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Lancaster University Men’s 1st Squash team could not have wished for a better send off to the 2010/11 season, as they avenged a 3-2 away loss by beating Liverpool 1sts 5-0. The win saw Lancaster sneak into third place ahead of Liverpool, capping off a fine league season for the side.
Lancaster were in the driving seat from the outset in the tie, for one main reason, Liverpool had only brought down four players for the match. It was Joe Reeds the number five seed who missed out on the opportunity to play in the final game of the season. However it did mean that Lancaster were 1-0 ahead before a racket had been swung in anger.
The battle of the number four seeds was a decisively scrappy affair, with Lancaster’s Nick Costa benefitting from numerous stroke calls, with his opponent catching himself out of position on numerous occasions, demonstrating a complete lack of positional awareness.
It was Costa’s expertly placed serve however that caused the most trouble for his opponent, as time and time again he struggled to even make the initial return shot. Costa’s more orthodox style of play was enough to overcome the erratic play of his opponent, but not comfortably, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6.
Dave McGovern, Lancaster’s number three seemed in fine form from the outset of his match. He was relaxed, composed and dominant throughout. After a minor blip, in losing the second set, he recommenced his ruthlessly efficient drive shot, offering his opponent very little opportunity to even get near the ball.
This was highlighted in the final set which was won 11-0. McGovern triumphed 11-3, 8-11, 11-5, 11-0. Lancaster had already secured the win and third spot in the league, taking an unassailable 3-0 lead. With Liverpool left just playing for pride, it was Lancaster’s opportunity to end the season with the perfect 5-0 win.
The match between the number two seeds was the archetypal clash of power and precision; Arnie Dunning of Lancaster, the precision, his opponent, the power. The contest was fairly even from the outset, with two tight but correct calls made by umpire and Captain Ben Holden. Dunning took the first set relatively convincingly, 11-5 with a foray of boasts and drop shots.
The second set was far tighter, coming down to a tie-break at 10-10. However this was where Dunning was at his best, ruthlessly ending the set within the first two points, giving his opponent little to no, real opportunity. Dunning sewed up his match in double-quick time, 11-5, 12-10, 11-2.
The final match of the day was a match-up of the two number 1 seeds. Holden, on his final BUCS appearance for Lancaster could not have hoped to play any better than he did. It was an exhibition of perfect squash.
The gentle, placed serve of Holden caused his opponent numerous problems, as he did not know whether to take it early or late. Holden was as merciless as McGovern and Dunning before him. The result never seemed in doubt; Holden dropped the fewest points on the day, winning 11-5, 11-4, 11-2.
Holden had this to say: “I am pleased that we have ended the season with that win, and in my final BUCS game as captain I could not have been happier. The club, in my view, is in the best position it has been for quite some time, and a third place finish in a tough league is a creditable result”.
The team’s focus now switches towards the local league, where if the team beat Fleetwood, we will go through to the play-offs for the North West trophy. However the team also has one eye on Roses already, where the team will be seeking to end a recent run of bad defeats away in York.