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Windscale Select v South African Knights 2017

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The 28th tour of The South African Knights again included Windscale in their 38 match odyssey around the UK and an appreciative large crowd gathered on Friday evening to watch Windscale try to beat them for the first time ever.

Windscales Select team consisted of 4 juniors and one under 30, and was by far one of the youngest teams The Knights had played on their entire tour to date.

 
The Teams, l to r, Windscale Select, Chris Musson, Brandon Groggins, Daniel Harrison, James Wilkinson (Wigton) and Ross Singleton. The South African Knights, Mark Gouweloos, James Gouweloos, Thomas Jordaan, Matthew Boote and Luke McFarland James, Thomas, Barbara Telfer, Matthew, Mark and Luke

Windscale had Daniel Harrison at 1, Chris Musson 2, James Wilkinson (Wigton guest) 3, Brandon Groggins 4 and Ross Singleton at 5, and they were up against Mark Gouweloos at 1, James Gouweloos 2, Thomas Jordaan 3, Matthew Boote 4 and Luke McFarland at 5, and a lean and fit 5 The Knights looked.

 
 The Knights and Windscale Juniors l to r, back row, Mark SAK, Dominic Corlett, James SAK, Thomas Bragg, Zachary Singleton, Thomas SAK and Matthew SAK, front row, Rebekah Hall, Ashton Telfer, India Singleton, Luke SAK, Sasha Shaw, Finlay Richardson, Harrison Rogers.

But before the main match started there was an opportunity for some of the Windscale beginners and improving juniors to have a knock with The Knights to see if they could pick up any tips on what to do to be a better player. Both The Knights and the juniors thoroughly enjoyed this hour of fun and enjoyment.

First on the courts for the main event were Brandon Groggins v Matthew Boote and Ross Singleton v Luke McFarland.

Brandon and Matthew shared the first 6 points in a tight start but then Brandon gained himself a commanding 8/3 lead to push towards taking the opening game, but Matthew took a couple of points to pull it back a little. Brandon took a 9th point but Matthew dug in and took the next 6 points to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat as Brandon 'froze' at the business end of the game. Matthew 1-0 up, 11/9. Matthew raised his game after the shock of the first and led 10/1 in 2 hands of serving until Brandon scored a couple of late points, but it was a tall order not to make a mistake and Matthew took the 11th point to go 2 games up, 11/3. Brandon battled early in the third game and it was tight with Matthew just in front at 6/5, but Brandon couldn't last the pace or keep his error count down and Matthew took the last 5 points to win the game 11/5 and match 3-0.

Ross looked very nervous in what was his most prestigious match for the club to date, which didn't help his early chances and sure enough Luke was quickly in front at 7/1 before Ross settled into the game with a couple of nicely worked points, but that merely delayed the inevitable and Luke took the rest of the points to lead 1-0, 11/3. The second game was more evenly contested and Ross looked like the player he was selected for, as neither player could shake the other off and the first 9 points were shared with Ross just ahead 5/4 (cue fist-pump and beaming smile!) Alas it was a short lived lead as Luke went through his gears to take 7 of the next 8 points for an 11/6 second game win. Buoyed by that better showing, Ross went for his spectacular (when they come off) shots in the third with not a lot to lose and again proved he was Luke's match, he led 3/1, then all square at 3 all, he led 6/5 but then found himself 6/8 down, but he was fighting and deserved to go back in front at 9/8 with some great squash which had Luke a little worried. Luke levelled at 9 all and got to match ball with the next point, then delivered the 'coup-de-grace' to take the third game 11/9 and win the match 3-0.

Next on court were James Wilkinson and Thomas Jordaan and on another court Chris Musson and James Gouweloos.

James Wilkinson is an up and coming under 17 from Wigton Squash Club and fully deserved and justified his selection for the Windscale Select team. He has a no nonsense, respectful approach to the game, his opponent, and his squash is top drawer too as Thomas found out. James is pretty unflappable and it was no surprise to those of us that know him that he had Thomas at full tilt from the off as there was never more than 1 point between them apart from Thomas leading 5/3 and right at the end when Thomas brought a thrilling opener to a close with an 11/8 win, 1-0. James was in attacking mode throughout the second game and took a stranglehold at 8/3 with Thomas struggling, but once James faltered Thomas was right in with a vengeance, taking 8 out of 9 points to secure the second game 11-9, 2-0. James started the 3rd game the better leading 3/0 before Thomas replied with 3 points of his own, James got another point but then Thomas hit a purple patch  and got himself to 8/4, a handy lead to protect, but James was far from finished and he reeled off 4 of the next 6 points to get himself a chance at 8/10 down, it wasn't to end well though as Thomas hit the winning point for an 11/8 game and 3-0 match. An epic struggle and a great match.

 
 Thomas having a breather  Backhand retrieving from James  At last, the winning point is always sweet.

Chris played James Gouweloos, a player with enormous reach and a giant stride, so his court coverage was huge and Chris needed to be very accurate. The early points were lengthy as both players eyed up each others strengths and weaknesses, and to be honest the weaknesses were hard to spot with only poor execution at times letting either player down when playing what would have been the correct winning shot bar for an error, and at Chris down by 3/5 it was only then that James pulled away slightly to lead 8/3. Undeterred, Chris pulled back a couple of points, and later a third, but by then James had game ball for an 11/6 opener. Chris played more great squash at the start of the second game to lead 5/2, but once James picked it up, Chris made some errors and James turned it round to lead 8/5. Chris dug in and got it back to 9 all before James took the final 2 points for a 2-0 lead, 11/9. The third started like the second with Chris starting the better with good shots to lead 5/3, only to see James go in front with a run of points 7/5, Chris got a point back but James was now on full steam ahead,  taking the next 4 points without reply from Chris to finish the game 11/6 and another 3-0 victory.

 Daniel starts another game off as Marks team mates return from the end of the previous lost game 'good talking to' (it didn't do any good).

All that remained was for Daniel to play Mark Gouweloos to save the team being whitewashed. Daniel, another junior with great talent showed just why he plays Club Team number 1 as he set about his task with relish. Mark knew he was in for a tough game right away as Daniel went for his shots and retrieved most of Mark's better shots. All square on points early, then Mark slightly up then Daniel pegged him back, but Mark got clear again at 7/5 and from then on it was the Daniel show, winner after winner saw him lead 8/7 before an error allowed Mark to level it at 8 all. Daniel wasn't to be denied and he led 10/8 but couldn't convert the game ball as Mark hit a winner making for a nervous finish, But the big crowd got the big cheer they had been waiting all night for as Daniel took the last point for a great 11/9 win, Windscales first game of the night. Daniel led 2/0 early in the second and then battered Mark into virtual submission by leading 7/2, but the Knight wasn't quite done for yet, he gained 5 of the next 6 points to only trail 7/9, but he couldnt stop Daniel from hitting his share of winners and therefore Daniel took the second game again 11/9 for a 2-0 lead, imagine the noise now! Mark to his credit dug in (as expected) and the first 10 points of the third game were shared, before Mark sneaked ahead 6/5, but with Daniel making a big push to avoid a 4th and 5th game it was he who got in front and closed out a fantastic match 3-0 with an 11/7 finishing game. This was Daniels reward for playing some of the best squash he's played in a long time (his words) and a fitting pay back for his effort when tiring against a very capable player. Plus this was no more than the Windscale Select Team deserved, with some fantastic squash played by everybody in all 5 matches, and with a little bit of care and luck there could have been a game (or more) in each match for the Windscale players.

Still, there's always 2 years time!

 Let the fun and games begin, 'Man of the Match' selection.  James and Matthew getting in 'on the craic'.
 The South African Knights results book  Windscale Squash Select teams place in history

Whilst that saw the end of the squash action, the bar action was about to begin, following some speedy showers and a change of attire. As usual Windscale were the perfect hosts and The Knights (as well as all those present) were treated to a meal and drinks, as everyone  enjoyed the company and the 'craic' of the tourists. The 'Book' was duly signed and generally reveered for its history and information and the revelry followed. Needless to say The Knights knew how to enjoy themselves and the Windscale select juniors took part to the fullest extent. The Knights headed to their luxury complimentary hotel ready for a good nights rest. In the morning they had a quick trip into the Lake District planned on their way 'up north' to Carlisle, though not before they called round at Lynn C's to pick up all their freshly laundered kit and clothing.

Windscale are reknowned for totally looking after our special visitors!

So, a big thank you to The South African Knights for honouring us with your presence again, thank you to all the Windscale Select players, the Windscale juniors who pushed themselves in the coaching session and all the crowd/supporters for making it an evening to remember. All the matches were competantly marked by Ian, Hannah and John, our thanks to them for sparing their time also.

 
 Windscale Squash Select v The South African Knights, Official 'Man of the Match', Barbara Telfer (Top organiser).

However, it would be remiss to not mention the evenings 'Man-Of -The-Match' and that was Barbara Telfer. She was singled out by the Knights as having been the biggest help, assistance and 'go-to' throughout the pre-event arranging, and on the day itself, without whom the evening would not have been the success it was.
 


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