Archive for October, 2016

Optical Express DLWE v Western– Away Match Report) 26th October 2016

A great match up last night as we went to Western to play their 1st team. The match swung one way then the other!

First on was Doug (Macmillan) against a the rejuvenated Richard King at No.5. Richard has been out of the game for 5 years or so with an injuries, but is now back and moving the ball very well indeed. Doug played the best I’ve seen him this season and was moving well himself, giving Richard plenty to think about. The match went to the 5th. When Doug hit a good length he was well in the match (unsurprisingly – if you know anything about squash at all this shouldn’t be a massive surprise! Although it often is for everyone!! 😉 ), but if he was short Richard was slotting the ball away nicely. It was a tough 5th but eventually Richard just won on experience to take the first rubber.

Next on was Finlay (McGhee) against Mhairi Charlton at No.4. Now Fin had lost to Marry previously so this was going to be a tough one, but he was up in the 1st game. However Mharry forced the pace, dominated the middle and kept Finlay well behind her to win the game. The 2nd was much of the same and once again Marhiri was just too consistent in hitting the back corners. So Fin would just have to win in 5 games. Great plan, but Mhairi wasn’t in on it and she finished things off 3-0.

So we were 2-0 down in the match and next on was Jason (Lang) v Liam Dickson at No.2. This was a great match, very athletic and frenetic, with some barn-storming rallies. Jason lost the 1st game on a ‘no let’ – which was fair enough, but tough to take! Then he came right back, as did Liam….. as did Jase again! And so to the 5th! Another great game decider with both players moving like two sparrows having a fight – but Jase squeezed a few too many mistakes out  of Liam and managed to secured the 3-2 win.

The No.1s went on next and Craig (Valente-Wallace) played Peter Halliday. This was an interesting one to watch (although not to mark!) and I was very impressed with Craig’s movement. We’ll gloss over the 1st and call it Peter’s warm up game – but after that things got much tighter. However Craig was just too quick for Peter tonight – he anticipated well and looked strong on the ball. The next 2 games were tight and both players looked a bit grumpy, but Craig won both to take the tie and also to take the match into a scintillating decider!

Well it would have been scintillating if I was about 3 times as good as I actually am! I played Steven Halliday at No.3 and right from the word go it was obvious what the score was going to be. I did particularly well in the 2nd game and when I got to 9 first I thought this could be my chance, but unfortunately I was always second best and the only advise I could think of was “The way to beat Steven is to be better!”

Did you see that result coming? I saw this one being very close as ‘Optical Express’ DLWE were pipped 2-3 in the match – boooooo!

So to the bar and Western’s (Vegan) capt.  – Liam – forgot to get himself, and me, a meal. So there was nothing else for it – a blond & nuts for me (that’s a bottle of Arran Blond & a pack of ‘Nobbies Nuts’ – in case you were wondering!) and a pizza on the way home!

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Optical Express DLWE v Hamilton – Home Match Report) 12th October 2016

Hamilton came to call last night and it was one of those Wednesdays when everything goes well. We had 2 courts all night; the team T-shirts arrived; the food was good and we won – amazing!


Jason L –  Jason B – Craig V-W – Finlay McG – Dougie Mac

First on court was all 5 of us as we posed for the team photo in the brand new Optical Express sponsored team tops!

But other than that Finlay (McGhee) v Scott Hay were first on court at No.4 – Fin was catching Scott with his cross-court drops, mixed in with good length. I didn’t see much of the game, but I did hear Scott’s coach (John Kirby) tell him to watch out for ‘this shot’ and ‘that shot’ and I thought I know exactly what you mean as he does it to me all the time as well (and it’s bloody annoying!). 3-0 to Fin


Next on was Craig (V-W) against Calum Phillip at No.1  – a good 1st game for Craig, but Calum started hitting his straps in the 2nd and with the really high swing, power and deception was having a lot of success – so much in fact that he won the 2nd game! But Craig was ready for him after that and was reading all of Calum’s tricks and keeping him tied to the back. So Craig brought home the match 3-1 to a more and more resigned Calum.


I was on next against Chris McGeady at No.3. Now we had a real hum-dinger of a match last time on the Hamilton ‘Sauna’ courts. I’d just managed to pip Chris in the 5th and I’d definitely used up my ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card during that encounter. Fortunately for me I dominated proceedings this time, on the colder courts and I volleyed particularly well (for me). Chris changed tactics in the 2nd game and I was happy to trade a few shots with him. The upshot was a 3-0 win for me – I was very satisfied with my performance (although Chris had a glint in his eye as he said “I look forward to the rematch in the Sauna!”) .


Doug (Macmillan) was 1-0 down and faffing about in the 2nd when I took over marking this match (against Stephen Healy at No.5). Fortunately he faffed his way to a 12-10 win in that game and so at 1-1 it was still anyone’s. Also at 8-8 in the 3rd, it was still anyone’s, but it was about here that Doug put the pedal to the metal and took the initiative with some much more positive squash and good length. So the eagle was landed and 1-1 soon became a 3-1 win to Dougie.


Jason (Lang) was last on against Colin Towers at No.2. and this was a mismatch in many ways, such as in height and also in age of racket! Not only was there was about 4 foot separating the two of them, but Jason’s brand new Harrow Vapor was gleaming next to Colin’s 20 year old antique of a racket! Unfortunately for Colin the game was a bit of a mismatch as well because Jason was playing well and was just too sharp for Colin.


So a 3-0 win for Jason meant the team got an excellent 18-point haul. MOTM to either Fin or me I’d (modestly) say and to Stephen Healey for Hamilton.


And the jacket spuds were baked to perfection. Everyone enjoyed them – even me (who doesn’t like potatoes!) and even Colin Towers, who I’ve never seen eat anything at a team match for 25 years, had half a potato!

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RASTA Ranking Update – What number are you?

Edinburgh Octoberfest 2016 Photo Montage

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Optical Express DLWE v Newlands 2 – Away Match Report) 5th October 2016 (amalgamated match report with week 1 v Glasgow Uni)

2016-op-team-shirts-david-lloydThe Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Well two weeks into the season and the roller-coaster that is ‘The West Squash Leagues’ are back with their weekly outrageous fortune. One week everything is great and the next is a tragedy!

We had a great trip to the University last week and a wonderful team win – I had a lucky win at No.3 against a young Egyptian guy called Omar (who I suspect I’ll never beat again!) who managed to get cramp in the 4th game so I snuck home 3-1 (winning on fitnesss!). However this week I was unceremoniously thrashed off the court 3-0 by Angus Woodward – mind you Angus was playing No.4 in their 1st team last week (and I was awarded two individual points for one outrageous cross-court volley nic! #shotofthematch)

It’s annoying when you play any 2nd team and they have got the full 1st team out (and players returning) because of a big match they have. Thus making them about 4 players stronger than normal! (#newsflash Newlands 1 beat Giffnock 1 last night 15-6  – could The Division 1 Title be returning to Newlands?)

Anyway back to the important stuff! Craig (Vallentie-Wallace) had a good solid win against the Uni at No.1 v Dan Wareing (winning the match with a flat nic!), but lost this week to Brendan Forrister and although I didn’t see it, it appeared that he was chopped a bit like I was.

Doug (Macmillan) joined the 1st team this week at No.5 and it was a massive move up from playing Parklands last week. He was also chopped 3-0 (by Dave Morrison) I’ve seen him play better than that! Mind you it made my terrible performance look a bit better! It’s all relative eh!

Finlay (McGhee) was chopped at No.4 this week; after a great first week against the Uni winning 3-0 at No.5 v Jesse Mills with a really good performance. But this week he was up against a very much improved Fraser McCann (who I sponsor via Harrow Rackets, so it was good to see Fraser in action and playing well). This was always going to be a tough one for Fin and I’m afraid his opponent was just too good (Fraser was 2nd in last week’s Danish Junior Open and leaving tomorrow for the Nordic Junior Open in Malmo! Tough life eh!?!). MOTM to Fraser I’d say.

The silver lining last night was Jason (also sponsored by Harrow….Lang!). A good win in week 1 v Terry Lau against the Uni and an even better win this week (I reckon) against Lisa Aitkin, Scottish No.1.

I could only admire Lisa’s wonderful volleying and movement, but Jase was making life very difficult for her and he managed to keep her stretching into the back corners and then getting on the volley early. Jase played really well to neutralise Lisa’s game and he thoroughly deserves our man of the match (although MOTM was a bit of a shoe-in this week!)

6pm start and curry for dinner meant we were all in the bar about 8.30pm – very nice!

So ‘The Good’ was the win v the Uni last week – ‘The Bad’ was last night’s drubbing and ‘The Ugly’ is…………….. Doug!

(and ‘yes’ I realise I’m on shaky ground with that gag!)

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Photo montage from RASTA at The Grange 2016