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Imperials show why they are top class

PUBLISHED: 12:07 21 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:35 03 March 2010

SQUASH: Ipswich lost 3-0 to league leaders Exeter in their fourth home match in the National Super Squash League (NSSL) at the Ipswich Sports Club. As expected, Exeter Imperials put out a strong team, to make sure that they would win the league and also to avenge the defeat that the Ipswich team inflicted upon them earlier this year.

Ipswich lost 3-0 to league leaders Exeter in their fourth home match in the National Super Squash League (NSSL) at the Ipswich Sports Club.

As expected, Exeter Imperials put out a strong team, to make sure that they would win the league and also to avenge the defeat that the Ipswich team inflicted upon them earlier this year.

Ben Howell lost 3-0 to Hadrian Stiff, World ranked No. 60 and Devon No. 1, in the opening match.

Howell started strongly in the first two games, but just lost the edge to go down 6-9, 6-9. The third game was very tight, but an unforced error by Ben at 7-8 gave the game and match to Hadrian in 35 minutes.

Welshman David Evans, who is ranked some 44 places above Ipswich's Bradley Ball, proved too strong, winning 3-1.

Ball started the game in the usual manner, hitting the ball hard and going for as many nicks as possible. Evans looked uncomfortable in the first game dealing with Ball's pace, power and nicks, it went to eight-all, and Bradley went on to take it 10-8.

In the second Evans soaked up the pressure, but Ball responded by trying to finish the rallies with outright winners, which sometimes worked, but some balls went down. Evans won 9-6.

Evans continued the pressure in the third and Ball was on the receiving end to lose 9-2, the fourth game went the same way 9-3 as Evans won 3-1 in 33 minutes.

By the time that Peter Genever went on court Ipswich had lost the match and had nothing to play for but the pride of trying to beat one of the most up and coming players in squash, Ong Beng Hee, one of Malaysia's most successful squash players of all-time.

Beng Hee went out very fast in the first game. Genever tried to go with the pace of the game and played well, but couldn't cope with Beng Hee's persistent volleys and went down 9-4.

Genever came back strongly in the second game by matching Beng Hee's pace, soaking up all the pressure and playing a very solid and 'straight down the wall' game to win 9-7.

Beng Hee now started to look the more tired of the two players and Genever consolidated his lead by taking the third game 9-6.

He raced into an early lead in the fourth game, and Beng Hee looked dead and buried when he was 8-5 down, but somehow managed to save three match points and recover to 8-8.

The rules of the NSSL are that the first player to get to two clear points, wins the game. Both players had opportunities to take the game, but Beng Hee came through to take the fourth, 14-12.

Beng Hee could now taste victory and came out the stronger in the fifth game. Peter tried to fight back, but went down 9-7, to lose 3-2 in a thrilling match that lasted for one hour and 30 minutes.

This was an excellent performance by Genever, although he must have kicked himself afterwards for not converting one of the five match points that he had.


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