The 1st team travelled to Liverpool Cricket Club for a key match in the Division title race on Tuesday. With only 20 points separating the teams, a win for Liverpool would close the gap. Liverpool’s line up on Sunday looked strong but at the last-minute No.2 string, Stuart Macgregor, had to pull out through illness forcing the rest to move up.
First on the show court was Adrian Waller against Owain Taylor (Below). Welsh squash is on a high with Joel Makin and Tesni Evans and Owain was part of the Welsh team in the European Championships. Adrian took the first and second games but then a series of disputed calls disrupted his concentration and Owain grabbed the third to the delight of the home crowd. This galvanised Adrian into action and he swept to victory with a dominant forth game.
On the other court, Rob Taylor was up against Lewis Harding. Lewis won the first and Rob the second. Rob moved ahead winning the third, only for Lewis to pull back level in the fourth game. In a close fifth game, Rob held steady and took the match for a fine start to the evening.
Next on the show court were the top players (Top & Below); Joel Makin versus Connor Sheen. It was clear from the start that Connor had decided to go for his shots, presumably because he realised, that he would never beat Joel for fitness. Joel moved into a slight lead in the first game, but then Connor produced a series of outstanding shots that even the likes of Joel could not retrieve to pinch the first game. The crowd were ecstatic. However, the effort to stay with Joel was beginning to tell. Joel bounded back to win the next game 11:3. Keeping the pressure on, he then took the next two games to win the match and the tie for Warrington.
Meanwhile back on the other court, Emily Whitlock faced Andy Breen. Andy knows a thing or two about squash, but Emily moves around the court with graceful speed and can hit the ball with a force and accuracy that belies here size. It was a ding-dong match. Andy got off to a good start winning the first game. Emily won the next two, but it was close. The noise of the crowd was like a magnet and they were standing 6 deep to try and see the action. Andy levelled the match to huge cheers but Emily held her nerve and developed a small lead in the fifth game that she took to the finishing line. Both players were loudly applauded off the court – it had been a great match to watch.
Andy Whipp, playing at three, faced Matty Powell on the show court (Above). With the tie long since won, this was something of an anti-climax. Periodically interrupted by the noise from the other court, they went through the motions. Andy was in no mood to slip up and he ran out the winner in three easy games to make it a clean sweep for the visitors.
With Grove Park also losing to Alderley Edge, Warrington now has a healthy 34-point lead over Liverpool at the top of the Division. It’s not over yet and there are teams that can take points away from Warrington, but the pressure is on for the chasing clubs to also win their remaining games. The next match is against The Northern at home in two weeks’ time.