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Tours / 23 September 2015

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Stamford Squash Club ventured north again to Newcastle for this years tour to Newcastle, with a match against Tynemouth Squash Rackets Club, having won against city teams in Amsterdam, Dublin and Edinburgh in recent years, Stamford came horribly unstuck against Tynemouth and were humbled 16-1 last year. So this years tour was an opportunity to redeem themselves. After a summer of intense training, the Tour management had the unenviable task of cutting the squad from 17 to 13 players, unfortunately, Mark Smith, Will Stuart Jones, Dave Mann and Tony Hoo-Spice were omitted from the final touring party. The remaining squad would like to thank them for their support and hope they carry on their hard work to be included on next years tour.

Preparation for the match was positive, the morning warm up and conditioning session gratefully received with only two players absent due to not heeding nutritional advice from their medical support. However Stamford arrived at their opponents in good heart, with untried Robert Ball taking on Tynemouth Captain Tim Mazzuchi, Robert going for early winners at every opportunity unfortunately succumbed to the more experienced Tynemouth player losing 3-0. Another Tour newcomer James Priestley played Wayne Dobson, James put up a tremendous fight, losing two games 15-14 but again losing 3-0. Marcus Wright played at string 11, his hard hitting style winning early points but again losing his tie 3-0. Kim Cozens was on at string 10 last years only victor was a marked man, his opponent Nicky Dobson clearly in no mood to give Kim time and duly won 3-0.

With 4 matches down and not one game won it was not looking good for Stamford, Mike Pares managed to win a game but failed to move his opponent around losing 3-1. Jai Nairn promised to change things and this he did, often likened to former Newcastle football hero Kevin Keegan, Jai produced a game of guile and technique that continuously frustrated his opponent winning 3-0.

Darren Smith was on at 7, Darren’s game has improved tremendously over the last year, so much that the squad is built around him, he battled gloriously but eventually lost 3-1, lessons learned for next year. Captain Ferlin Barnard played at string 6 losing the first two games 15-13, 15-12 there wasn’t much in it, he managed to win the third 15-12, however losing the fourth easily, blaming the loss of too much weight to quickly prior to the tour.

As if in an old western movie, the Cavalry arrived in the form of Simon Barker, Simon Morris, Dave Spooner, Martin Brewin and Bez Beresford. The affable Simon Barker who has undergone the rigours of video analysis to improve his game saw his hard work pay off winning a classic encounter 3-2. Simon Morris also won 3-2 playing at a fast and furious pace leaving the Court without a hair out of place. Dave Spooner continued the late onslaught gliding effortlessly around the Court making the sport look easy cruised to a 3-0 victory. Martin Brewin produced his typical game continuously confusing his opponent producing another 3-0 victory.

Stamford number 1 Bez Beresford was last on playing in front of a packed audience on Tynemouth’s glass backed court. Even thought the tie was a dead rubber as by then Tynemouth were victorious 7-5 up. Bez was playing for pride, up against Northumberland Under 25 player Andrew Walsh, a mouth watering display from the Stamford man attritional in its strategy beautifully executed, continuously worked the Tynemouth Player, Bez always seeming to have something extra forcing Walsh to make mistakes, Bez winning 3-0, even though losing 7-6 overall, in light of last years performance honour restored, with lessons learnt for the next tour.