Crown Services 2012 Men's TeamIn October 2012 the Civil Service played the annual quadrangular tournament against the Police, Fire Service and Combined Services at the Nottingham Squash Club. The Civil Service team consisted of usual stalwarts Tim Burrell, Tony Webb and John Ashton; with James Hodson and newcomers Jonathan Simpson and Adam Curry.

The first match was against the Police. This is always a tough encounter and the Police are well known for their strength in depth and had won the event in 2011. First on court were Jonathan and Adam. Both new to the starting line up and out to make an immediate impression. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out – Jonathan, playing at string 5, succumbed in the first 2 games to his skilful opponent and while, after pulling back to 2-2 and looking the stronger player a few amazing winners took the Police player clear in the final game. A gap which Jonathan could not close and the Civil Service went down 3-2. On the show court Adam was off to a flier taking the first game with ease. As the match went on the consistency and hard hitting of his opponent began to play dividends and while Adam rallied and probed he could not make the break through to take the 2nd game. The Police player drew level at 1-1 and it was always an uphill battle for Adam from then on. A 3-1 loss and it looked like the writing was on the wall for the Civil Service. Next on were Tim Burrell (1) and James Hodson (3), knowing that nothing less than victory would do. Both players looked in fine form and in tough conditions both ground out tight victories. Tim went 2-0 up only to lose the 3rd but pulled himself together for the 4th to take the match 3-1. Meanwhile James found it tougher going with a 3-2 victory. James’ victory was tainted by a bizarre racket breaking incident as his racket got stuck in the nick. Shame he couldn’t hit the ball in the nick. Last on was Tony Webb (2) for the deciding match. Tony got off to a super start winning the first 2 games with ease. The 3rd was a different matter as his opponent seemed to be seeing the ball a bit clearer as his winners began to find the corners leaving Tony scrabbling for points. At 2-1 Tony picked up the pace to take the final game and a 3-1 victory. A superb win for the Civil Service against last years champions. 1 match down, 2 to go…

The Combined Services are always strong and this year had a youthful team who had beaten the Fire Service the previous night. A slight shift in the Civil Service order, moving James to number 1, hoped to bring about victory. First on were John Ashton (5) and Tony Webb (3). John was clinical in his match winning 3-0 with the minimum of fuss. On the other court things were not going well for Tony. A see-saw match which Tony eventually lost 3-2 and again things did not improve for the Civil Service following this loss. Tim (2) was taken to pieces and suffered an out of character 3-0 loss. James fought gallantly at 1 but could not stop the flow of winners from his opponent and went down 3-2. Adam also struggled and despite looking solid for some moments ended up succumbing to a 3-0 loss. A 4-1 loss with one match to play.

The Civil Service entered the final encounter against the Fire Service knowing they had to win 5-0 and hope for a Police upset against the Combined Service. The team resorted back to their original order with John Ashton (5) on first and, like the morning match, was clinical in dispatching the poor helpless Fire Service player. Tim resumed his position at 1 and knew he had to perform better than he had in the morning. It didn’t start well as he let leads slip in the first 2 games to go 2-0 down. Luckily he pulled his finger out, helped by his opponent noticeably slowing down, and managed to take the next 2 games to draw level. The final game swayed in favour of each player and eventually came down to a tie break with Tim taking the game 13-11 and match 3-2. 2-0 to the Civil Service. While Tim was on court Adam was battling it out and winning at 4, a comprehensive 3-0 victory. James was continuing his struggles at 3 but won through a tight 3-1 affair. Last on was Tony and, feeling tired from the morning match, took a while to get going. The first 2 games went to Tony’s opponent but he turned it around in the 3rd and never looked back. A 3-2 victory and 5-0 to the Civil Service.

Unfortunately for the Civil Service the Combined Services had comprehensively outplayed the Police to a 5-0 victory and deservedly won the weekend with 3 wins out of 3. For the second year in succession the Civil Service came a close 2nd with the Police in 3rd and Fire service finishing 4th. Thanks go to the Civil Service Committee for organising the event; Nottingham SRC for hosting the event and providing the courts and food. Thanks also to the players who gave their all, played fantastically and represented the Civil Service with great skill and determination.

2012 Crown Services Results