There was a fantastic amount of support at the David Ross Sports Village for both the University of Nottingham [UoN] and Nottingham Trent University [NTU] at the squash event on Super Wednesday.
As the players began to warm up in the brand-new all-glass squash court, there was a gentle buzz of anticipation from the crowd at what was expected to be a closely fought battle between the two sides. On the day each team chose to field a strong squad, aiming to ensure a highly competitive few hours of match action. Split over two separate courts, that’s exactly what we got.
First up on the show court was Tom Bailey and Adam Pritchard, both of whom looked strong players in the opening game, putting each other through their paces. However, Bailey’s nimbleness around the court and superb ability when facing the low shots were too much for his Trent opponent in the first two games, which he claimed in two comfortable bouts of 11-6.
Whilst Pritchard pushed Bailey to the limit in the third game of the match, the much touted home-team advantage pushed the UoN competitor over the line, claiming the game 12-10 and subsequently the match.
Lauren West was second on court, putting on a dominant performance from the word go. West was quick to pile the pressure upon opponent Hattie Hill, who struggled to cope against the skill of the home player. West, like her team mate, romped to a 3-0 victory in just thirteen minutes.
The final game on the show court saw the much anticipated face-off of University of Nottingham’s Matt Robert and Nottingham Trent University’s star player Adam Turner. The final match was made up of much longer rallies, with plenty of home and away support firing up the two players. Though Robert was down 2-0 going into the third game, he started brilliantly, leaving Turner in a bit of a sweat. With his unrelenting fight and determination in the third game, there looked to be a potential that Robert was making comeback in the third game, pushing Turner on every point.
“Everyone played exceptionally well but the match of the day was definitely Sam Jones”
However, the hard fought battle between the two players, unfortunately, ended in heartbreak for University of Nottingham’s Matt Robert who was unable to make up the deficit to take the game against Turner further.
The UoN dominance of the show court was mirrored on Court 2, but it didn’t feel like it at times. Down the way from the great glass court, the Men’s 4th and 3rd teams took each other on with intensity and atmosphere, with the University of Nottingham able to edge out their opponents on both occasions.
Squash President Lea Van Der Zwalmen told Impact: “Everyone played exceptionally well but the match of the day was definitely Sam Jones”.
The President is right, the Men’s 4th match was phenomenal entertainment. Jones was languishing in the second game, and things weren’t looking good. His opponent, Andy Paczy-Smith from Trent, had a blistering first few rounds in what felt like a home atmosphere. But going into the 3rd game, Jones pulled out a fighting spirit that turned the crowd, and the match-up ended with Jones coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
It was a great performance, and on a personal note, it was nice that the Trent fans who were so keen to ridicule Jones in the second game fell suspiciously silent. The match had everything – a fight back, a close final point, some controversy in the match official’s decisions, and a great atmosphere in the DRSV.
Things were similarly intense in the second fixture, with a close game that, again, went down to the wire. The games all tumbled Taylor’s way, but the competition itself was far closer than the score lines would suggest. Every point was hotly contested and there were some genuinely great shots played.
Also, the atmosphere revitalised, with the Trent Army back in full voice following their disappointment in the earlier fixture. The referee had to regularly make calls about let or stroke, ones which periodically affected the game due to the power and intensity that both players were showing. The passion was immense.
Taylor brought home the final match on Court 2, and whilst in results terms it mirrored the domination of the show court, in terms of entertainment and atmosphere it was unparalleled.
The President summarised that: “we’re very, very happy… that we managed to retain the Varsity trophy for another year”, and we are too.
Great job guys.
Laura Williamson and James Doherty.
Image credit: Impact Images.