UNIVERSITY OF YORK 4-1 UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD
BUCS Northern Conference 2B
Images: Petroc Taylor
The York men’s squash team put in a highly professional performance in a tricky BUCS fixture on Wednesday against Sheffield to run out 4-1 winners.
Man of the match Ed Shannon, affectionately nicknamed “The Cannon” shone, whilst Myles Knight and joint captains Dave Potter and Matt Lewis also recorded impressive wins.
Knight kick-started the fixture with a gritty win over his Sheffield opponent. Knight got off to the perfect start with a 3-0 lead in the first game after hitting some stunning backhand winners. However, the first game soon turned into a one of attrition, with both players scrapping for the points. It was Knight who prevailed, winning the first game 11-6, with an aggressive forehand to take game point.
The second was equally scrappy, with both players making uncharacteristic errors. Despite holding an early 4-1 lead, Lewis at times struggled to maintain consistency. However, he showed incredible mental toughness to prevail 13-11 in the second game, despite facing a game point.
The third game continued in similar vein, with Lewis struggling to find his timing, he slipped behind 7-5, before losing the game 11-7. However, Knight showed true character to storm back in the fourth, where he finally found his form, seizing it 11-1 with a dominant display, bossing every rally.
Meanwhile, Potter had an incredibly one-sided match against his Sheffield opponent, putting on a display of calm efficiency. His performance clearly justified his team nickname of “Duracell Dave”, showing extreme levels of fitness to comprehensively dismantle his opponent 11-4, 11-2, 11-4. He hardly broke a sweat.
This now gave York a 2-0. It was not a totally straightforward afternoon, however, as Jon Holdon unfortunately fell to a disappointing but incredibly tight defeat to Sheffield player Kritin Gupta.
The best was yet to come, however. First player Shannon took to the court against his player, cruising through the first game 11-5, putting on a display of pure artistry on the court, mixing up his game beautifully and making wonderful use of the sliced backhand whilst also sending out some vicious forehand winners.
The score line of 11-8 in the second game would tell of a tighter match, but Shannon was in cruise control at this point, hardly needing to concentrate, such was the level of his game. In the third game he finished the match off efficiently, winning it 11-2, clearly eager to get home and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
Lewis was the last to play, but unlike his other team-mates, he was slow to start. Falling behind 6-2 in the first game, Lewis was slow around the court, whilst his opponent moved with ease. He lost the first 11-7.
It seemed that Lewis might have regained his form in the second game, making his experience tell to win it 11-7, in what was clearly a very tight contest. It seemed like Lewis was going to run away with it after winning the third 11-7, but his opponent had other ideas.
Despite holding an early 5-2 lead, Lewis slipped behind 7-5, making some silly errors, and struggling to find his timing with his forehand, sending a number of balls into the outline. He went on to lose the fourth 11-8. In frustration, Lewis threw his racket on the floor, which seemed to sum up his afternoon.
The match went to a decider, but Lewis was now clearly pumped, racing into a 5-0 lead. His opponent managed to draw on strength from nowhere though, pulling the scoreline back to 7-5. But by now Lewis had found his rhythm and he made his class tell, whipping in some beautiful winners and running out an 11-8 win in the fifth and final game.
With York sitting at the top of BUCS Northern 2B, it looks as if the men’s firsts have serious chances of promotion this year, particularly after the disappointment of failing to be promoted last year by such narrow margins.
Potter was clearly upbeat after a great afternoon for the squash team. “That was a very good performance, I am very happy,” he told Nouse. “We got the win, 4-1 is a good result. We’re still on track for our goal for promotion, and we’d like to up our game for the next few weeks. Durham are our main rivals from promotion, so sterner tests await, but we just need to keep up this good form.”