Prestbury secure semi-final berth
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.