R9: Nottingham’s hopes dented by Leicester
Air-IT Nottingham vs Everards Leicester
Air IT Nottingham’s penultimate match of the season fell at home against Everards Leicester. Hoping to keep their play-off dreams alive, Nottingham fielded their strongest team against a full strength Leicester side.
First onto the show court came the women. Nottingham’s Emma Beddoes, recently returning from America as the Emerson RC Pro Series Champion, against 17 year old Mari Taylor. Beddoes started the evening positively, winning the match 3-0. A mixture of court domination and superior shots allowed her to close the game out in under half an hour.
Meanwhile, next door, Nottingham’s Lewis Walters took on Leicester’s Ben Coleman. The match started at a high pace with long rallies and tight shots. Throughout the match the ball barely left the side wall with great precision from both players. At 1-1 the match heated up and the rallies became more pressurizing from both players. Despite some fantastic squash from Walters, moving Coleman front to back, Coleman edged the match 3-1.
Popular with the home crowd, Nottingham’s Eddie Charlton stepped onto the court to take on Leicester’s Shaun Le Roux in a match set to be a tightly fought contest. The match started out the way it finished – with a lot of controversy, arguments with the referees and . Points went both ways and Le Roux edged the first game 11-9. Charlton came back on court with a fresh mind and mentally dominated Le Roux, taking the second game 11-8. The next three games passed in an equal fashion with some incredible pick-ups from Charlton. Unfortunately Le Roux snuck the fifth game 11-9, putting Leicester 2-1 up with two matches to play.
Team manager for Nottingham Mark Fuller hoped to equal the standings with a win over Leicester’s in form George Parker. A strong start from Fuller had Parker under pressure and the first two games passed in a battle of strength and speed. At 1-1 Fuller stepped back onto court hoping to continue injecting the pressure of his own game into the match, however Parker came back stronger. Parker turned the match on its head, playing Fuller around the court and forcing the errors. Parker proceeded to take the final two games fairly comfortably.
With Leicester 3-1 up, Nottingham’s first seed Scottish No 1 Alan Clyne would only be playing for vital points to try and minimize the effect of the team loss. Clyne, having beaten world ranked #24 Adrian Waller last week in Chicago, took on Daryl Selby in the final match of the evening. Selby showed his intent to win, easily taking the first game 11-3. However, with Selby relaxing into the match, Clyne came back stronger. With some lengthy rallies and incredible front court work from both players, Clyne edged the second game 11-9. Despite Clyne’s continued efforts and quick feet, Selby took the match 3-1.
A disappointing loss for Air-IT Nottingham leaves them fourth in the table with only 6 points separating them from the play-offs. With one match to go against bottom of the league Pontefract, let’s keep our fingers crossed for a victory.