AFTER a mixed start to their 2013/14 campaigns, Burton Squash Club teams are hoping to play themselves into contention for divisional honours over the next two months.
The Leicestershire Premier League team are currently third, and after inflicting league leaders Hinckley’s only defeat of the first half of the season, recently played the eagerly awaited return match.
In front of a large crowd, the match lived up to expectations, with close games all round.
For Burton, Owen Whitfield and Colin Morris won at numbers four and five, whilst the visitors’ Luke Parker (Leicester under 19 number two) and Mitchell Cook took the number two and three ties.
With the match outcome therefore being decided by the number one strings, Burton’s Andrew Birks (Shropshire County number two) took on Mark Fuller, a professional player who currently plays number three for Nottinghamshire.
A close game developed and throughout the match both players displayed outstanding agility, speed, stamina and skill.
Observers commented it was one of the best games ever played on the Ashby Road courts.
Following some extremely long and tiring rallies the slightly superior fitness of Fuller proved the deciding factor as he took the match, maintaining Hinckley’s grip on top spot.
In the Derbyshire Squash Premier League, a poor start has left Burton in fifth place at the halfway point and facing the league leaders Duffield in their most recent match, looking to avenge a 3-2 reverse.
A promising start saw Burton’s Colin Morris win, but the consistency of the whole Duffield squad was the deciding factor.
In the number ones’ match. Duffield’s Andy Whipp (world ranking 64) showed Sam Hodgkins that accuracy, timing and finesse are equally as effective as the power play and stamina utilised by others.
In the end Duffield ran out comfortable winners 4-1 and on this performance look set to clinch the title.
In the other Derbyshire League divisions, Burton’s second, third, sixth and seventh teams are all finding the competition tough and are all in the lower half of the tables.
Only Burton fourths (second in Division Three) and fifths (third in Division Four) still have any realistic chance of promotion.
In contrast, Burton’s Ladies SQUASH Premier team currently hold top spot and Pauline Pelech and Jane Lathbury are number one and two respectively in the rankings.
They were Derbyshire champions in 2011/12 and runners up last season, so are putting together a series of consistently good performances.
However, with their being fewer ladies teams playing this season nothing will be decided until Burton play old adversaries Duffield and then Ashbourne in their final two home matches.
In the Derbyshire Racketball league, with eight matches still to play, Burton hold a 19-point lead over second-placed Ilkeston Manor, who they are due to play again tonight.