A team from Gala Squash Club travelled up to Grange Sports Club in Edinburgh for an end of season challenge match. With Gala Squash Club entering the East of Scotland squash Leagues next season this was a vital preparation against the sort of team they will be facing. Gala’s team comprised of Pat Spence, Luis Molero, Andrew Dowlen-Gilland, Del Sharratt (capt) and Ruaridh Kohler, and ladies Rachel McAleese and Lauren Harris.
In the opening rubbers, Gala’s Ruaridh Kohler lost 3-0 (11-5, 11-7, 11-7) to former Scotland International Paula Gilchrist and Del Sharratt lost 3-1 to Jamie Dalrymple. Del just couldn’t get going and lost the first game 11-6, but some strong, well-placed serves gave him the second game 11-5; both players had similar skill and fitness levels but several unforced errors at key points from Del let Jamie take the last two games 11-7, 12-10.
Next up for Gala was veteran Andrew Dowlen-Gilland against Jim McConnell. This was a tight affair with tit for tat scoring as neither player wanted to give an inch. Jim took the match after a marathon 3-2 (11-3, 7-11, 16-14, 6-11, 11-6). Gala’s Luis Molero went down comprehensibly 3-0 to Shane Martin (11-6, 11-6, 11-9). In the battle of the top seeds Pat Spence met Gordon Robertson. Both players are seasoned veterans and this was a very exciting match. The games were tight and the players were focussed. Gordon took the first game 11-8 as both players were getting into their strides, the second game went to Pat 11-8 as some hard and fast shots were too good for Gordon. Gordon got the upper hand in the third as he stormed to a quick 4-0 lead and Pat just couldn’t claw it back and went down 11-7, in the fourth game something just seemed to click for Pat as he didn’t seem to miss anything and a polished performance won the game 11-5. Locked at 2-2 and both players now running on adrenalin the deciding game went right to the wire but Gordon’s determination saw him take it 11-9 and 3-2. The match ended Grange 18-5 Gala.
In the ladies tournament Gala Squash club Champion Rachel McAleese met a strong Laura Robertson and despite a valiant effort Rachel lost 3-0 (11-4, 11-4, 11-10). Gala debutant Lauren Harris found the going equally as tough as she lost 3-0 to Grange’s Lucy Black (11-8, 11-9, 11-5).
After the match Gala Captain Del Sharratt said “We always expected this to be tough, it was a really important match for us as this is the sort of players we will be facing in the league next season. We’ll work hard over the summer and hopefully a couple of pre-season friendlies in September will set us up for the league season. We are all excited to be joining the East of Scotland League since the Club is thriving at the moment and membership is increasing.”