Probably the most entertaining match played was at No 5, between All Sports captain, Ray Hockey, and Kate Cadigan, recently returned to the Island after studying at university.In retrospect the tough squash she has played on the university scene seems to have sharpened Cadigan’s game considerably.
Although she dropped the the first game, Cadigan turned the match with superb movement and clean striking to have the more experienced and awkward Hockey on the back foot most of the time.With performances like these, Cadigan will be pressing hard for top honours in the ladies’ game this season.Elsewhere, Mike Hopkins, making a rare appearance, was far too good for All Sports No 1, Paul Frankland and this gave Stringmills the edge they needed to beat what is a strong All Sports line up.Trevor Griggs was the only casualty as he fell to the consistent Hugh Jones, at No 2 string, in a reasonably tight match where Jones always had a slight edge, tactically, anticipating well and volleying superbly throughout.Steve Law restored the advantage for his team with an efficient performance against Paul Biddulph, playing at No 3.Although he dropped the first game, Law controlled most of the points from then on to secure a 4-1 win.
John Farley and fellow veteran, Kevin Frain, put on a tremendous display during their clash, seeded No 4.Farley was easily the pre-match favourite but he has been known to struggle in the early part of the season while Frain looked fresh following last season’s lay-off.
The match started according to plan with Farley winning the first two games before he started to tire as Frain continued to surprise him with good court sense and shot selection.After Frain had levelled the match the crowd could sense that Farley was under pressure.
Frain then held an early advantage in the fifth set, with several decisions being disputed by both players, and these disruptions seemed to reinforce Farley’s determination not to lose to a player he has never lost a league match to tet.It was a much-relieved Farley, therefore, who then took his chances to close out the match 15-11 in that final set.In the other Division I ties, Ash Shopfitting, the defending champions, were given a scare by Barclays Bank before winning the match by a very slim margin while Bedell Cristin beat the newly promoted Harriers 4-1.The highlight of this match was the shock 3-2 win for Harriers’ Sean Blake over the talented Peter Byrne, Bedells’ No 2.
Blake picked up a couple of plate trophies last season and started well in his game against one of the most talented players in the Bedell Leagues.In Division II YoYos continue to be the early form team with a convincing 4-1 win over Barclays Too.They didn’t have it all their own way, though, with some tight 3-2 results, including young Jamie Ramsden’s victory over Mike Coward, seeded No 2.Len Cathan fought hard for Barclays and enjoyed the same scoreline over YoYos’ No 4, Mike Moyse.
YoYos have obviously been strengthened by the return of Paul Deveney who, seeded No 1, beat Bob Biddulph in four entertaining sets.
Marsh, formerly Beau Couperon, enjoyed a five-set whitewash over the struggling Bedell Cristin II and OVs completed the division’s results with a 4-1 win over former champions Apsley Road Garage.