Bolly’s play-off bid hits buf­fers

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL - SQUASH GARETH EVANS

THE North West Coun­ties Squash League’s win­ter sea­son came to a close last Satur­day with the divi­sional play-off fi­nals at Grove Park.

The Mac­cles­field area was rep­re­sented at these by Bolling­ton’s Third Team, who, as Divi­sion Five South win­ners, were pit­ted against cor­re­spond­ing North re­gional ta­ble-top­pers St Annes 2 - to de­ter­mine which side should be crowned over­all ‘cham­pion of cham­pi­ons’.

With both teams hav­ing en­joyed long, un­beaten runs that ex­tended back to the Au­tumn, a tough con­test was in prospect. And so it was to be - although, sadly for the ‘Bolly Thirds’, their op­po­nents ul­ti­mately proved the stronger with a 4-1 vic­tory.

Bolling­ton had been forced to make one change from the line-up that saw off City of Manch­ester 4 in the semi­fi­nals.

Tom Binder was un­avail­able due to work com­mit­ments – mean­ing a late call-up for 12-year-old ju­nior Ge­orge Lo­mas.

In the event, the young fifth-stringer did him­self and his club proud on the big stage - push­ing his se­nior op­po­site num­ber par­tic­u­larly closely in their sec­ond and third games, be­fore suc­cumb­ing 3-0.

But, by that time alas, the out­come of the fi­nal was al­ready de­cided. The pre­vi­ously- un­beaten Andy Phillips and a sec­ond ju­nior, James Wal­ton (15) – both of whom faced top-or­der play­ers who had not lost a Fifth Divi­sion match all sea­son - were de­feated in straight games, be­fore Gareth Ainsworth fol­lowed suit to put St Annes in an unas­sail­able po­si­tion.

Martin Og­den pre­vailed over three tight games to se­cure a con­so­la­tion win for Bolling­ton in the last con­test of the tie, but con­ceded that his team’s op­po­nents were wor­thy cham­pi­ons.

“It was just one of those matches for us,” the cap­tain re­flected af­ter­wards.

“We won some good points, but St Annes saw out the games and de­served their vic­tory on the day.

“The trav­el­ling sup­port for both sides made for a great at­mos­phere, and it was a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence. Now we can’t wait to play in Divi­sion Four next sea­son.

“I have to thank all of the play­ers who turned for us last term. With­out them, noth­ing would have been pos­si­ble. And with more and more ju­nior play­ers break­ing into our teams, the club’s fu­ture couldn’t be brighter.”

The play-off-fi­nals turned out to be a fruit­ful event for clubs from the Fylde Coast. Fol­low­ing the tri­umph of St Annes, YMCA Thorn­ton 1 - who, by co­in­ci­dence, had edged out Bolling­ton’s Sec­ond Team in the quar­ter-fi­nals - em­u­lated their near-neigh­bours with a 4-1 win over The North­ern’s ‘Fourths’ to take the hon­ours for Divi­sion Four. Play-off fi­nal: Bolling­ton 3 v St Annes 2 1. Andy Phillips lost 0-3 (5-15, 8-15, 3-15) v Keith Parm­ley. 2. James Wal­ton lost 0-3 (13-15, 12-15, 13-15) v Joe Rid­ings. 3. Gareth Ainsworth lost 0-3 (11-15, 5-15, 4-15) v Bob Vo­gel. 4. Martin Og­den won 3-0 (19-17, 16-14, 15-12) v Robert Bent­wood. 5. Ge­orge Lo­mas lost 0-3 (6-15, 14-16, 12-15) v Alex Goldie.

Bolling­ton’s third team, Andy Phillips, Ge­orge Lo­mas, Martin Og­den (cap­tain), James Wal­ton, Gareth Ainsworth

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