& Germany in Mens Final
PADERBORN FRIDAY evening.
There was a bit more tension in the air on semi-finals night, but sadly nowhere near the fight and excitement that were expected. The big match was England’s Colets club against the top seed Rozsadombi club of Hungary. While Colets had to play their third pool match in the morning Rozsadombikk rested, being in a three club pool while Colets were in a four club pool.
Frankly, I don’t think that affected the result that much. When the final ball had been struck it was obvious that two of the Colets players were simply not fit enough. The Hungarians rested Gregory Gaultier in order to strengthen their lower order. Had he played both Marcus Berret and Joey Barrington would have had to be dropped, bringing in a number four who would certainly have lost.
But to start at the beginning, Colets’ Mark Cairns, aged 38 was facing 32 year old Peter Genever, a player brought in at the last minute. After a shaky start which saw Genever control the play, Cairns settled down to pull back from 4-7 to win 9-7 in a game which lasted 27 minutes. This was not dazzling squash and neither displayed the sort of attacking squash gusto is now required at the top level. It is squash which is all about length and tightness and it’s a game that Cairns plays exceedingly well, despite his advanced years.
After the first game Cairns knew exactly what he had to do: slow the pace down and straighten his shots and just wait for Genever to have his bad spells. This came early in the second game and Cairns was comfortably ahead 5-0 due to five errors from Genever. But he cut out his errors and made a slow comeback to trail Cairns by two points 6-4. Cairns weathered the storm, kept to his game plan and waited for the next errors. There were only two errors but three penalty strokes helped Cairns to a 9-5 win that took another 22 minutes.
Genever seemed to lose heart from then on and was not able to earn even one point in the third game as Cairns, looking tanned (having just returned from two weeks in Thailand), romped home 9-0 for a 3/0 win. The Colets supporters were delighted but sadly thing went downhill from there.
Danny Meddings, who was seen as a banker at number four, faced the talented
Adras Torok and was two games down before he got going, hitting the tin consistently. This was easily the most exciting match of the day as Meddings fought back to take the next two games, seeming in control and making no errors. After he won the fourth game 9-4, it appeared that he had the measure of Torok and Colets would be two up. But Meddings was tired, very tired; five times he went to the front for a drop shot and five times the ball hit the tin. The fifth game was no contest as Torok ran away to 9-2 victory.
So it was 1/1 and Colets were ahead on games and points. That all changed very rapidly as Marcus Berrett, who doesn’t even play the circuit, displayed some super court craft in rolling over Alex Gough in three games. Gough looked bushed at the beginning of the second game and simply did not have the strength to mount a challenge, going for winners with the usual result. He managed ten points in three games and the Hungarians were now 2/1 ahead with Scott Handley having the responsibility of pulling the match out of the fire.
Joey Barrington is ranked 30 places above Handley and he was not about to let anything silly happen. He won the first two games, which virtually ended Colets’ aspirations. Handley would have to win the last three games by a considerable margin, but he was mentally finished and managed just one point in the third game.
So the top seeds fulfilled their expectations and go through to the final where they face Padernorner, who rolled over the Danish Herlev/Hjorten with very little effort. The seats were full to watch Peter Nicol play for the host club at number one. He had a good run against Hadrian Stiff, and while they had some marvelous rallies, there was never a chance that the experienced Stiff would really trouble Nicol.
Nicol was backed by Tim Garner, Stefan Leifels and and Lars Osthoff, with Leifels showing himself to be a very accomplished player. Ben Garner was rested but will probably return to the lineup for the final.
In the women’s group second seeded Pontefract’s Yorkshire troupe beat SAS Wien Energie of Austria 2/1 with Kirsty McPhee having to win the decider against Birgit Coufal. They will be facing top seeds ISC Bordersholm of Germany in the final: Rebecca Botwright will have to play exceptionally well to beat Annelize Naud while Lauren Siddall will try to make up for her loss today to Kathrin Rohmuller who came back from two games down for her victory. Siddall will face Katharina Witt, who can blow hot and cold. It may be all down to Kirty McPhee again to save the day and bring the trophy back to England.
Club Championships, Paderborn,