Berkshire Men's Inter County Stage 1 – 26th February, Horley

Berkshire Men's Inter County Stage 1

Berkshire Men's Inter County Stage 1 – 26th February, Horley

Following a long break from county matches it was great to have the intercounty championships starting again. This is a team competition where counties from all over the country play against each other. The event is split into two stages – the first stage is region based where counties from the South of England are drawn to play in groups of counties with the winners going on to play in the national finals. In stage 1 Berkshire were drawn against local rivals Wiltshire and Essex. The county had put together a team with a mixture of youth and experience and were looking forward to good matches and doing well. The team was:

  • Jack Waldron
  • Tim Burrell
  • Gurbhaj Kahlon
  • Rees Thomas
  • Evan Henman

First up we played Wiltshire. Rees went on court first and got the county off to a cracking start. Some very controlled squash saw him regularly move his opponent to all 4 corners of the court before putting away a winner. A great start to go one string up. Next on was Gurbhaj, who didn’t bother moving his opponent to all 4 corners, preferring to hit a multitude of winners instead - another 3-0 victory and Berkshire were 2-0 up. Veteran Tim Burrell was next on court. The first game was very close up to 7-7 before Tim managed to create a small lead which he maintained to take the first game. The second followed a similar pattern with the players trading points up to the business end of the game. Again Tim managed to maintain his level to take a 2-0 lead. Tim then wrapped up the 3rd to take the 3-0 win and mean Berkshire also had an unassailable lead! Last on were Evan and Jack. Evan was up against a very talented young player and anything loose was duly punished. This meant Evan had to play some very tight squash to pressurise his opponent into making mistakes – which he managed to do to take the 3-0 win. Jack has been in great form and recently won the Berkshire closed tournament. He continued this form into his match and eased to a 3-0 win, showing great athleticism and power to punish any mistakes from his opponent. So a 5-0 win for Berkshire but we knew Essex would pose a stiffer challenge.

 

With little time to relax, we were back on court against an Essex team that were fresh for their first match of the day. First up was Gurbhaj and, despite the lack of rest, managed to get the team off to a flying start winning the first game. The second game was very tight and could have gone either way. Unfortunately a little bit of fatigue crept into the Berkshire man’s legs and a few mistakes handed the game to his opponent.  Gurbhaj fought hard in the remainder of the match but his young challenger showed no nerves to take the match 3-1. On the next court, Evan had started brightly against a very talented young player who, similar to Evan’s first match, punished anything not glued to the side wall. Evan fought brilliantly to take the first game in a tie break. The 2nd game was similarly tight with the Essex player just edging it in a tie-break to level the scores at 1-1. It was at this stage where just a little tiredness meant the squash became a little ragged and this benefitted the Essex man as he was able to dominate the centre of the court. A great effort from Evan but he couldn’t prevent a 3-1 loss. With the county up against it, Tim and Rees knew nothing other than wins would do. Unfortunately neither player could get the victory as both fought hard but could make little in roads to their opponents and had to settle for 3-0 losses. Last up was Jack to salvage some pride for the county. Jack played a young opponent who moved exceptionally well. The 2 players battled hard, but the Essex player just about edged ahead in the first 2 games. The 3rd was also nip and tuck and Jack managed to work himself a game ball at 11-10, but couldn’t quite convert and went down 3-0. An unfortunate 5-0 loss for the team but all players put up a good fight. Onto the next one!


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