THE situation looked grim when Magherafelt travelled to Windsor for their Ulster Squash Premier Division League match with only 3 players instead of 4. This meant that they had to concede the No. 4 rubber putting the team 1/0 down to start with.
Jeremy Hastings opened up for the visitors at No. 1 in the evening’s top match against the “evergreen” David Gotto. Jeremy started slowly and probably got a bit of a shock going 1/0 down. He responded well to the challenge and came back more focused taking the next two games, though having to work all the way. He sealed victory by taking the fourth in more comfortable fashion to win 3/1; 8/11, 11/8, 11/8, 11/6.
With both Nick Hastings and Ray Hogg still unavailable Laurence moved up to No. 3 for a match with Richard McDowell. Laurence’s expectations would not have been high, however he took a tight opening game and then to his surprise went on to take a 2/0 lead. Richard came back with great determination in the third and just edged through to keep the match alive. With his confidence growing he went on to win the fourth and then also the decider as Laurence faded. Richard managed to salvage victory 3/2; 8/11, 2/11, 11/8, 11/4, 11/4.
In the remaining rubber at No. 2 Gareth Brown was matched with Michael McKee and had the added pressure of knowing that he had to win to secure a draw for Magherafelt and prevent the team working their way any further down the Premier Division League table.
Gareth started really well taking a 10/4 lead in the opening game, unfortunately he made life very difficult for himself and squandered 6 game balls before sneaking through in a tie break. The second game followed very much the same pattern. This time a 10/7 lead slipped by. However to Gareth’s credit he again managed to pull through in the tie break. Four more match balls slipped through his hands in the third game, only this time Michael managed to actually win the tie break and keep the match alive.
Gareth maintained his focus in the fourth and although Michael fought for every point, Gareth responded to the pressure to win a tight game, without going to a tie break. Gareth won 3/1; 12/10, 12/10, 14/16, 11/8.
Magherafelt’s next match is away at Ballyearl – a match they can’t afford to lose if they are to keep out of the relegation zone.