The Derbyshire league team started their first time in Division 3 following the previous years promotion with a good overall season culminating in a 2nd  v 3rd showdown against Duffield 4 for the second promotion  place in the last match of the season. Thanks to Stuart Lord, Sam Hill, Richard Smith, Klaus Strohle, Mark Davey, Mike Allen , Jon Churchly, Alan Greaves, Richard Coulthard, Jo Lord and Ben Estaugh for their contributions during an injury prone season for most of the squad at one time or another.

Duffield were considerably under strength compared to the team in the first half and with resounding wins for Stuart Lord, Sam Hill, Steve Coppard, Jon Churchly and Ben Estaugh victory was gained by 20 points to 2.  On wards to Division 2!!

The section C cup final was held at Alfreton leisure centre on Sunday the 27th with the opponents being Ashbourne who fielded their strongest team incorporating two players who played for their first team last year in Division 1.

First on court was Ben at number 5 who started like a whirlwind to go two up but eventually lost in five games at just short of 1 hour played.

On the adjacent court Jon started well to win the first game after many long rallies 9 -5 . In the 2nd game Jon was blown away as his opponent levelled matters 9 -4 . The third game was tight with again many long rallies which Jon shaded at 10 -8. The fourth started well for Jon as he built a 7 – 2 lead, before his opponent levelled due to one extravagant nick and three good winners. Jon then  led 8 -7 and then 9 -8 before his opponent got back to 9 -9 before after a long rally Jon set his opponent up with a simple volley which he amazingly put in the tin!!  Jon having just thought he needed to play a 5th game then played a good winner to win the match and level the scores at 1 – 1. Again the game took an hour to play with both players beginning to tire after the game  both confessed that they were not looking forward to a 5th game.

Richard Smith then produced an efficient performance to put Lichfield 2 -1 up with a comfortable 3 – 0 win in 30 minutes

Sam Hill meanwhile at No 2 started his game on the back foot and lost  9 – 2 although the score does not account for the effort put in by Sam as there were many long rallies. The 2nd game was the exact opposite with Sam taking it 9 – 2 to level the game. Sam then roared through the 3rd  9 – 0 but then as with the 2nd game a complete turnaround in the 4th as his opponent won 9 -0. At the start of the 5th Sam soon found himself 5 – 0 down and it was beginning to look bleak, but Sam had other ideas and proceeded to reel back the score, point by point to eventually win 9 -6 in a marathon game of 70 minutes of high quality squash.

On the other court Stuart lord took the first 9 -7 then lost the second 9 -8 won the 3rd 9 -8 and then the 4th 9 -5 to seal the win.

It was a great 2 and half hours squash with all five players giving their all in a committed yet fair manner with all 5 games played in the right spirit.

We have entered a team in the summer league and are in Division 2 so there should be some good quality squash coming up at the club. First game is this Thursday away at Duffield 3 with the first home game being on the 29th May against Duffield 2, which should be well worth watching as they are likely to have some Division 1 players in their side.

Steve Coppard

Team Captain, Lichfield Squash Club (Derbyshire League)