Essex Inter-county Men’s o55's weekend

Inter County Championships - Men’s o55's - weekend of 17th/18th October 2015
Division 1 – Day 1 at Maldon 17.10.15
Essex Men's o55's were drawn at home again, and the fixture was played at Maldon's Park Drive Club. Teams from Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Glamorganshire were to be our opponents - but a late withdrawal from the Cambridge side that we'd played (and beaten!) so often meant that we would only have 2 matches. The Glamorgan boys had booked hotels so we played our fixtures across the weekend.
Day 1 – Essex v Suffolk
Essex’s first match was against a strong Suffolk side. The fixture started well with Stortford’s Graham Evans playing at five, going into a 9/3 first game lead and maintaining form to win comfortably 3-0. With points on the board next up was John Fowles playing at 3rd String who went 2-0 up - only to be pegged back by an experienced opponent John Goodrich to 2 games all. Setting up a very competitive 5th game, which saw John sealing a good win with a 9/7 finish to take the match 3-2. Next up was Chelmsford’s Brian Clay at 4th String who after a tight 8/10 starting match finally went down 1-3.
With the match poised at 2-1 it was up to Marconi’s Steve Impett, playing 1st String against Suffolk’s former World and British Masters champion Pete Alexander and LA Warley’s John Smith at 2nd String to seal a win for Essex. The task was a very big ‘ask’ and despite spirited efforts both went down 0-3 with and for the record with Impett scoring a number of points against Peter.
The first day’s play for Essex finished with a 2-3 defeat but setting up an interesting second day tie with Gloucester. Suffolk concluded the day’s squash – and their weekend - by putting Gloucester to the sword 5-0.
Day 2 – Essex v Gloucester
A change of squad from Saturday's fixture gave the Essex boys fresh legs. First up was captain Paul Newbury at 5th string. Maldon is his club, and he knows the courts well - and his consistent line, length and winners proved too much for his opponent, and despite a long match Paul won 3-0. On the other court Andy Brown was struggling with a foot injury and eventually sensibly retired, making the overall match score one all. SpringHealth's Brian Clay took to the court and summarily disposed of his 3rd string opponent 3-0 with little fuss. Our No 1 string is Steve Impett. Steve had had the task of facing ex o50's World Champion Peter Alexander in the previous match. Not to be outdone this time, Impett set off at a cracking pace that seemed to stun his opponent Dale Curtis, himself a regular on the masters circuit. Many long rallies ensued, with the Essex man getting the best of them - and Steve won it 3-0.
Meanwhile, a communication mix-up in the team meant that a few urgent phone calls had to be made - and Mark Kirkman was summoned with an hour's notice. Kirkman turned up and seemed half asleep to start with as his 4th string opponent Tony Claydon bashed him around the court to take the first game. The tide turned in the second game as Mark held his length - and his nerve - and ran the game and the match out 9-5 9-5 9-4.
A resounding 4-1 win for Essex on the Sunday, against a spirited Gloucester side. Good squash, great camaraderie and spirit. Essex finished 2nd to Suffolk over the weekend with Gloucester third and Cambridge last.
Squad was :- Steve Impett, Andy Brown, John Fowles, Graham Evans, John Smith, Mark Kirkman, Brian Clay and Paul Newbury.

Report by Paul Newbury, Men’s o55 captain.