Sheff's specials off the menu at Newcastle Squash tournament

Charlotte Cooper writes as Newcastle face off against Nottingham, Sheffield and Loughborough for a place in the next round of the competition on Premiership weekend

Charlotte Cooper
20th November 2017
Newcastle’s Chris Wiggins was unable to beat Nottingham’s top seed Adam Auckland Image: Charlotte Cooper

The biggest weekend of the year in terms of squash at Newcastle University is undoubtedly the Premiership weekend. Unlike most of the other university teams, the men’s squash first team don’t have regular BUCS fixtures on a Wednesday afternoon. Instead it all took place this weekend, some of the best university squash teams in the country travelling up to The Northumberland Club in Jesmond to battle it out for a place in the next round in the division.

With a round-robin style tournament, Newcastle took on favourites to win Nottingham university. First on court for Newcastle was third seed Dave Daly. Nottingham’s player dominated from the off as Daly struggled to gain advantage of the ‘T’. Despite the long rallies in an energetic game in which Newcastle’s third seed was desperate to retrieve his opponent’s shots, Nottingham appeared too strong leaving the score 0-3.

Next up were the first seed players, where Chris Wiggins took on world 207 ranked player Adam Auckland. Wiggins played brilliantly well considering his opponents strength and experience of the game but was unfortunate to lose 0-3. Both fifth seed Alex Cahill and second seed Mike Mackay had better chances of wins in their games. Mackay came close to a game from the Nottingham player in the third but narrowly lost out at 10/12 leaving his score also 3-0. Alex Cahill put in an excellent performance and certainly didn’t make it an easy win for his opponent either, with all three games being 9/11.

"With Newcastle two games down, third and fourth seeds needed to pull something out of the bag"

With Newcastle already suffering losses in all four matches, it wasn’t looking hopeful for the fourth seeds to head on court. The team’s losses however did not put off fresher Ollie Walls as he asserted himself early in the match winning the first game 11/8. After shaking the Nottingham player into motion the next game making the score became 1-1. Walls dug deep and began to dominate on court moving his opponent around the court and taking the third game 11/7. In a nail biting fourth game it looked as though Newcastle were set for a win until Nottingham took the game at 12/10. The crowd increasingly built up to watch the showdown final game. Walls continued putting in some applaud worthy cross-court volley nicks as he manged to hold off his opponent for one final time making the final score 12/10 winning the match. The final score was 4-1 to Nottingham.

In their second match of the day, Newcastle took on Sheffield University. After a hard defeat earlier on, Newcastle came back fighting strong. Both first and second seeds dominated in their matches bringing two wins for Newcastle. Despite this Ollie Walls had ran out of energy for the day and lost his next match 3-0. Fifth string players followed on court where despite Sheffield’s efforts Alex Cahill’s skills proved too much of a match securing another win for the university. Dave Daly, the third seed player also had a close call match but managed to hold off his opponent, winning the game 3-2.

"After Newcastle's number 4 player injured himself on Saturday night, it was left to reserve Rob Finch to step up to the mark"

Sunday morning was the next round of matches against Loughborough University. After Newcastle’s number 4 player injured himself on Saturday night, it was left to reserve Rob Finch to step up to the mark. The match went down to the wire but unfortunately Loughborough found themselves with a 12/10 win in the fifth game. First seed Wiggins also found himself under too much pressure from his opponent suffering a 3-1 loss. With Newcastle two games down third and fourth seeds needed to pull something out of the bag. An incredible comeback from Daly saw a 3-2 win over Loughborough. Cahill followed suit and snatched yet another 3-2 win over his opponent equalising the match score. Now the pressure really was on for the second seed Mackay to bring the win home. Unfortunately, he lost his focus in the final two games which allowed his opponent to pick up the pace winning 3-2. This resulted in the final round score finished 3-2 to Loughborough University.

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