The Civil Service Men's Squash Team arrived at Nottingham Squash Rackets Club sporting another strong side although this year missing the youth of Tom Power.

Our first match was against the Combined Services, with John McFarlane and myself on court to get things underway. John played extremely well, calling on his wealth of experience to come out a 3-2 winner while I lost disappointingly 3-0. Next up were Marc Aldridge and Tony Webb. Marc was keen to make up for losing all 3 matches the previous year and now that he is almost semi-pro, won easily 3-0. Tony Webb made hard work of a match that he probably should have won but eventually went down 3-2. This meant the match score was 2-2 with just Tim Burrell left to play, however he was up against the arrogant ex-professional Sam Miller. Tim played some marvellous squash and at times Sam was looking worried but eventually superior fitness was the key and he secured the win 3-0.

The Fire Service struggled against a very strong Police side and lost 5-0, so the scene was set for the matches on Saturday morning.

At 10am on Saturday we were due on court against the Fire Service. A much stronger team performance resulted in a 4-1 win for the Civil Service and 19 points out of a possible 20.

The Police struggled against the Combined Services and only just beat them 3-2. This therefore set up an interesting encounter for the last match between us and the Police with potentially the winner taking all.

John Ashton and Marc Aldridge were 1st on court but despite close game both lost 3-2 and 3-0. Tim and I steadied the ship with good 3-0 wins setting up a grand finale between Tony Webb and Ian Cox. Tony needed to win 3-1 for us to take the title and got off to a flyer winning the 1st 9-4. Ian dug his heels in and took the 2nd game 9-2 meaning Tony needed to win the next 2 games. The 3rd was one of the tightest games of the tournament with both players having several game balls at 9-9 but eventually Tony succumbed to the severe pressure and lost 10-9. The 4th was another tough one but eventually the game and the match was lost, leaving a ‘so near yet so far’ feeling on the balcony. To rub more salt in the wounds The Combined Services took 2nd place by beating the Fire Service 4-1.

It was another good tournament with some quality squash being played by all 4 teams. The Police were the strongest side but there is a feeling that the divide is becoming narrower each year, however it will take a team in top form to relieve them of the trophy.

I would like to thank all my players for again giving 100% in their matches. The Civil Service Ladies were very supportive and also played some excellent squash themselves in their Triangular tournament (please see Sian Hughes’ report). The Club must also be thanked for some excellent hospitality and for being flexible in our court allocation with a lot of matches played over the 2 days.

Final positions:

Team Points
Police 50
Combined Services 44
Civil Service 36
Fire Service 14