as I was playing on the other court, but from what I’ve heard; Girts was playing well but was outplayed by his opponent. Girts lost 3:0.

Petr was on the other court playing at #5. He started comfortably, also with help of his opponent breaking his racket in pre-match knock up. First game 9:0 for Petr, second 9:2. Then all of a sudden this chubby guy started to move around the court and I lost third game, but finished him off after big fight in tie-break in the fourth. Petr won 3:1.

Kevin went on as #2, playing a hard hitting bloke, who as we found out later over beers was playing squash since he was a kid. Kevin fought hard, was flying around the court as eagle, tried to talk his opponent down in his very own signature style, but it still wasn’t enough to win. Kevin lost 3:0.

Eva at #4 started well, taking an early lead. But then something strange happened. Eva started making unforced errors, one after another and lost first game in tie-break 10:9. Then it was all going down the hill, her opponent kept on returning her wonderful backhand shots and was pretty much reactive to what Eva was doing on the court. However it didn’t work out this time. Eva lost 3:0.

Last in action was Gavin at #1. Playing against Obe, very tidy and effective player. Where someone might have been expecting a straightforward game, Gavin showed his skills, taking shorts low and wide, keeping his opponent under constant pressure. He even won second game, but then experience started to pay off. Gavin lost 3:1.

Sobell lost 4:1.

It was a new experience for Gavin and Kevin, who were put to lead the team (Kevin volunteered to play #2 instead of Eva), and they both did very well!! (Despite the final scores…)

Home vs. Coolhurst III -  20th Jan.

After a great start with Tomas and Eva playing very well and winning, we lost 2-3.

Away vs. Cumberland III -  20th Jan.


1. Hernan lost 3-0

Playing a very tidy No. 1. Hernan played against a classy oponent who didnt let him in the game.  While Hernan played well, losing to such a classy openent 3-0 is no bad thing.

2. Adam Lost 3-0

Play at 2 was Adam who commendably had elected to ride to and from the Venue on a single speed despite the number of hills between swiss cottage and crouch end.   When he arrived he found that he was playing the same lady that had beaten him confortably on the home leg and in his own words "looked visibly dissapointed when she found out she was playing him".  Despite playing really well in the 2nd game, the result sadly was a straightforward 3-0 loss.

3. Paul Lost 3-1

Another game that Paul would not be happiest with, frustation at his own play and some referee calls meant that the game was played with a little bit more emotion than he would have liked.  Despite going into the third even, he was beaten confortably 3-1.

4. Gavin won 3-0

Playing a very decent player at number 4, Gaving put in a very impressive performance against a very tidy player.  Keep the rallies long and the ball tight seemed to be the objective of both players in a game of attrition, but it seemed that at key points in each rally, Gavin found the right boast or drop to take the point.  This seemed to drive the oponent to frustration and Gavin kept a clear head and won confortably.

5. Kevin won 3-0

At 5 Kevin was playing the Kiwi that had thrown the toys out of the pram when Allesandro had hit him in the home leg.  Playing as well as he has done recently, he despatched the guy 3-0 with very little trouble.


Away vs. Portobello Green -  25th Jan.


Probably the most arkward courts that the team will play on (which explains the disparity between thier home and away form), the Sobell team made thir way to Nottinghil to play their away fixture against the Portobello team

1. Thomas lost 3-0

Playing arguably the most impressive player that the Sobell team has seen since this season, Thomas was playing a guy so good that when he left the court after the second game and asked how he was doing, was beaming that he had a got a point or two.  The textbook movement, direction and pace of squash was explained by him letting Thomas know that he was in the top 10 in the under 19's in France.


2. Gavin lost 3-1

Playing a guy (Wayne) well known to Sobell Saturday clinic, Gavin being promoted to the 2nd spot after last weeks impressive showing was simply outclassed by the pure quality of the shots his oponent put together.

3. Allesandro Lost 3-1

Playing a match of attrition against a similar player who could rally confortably, Allesandro played a long game against a very good oponent.  However, he didnt have enough in the locker to get the desired result and lost 3-1.

4. Adam Lost 3-1

Adam dropping down the team due to form and injury was playing a player who had moved up from 5 to 4 and it seemed to be an inspired decision as playing a oponent with classy shots but not very mobile suited him to a tee.

5.  Kevin won 3-1

Playing at 5 for the 3rd time in sucession, Kevin once again proved Adam's banker for the team.  This time playing an awkward leftie with a decent forehand made for interesing watching, but while the both had good forehands, Kevin was better at making shots and on the back hand and was able to win the match.

Special mention to the food for this one, like Sobell they dont have their own facilities, so took us to a Thai in Notting Hill, without question one of the post squash meals the team has been able to enjoy.

Home vs. West Herts III -  5th Jan.

Last night we played high flying West Herts at home.

Tomas was playing at number 1, which is always tough. He was matched against a very talented young player, with great kill shots. A few times Tomas played a good shot, then his opponent slammed an unplayable winner into the nick. What can you do about that? Well, lose 3-0 really.
Paul was playing another young guy at #3. At first the young guy looked crap, to be honest, and Paul took a 2-0 lead. However, his opponent just got better and better and took the next 3 games. Lost 3-2.
I played at #2, against a player who was tidy, but not brilliant. He kept it tight and was very clinical in dispatching any loose shots. I played OK and came back to win the third on the back of good serving and lobbing, but in the end I lost 3-1.
I didn't see much of Kevin's game, but it got to 2-2 and then the match was about who had the greatest mental strength and will to win. No contest there - Kevin won 3-2.
Gavin played at #4 against a neat player. Gavin played well, took the ball early and went 2-0 up. His opponent had the class and experience to level it at 2-2. The fifth game was a real battle, slowly moving to 5-5. His opponent lost concentration for a minute and Gavin very neatly took 4 points to win 3-2.

We lost narrowly, but we all played well and got quite a few points.

We have a patch of 4 games in 4 weeks coming up, starting on the 20th of January. That gives us acouple of weeks to get fit and mentally strong and make sure we don't get relegated.

Home vs. Princes I -  16th Dec.

Team Sobell were back on the home courts last night, playing another far-west based team – Princes I.

First on was Petr at #5. I played against a versatile opponent, who knew how to hit the ball hard. First game went all the way to tie break, which I lost narrowly 10/9 after a couple of unforced errors. Back on the court for 2nd game, my aim was to play long and wide, to make the guy run as much as possible and get him tired. It kind of worked, and I won the 2nd game 9/3. Then my opponent started to use his experience, read my game well and played my weaknesses. He improved his serve, which put me under pressure and fairly easily finished me off 9/6 and 9/1. Final score 1/3.

Next on was Girts at #3. He played a young lad, who just returned from student protests at Parliament Square. He moved well, and although Girts was working his socks off, he won in 3, final score 0/3.

I didn’t see much of Alessandro’s game (#4), but looking at the scores, it must have been a competitive and tight game with 2 tie breaks. Unfortunately, final score 1/3.

Hernan played at #1. His opponent was a beefy fella, with his hair as straight as his shots. Hernan was trying really hard, we saw some wonderful rallies, long, wide, tight to the wall. It reminded me of the U2’s album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. With Hernan being the bomb. I am sad to say it didn’t work out for him this time and he lost 0/3.

Last on was Tomas at #2 with another  muscular bloke (what do they feed them at Princes...?). First game was a big fight, Tomas played some very tidy shots, made it to 8/3, but that woke up his opponent who leveled to 8/8 so Tomas was pushed to play tie break, which he converted to his favour 10/8. God knows what happened then, Princes guy changed his serve (do you see the parallel with my game?), Tomas’ return shots stopped licking the side walls and were bouncing around the T all the time. Since then it was a fairly one-sided theatre, Tomas lost next 3 games in quick succession. Final score 1/3.

I guess you’ve figured the score by now, but just in case – Team East/South Europe vs Team West London 0/5.

Away vs. Uxbridge II -  9th Dec.
Sobell were poor tonight. Having said that in a team where I play at #1 there are going to be problems. Actuallythe two heroes (what?) of the evening, Ian and Paul, were on first. Obviously I didn't see Ian's magnificent 3-2 defeat because I was suffering my own magnificent 3-1 defeat at the time - subject to the usually moaning, blame the marker, nonsense.
Ian was playing a vet parachuted into the team from planet "old geezer"  * . lost 9/4 in the 5th. That's all she wrote.
I got a game against a young buck who could play - the trouble was I was happy with that!
Then Petr was on playing #3 - it's just as well Kevin couldn't play - because he'd never be seen again....Lisa (for it was she) was a good player - (Kevin she was a bit hot too). After serving at 8-8 in the second. Petr contrived to play a drop shot into the tin which both players were convinced was good. In a scary role reversal Lisa offered Petr a let!!!  He gratefully took the let but was so confused by this outlandish display that he promptly lost the game and then the match 3-0. To be fair I thought Petr played really well.
Next Alessandro at #2. I didn't see much of this - mainly because it was over so quickly...Alessandro never got going against a really good awkward older guy* (they get everywhere don't they?). When Alessandro started beating himself up the writing was on the wall. 3-0.
Finally Tim at #5 making a comeback after a few years away from team squash - it showed. He played * (see above). He also never got going. 3-0.
So a bit of a shellacking (I think the term is)   5-0.
Next week home match let's get the big guns out...

Away vs Finchley Manor II - 1st Dec

First on were Hernan at 1 and Gavin at 4.
Gavin was playing an old "face" - Bruce Cade - who is as wiley as they come. Bruce took the fist game 10-8 with lots of vets stuff. Gavin wised up, took the ball earlier and earlier - played really well and walked away with the next 3 games.
If you can have a squash angel then Hernan was playing him - I thought he might be 16 he tuned out to be 14 (sorry H !) Hernan was magnificent in the first game. I have rarely seen the levels of skill and movement his opponent showed at our level. At 7-7 in the first it was clear that if Hernan was going to get anywhere it had to be then. A broken string and Hernan turned around and he had lost in 3 - the last 2 games were quick, but a magnificent performance by Hernan, who had to leave early to contemplate teenage mis-behaviour. It won't be long before it's yours...ha ha ha...
Next - Alessandro at 5 - playing another vet. This was a real see-saw match which I didn't think Alessandro could lose, but after the first 3 games had been shared for a score of 27-2, anything could happen. In fairness Alessandro was 2-1 up at the time. He went on to take a properly competitive 4th game 9-7. Looking good for the away team.
Next on Tomas playing 2. He played an error-prone but skilful guy. Tomas kept his nerve and won in 3. I was on for the second half of this match so no real details available. This put us 3-1 up in the tie -
Sadly I couldn't put the icing on the cake with a 4th win. I was playing at 3 - weirdly I played the angel's Dad. My big chance was serving at 7-7 and 2-1 up. Sadly I didn't have the composure to close it out. He was a decent player tho' - honest...Lost in 5...  9-2 in the 5th. f**k s**t B**8***8. Actually a good game against a nice guy.
A great evening.

Home vs Southgate II - 24th Nov

Team Sobell finally on track - albeit against the West Ham of Middlesex Div 4.
Southgate II rather gave us the initiative by only showing up with 4 players (bad luck Petr). But still managed to give us a scare.
On first Tomas playing at #1  he played a rather immobile but tasty player who, despite  a 7-9 scoreline in the second game, dealt with Tomas pretty easily. I thought it was closer that Tomas did, if he had won the second game it could have been close - since his opponent was movement averse...Lost 0-3
Adam at #3 won the first game 9-2 and lost the second 1-9. What the f+++.  He then went as close as is possible to tanking the 3rd before scrambling  10-9. . The 4th was more straight-forward. A strange game it was almost as thought the ease of the first game took all the edge out of it. He won 3-1. I think Bella is taking her toll !
Dan, at #2 was next, he never got going and lost 3-0. I wonder if his decision not to play at 1 was a factor. Still, he would have got mugged at #1 as well !!
Paul playing #4 next. Actually won comfortably 3-0 hurray! So a 3-2 victory for the team.
Our season starts now.

Away vs Ealing 8th Nov

Played 4 - Lost 4. Sobell travelled across town and nearly put that statistic right. To get this close to winning away was a good effort.

On first was Alessandro (2) and Petr(5).  Both won their first games and I thought “hello, we might win this”.

Petr played really steadily and made his opponent look really poor – won easily in 3.

Alessandro played the guy that Dan played in the home game. He was a good player but made loads of mistakes. Sadly Alessandro didn’t quite have enough and lost in 4.

Next Kevin (4) playing another girl, his ego under serious threat again, he told me beforehand that he was going to waggle his giant arse (his phrase!) at her – she wouldn’t have a chance. If only squash was always this easy!. Kevin was much too strong for his classy opponent and won in 3. Although the story might be very different in a couple of years time, she was only a baby…

Paul (3) was next playing an old geezer with tons of skill and all the deft drop volleys you could wish for. Won the first and then was dismembered – lost in 4.

Tomas played last and the deciding game of the evening.  I must confess to an acting-captain’s cock-up at this point - Tomas thought he was playing at 3!!!  And I failed to put him straight on this.  To give him his due he forgave me saying had he known he was at No 1 he might have frozen.  He played really well against a clone of their No 2. Lots of skill and tons of mistakes.  Sadly he went down in 4 but a really close match which could have gone either way in the 5th.

Next match  home vs Southgate 24th Nov. We’re gonna win that…

Away vs West Herts 13 Oct
Took the long trip up to Watford last night - got handed our asses and left later...
Well it wasn't as bad as that but the newbie saved our faces. Numbers 1 and 2 (Dan and Alessandro went on first and were soon 2-0 down. Dan because he was still in the tube. Alessandro cos he was playing a chubby weirdness who might as well have been playing in his bedroom slippers for all the effort he seemed to be making...This understandably got under Alessandro's skin and he never found a way to cope with his opponents skill and composure going down 3-0.
Dan on the other hand did finally get on his bike and won the 3rd. I then went on court to thus missing Dan's 9/2 loss in the 4th.
I played a typical Middx league player, hitting it hard and straight he dealt with me in 3 games.
Girts was next playing at 3. This was a great game he was very evenly matched with his opponent - it went down to the wire and Girts went down 9/4 in the 5th. After being 2-1 up. I've got to hand it to his opponent, who moaned a lot but after looking a bit chunky and lazy really came out in the 5th and got the job done. Hats off to Girts for a fighting perfomance.
Lastly the newbie, Gavin, he played Craig, the West Herts diamond geezer who some of you may remember, so it was youth aqainst experience - this one also went to the wire but youth always had the edge. After losing the first game 10/9 Gavin gradually wore his opponent down winning 9/4 in the 5th. If G ever learns to call a stroke he will win games like this in 3 !
That's all folks next match Weds 8th Nov - Away Ealing. You may not be aware that Glenn has knackered his achilles and might be out for up to 3 months. Of course my heart goes out to him - (but if anyone knows anyone who can play at No. 1 ...)


Away vs Coolhurst 7th Oct

Petr (5), was beaten ruthlessly and quickly by Coolhurst's number five, who while being almost as round as he was tall was more than able to move it around the court.  Added to that he had a really decent court game - he quickly despatched Petr 3-0.

Thomas (3) started very comfortably against Coolhurst's version of Kevin (loud, awkward & lefty) . So confortably in fact that it looked as though it was going to be a straight 3-0 win.  However, once the lefty got his lofted serve and his drop shot into gear, he took control of the game and although the last 2 games were very tight, he managed to win 3-1.

Adam playing at 2 came up against one of the younger coolhurt players who like Adam had very classy shots, but would probably be a much more dangerous opponent if he was more mobile.  Adam played well, but after the first couple of games there was only going to be one winner and the game finished 3-1.

Daniel was playing at number 1 for us against Coolhurts summer number 2 who hits the ball 2 ways, hard and harder.  Daniel who is still finding his feet went down very quickly 3-0.

Our version of Kevin, "Kevin" played the guy that beat Adam at  #3 in the summer league. "K" was seeking some redemption after being sent home with his tail between his legs the last time he came here.  The game started off with Coolhurst's player in complete control, winning the first game comfortably and then going up 7-3 in the second.  However, Kevin fought back and eventually took the 2nd game.  The effort of winning the 2nd game took its toll and he lost the 3rd 9-0.  It looked like another straightforward win when he went 7-3 down in the 4th, but after a titanic battle Kevin fought back to take the 4th.  Once again though, the effort of getting back into the game was too much and he lost confortably in the 5th.

The final memory of the game though is what would have happened had we all played different players.  Thomas looked like he would have enjoyed playing their hard hitting number 1.  Daniel would probably have had more joy against their less mobile number 2.  Adam would have taken thier number 5 to pieces and Kevin would have enjoyed playing their awkard leftie.  Petr would have probably enjoyed playing their number 2.
However, once again, the winter leagues are showing all the Sobell players that this is indeed a step up.


Home vs Ealing 29 Sept

Dan played #2 against a very elegant opponent. He fought hard but lost the first 8-10. He tried to stage a comeback in the second, but in the end went down 0-3.
Vernon played #4, against a skinny, fit young guy. It was a long hard match, but Vernon lost 2-3, 7-9 in the fifth.
Alessandro at #5. played a guy who claimed to be 64! It was experience against fitness and in the end experience won, 1-3
I played #3, against a lefty with a great forhand but no backhand. My years of playing Kevin were great preparation. My serve and drops were on form and I won 3-1.
Glenn played #1, against a guy who didn't look great, but was very effective. The opponent went up 7-0, before Glenn started playing. Glenn lost that game, 7-9, but his opponent was hurting and Glenn went on to win 3-1.

Home vs Cumberland 14th Sept

We played our first winter league game last night (on the newly refurbished courts). This was a real step up in intensity from the summer leagues.

Paul played first at #4, against a very neat player - the kind of guy who you see him hit one shot and you know that he is good. Paul won the first game, but got creamed in the second and never really recovered 1-3.

Alessandro played at #5 against a guy who was effective rather than classical - but he was a first class moaner. They traded games to get to 2-2, with his opponent moaning and complaining about every call that didn't go his way. In the fifth Alessandro's better fitness was showing. His opponent ran into Alessandro, claimed he was injured and left the court for 5 minutes. We could easily have claimed the win, but we were very sporting. When he eventually returned Alessandro calmly beat him. 3-2

I played at #2, against the most feared opponent of all - the lady squash player. And she got to me. She was a good player, with deadly accurate volley drops, but not unbeatable. I was nervous and loose and she just drop killed all my bad shots. 20 minutes into the game I was 0-2, 1-7 down and preparing my excuses. But I rallied, I put my lob servers higher and higher and won that game. But she came back to take the next. 1-3

Tomas played at #3 against another very good player. After losing the first Tomas won the next two. But he lost the fourth (0-9 I think) and after a good fight back lost the fifth. 2-3

Glenn played at #1 against a very talented guy, apparently the club's #1 tennis player. When Glenn played two back wall boasts in the first rally I knew we were on for a classic match. His opponent volleyed amazingly and attacked well, Glenn just calmly soaked up the pressure and got the ball back.  Glenn lost the first, but won the next two. I thought Glenn was on course to win with his relentless athleticism and unconventional shots (e.g. the between the legs shot). But his opponent refused to get frustrated and won the fourth, then surprisingly won the fifth quite quickly.

Overall we only won one match, but the score wasn't that one sided: Cumberland 3+3+3+3+2=14 games, plus 5 for winning, Sobell 2+1+2+1+3=9.

After we had drinks and pizza in the VIP room, which worked out really well - we will look into using it again.

Overall we lost our first game, but there were quite a lot of pluses:

1. Winter League is really, really intense and competitive. It is good to be back playing this kind of squash.
2. Even though we lost, everyone picked up games, so we got a reasonable number of points.
3. Alessandro, in his first game for Sobell had to put up with all sorts of bullshit from his opponent. He kept his cool and won the game.

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