Prestbury fall at final hurdle
APRIL came to a close with the North West Counties Squash League divisional play-off finals at Grove Park.
The Macclesfield area was represented at these by Prestbury’s First Team, who, as Division Three South East winners, were pitted against corresponding North West regional table-toppers Liverpool Cricket Club 2 - to determine which side should be crowned divisional ‘champion of champions’.
But, following an afternoon of high-quality squash and several twists and turns, the Prestbury ‘Firsts’ were ultimately edged out by the odd match in five.
The see-saw drama of the contest was well illustrated by the first pairing on court, at fifth string - with Prestbury captain Mike Quartley going two games behind, before fighting back to level, and finally, alas, losing the decider.
Brothers Mike and Brian Lomas enjoyed spookily similar fortunes, as each lost his first game but then changed tactics to win the next three. In Mike’s case, a lethal mix of shots – including his trademark ‘dying boast’ - that his opponent could not read did the trick. And Brian turned the tables by continually attacking his young adversary’s weaker forehand.
Chris Dunkerley, playing at three, found himself up against, and unable to overcome, a highly experienced player of First Division vintage who had not been beaten while playing for the Liv- erpool 2015/16.
With the score at two matches apiece, the deciding contest - rather fittingly for a final of this calibre - was between two first-string players who had both gone through the season without suffering any Third Division losses.
Something had to give, ‘Seconds’ in then... and, sadly, the winning record ended was that of Prestbury’s Paul Lomas, as Andrew Breen assumed control of the tie’s many long rallies by taking the ball early and cutting out Paul’s attacking shots to win three close games.
“It was great to go into the final match at two-all against a very strong team,” said Brian Lomas afterwards.
“We’re obviously disappointed to have lost in the end - but equally pleased with how well we all played.
“And with new players joining Prestbury over the summer, our ‘Firsts’ will at least hold their own in Division Two - or possibly push for a top-four place - next season.” Play-off final: Prestbury 1 v Liverpool CC 2 1. Paul Lomas lost 0-3 (9-11, 8-11, 8-11) v Andrew Breen. 2. Mike Lomas won 3-1 (8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3) v Alan Gibbons. 3. Chris Dunkerley lost 0-3 (10-12, 4-11, 9-11) v Barrie Russell. 4. Brian Lomas won 3-1 (5-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-2) v Ben Doyle. 5. Mike Quartley lost 2-3 (5-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 4-11) v Lee Walton.
●● The Prestbury team of Chris Dunkerley, Mike Lomas, Mike Quartley (captain), Brian Lomas and Paul Lomas
●● The winning All Hallows squad with their RBS medals