Martlesham defeat reigning champions

MARTLESHAM Heath Squash and Leisure Centre recorded an excellent win to defeat reigning champions Exeter Diamonds 3-0 in the National Super Squash League.

MARTLESHAM Heath Squash and Leisure Centre recorded an excellent win to defeat reigning champions Exeter Diamonds 3-0 in the National Super Squash League.

Exeter travelled to Martlesham without number world number three, David Palmer, who could not make the tie.

Martlesham, however, put out their strongest squad with debutant Nick Matthew (WR 8), Peter Barker (WR 18) and local hero Bradley Ball (WR 32).

Martlesham's number three Ball took on Hadrian Stiff which on paper looked an easy tie for the home team. Ball powered his way through a tough first game to eventually take it 9-6.

Stiff raced to a 7-2 lead in the second. Ball responded by hitting the ball harder, but it was to no avail as Stiff won 9-5.

The third game was very close, Ball went 8-6 up but Stiff squared the game at eight all. Using experience and strength though, Ball raced through the next two points to win 10-8.

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Ball piled on the pressure with his tenacity in the fourth game. Stiff folded going down 9-3 making the result 3-1 to Martlesham.

Peter Barker took on Cameron Pilley in a fascinating contest as the two had never met. Barker, fresh from his great win in the Middle East beating World No 1 Amr Shabana from Egypt, played some of his best squash against the Australian whose style is like no one else on the tour.

Barker started poorly and seemed to be bemused by Pilley's technique. He went on to lose the first two games 9-2 and 9-3.

In a complete twist of fate Barker took the third game 9-2 and continued his form in the fourth and most tightly contested of the evening, winning 9-7.

The fifth continued to be even. Pilley had match ball at 8-7 but Barker squared the score at eight all before taking the game 10-8 for another win to Martlesham.

The two contrasting styles of (WR8) Nick Matthew and (WR10) Stewart Boswell competed in the final match. Matthew's powerful play was a relentless pressure against Boswell's elegant swing and nimble footwork around the court. The first game seemed to last an eternity but Matthew edged it 9-7.

He fought hard once again in the second going 8-5 up despite an early injury after being hit with the ball. Boswell kept fighting back and was making tremendous retrievals until he took a tumble reaching for a stray ball.

He hit the wall and cut his forehead which meant the game had to be forfeited as a 3-0 win to the home side.

This made an excellent victory for Martlesham against the current league champions, leaving both teams with potential to take the title.

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