The squash world has refused to comment in case they swear…
Masters squash will never be the same again. A crack team of Northumbria O45 squash Ninja’s travelled to Cumbria over the weekend of 15th & 16th of November – finishing 2nd and gaining instant just add water access to the promotion play offs. Cars beeped, Red Arrows did a fly-by, Greggs made extra sausage rolls – it was that special. Try not to nod off as we guide you through the matches in far too much detail, using words.
Match No.1 vs Cumbria – Lost 4 – 1
First up, the ball of plasma and bones they call Andy Smith. Not to be overawed by making his County debut without having won a match anywhere since 2009, Andy raced into a 2-0 lead before letting his opponent get back to 2-2 “so it was worth the trip”. He quickly demolished him in the 5th tho to get us off to a great start. Well done Andy, but please don’t bang on about it all weekend. However, we were about to put Andy’s win into a little bit of perspective. By losing.
Next, the Huntermobile fired up – like an old Ford Cortina looking for the scrapyard. This was another 5 setter, but with Russ coming out a close second to a talented player who had serves and everything. Russ fought hard and could have won it, if he hadn’t lost it instead. Never mind, its still 1-1.
Wardy was up next and, like the Huntmobile fought well but got the same result – 3-2 down. But in his mind he won, as it’s all jelly like in there. Again he could have won in the 5th, but his opponent wasn’t falling for any of his deceptive tins, out of courts or him going the wrong way again. So, Wardy, thanks to you, we’re 2-1 down. Muppet.
Next the other newcomer people call ‘Neil Campbell’ Playing vs Cumbria’s legendary Ronnie Bell, now 97, Neil narrowly lost the 1st 2 games on points ‘n that. And then, just as he was making a spirited comeback in the 3rd game, he moved forward with such speed that his muscles couldn’t keep up and bang! – he tore his calf. Game over. We know Neil would have won 3-2 as well, cos he told us. Unlucky Neil. 3-1 down now.
Last up – the global phenomenon ‘The Candyman’. Playing an opponent who was in full 3D, Gaz fought hard and tried his best but just wasn’t good enough by loads and lost 3-0. A good effort tho Candyman, you’ll get him next time, as long as he doesn’t turn up.
So not a good start. A 4-1 defeat. But we had a major surprise up our sleeve. Read on if you can be bothered.
Match No.2 vs Lincolnshire – Won 4 – 1
With the Huntmobile off playing some under 12’s tournament in Scotland, it was time to give the tournament a shock. Unleash the legends; Beeson and Freeman. One a legend in his time and one a legend in his own birdman outfit – you decide.
First on though – Smith. Andy Smith. Was yesterday’s 3-2 win a flash in the pan or pure pedigree chum? Andy showed us it was the 2nd of these and dispatched his opponent with ease 3 – 0. Andy had won both his matches now. Oh dear. It was going to be a long day. But we’re 1 up.
Next up – Ward. After blitzing through the 1st game 9-0 he proceeded to unblitz the next 3 – playing well but losing 3 – 1 to a tricky opponent. Next time get your cards out Ward and bore him off court. But on the plus side it did maintain his beaten record of 2 for 0. So 1-1.
Get Candlish out of his cubitainer – he’s on. It was clear from the start of this match that the Candyman was going to win. He had too many shots for his opponent. Well one anyway. In a sign of blatant panic, his opponent asked the marker for a set of traffic cones and temporary lights to ease the court access around Gaz’s backside. It was refused, although they did put a little island up on the T for Safety. But he still didn’t fancy it and after a handful of rallies his opponent declared he had ‘pulled his shoulder’ and retired. So now we were 2-1 up. Stay with this crap. We’re halfway through.
Ladies and gentlemen please welcome making a return to County squash – Northumbria Forehand Groove Icon Mr. Bryan Beeson. Now fully defrosted from refrigerated storage in 1988, Bryan took no mercy on his opponent and ran out a smooth 3-0 winner. Everything was still there – the wristband, the resin pad, the toweling grip, and the shell suit. We must take him to the shops. 3-1 up, match won.
But we still had to unleash the Birdman. Ronnie flew in from his cage like an Eagle on Calpol and quickly dispatched his opponent 3-0. A performance like when he was at his peak in the 80’s – only the hairstyle has stayed the same.
Match No.3 vs Leicestershire – Won 5 – 0
And so to the final match. Thankfully double loser Ward couldn’t make it so the squad was immediately strengthened, and with Neil injured it meant that Masters Candlish and Smith had to play again. With Hunter returning as well the squad looked strong although aesthetically challenged.
Golden boy Smith repeated his win vs Cumbria – letting his opponent get back to 2-2 before blitzing him in the 5th. “it just makes it interesting” beamed Andrew afterwards “plus, I’m a bit of a spacebrain and can’t concentrate for more then 4 minutes at a time” Debut boy – P3W3L0. Well Done Andy – now stop banging on about it. 1 up.
Next up The HuntMobile. Not wanting to spoil the fun he thought he’d do the same, racing into a 2-0 lead before being pegged back to win it 10-8 in the 5th. A real battling performance from the Russmeister. “I just wanted to copy Andy, really” he said afterwards, “He’s like my new hero, winning all his games n that. He plays like me but without the belly or pink t shirt”. So now 2-0 up. Great.
Next up – The Birdman flew back in. And he was in full flight as he dispatched his opponent 3-0. And because he won, the walls weren’t wet or wonky, the referee wasn’t a joke and his opponent wasn’t spawny. 3-0 up and match won.
Time for Candlish to unleash the rear end driven Gazmobile. Not to be outdone by Ronnie, Gaz also battled straight through to a 3-0 win. Fantastic. His opponent was mesmerized by the fact that Gaz could move as a unit at that speed around court. But he did. It was like watching a runaway piano. 4-0 up.
And finally, Beeson took to court against their No.1 – a particularly unsavoury character at best but a great player. But that doesn’t matter when you’re playing a legend who once took 2 games off Jim Douglas. Bryan out manoeuvred and out played his talented opponent to also run out a 3-0 winner, leaving the other guy in a heap of arrogant skin and bones on the court – now fully deflated. 5-0. A great win.
And so it came to pass that Northumbria Dream Team finished 2nd and go into the promotion play offs next March in Suffolk in the knowledge that they probably won’t be able to play that well again. Or can they? No one knows, coz that’s looking into the future, and no one can do that. Except Derren Brown. But he can’t play squash like these lads. So we win.
A huge Well Done to the unbeaten Andy for his 3/3 County debut, and also Thanks to Gary Clark who travelled over both days as a reserve. Thanks also to Captain Marvellous Gary, who did such a good job organizing us all via Telegram, Fax and Pizza delivery. Stay tuned.
Bobby has sent his photos off to Boots to be developed, so in 3 weeks time when he gets round to picking them up we might get to see the great story unfold in pictures – Webmaster
Priceless getting Beeson out of cryogenics, that was what you meant Bobby?…