HIGHLANDS and Islands squash league action resumed for Forres B on Thursday night after another enforced Covid 19 break by the governing sport authorities.
Mark Potter (left) and Graeme Spreng
Forres travelled to the Moray Leisure Centre courts to face the daunting challenge of playing in-form current champions and champions-elect, Elgin A.
The number three seeds were first on court and this saw Forres player Billy Montgomery take on opponent Kriss Bradshaw.
The first few points were close but ‘Monty’ was doing a lot of big retrieving as Bradshaw was pinging the ball this way and that. At 5-3, Bradshaw found another gear and raced away to canter to an 11-4 win.
From here on in Bradshaw was pretty much in control handling the court pace far better and dominating the tee. Try as he might the Forres player, short on length and accuracy, was toiling hard and puffing like a steam train as Bradshaw swept to victory taking the next two games 11-3 and 11-4 to record a 3-0 match victory. First blood to Elgin.
Post match Robbie Watson (left) and Tom Naylor
Forres now looked to their number four seed Jake Carpenter to bring them some points, a big ask against the Elgin veteran league player John Ramsbottom.
Ramsbottom started the brighter as Carpenter was tight on the first few exchanges.
Back came the Forres man who was reaping rewards and making his short game work, forcing his opponent to make the errors as Carpenter nailed his chances to win the first game 11-7.
Carpenter’s game was now flowing and the Forres man raced to an impressive 11-3 second game victory.
The third game saw a focused Ramsbottom regroup and take advantage of his rival’s wobbly start to win 11-7.
Back came Carpenter, injecting a bit more vim and vigour to force back the advantage and win out 11-6, taking an excellent 3-1 match win to drag his team back into contention.
Jake Carpenter (right) with John Ramsbottom post match
Robbie Watson was next on court as the number two seed match pitched him against Elgin player Tom Naylor.
Watson started well on the front foot and some raking power drives and nice deception saw him edge the early exchanges. Naylor kept in touch and worked on the premise ‘it’s not how you start but how you finish’ as the Elgin man took a close first game 11-8.
The second game saw Watson’s intensity wane as Naylor started finding the shots to sap his opponents energy and he took this one 11-4.
Naylor was now hitting the percentages as Watson’s game consistency ebbed good and flowed bad to his frustration. The Elgin player clinched the third game 11-6 to take the match 3-0 and put Elgin 2-1 up in matches on the night.
Forres now needed to win the last game of the night to bring parity to proceedings, a big ask for their number one seed Graeme Spreng as he faced Mark Potter.
It is fair to say Spreng was missing some bounce in the first game and lack of play saw him well off the pace as Potter clinically stormed to an 11-1 win.
A frustrated Spreng was a tad better in the second game but still the high error count was killing him as he went down 11-4 to Potter’s clinical game.
Vestiges of Spreng’s ‘A’ game appeared sporadically during the third game but Potter kept it calm and controlled to ease any danger and win out 11-6, taking the final match of the night 3-0.
In summary, Forres had lost to a very good Elgin A side (3-1 in matches 10-3 in games) with the consolation that Jake Carpenter had excelled in taking a match and three valuable points for his team.