Hinckley Squash Club, operating out of their 4-court facility on Maple Drive, have entered a record seven teams in the Leicestershire Squash Leagues for the 2018-19 season, which commenced at the start of October. The first team will continue in Division 1 where they will be aiming to win the Division outright for the 7th consecutive time; the second and third teams will compete in Division 2; the fourth team in Division 3; the fifth and sixth teams (the latter newly promoted) in Division 5 and the embryonic 7th team will begin their campaign in Division 5.
The opening game of the new season, a ‘home’ fixture for the 2nd team against their colleagues in the Club's 3rd team took place on Wednesday 3rd October. As expected, it was the higher ranked 2nds, which had featured in the 1st Division last season, that proved too strong on the night, gaining a 5-0 win, courtesy of Andy Beel, Richard Jackson, Dave and Ben Wood and Heath Jennings. With a point for each individual game won, plus a 5-point bonus for the overall win, it resulted in a 20 point start for the 2nds. The 3rds had to be content with just 3 points, courtesy of the two games picked up by Tim Steele and one by Liam O’Hara.
The following evening the 4th, 5th and 6th teams were all in action. The 4ths were away playing Rugby Stags and although they were to lose 2-3 in terms of ties, wins by the two Tims, Messrs Cox and Parratt, secured 6 of the 7 points gained by the team on the night. For the 5ths and 6ths, competing in Division 4, their opening fixtures were against each other, and this produced the first upset of the season when Ato Stephens, Jonny Sprigens, Andy Perridge, captain Rory Long and Martyn Davies upset the rankings by delivering a 4-1 win (and 17 points) for the 6ths ! So close were four of the matches that the losing 5th team acquired 10 points from the fixture.
Week two found everyone except the 2nds involved. It got under way on Sunday 7th October with an opening ‘home’ fixture for the new 7th team, against New Parks 2. The 7th team had been formed due to the numbers of new players keen to play team squash — plus the Club wanted to give some of the up and coming juniors some match experience. Captain Paul Goodwin’s team for the evening included juniors George Beel and Evan Carey and despite stout resistance from all five team members, it was George that managed to provide the only win for the team on the night.
Two nights later the 7th were in action again, this time away to Huncote’s 3rd team and although devoid of Juniors on this occasion they were to come up against some experienced campaigners and came away with only 5 points to show for their exertions: 3 from Steve Gaisford’s win and 2 from Paul Goodwin’s encounter.
That same evening, for their first match of the season, the Club’s 1st team (the reigning Leicestershire Squash League Champions for the past seven years) were at home to a team representing Northamptonshire. It could barely have gone any better for the home team as Owain Taylor, Club coach Guy Pearson, Luke Parker, Ollie Holland and Andy Beel racked up a convincing 5 ties to Nil (20 points to 1) victory: an ideal start to their new campaign.
The following night, Wednesday 10th, the 3rd team hosted Hermitage Leisure’s 2nds at Maple Drive and although 1st string Paul O’Hara was pipped 11-9 to end up 2-3 in the fifth game, wins posted by Danny Brown, Liam O’Hara, Paul Smith and Tim Steele provided a 4-1 team win that netted a total of 19 points, with just 5 against.
Next night, the 11th, the 4ths were at home to Charnwood 2nds and the line up of Tim Cox, Alan Cantes, Steve Durrant, Paul Purser and Will Smith proved to have the stronger individual rankings and subsequently produced their first win (4 ties to 1) netting a valuable 17 points.
On the Friday evening (12th) the 5ths were away playing Market Harborough 3rds and with the exception of Andy Perridge who managed to win 3-2, they were out-ranked and out-played, going down 4-1 and collecting only 7 points for their efforts: two from Neil Large and 1 each from Messrs Solley and Parratt. Not the start they had hoped for!
The 6th team were also in action this night, at home to Burton Squash 2nds, and in front of a sizeable home audience, wins by Paul Purser, Ato Stephens and Michael Reid provided a 3-2 match win for the team. Two game points from Rory Long and one from Martyn Davies, plus the bonus points for the win, netted 17 points for the team on the night.
The following Tuesday (the 16th), the 7th team were in action again, this time against the Leicester Road Club’s 2nd team. Wins by Daniel Senior and Mark Todd. plus 3 points from an uncontested 5th string game, provided the 7ths with their very first team win, collecting 15 points in the process. There were no more team games that week, as it was Leicester school half-term break.
After the break the 7th team welcomed Leicester Tennis’ 4th team to Maple Way on Sunday 21st. The visitors proved overwhelmingly strong on this occasion, and in spite of some valiant efforts, the 7th's juniors were restricted to just the 2 points that George Beel provided from his match.
On Monday 22nd, week 3 got under way when the 2nd team had an away match against Hermitage Leisure 2. Wins by Andy Beel, Danny Brown, Dave Wood and Heath Jennings, plus 2 game points from Ben Wood, enabled them to come away with a very useful 19 points.
The following evening the 5ths were away at Burton Squash against their 2nd team and although Will Smith and Ato Stephens won their matches the overall result was a 2-3 defeat. However, two game points from Simon Eves and another from Neil Large helped the team to come away with 9 valuable points.
On Wednesday 24th the 3rds welcomed Charnwood 1sts to Tungsten Park and the home team pulled off a welcome 4-1 result after wins by Paul and Liam O’Hara, Ben Daniel and Andy Perridge. Those 12 points plus 2 from Tim Steele and 5 for the win totalled 19 for the evenings effort!
The following night the 4th team were at home to Burton Squash’s 1st team. A very tough encounter was expected, particular when there was a difference of 3800 ranking points between their 1st string player (Owen Whitfield) and our Tim Steele. The result went as expected, though to his great credit, Tim took one game off his opponent. Tim Cox, Andy Harvey and Will Smith all ended on the losing side, but Dillwyn Rosser conjured up some magic to win his match 3-1.
On Friday 26th the 6th team hosted Hermitage Leisure 3rds and the home team came up trumps with wins by Jonny Sprigens, Ato Stephens and Rory Long, plus two game points each from Paul Purser and Martyn Davies to provide a total 18 points. This was 3 wins out of 3 for the 6ths.
On Sunday 28th the 7ths played their 5th game of the new season when they entertained Charnwood 4ths at Maple Way. Pitted against a more experienced team, they went down 3-2 in terms of matches but junior Owen O’Hara and Paris Masters each had 3-0 wins and had not Lee Moore turned his ankle during the fifth game of his match the overall result might have gone the other way. George Beel and Evan Carey also played well, the latter managing to take a game from the higher ranked and experienced opponent. Their joint efforts produced 9 points on the night.
In the final week of October, on Monday 29th, the 3rd team found themselves away versus Leicester Squash 3 and they did particularly well to come away with a 3-2 team win after wins by Paul O’Hara, Gary Sykes and Liam O’Hara at 1, 2 and 3 respectively. This was the team's 3rd win from 4 games so far and a game point by Simon Eves meant a 15 point haul for the evening.
On Tuesday 30th, the 1st team were at home to Hermitage Leisure and our 'all-star' line up of Lewis Walters, Owain Taylor, Guy Pearson, Luke Parker and Ollie Holland powered majestically to a 5-0 team result, everyone winning 3-0 and amassing a total of 20 points for the night. It meant three wins out of three so far and just the kind of start needed to try and retain their title as Leicestershire League Champions.
The final fixture of the month saw the 2nd team take on David Lloyd 1 at home. Andy Beel, Dan Brown and Heath Jennings secured the fixture for the home club though mention must be made of the very close 3rd-string match between Dave Wood and Rachel Calver — players only 80 ranking points apart. After some excellent rallies Rachel clinched the fifth and final game 12-10. Joe Matharu took the first game off his opponent, reflected in the 17 points total on the night.
Altogether a good start for all the teams. Why not come down to the Club and show them some support? The list of home fixtures is displayed on the white board in the Club entrance foyer.