After returning to some form in the last couple weeks the team made its way over to Nottingham for a big match between the top 2 in the league (David Lloyd Decathlon). The match earlier in the season saw Eastgate record a great 4-1 victory so no doubt DLD would be looking for some revenge.
We set off with a raft of supporters in tow driven by Chris Wright, I took one for the team and agreed to put up with Neil for the journey but thankfully that only lasted until Newark where we collected Pete and our most consistent team groupie ‘Hevva’. The journey was full of typically unrepeatable things but we did encourage Hevva to do the team report. Unfortunately she refused only offering a few fruit pastilles.
We arrived a DLD a bit late to see pretty much all their team (minus Mark Fuller) in full / matching kit and ready to go. The teams lined up as follows:
1. Harry Falconer vs Mark Fuller
2. Peter Dickinson vs Richard Underhill
3. Dom Price vs James Hodson
4. Neil Carlin vs Phil Roberts
5. Chris Martin vs Chris Foster
Up first went 3,4 strings – on paper this looked like 2 super tough matches for Eastgate, Phil Roberts warmed up by necking a few lempsip and coughing a few times whilst his team mate (Hodson) warmed up with distinction.
Dom bought his girlfriend (punching above his weight) along for this match all the way from Cheshire and wasn’t about to go down without a fight. He flew out of the blocks and ripped up the first game with some great shot play. There were at least 3 fist pumps en route to taking the first and this carried on into the 2nd where a further few fist pumps saw Dom take a 2-0 lead. Having said that Hodson is a classy operator and upped his levels to take the 3rd and then the 4th to set up a tense decider. Hodson lead 8-5 before Dom hit a purple patch to level it at 8-8, with that Hodson hit a pretty spawny return into the nick before taking the next point to go 10-8 up. With the match win in sight for JH , all Dom needed was a bad call to go against him to end the match on (No he didn’t) … however the markers made the call which took a little bit of shine of a great match.
Shame I can’t say the same about the other court………
Phil and Neil were locked in a titanic battle of average squash with both making mistakes in between glimpses of class. Phil would win a point (looking like Gawad) then lose a point and start coughing. This pretty much went on for most the match! Gawad took the first game before Neil fought back in the 2nd & 3rd with that the coughing fits took on new levels before Gawad returned to the court to take the 4th….. into the 5th Phil dug deep to go 10-8 up with 2 match balls but then his form, health & fitness deserted him allowing Carlin to take the game 12-10 and the match 3-2.
Harry was on the other court for most of my match against Fuller and seemed to be playing some decent stuff from what I saw. However Fuller looked in ultra-consistent form tonight taking 3 close games to avenge his defeat earlier in the season.
I started well in the first two and managed to play some fairly decent stuff (by my standard) to go 2-0 up. Foster is however a decent no.5 in this league and he came back in the 3rd to lead 10-8, I didn’t fancy going to 4 or 5 games and managed to dig in a take the game 14-12 (hit a rolling / squirting nick at 12-12 I think) Match score at this stage was 2-2.
Into the 5th and final rubber Pete took to the court to play Rich Underhill. Rich was fresh from a week away playing ‘Daddy Spoon with Gawad’ whilst Pete was looking to capitalise on a good performance last week. Each of the 3 games were pretty close but Rich used all his experience at the key moments to step it up recording a 3-0 win and giving DLD a 3-2 victory. Shot of the night probably goes to Pete who (in one rally) played a great instinct shot behind his back, and as Underhill went to smash it in the nick, Pete slotted a great drop shot into the nick!
Tonight was a tough result but all jokes aside DLD are fully deserving where they are in the league and if they continue to arrange matches around their holidays then in all likelihood they’ll be fully deserving league winners…. But you never know and we go again in a couple of weeks with our penultimate match against Nottingham University looking to put as much pressure on them as possible.
Signing off after a long night