No show sees Prest­bury’s lead stretched

Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE - SQUASH GARETH EVANS

UN­USU­ALLY, only nine of the 11 teams from our three lo­cal squash clubs saw ac­tion last Thurs­day in the men’s North West Coun­ties League – although the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the two who did not were rather dif­fer­ent.

Bolling­ton’s Sec­ond Team sim­ply found them­selves with­out a match due to the va­garies of the fixtures-com­puter, and re­main third in Di­vi­sion Four South just the same. But Di­vi­sion Five South leaders Prest­bury 4 ac­tu­ally achieved a vic­tory with­out hav­ing to take to the court, af­ter their sched­uled vis­i­tors, Grove Park 9, failed to raise a side for the trip to Bollin Grove. The un­beaten ‘Fourths’ ex­tend their lead at the top to 24 points as a re­sult.

Of the matches that did take place, the most nail-bit­ing was ar­guably Bolling­ton 1’s home fix­ture against fel­low Di­vi­sion Two East strug­glers Hyde 2. It ended 4-1 in favour of the ‘Bolly Firsts’, who leapfrogged the op­po­si­tion into ninth place fol­low­ing vic­to­ries for Chris Og­den Se­nior, Oli Cun­ning­ham, Lyn­don Stonier and Rick Wal­ters - but with the lat­ter three all edg­ing their matches by the odd game in five, it was a closer, and rather more nervy, con­test than the fi­nal score­line might have sug­gested!

Di­vi­sional com­pan­ions Prest­bury 1 vis­ited third-placed Alder­ley Edge 3, and, just as Bolling­ton’s First Team had done against the same op­po­nents a week pre­vi­ously, found them­selves on the wrong end of a 4-1 de­feat. Brian Lo­mas picked up a sole win of the evening for Prest­bury, who have slipped back a place to sixth.

In Di­vi­sion Three South-East, Mac­cles­field Squash 1, in the base­ment po­si­tion, vis­ited sec­ond­from-bot­tom Bux­ton 1 - only to see the points-gap be­tween the two sides widen still fur­ther, fol­low­ing a fifth suc­ces­sive 5-0 re­verse for the Max­o­ni­ans. Bux­ton, by tri­umph­ing so em­phat­i­cally, have also closed in on eighth­placed Prest­bury 2, who, in spite of straight-games wins by Chris Dunker­ley and Stuart Melia, lost 3-2 away to ta­ble-top­pers Crewe Va­grants 2 and are now only seven points clear of the drop-zone.

Fol­low­ing a vic­tory the pre­vi­ous week, Prest­bury 3’s sea­son of strug­gle in Di­vi­sion Four South re­sumed at Sand­bach where the ‘Thirds’, who are 10 points from safety, went down 5-0 - de­spite stir­ring per­for­mances by Graeme English and Paul Ma­her, each of whose matches was taken to a fifth game.

Bolling­ton 3, on the back of two de­feats, and Mac­cles­field Squash 2, en­joy­ing a run of three straight wins, con­tested a derby at the lat­ter’s leisure cen­tre in Di­vi­sion Five South. But the cur­rent­form book went out of the win­dow, as Andy Phillips, Gareth Ainsworth, Martin Og­den, 15-year-old James Wal­ton and An­drew Berry all won to give Bolling­ton a 5-0 vic­tory, the lo­cal brag­ging rights and a re­turn to sec­ond place be­hind Prest­bury 4.

Prest­bury’s two other Di­vi­sion Five sides, po­si­tioned eighth and ninth re­spec­tively, were on the road - with vary­ing for­tunes. The Fifth Team se­cured a third con­sec­u­tive vic­tory, thanks to wins by Dave Jones, Ben Parker, Pat Hunter and ju­nior player Greg Stanger (17) that saw them pre­vail at nearby Alder­ley Edge 7. The ‘Sixths’, mean­while, trav­elled a lit­tle fur­ther afield to New Mills 2, where vic­to­ries for 14-year-old Jonny Mur­ray and cap­tain Ash Han­son were not quite enough to avoid the team’s third 3-2 de­feat in a row.

In the Cheshire Ladies’ League, three days ear­lier, both lo­cal teams had also suf­fered nar­row 3-2 losses away from home. Sec­ond Di­vi­sion Prest­bury, for whom Fran James and Linda Ma­her were vic­to­ri­ous, dropped a po­si­tion to sixth af­ter being pipped by Brook­lands 1, while wins for An­nika Hall and June White could not pre­vent fourth-placed Bolling­ton’s de­feat at Marple in Di­vi­sion Three.

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