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Dutch
League Regular Season Finale

March
13, 2003 by Dan Kneipp
(thanks to
Tommy
Berden, Olav van ter Weijden)
  

Looking back:
2002 Dutch League Finals.
©2003
Dan Kneipp

DUTCH LEAGUE – final round

by Dan Kneipp

The final round of the Dutch league before the Play Offs
was always going to be a tough encounter, with most clubs pulling out
all of the big guns to squeeze out any last points.

De
Jong Zwolle versus Impuls Weert

Zwolle
the national champions over the past three years played one of the weaker
teams – Impuls Weert. The only international player on Weert’s team
is Belgium’s #2 player Peter Pastijn. Even though
he won the recent Belgian National title, upsetting an out of form Stefan
Castelyn
, he is ranked #72, nearly 50 places below Joe
Kneipp
as the 15-9, 15-8, 15-5 scoreline showed. The young promising
Spaniard Borja Golan and nine times Dutch national champion
Lucas Buit made up the #2 and 3 on the Zwolle team and
both had comfortable wins over local players.

Joe
Kneipp defeated Peter Pastijn
Borja
Golan defeated Wim van Asten 15-5, 17-16, 15-10
Lucas
Buit defeated Ronny Vlassaks 15-10, 15-10, 15-10

Mastum
Squash World versus JNE/Didacticum Victoria

Victoria are the current leaders on the ladder, and with
a line up that includes Lincou, Ricketts and Beng Hee it’s no wonder.
Squash World on the other hand has had another approach to the season.
Rather than having some top 20 players to bolster their team during tough
rounds, they’ve settled on a medium strength team that has been
able to play virtually every match. Having top 20 players means that whenever
there is a tournament on none of them are available, a situation Squash
World has avoided. But for the final round prior to the finals their main
star Simon Parke made his debut club appearance.

Simon
Parke versus Anthony Ricketts

Ricketts is currently #7, Parke is 18 but has been as
high as 3. The last league match that they played was in England with
Ricketts winning eventually in 5 although Parke had a match ball in the
fourth. Both of these guys are tough competitors. Ricketts loves to attack
and jump on the ball early and Parke is one of the best scramblers in
the game and can attack very well himself. Even though Ricketts has an
intensity and ferocity on court, both of these players are gentlemen and
the game was played with very little interference or referee imput. Allan
Murray from Guide-to-Squash described it appropriately as having the feel
of a training match.

Ricketts took the first game 15-9 by dominating the T
slightly better and being one step ahead of Parke. This seemed to change
completely in the second with Parke eventually toying with Ricketts towards
the end of the game, in one rally hitting three overhead backhand crosscourt
nick attempts in a row against Ricketts’ lobs, eventually getting
the third one to roll.

Ricketts was able to get control back and won the match
in four. "I was controlling the game a little better. My length was
going well and I was able to volley well and move Simon around" Ricketts
said after the match. "It was a good spirited game from both of us".

Parke
not only conceded that Ricketts played better, but didn’t feel his
game changed at all to win the second. "I didn’t do anything
better in the second, he dropped off a little. The way he plays, the intensity,
it is hard for him to be able to maintain that for the whole match."
Parke said.

"Against
Ricketts he takes the ball very early and is always forcing the pace,
which is my game as well." Parke also wanted to point out one of
the difficulties of being a male professional having to adjust to a 19inch
tin despite most of the pro tournaments being on a 17inch tin. "I
kept thinking to hit my drops high, but they kept clipping the tin".

Simon Parke lost to Anthony Ricketts 9-15, 15-6, 5-15,
11-15

Ong
Beng Hee versus Stephane Galifi.

Most people will know who Beng Hee is but be unfamiliar
with his French/Italian opponent. Where to begin with Galifi? Let’s
start with the good. He is one of the most fluid movers to ever grace
a squash court. He seems to glide elegantly around the court and has a
delicate touch and deception that compliments his game and makes him a
real force to be reckoned with.

The bad: it can be very important as a player to not show
too much respect for your opponent. If you get on court with Peter Nicol
and spend the whole game thinking "This guy is #1, he is amazing,
boy he plays awesome squash" it is unlikely you will beat him. Forgetting
a guy’s achievement and prowess can be a crucial part of beating
them. But not showing too much respect is very different to treating him
with disrespect. Unfortunately much of Galifi’s game is based on
the latter. He would sooner try to make a player look stupid by doing
some on court antics, than dig deep and collapse on the floor trying to
beat them. He is the poster child for on court dramatics and drama queen
behaviour. Power looks like an amateur compared to Galifi. People tend
to either love watching Galifi’s game or detest it completely and hope
that he gets beaten to zero points. Which is a shame because beneath the
gamesmanship he has the ability and potential to be a great player, but
will more than likely remain one of the many very talented players that
everyone knows is capable of greatness but becomes another talent who
disappoints.

Despite all of this Bengy’s movement, fitness and
stronger heartilage muscle proved too much in the end eventually winning
15-11, 12-15, 15-8, 15-12

The
final match of the night saw psuedo Dutchman from Australia Michael Fiteni
defeat Marc Reus 13-15, 15-6, 15-8, 15-6.

C3/HSRC
Den Haague versus Fris De Wadden

Stewart
Boswell versus Graham Ryding

There is a pretty big ranking difference between these
two. Anyone who follows PSA results should know that any player in the
top 30 is capable of beating one of the top players on a good day. Even
though Ryding’s ranking is currently 25, twenty-one places below
Boswell, he has been as high as #10 so he is obviously capable of good
squash. Whenever I have seen Ryding play he is either playing very well
or quite below par. He is capable of great squash particularly when he’s
up against a player who is expected to beat him. When he has time with
a shot he is good at holding the ball very late in his swing and flicking
it cross court sending his opponent the wrong way. Something he did well
against the Aussie. Anytime Boswell gave him a chance Ryding was quick
to capitalise at the front. Boswell didn’t play his best game and
was only able to get on top of Ryding by picking up the pace and intensity
and not allowing the Canadian lots of time particularly in the front of
the court. But Boswell was unable to keep up this momentum and Ryding
closed out an impressive upset.

Graham Ryding defeated Stewart Boswell 15-7, 15-17, 15-12,
4-15, 15-10

Tommy
Berden versus Mark Ikin

Berden is the Dutch National champion and Ikin is a young
Australian player now based in the Netherlands trying to assault the world
tour. Berden’s ranking is nearly 80 places better and he has much
more experience at the top level of the game as the score line showed.

Mark Ikin lost to Tommy Berden 4-15, 8-15, 6-15

Gregory
Gaultier versus Shahier Razik

Both of these players had just arrived from the Windy
City Open in Chicago. The flight from the US to Europe seems to upset
most players badly with jetlag. Despite it being a short trip the way
the time schedules clash seems to affect most players’ body clock
badly.

Gaultier is ranked 26 to Razik’s 35, but Razik the
Canadian of Egyptian origin won a mid sized tournament in January beating
a top 20 player along the way. From the start of the match the ranking
difference seemed immaterial. Frenchman Gaultier had been complaining
of feeling sick and was unsure if it was food poisoning. Feeling sick,
or jetlag, or even realising that Razik was playing too well all led to
Gaultier putting in a lacklustre performance. After Razik took the first
game Gaultier squared the second but only after being hit on the knee
with the ball and being unsure if he could continue. Razik then took a
2-1 lead.

One thing noticeable living in a non-English speaking
country is their use of English swear words. Holland, along with the rest
of the world is mainly dominated by English speaking media. So for them
it is common and seen as almost cute to use English swear words in their
language. Often while training in Amsterdam players on adjacent courts
will be screaming the English ‘f…, c… and s…’
profanities and it means nothing. The f word is used frequently on television
and it’s not uncommon to hear an old Grandma saying ‘shit’.
It is also about different cultural boundaries. The harshest swear word
you can use in Dutch is the equivalent of ‘God damn’. I’m
saying all of this because I hope it explains Gaultier’s word selection.

Obviously
suffering from either food poisoning or just an upset stomach he exited
the court during the fourth game exclaiming "I’ve got to do
a s__t".

This
left a startled referee, players’ bench and crowd watching his back
as he went to the toilet. He returned five minutes later relieved and
was ready to continue his match unburdened. But the referee would have
none of it and his match was forfeited.

Shahier
Razik defeated Gregory Gaultier 15-10, 9-15, 15-6, 15-7

Micro
Speed Squash Ede versus Fortis Squash Utrecht

The final upset of the evening saw Belgium’s former glory
boy Stefan Castelyn have another bad loss. Since his disappointment at
the World Open in Antwerp he has no registered a decent result and seems
to have lost a lot of his spark.

Amr Shabana defeated Renan Lavigne 15-14, 13-14, 10-15,
15-9, 15-12

Stefan Castelyn lost to Glenn Keenan 10-15, 15-12, 13-15,
10-15

Gabor Marges defeated Ronald vd Boogard 15-12, 15-7, 15-7

Compiled with the grateful assistance of Tommy Berden,
and Olav van ter Weijden from Squash World.

This means the semi final play offs on the 19th of April
will have some of the best players in the world. In one semi final alone
Palmer will play White, Kneipp will play Boswell and the top two Dutch
players will face off.

P.S.
Team Kneipp will be spending summer at the Power Squash Academy at Dartmouth
College. Joe will be the resident professional for July and we will be
looking at possible exhibitions and guest coaching stints on the East
coast.

Kneipp’s
SquashTalk Forum

Feedback:
if you would like to discuss our columns or introduce questions
or comments, please email us at dan@teamkneipp.com.
We will post the good comments and question here on our SquashTalk
column together with our responses. We hope to get a good dialogue
started!

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