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The women’s squash team had received a surprise phone call earlier in the day saying that Newcastle were on the way to play their away fixture at Lancaster. This was news to Lancaster as they were not expecting to play a match, and therefore had a scramble to get a team together for the match.
As one player had gone to Chester and another had a University Hockey match, Lancaster struggled to get a team of four. Fortunately however the team had also been informed that their opponents were only bringing three players to the match, helping Lancaster out in two ways, as they would therefore require one less player and begin the match 1-0 up courtesy of an 11-0, 11-0, 11-0 walkover.
Timna Freeman stepped up for Lancaster in the battle of the number three seeds, and played fantastically well, bossing her opponent in all areas of the court, with a combination of excellent drives, and delicate drop shots. Freeman seemed on auto-pilot as she cruised to a 3-0 win, 11-4, 11-6, 11-2.
Number two seed and Captain, Georgina Baum was up next for Lancaster. Baum’s opponent needed no time to settle and before too long had taken a commanding 9-0 lead in the first set, through some fantastic backhands, and catching her opponent out of position. Baum stormed back into the game, pulling the score back to 9-4 with a clever drop and then a fantastic low-drive, however the fight back was short-lived as her opponent immediately ended any hope of the comeback, winning back the serve, before hitting an unreturnable serve to take the first set 11-4. The rest of the match followed in a similar pattern with Baum’s opponent taking the lead in each set, before a small fight back, and ultimately a loss. The third match finished 11-4, 11-6, 11-6, with Newcastle bringing the score back to 2-1 overall.
Finally there was the match up of the number one seeds, with Lancaster being represented by a seemingly under the weather Sam Preston. Her opponent was first to serve in the match and took a 6-0 lead before Preston had got into the game at all, with the majority of Preston’s returns hitting just below the tin, or the bottom line. The scoreline in the first set seemed an unfair reflection of the two player’s abilities as Preston went down 11-1. The next game somehow saw an even more one-sided encounter with Preston’s opponent dominating the centre of the court, and playing numerous drop shots to the opposite side of the court catching Preston out of position. The second set finished without Preston picking up a point, 11-0.
The third set saw a much better effort from Preston, however with the scores tied at 4-4 there had still not been a rally worthy of mention. And then the game finally sparked into life, as Preston hit an unbelievable cross court drive to take the lead 5-4, before in the next point anticipating her opponent’s drop shot, and returning it to the opposite corner, to take the lead 6-4. Soon the scores were tied at 8-8 before two unreturned serves saw Preston’s opponent go to 10-8 and just one point off victory. Preston responded unbelievably well to the pressure hitting a forehand boast to go to 9-10 and keep herself in the match. However that was as close as it got, as her opponent hit a crushing return to secure the match and a 2-2 draw overall.
However in the women’s squash league if the scores are tied it comes down to games won. As all four games were won 3-0, it means the games score would be 6-6, so it came down to points won. Lancaster triumphed courtesy of points won, with a 92-78 victory. Captain Baum was disappointed not to have won outright, but was proud of her team’s performance, and gave a special mention for number three seed Freeman.