Galashiels 9-12 Craigshill Xcite
Iain Laing 3-1 Kenny Aiston
Gala got off to a winning start in this opening rubber. Former Club champion Iain Laing, just making a comeback after 14 years away from the game, wasn’t quite upto pace and didn’t have the focus he used to be renowned for. But he came from behind in the first game to win 16-14. The second game was a typical game for two evenly matched players until it was 8-7 to Laing, but then Aiston changed his game and stated playing to Laings back hand and rattled of 5-6 points in quick succession and held on for 15-11. Laing dug deep, and despite his absence from the game, seemed t ofind an extra yard when needed and managed to keep the ball just out of Aistons reach and took the remaining games 15-8, 15-5.
Del Sharratt 2-3 Walid Magby
This was only Magby’s second league game for Xcite, and the cold temperatures in the Galashiels court took him a bit by surprise. Del was used to the bounce of the ball in the cold courts and used this to his advantage winning two close games 15-12, 15-11. Both players were of similar ilk in the court and lots of long rallies and great squash ensued. tHings changed in the third game when Magby kept Sharratt at the back of the court and refused to let him boss the rallies, this meant Del was limited to the shots he could play and from 9-7 up the Xcite player ran away to 15-7. The fourth game was fast, Magby gradually getting used to the conditions and Del just couldn’t find the back wall with his shots as Magby was keeping the ball tight and took it 15-11. Del was feeling the pressure having thrown away a 2-0 advantage and heading into the decider both players were equally determined but some deft drop shots from Magby were too good for Del (15-12) and the visitors levelled the rubbers at 1-1.
Graham Bensted 0-3 Iain McIver
Bensted found the going rather tough against his younger opponent in this tie. Iain McIver, who is a League regular for Xcite showed his quality as he varied his play. tHis meant Bensted couldn’t read the shots and often went the wrong way in the rallies. McIver rattled off 3 games in a fairly straight forward 15-9, 15-6, 15-12.
Adam Niemczewski 1-3 Phil Brown
Phil Brown, boasting an unbeaten record against Gala, was looking forward to this tie against relatively unknown Niemczewski. Brown took the first game as he motored put of the blocks and commanded the T-Line in most of the rallies and won 15-5. The play switched in the second as Adam was the one getting to the T-Line first and managed to keep Brown at the back of the court and took it 15-13. This could really have went either way, but brown just had the edge on speed and accuracy and took the remaining games 15-10, 15-5 to clinch the match for Xcite.
Pat Spence 3-2 John Taylor
The two in the final rubber were the respective teams top seeds and the quality of squash in this match lived upto expectation. Both players, similar age and fitness provided highly entertaining squash for the spectators. For the first four games it was a case of as soon as one player had advantage, the other player would come back and it went 0-1, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2. The deciding game was even closer than the rest and at 14-14 it went to sudden death. But Spence stayed calm and collected and Taylor felt the pressure a bit as Spence bossed the remaining points for 16-14 and 3-2.
“What a match, most of the games could’ve went either way, I’m (Del) a bit disappointed at losing my match from 2-0 up, but I hope we can have a rematch at the return leg and I’ll get a chance to remedy that score line.”