Re­ver­sal of for­tune boost in sur­vival bid

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL - SQUASH GARETH EVANS

LAST Thurs­day’s fix­tures in the men’s North West Coun­ties League yielded the usual mixed bag of re­sults for teams from our three lo­cal squash clubs – but with a wel­come re­ver­sal of for­tune for some.

This was espe­cially true in the case of the Prest­bury ‘Thirds’, who gave their Di­vi­sion Four South sur­vival hopes a mas­sive boost af­ter beat­ing fel­low strug­glers Knutsford Sports 3 by the odd match in five at Bollin Grove.

Prest­bury’s first vic­tory since the open­ing night of the sea­son was se­cured through wins for Rob Thor­n­ey­croft, Graeme English and - fol­low­ing the re­tire­ment of his op­po­nent due to in­jury - Paul Ma­her. They re­main in 12th, but, cru­cially, have re­duced from 17 to a round dozen the points­gap be­tween their po­si­tion and safety.

At the other end of the table, di­vi­sional com­pan­ions Bolling­ton 2, in third place, re­vived their pro­mo­tion chal­lenge, fol­low­ing de­feat at Al­sager seven nights pre­vi­ously, with a 5-0 home thump­ing of Grove Park 5.

Stu­art Arnold, Olli Ste­wart, Mark Collins, Aldo Palazzo and Gareth Ainsworth were all vic­to­ri­ous to put their team within three points of the run­ners-up po­si­tion.

An­other team to get back to win­ning ways were Prest­bury 1, who stopped the rot at West Heaton 1, and are now back up to fifth in Di­vi­sion Two East, thanks to their first tri­umph of Novem­ber.

Rob Al­cock and brothers Mike and Brian Lo­mas all won, for the loss of just a sin­gle game apiece, to see the ‘Firsts’ edge home 3-2.

Else­where in the Sec­ond Di­vi­sion, Bolling­ton’s First Team dropped into the rel­e­ga­tion zone - al­beit by just two points - af­ter go­ing down 4-1 at third-placed Alder­ley Edge 3. Rick Wal­ters picked up a sole win of the evening for the ‘Bolly Firsts’.

In Di­vi­sion Three South-East, both bot­tom­placed Mac­cles­field Squash 1 and Prest­bury 3, in ninth, en­dured nights to for­get, as they suf­fered re­spec­tive 5-0 losses at sec­ond-placed Crewe Va­grants 2 and at home to Al­sager 1. Mac­cles­field re­main with­out a win in the cur­rent cam­paign, while Prest­bury, al­though still 21 points of the drop-zone, will be keen to ar­rest a los­ing run that now ex­tends to four matches.

Di­vi­sion Five South table-toppers Prest­bury 4 main­tained a 100 per cent record and ex­tended their lead at the top to 14 points af­ter brav­ing win­try con­di­tions and road clo­sures to win 5-0 at Bux­ton 2. Paul Min­shull, Nigel Old­bury, Gareth Evans, Dave Jones and 18-year-old Matt English made sure of max­i­mum points for the lead­ers.

Bolling­ton 2’s ti­tle hopes were dealt a fur­ther blow, how­ever, fol­low­ing a 4-1 de­feat at home to Rad­broke Hall 2. Ju­nior player James Wal­ton (15) won to help keep the hosts in third be­hind Rad­broke, al­though they will now be look­ing over their shoul­ders at fifth-placed Mac­cles­field Squash 2, who gained ground with a 3-2 win at Prest­bury 6.

In what was ar­guably the con­test of the night over­all, fine wins by ju­niors Jonny Mur­ray (14) and Keon Raked (15) put the ‘Sixths’ in a strong po­si­tion, be­fore David Birtwistle, Si­mon Fisher and Ken Ni­cholls clinched the hon­ours and lo­cal brag­ging rights for Macc.

And Prest­bury’s Fifth Team proved that win­ning be­comes a habit, when they hosted and edged out Grove Park 8.

Their 3-2 tri­umph, cour­tesy of vic­to­ries for Pat Hunter, Dave Mar­wood and teenager Greg Stanger (17), swiftly fol­lowed the breaking by the team of its sea­sonal duck a week pre­vi­ously.

In the Cheshire Ladies’ League, three days ear­lier, fifth-placed Prest­bury pre­vailed for the first time in three Sec­ond Di­vi­sion matches - with Jane Mackay, Fran James and Sarah Lons­dale win­ning in the course of a 3-2 home vic­tory against Bow­don 3.

But Bolling­ton’s mini-run of two wins came to an end with a 4-1 de­feat, in spite of suc­cess at first string for An­nika Hall, at Di­vi­sion Three lead­ers City of Manch­ester 2.

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