Prest­bury se­cure semi-fi­nal berth

Macclesfield Express - - SEARCH - SQUASH GARETH EVANS

WITH most of the North West Coun­ties Squash League’s reg­u­lar win­ter fix­tures com­pleted, at­ten­tion fo­cused on play-off matches ar­ranged to de­ter­mine the var­i­ous di­vi­sional ‘cham­pi­ons of cham­pi­ons’.

Lo­cal in­ter­est was pro­vided by Prest­bury 1 who, hav­ing se­cured the Divi­sion Three South East ti­tle, now hosted South West ta­ble-top­pers Wrex­ham Brymbo 2 with a place in the semi-fi­nals at stake.

With Prest­bury’s ‘Firsts‘ hav­ing lost only once all sea­son, and their Welsh vis­i­tors re­main­ing un­de­feated through­out the cam­paign, a close con­test was al­ways in prospect.

And so it was to prove – although the even­tual 4-1 score­line in Prest­bury’s favour masked an en­thralling evening of high-qual­ity squash, and well-matched pair­ings that for the most part could have seen a vic­tory for ei­ther player.

Play­ing in front of a packed bal­cony, the hosts fielded three mem­bers of the Lo­mas fam­ily – with hith­erto-un­beaten first-string player Paul lin­ing up along­side his cousins Mike and Brian.

Brian, at fifth string, was to fea­ture in one of three matches re­quir­ing five games, and edged his by the nar­row­est of mar­gins. Mike Brauck­mann then over­came a mus­cle strain to do like­wise at fourth.

Chris Dunker­ley, play­ing at three, was un­luck­ily pipped by his young op­po­nent in the fifth game af­ter go­ing two up, be­fore the other two Lo­mases made the match safe.

Paul con­ceded the first game against an ex­po­nent of the rare two-handed back­hand, but com­bined an ef­fec­tive col­lec­tion of boasted and drop shots to win the next three, while Mike kept his ral­lies short and tight to en­sure vic­tory in three straight games.

“That was our tough­est match of the sea­son,” said Paul Lo­mas af­ter­wards.

“We re­ally needed to be at our best tonight. And hav­ing home ad­van­tage helped.”

Re­flect­ing on his own form, Paul added: “In 25 years I’ve never gone through the sea­son un­beaten, so I’m de­lighted to have man­aged it this year – de­spite a cou­ple of close calls!”

Prest­bury will again be at home for the play-off semi-fi­nal, against West Heaton to­mor­row.

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