By Nick Friend
Durham’s men got their season underway with a convincing win against a Manchester Metropolitan side who rarely threatened to cause any problems until the tie was all but over.
With the start down at Maiden Castle delayed by half an hour, the wait to begin a new season of competitive squash continued. When play started, Lalit Bose and Elliott Park came out of the traps fast. Park won his first game 11-1 in little over five minutes. Bose was similarly untroubled as he claimed the first game 11-6. Both players continued to dominate, winning easily. Park won 11-5, 11-7, 11-3, with Bose easing to an 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 victory in double-quick time.
Ben Bickers and left-hander James Wass replaced the victorious pair and carried on from where their counterparts had left off. Wass’ nick shot caused all sorts of problems for his Manchester opponent as he took the first game 11-5. With both Bickers and Wass knowing that only one of them had to win their match to secure victory, there appeared to be no stopping the pair. Bickers, playing with slight a niggle, steamrollered the Manchester man in his second game, taking it 11-2 – giving him a two nil lead. Wass finished off the tie as a contest with an 11-3 rout to give the side an unassailable 3-0 advantage. Bickers was tested in his final game, coming through courtesy of the ‘two clear’ rule.
Oliver Palmer was left to finish off proceedings for Team Durham, with the opportunity to complete an embarrassing whitewash for the away side. However, despite fighting back to take the second game 11-9 having been beaten 11-6 in the first, the final Manchester player proved too strong, using his boast shot effectively to take home a consolation point for Manchester Metropolitan.
Even so, Durham will be delighted with their start, easily brushing aside MMU. Lalit Bose suggested that there is far more to come, adding the hope that the side “can build on this victory and the hard work in pre-season to challenge for the title this year.”