SU Sport Spotlight: University of Lincoln Men’s Squash

The University of Lincoln men’s squash 1sts returned to winning ways by thumping the University of Derby’s 3rds 5-0 at the Sports Centre on Wednesday evening.

Jarek Grebenik and Will Casburn overcame their respective opponents with a minimum of fuss before president Alex Rhodes produced another commanding display to put Lincoln firmly in control at 3-0.

Robby Coates then overcame an early scare to make it 4-0 before the game of the evening saw Lincoln captain Andy Oram triumph 3-2 in a fantastic finale.

Derby arrived in Lincoln having lost all of their away matches this season. The Midlands outfit had also lost their last three matches, suffering two 5-0 defeats.

The University of Lincoln Squash Team beat Derby's 3rds 5-0

The University of Lincoln Squash Team beat Derby’s 3rds 5-0

Lincoln found themselves in similarly worrying form going into the match as they had lost two of their last three matches before their tie with the league’s bottom side and only team below Lincoln’s 1sts in the table.

It may have been dark, gloomy and wet outside but the action on courts three and four certainly warmed everybody up.

The first match saw Lincoln’s Jarek Grebenik take on Derby’s Ali Zahir. The home side established themselves early on in this encounter. Grebenik, showing superb shot variety powered his way into an 8-0 lead, going on to win 11-1.

The second match mirrored the first, Grebenik, wearing the number six shirt, demonstrated superb ability to bulldoze his way into another 8-0 lead. Derby’s Zahir tried his best to mount a comeback but had little in the way of response to the Lincoln man’s superior skill.

The third and final match between the pair was a little tighter, Lincoln taking the match 11-7. Grebenik said that he was saving his energy in the final match for a night out in Quack to celebrate.

Meanwhile on court four, Lincoln’s Will Casburn charged into an unbelievable 10-0 lead, going on to win the first match 11-1 against Derby’s Rob Riot.

It looked like the second match would follow suit as Casburn conducted the court to make it 4-0 before Riot started to claw his way back winning three successive points to bring the contest back to 4-3. Casburn then regained his composure and blitzed his way passed Riot to claim an 11-3 victory.

The third match followed the narrative of the two prior encounters, Casburn was sharper and quicker to the ball, dispatching Riot by 11-2. The Derby man was visibly frustrated with himself having wasted several easy opportunities to claw back some pride in the last match. However, it wasn’t to be as Casburn won the game 3-0 and doubled Lincoln’s overall lead.

We return to court three for the third match as squash president Alex Rhodes faced off against Josh Rout of Derby. Rhodes showcased tremendous agility and frustrated Rout with his powerful low drives taking the first game 11-1.

Rout’s struggles continued in the second match as he found it increasingly difficult to return Rhodes’ tenacious shots and thereby succumbed to another 11-1 loss. The third match between the pair followed a familiar pattern, and although Rout produced a few eye-catching backhands to claw back a bit of pride there was no stopping Rhodes. He took the game 11-3, killing off any lingering hopes of a Derby fightback.

Andrew Oram causes problems for Angus Pickering

Andy Oram causes problems for Angus Pickering

The penultimate encounter pitted Robby Coates against Derby’s Adam Mills. In contrast to the three prior clashes, this match was well-balanced with both players showcasing their talents in equal measures.

Coates and Mills exchanged points throughout the first game with Mills eventually levelling the contest at 6-6. Both players continued to exchange points. Mills showed superior speed and Coates the greater shot variety. The Lincoln man’s better shot creativity eventually saw him take the first game 11-9.

The second encounter was as equally close as the first. Both player’s skills resulted in the two of them cancelling each other out. Coates produced a brilliant backhand to go 7-4 up and this was immediately complemented by a ferocious forehand as the Lincoln man eventually triumphed 11-7.

By stark contrast, the final game between these two was very one-sided. Mills looked exhausted and Coates’ superior fitness shone through. He manoeuvred around the court well and produced some brilliant shots. A sweet, low drive made the score 9-2 before Coates collected the last two points to win 11-2 and 3-0 overall. Collectively, that win made it 4-0 to the hosts.

Lincoln’s Andy Oram and Derby’s Angus Pickering then produced a wonderful five game thriller in the final match.

In the first match Oram showed tremendous balance to out manoeuvre his opponent, who was desperate to prevent his side falling to another 5-0 whitewash. Oram’s ability proved too much for Pickering in the opening game and despite the Derby man pulling a handful of points back Lincoln won 11-5.

Oram raced into a 6-2 lead in the second match before Pickering hauled himself back into contention with some powerful drives, eventually levelling the game at 7-7. However, he then lost the remaining four points thereby losing the game 11-7.

The third game followed a similar pattern as Oram charged into a 6-3 lead before Pickering produced yet another stunning comeback. His powerful shots caused issues for Oram and he took the lead by winning the third game 11-6.

Oram cut a frustrated figure after having played so well in the previous two games but eventually having his commanding leads wiped out. He looked a man on a mission, however, and went on the offense taking a 4-1 lead in game four. Pickering, who had already demonstrated his comeback abilities, then clawed the game back to 6-4. But it was Oram’s determination to win that saw him run-out an 11-6 winner.

Both players were desperate to obtain victory in the deciding game, exchanging points until they were level at 2-2. But it was Oram’s will to win that saw the pendulum swing his way in the final game. He dived on the floor on one occasion, bringing the score to 6-3. Oram then extinguished any lingering hopes of yet another Pickering comeback by playing some superb squash to settle the game 11-9 and win 3-2 overall. This subsequently ensured that Lincoln triumphed 5-0.

After the match, Captain Andy Oram was full of praise for his side.

He said: “I think the team played well, I think we all tried our hardest, competed well and remained strong in a few tough games to pull through in the end.”

Both sides return to action next week. Lincoln travel to the University of Warwick, taking on their thirds whilst Derby host the University of Birmingham’s fourths.

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