Luton and Dunstable Squash club took on Henley Squash club in
the first round of the National Club Championships on Friday
evening. This was the first time the side had entered the
prestigious National event that draws out the best players across
Number 1 string Steve Davies got the evening off to the perfect
start with a 3-0 win over Henley's Luke Power. The match was fast
paced but Davies always had control and the win was comfortable
enough in the end.
It soon became clear however that Henley were strong in depth and
Numbers 4 and 5 strings Scot Adam and Dean Pike were on the wrong
end of 3-0 defeats. Both Scot and Dean have excellent records this
year in the Beds County league but in truth their opponents from
Henley were a step up and the strongest they have faced this
That left Henley 2-1 up and LDSC had to win the final two matches
at 2 and 3 string to progress into the next round. Unfortunately,
despite playing well and pushing his opponent in each game Matt
Mulara was beaten 3-0 by the experienced Simon Street. The final
game was the best of the evening and very evenly matched. LDSC
number 2 Kachinga Kabwe lost out 3-1 in the end with both players
looking extremely tired from a gruelling battle.
Captain Steve Davies said, "Whilst it is disappointing to lose in
the first round we can have no complaints about the final result.
This is the pinnacle of club squash in the country and hopefully,
we can come back stronger next year. It's been a great experience
and a sign of the growth in the sport and the club that we can
field teams in competitions such as this"
Back in the County League, both LDSC sides lost, the 1st suffering
their first reverse of the season away to Open University I, whilst
the 2nds went down at Bunyan
For the firsts, the match started very much as planned with a 3-0
win for number 1 string Steve Davies against Wayne James.
Steve Wells was up against arguably one of the best number 5's in
the division and started fantastically well. For the first two
games almost everything Steve hit seemed to go exactly where he
wanted and he raced into a 2-0 lead. Laurie Collick then upped his
game and Steve could not keep the winning shots coming and
eventually lost 3-2.
Number 2 string Matt Mulara was also expecting a tough match
against the classy Ben Shakespear. Their previous encounter was a
thrilling 3-2 match and so the rematch was eagerly anticipated. Ben
however, looked fitter and sharper than last year whilst Matt has
been suffering with shin splints over the past few
weeks and not played as much as he would have hoped. The match was
full of quality squash and long rallies but Matt was never able to
get in front of Ben Shakespear in any of the games and ultimately
ran out of steam in a 3-0 defeat.
Dean Pike was a firm favourite to win at number 4 string against
Terry Saunders, especially after playing so well in the first game
and moving swiftly into a 1-0 lead. The key moment happened in the
2nd game though when Dean pulled a groin muscle and whilst he
battled on gamely his opponent was well aware of the injury and
took full advantage with plenty of drops and boasts. Dean lost 3-1
left LDSRC 3-1 down and the match gone.
Scot Adam was last on court against the awkward style of Dave
Gibson. Despite having already lost the match Scot played very well
indeed and secured 3 extra points for the team beating Dave 3-2.
His opponent pulled a calf muscle at the end of the 4th which made
the 5th just a formality for Scot.
Next week the team look to get back to winning ways against
The LDSC second team slumped to a disappointing defeat away at
The panelled back wall at Bunyan gives the home side a clear
advantage against any visitors and the team will learn a lot about
coping with "hostile" conditions in future.
Kachinga Kabwe returned to winning ways this week with an
impressive win over the experienced Matt Towers. The watching crowd
couldn't help but be impressed with Kachinga's fluid movement and
In reality all the other matches were fairly straightforward with
the home side racking up a comfortable home win, with Carl Bates
feeling well below par in his match. Only Adrian John put up any
sort of resistance, but Bob Amos showed his experience at key
points in the match and was always on top.
Next up for the seconds is a trip Open University 2, who will be
the team most likely to be competing with LDSC 2 to avoid the