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Intercounty Championships 2010/2011 - Stage I

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Abingdon 24th October 2010

It was great to get see the Juniors back in action again and our u13 boys hosted the first round at Abingdon SC. Firstly thank you to Abingdon, they have been so supportive to our juniors for a number of years offering free courts for our intercounty fixtures and training sessions.

In terms of the squad we had a few regulars missing due to injury and illness but up stepped some of our U11s and Jamie J who helped out at short notice. The squad was as follows.

1.) Ben H, 2.) Jacob C, 3.) Marcus T, 4.) Ben P, 5.) Jamie J

Oxfordshire v Worcestershire
First on was Marcus and Jamie. Jamie perhaps hadn't quite prepared fully for the fixture. On the warm up court he was using a racket with most of the centre strings hand tied in knots from when had snapped them previously. Luckily he had a spare though, although after the first match and a blister that had developed we noticed it hardly had a grip on it!!!! Still he went on to play a competitive match and showed great spirit picking up a valuable game in the fourth losing 3-1 overall.

Marcus some what better prepared was up against a boy around twice his size. Marcus quickly got over his nerves in the first game and despite a slight wobble took the first game. In the second and third he really settled down taking them both comfortably and coming out to win 3-0.

Jacob looked very convincing in his opening match only dropping 7 points across all three games.

Ben H played a blinder in his first match against an opponent who just didn't know the word give up on a rally. The quality of the squash was really good and after taking a close first game and a taking some tactical advice Ben pushed through the next two games to take a great win and complete a good start for the team.

Oxfordshire v Hampshire
We knew this was going to be a challenge and most of the Hampshire players had finished whilst we were still midway through our first match. Their team consisted of a number of the top 10 boys in the country. Being realistic I set the boys a points challenge to see who could get the most with the hope of sneaking a game. Jacob C came out as the overall best performer taking 16 points across three games and almost taking the first game 9-11. The rest of the boys played well but Hampshire proved too strong and I think they will most likely win the overall competition.

Oxfordshire v Bucks
So it was down to the local derby to see who would end up second or third.
Jamie J still suffering some discomfort from a blister on his hand played with great spirit and never gave up. Despite this his opponent just proved too strong taking the win for bucks 3-0. Marcus T was next on and narrowly lost the first game 9-11. After a change of tactics Marcus then got stronger and stronger taking the next three games so it was now 1-1 overall.

Ben P had a epic game with his opponent who was really well matched. The match ebbed and flowed with both players getting strong runs of points only to see their opponent come back at them. At 2-2 it was poised and the fifth game proved to be equally as close. Sadly for Ben he just couldn't finish things off losing it 9-11 in the fifth. Ben H was having a really tussle with another talented youngster. The first game was very close with Ben taking that 11-9 in the second Ben pushed through again winning 11-3 so it was looking like a win was on the cards. His opponent had other ideas though and fought back taking that 11-9. Ben really pushed up in the fourth getting on the volley much more often and this wore his opponent down to take the win.

The pressure was now on Jacob with the match balanced at 2-2. Jacob opened up the first game in a very confident manner attacking anything loose and with a real game plan in mind. The second was much the same and all of the team and myself were expecting a quick wrap up in the third. Jacob seemed to lose his way tactically and his opponent after connecting some great shots together started to grow in confidence. His opponent took the game 11-9 so it wasn't over. In the fourth Jacob really knuckled down getting everything back but still he couldn't shake his opponent off. With the other match now finished all eyes went on our match as the nerves started to build. The game went to two points clear with Jacob having 6 match balls only to see his opponent get them back and have one of his own. Jacob managed to win this though and eventually took the game and match 21-19 epic!!!!!!

It was a great day of squash and fantastic for Oxfordshire coming out second overall.

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