Report by Adam Coates
This was a big game at the bottom of Division 5; Walker just one place above the relegation zone and a winless Northern Juniors 2 sitting bottom. Both teams were looking for a much needed win, with Walker looking to increase their gap over the bottom 2 teams and Northern Juniors aiming to steady the ship before the winter break.
The 5th string players were up first; with Neale Pattison (Walker) taking on Emma Delgaty (Northern Jrs). Pattison started confidently and won the first game 15-12. However, Delgaty responded well and took the 2nd game 15-10 and continued her positive play to take the 3rd 15-4 and the 4th 15-11, giving the juniors a 1-0 lead.
Next up was the no.4s; Adam Coates of Walker and Anya Hamilton of Northern Jrs. Coates won the first game relatively quickly due to a number of errors by Hamilton, however after a pep talk from coach Richard Vitty she took a tight 2nd game 15-14. Hamilton kept up her tight, consistent hitting to the back in the 3rd, this paid off as she took the game 15-10 giving her a 2-1 lead. Coates mounted his comeback early in the 4th game, quickly going 9-3 up and converted the lead into a 15-9 game win, 2-2. The deciding game saw a similarly good level of squash, with Coates having to force a higher tempo to stop Hamilton from controlling the T. The game went almost point-for-point up to 11-11, where Coates managed to win the last 4 points (including a miss-hit drive that turned out to be the winning shot at 14-11, sorry!). Coates took the no.4’s game 3-2 to level it at 1-1.
The match between the number 3 players was short and sweet, with Steve Drummond (Walker) taking on Harriet Wight (Northern Jrs). Wight showed her class in both her shot making and agility around court, making some brilliant retrievals while doing the full splits! Wight took the match 3-0; 15-4, 15-6, 15-6 and gave the Jrs a 2-1 lead heading into the penultimate match.
The no.1 string match was next on which saw Dave Parkin (Walker) and Kieran Mahoney (Northern Jrs) take to court. This match was extremely close throughout, Parkin won the 1st 15-13 and Mahoney replied with a 15-12 win in the 2nd. The 3rd game saw an increase in quality with both players putting on a great display of attacking squash but Mahoney sneaked it 15-14 to go 2-1 up. The 4th game continued in the same vain with nothing between the no.1s, however as in the previous game, Mahoney came out on top 15-13. This win giving the Jrs the overall victory with one game left.
The fixture may have been decided but this last game between the 2s gave both teams the chance to get a few more precious point. Walker’s Henry Darragh faced off against Adam Foster. Darragh’s experience shone through in this tie and won 3-0 (15-, 15-12, 15-9), as he dominated the T and didn’t let Foster settle into a rhythm.
Northern Jrs deservedly took the 3-2 victory which lifted them off the bottom of the table and hopefully serve as a late kick-start to their season, while Walker took a respectable 8 points to aid them in their battle to avoid relegation.