ECSC 1’s penultimate match of the season

Thursday night’s penultimate match of the season for ECSC 1 was remarkable for two things: the worst and most perfect squash bruise ever seen in the annals of the ECSC, inflicted on the back of Frank’s thigh; and perhaps even more remarkably, a victory for Gavin Evans. The less said about Enrique’s, Rob’s and Frank’s defeats the better (although clearly in Frank’s case there were mitigating circumstances).

(Match report courtesy of Gavin Evans)

ECSC 1 – Nothing but good news!

Good things come to those who wait (and persevere I would add). Yesterday at Winners, ECSC 1 celebrated its first victory of the play-offs. Against one of the Lasne teams. Strong opponents, as always, as they played 3rd division before Christmas and are fighting not to be relegated. Lasne 1 formed quite a balanced team, composed of only C-players (they left both their B and D-players at home). Not a very wise decision as they had no chance to get a good result against a very motivated ECSC team.

Our number 1, Artur, had a tough and nice to watch match against a former B-player who eventually got frustrated, and completely exhausted, because of a strong and consistent Artur. The result: a 3-2 victory. Pedro and Enrique had quite comfortable matches, only Pedro conceding a game to his opponent. Enrique won in three straight games. Herewith, the expected Spanish victories were reality. Pity that Rob had no chance against a fit C3-player, who beat him 3-0.

You want more good news? Well ECSC 1 has left the last position of the play-off, and will not return there. Moreover, we have played one match less than the rest of the teams. On our way up. Where will it end?

In any case, we said last week there was room for improvement. Here it is already! Let´s continue our campaign with the same ingredients:  high squash level, fun on the courts and occasionally some suffering.

(Story by Pedro)

ECSC 1 – A trip to Gosselies

Let’s start with the end. With the final result. A 4-0 defeat. You wonder, how ECSC 1 managed to achieve so poorly? Well, sometimes there is a very thin line between a draw or being trashed. If you were not in Gosselies last week, I can imagine that you imagine that we were trashed. But come on, it ain’t that simple! For surely, we had some good chances to end up with an honorable draw against, more than probably, the strongest team in the play-offs.

Artur and Pedro were indeed swept off, no big story. A 3-0 and another 3-0 against two B3 players. It might be that both Artur and Pedro were performing under their usual level. This happens sometimes. We all have these moments.

Having said this, Bram performed very well but still did not manage to beat his strong C1 opponent. He ended up losing 3-1 in a very much disputed match. Bram was leading 9-5 in the fourth game but managed to lose 12-10 eventually. He was close to playing a final game and, with his close to perfect physical shape, he might as well have beaten his opponent then.

John had a great chance of beating his opponent. Leading 2-1 against a seriously fit opponent. Only then the referee, a so called hipster, decided to help his teammate (and John’s opponent) with several very controversial calls. The result? A superbly peaceful John lost 3-2.

Yes, there is room for improvement. But let us not think that the 3rd division is out of sight. We only just started our campaign and we all know that we are slow starters.

Last but not least. Our opponents were ranked B3, C1, C2 and C3. No doubt all of them know the squash rules. So why were they not taken into consideration by our opponent’s referees? That is the one million dollar question. Of course, playing squash without making mistakes is an illusion for us. The same can be said about referees. After all, we are all human beings. But, a bad (or even non-existing) knowledge of the rules cannot be acceptable at this level. This will distract players from their game, complicate matches (for both referee and players) and poison the ambience between the clubs-players involved.

Squash 22 – ECSC 1

Playing squash in Liége against Squash 22; it is always a pleasure thanks to the Boulets à la Liégeoise. But before dreaming about these balls, we had to hit the squash balls. With one very clear goal: winning at least one match to make it to the play-offs. Personally, I thought that this should be a piece of cake. But Captain Pedro was less convinced. He feared the opponents, this in spite of the fact that we beat them with our fingers in our nose at Winners.

The long drive to Liége, at least long for Belgian standards, showed clearly how focussed we were. Enrique slept. Artur talked. Bram was struggling with the low roof of the car. Pedro drove, advised, listened, played the right music and entertained his father-in-law with stories.

Needless to say, we arrived full of energy in Liége. Within minutes we were dressed in our fancy new outfits. As a good Captain Pedro took his responsibility and volunteered to be the first to play his match. Already during the warming-up it was obvious that he would win, the determination and eagerness were dripping from his face. In his typical style: relaxed were possible, kind where needed he slaughtered his opponent. 1-0! Bingo! Already after one match we had reached our goal.

Next was Enrique, who looked super fresh after his little nap. As a consequence, his opponent was left without any chance. Enrique reigned, like a Spanish king and his poor opponent could only look in admiration at the boasts and drop-shots Enrique produced. 2-0!

Blame it on the fact that we already achieved our goal. Blame it on the slippery floor. Blame it on his new racket. Or blame it perhaps on his very strong opponent. But Bram did not manage to win his match. On the contrary, he lost. That is all. Nothing more to add.

Last, but surely not least, it was Artur to play. Against a B1 (or was it B2?). Therefore, he had nothing to lose, only to win. And Artur played really well. Challenging his opponent seriously and reaching a level that is beyond his current one. But his opponent was too tough and just a tiny little bit too good. Final result: 2-2.

So yes, we made it to the play-offs. Should I add that the beers and the meatballs tasted perfectly? Should I write that we all slept on the way back? Except Artur, who still talked, about drop-shots and boasts. And of course BOB Pedro did not sleep. As he was not tired!