The sleet and rain was definitely not bucket and spade weather for our visit to Southport and Birkdale Sports Club for the 15th match in the NWCSL where every point would count. First on was Arron Ken against Rob Taylor. Aaron won the first and Rob came back strongly in the second. But then Aaron assumed control and won the next two games to 6 to take the first match.
On the show court, Danny Massaro took on Adam Taylor – a contrast in styles for certain (above). The first game was close and reached 10 all. Danny would get to game ball only for Adam to hit a fantastic shot to level the score. Finally, though, he missed one and Danny clinched the first 15:13. Adam levelled the score winning the second. The pattern repeated and so to the fifth game. Danny is tenacious and Adam did not get the start he wanted. He pulled out a strong lead which was too much this time for Adam to handle. Two down.
Meanwhile Ameel Talib on the second court and playing well (below). He took the first from Lucas Hughes in style and you thought ‘here’s a chance’. But then he lost the second. That gave Lucas the confidence to go on and win the match in 4 games. Three down and the tie lost. Damage limitation time now.
Next on were the number 1’s Emyr Evans and Rob Downer (top & below). This was fast and furious stuff from two evenly matched players. The first game went to 10 all, but Emyr sneaked it when Rob should have won. The second went to Emyr as well. The reactions and the mobility of the players was amazing to watch. But try as much as he could Rob was unable to get in front and Emyr took the match with Rob visibly tired in the third.
Finally, it was Kyle Finch against Andy Whipp. Could Andy stem the tide? He certainly came out fighting and took the first without being pressed too much. The second and third were closer but Andy was always in charge and, at least, saving some Warrington pride.
But a second defeat in a row was always going to be damaging in terms of the race for the title. Warrington’s 7 points to Liverpool’s 18 meant the gap at the top of the table is down to only 13 points. One more slip up and it will be neck and neck. There are 3 matches to go.