Winning ways at Bollin Grove
PRESTBURY flew the winners’ flag for clubs in and around our town last Thursday, when, of the 13 men’s teams in North West Counties League action, the only four sides to triumph hailed from Bollin Grove - and all against opponents just a place away from them in their respective tables.
Unfortunately, that quartet did not include Prestbury’s ‘Firsts’, after they were pipped 3-2 at Brooklands 1. They also slipped one position to sixth in Division Two East, with wins for Rob Alcock and the recently-crowned Cheshire Senior Closed Over-45 Champion for 2018, Mike Lomas, not proving quite enough to overcome their hosts, who ended unbeaten for November.
Divisional companions Bollington 1 also came a cropper - losing 4-1 at home to Alderley Edge 2, following three straight victories. Seventeen-yearold James Walton was the sole player to win on the night for the ninth-placed ‘Bolly Firsts’.
There was better fortune against ‘The Edge’ for Prestbury 2, who further cemented third place in Division Three South-East after receiving in-form Alderley 3 - and making light of their visitors’ fivematch winning run by triumphing 5-0. Brian Lomas, Chris Dunkerley, junior player Jonny Murray (16), Rick Bower and Graeme English performed their best squash to achieve the rout.
But Bollington’s Second Team suffered a reverse to match that of the club’s ‘Firsts’, and dropped a place to eighth in Division Three Central South. Martin Ogden’s straight-games win was all that his side had to show from its trip up to struggling Brooklands 3.
In Division Four Central South, the two Prestbury teams achieved a worthy double - with the ‘Thirds’ extending their unbeaten sequence to five matches by seeing off promotion rivals Cheetham Hill 2 in North Manchester. Mike Brauckmann, Rich Curry, Mike Quartley, Paul Bartle and Andrew Worsley all won to keep their team secure in second position.
And Prestbury 4, in 11th, hosted Brooklands 4 - with each side on the back of a sequence of alternate victories and defeats that pointed to a win for the ‘Fourths’ if they were both to continue. In the event, and with thanks to the squash gods, that is precisely what happened – albeit by a narrow 3-2 margin, as 14-year-old Rhys AsquithEvans held his nerve to prevail over five, after Dave Jones and Paul Wilson had taken their matches in straight games.
Macclesfield 1 and Bollington 3, having returned to winning ways in the Fourth Division South a week earlier, both slumped to 4-1 defeats against promotion-chasing sides - at Buxton 1 and at home to Alderley Edge 5, respectively. Captain Andy Phillips triumphed for the ‘Bolly Thirds’, who fell a position to eighth, while Daz Glaser earned a consolation win for fourth-placed Macc.
Prestbury’s ‘Fifths’, how- ever, were good value for their second victory running - and leapfrogged Bollington into seventh place for added measure - after ‘edging’ out their hosts Alderley 6 by the odd match in five, thanks to wins by Ben Parker, Rupert Richards and junior Harry Mattocks (17).
None of our representatives plying their trade at fifth-division level had anything to celebrate - with all four on the wrong end of their contests’ results. Second-placed Macclesfield 2’s promotion bid in Division Five South was dealt a surprising blow at home to second-to-bottom Marple 4, who nullified 3-1 victories by Ollie Critchley and Simon Fisher to triumph 3-2 overall.
And further down the table, Bollington 4 (who tumbled a couple of places to sixth), at Alderley Edge 7, and Prestbury 6 (12th), at home to Crewe Vagrants 6, each recorded a 5-0 loss.
In Division Five Central South, Prestbury 7 entertained The Northern 7 - and more in hope than in expectation, given that the visiting side was unbeaten for the campaign, As it turned out, the hosts went down 4-1 - with skipper Gareth Evans picking up their only win.
In the Cheshire Ladies’ League, the trio of local sides had all endured defeats.
Second Division Prestbury 1 stayed fifth, after bowing out 4-1 at home to Bowdon 2 – despite a straight-games triumph for Helen Thaw.
And Bollington, having travelled west to Liverpool Cricket Club 1 without unbeaten first-string player Annika Hall who was unwell, dropped a place to eighth after losing by the same overall scoreline – with Jen Robinson’s 3-0 victory providing the one note of cheer for a long journey home.
In Division Three (b), the fifth-placed Prestbury ‘Seconds’ came close to causing an upset at Marple, as a win by Jen Powell and a walkover-victory at fifth string put pressure on their second-placed hosts - before the Stockport team eventually prevailed 3-2.
Action from Macclesfield Women’s team inaugral match against Sheffield at the weekend