For the past two seasons LDS has entered a development side in the Herts Summer league with its principle aim being to expose young players in particular to team squash for the first time and give wider opportunities to others as the Beds league has largely been inappropriate due to the size and format. This season it was agreed that there would be a team entered into the more serious Winter league in Herts and it’s been a mixed bag to say the least with 9 defeats and 1 win after ten matches.
As captain, my view is that it has not been as bad as the basic stats would suggest as there have only been a couple of occasions where the team has been totally outclassed. A mixture of illness and absence in crucial games has exposed the lack of depth, which arguably pervades the whole club in terms of quality.
At strings 1 and 2 the team usually has Sean Davies and John Blackwell. At 1 Sean has only lost 3 from 10 and John is unbeaten at 2, but has missed 3 matches. When John is missing it’s a huge step up for whoever is at 3, usually Antony Di Asbolo, a new recruit to the club who has been very competitive at that level in his debut season and has a 50% win rate. The rates drop off fairly sharply after that with me only winning 1 from 6 and the girls, Sophia John and Lily and Natalie Main failing to win a match so far this season with occasional contributions from others, notably Amir Jafri who has turned out twice for us, winning on both occasions.
In summary, if we have our usual 1,2, and 3 we are very competitive; however, if anyone has to step up we are in big trouble. The objective of this side has never been to look solely at the results and we are a tight knit bunch who all understands that this is a longer term project. Ironically a few weeks ago at the Scottish Open I met with the young Khan players who used to be based at the club before moving to Stoke and they expressed their regret at having to move away and it caused me to reflect that we would be walking this league with three juniors playing, perhaps even having the luxury of playing 4 with the 5th still being under 20!
By and large the juniors have been a credit to the club and have matured as players and people playing in different environments, with “interesting” interpretations of the rules and unconventional styles and the team as a whole are grateful for the support of the club. To put things in perspective, in the first season of Summer league the team finished 2nd bottom, last season top half, progress will not be quick, but there are signs that the team is getting there, one other quality, available player in the top 3 strings would make all the difference.
A quirk in the fixtures schedule mean that there are only two more home matches to go 26th v Broxbourne 4 and 12th March Active Fitness 1, but any support gratefully received.
A final note is to say thanks to Antony who has generously kitted us out and by common consent we may not be top on results but in terms of smartness of kit we are a distance ahead.
Herts Winter team captain