Image: Georgia Porter
[Georgia Porter| Sports Editor]
Squash in an underrated sport at the University of Hertfordshire, and not many people know what a talented men’s team we have.
For their first home game of the semester, Herts 1st team played Surrey’s 2nd team, who are only two points above them in the BUCS 2b leader board.
The team was led by Captain Declan Fields, second year BSc (Hons) Sports Science student. They had trained hard since being back from the Christmas break and were raring to go.
The matches began with Adam Faber, ranked 5th, playing Surrey’s Sahil Shingadia on court two and Charlie Dewey, ranked 4th , playing Surrey’s James Holliss on court one.
Unfortunately, Adam lost his match 3-0. The players were evenly matched and he put up a good fight in a close first game. However, after a controversial call by the marker, which was not in his favour, he became “demoralised” and lost his fighting spirit.
“I should have won the first game and the stroke should have been called against Surrey’s player. I guess I became demoralised when the decision didn’t go in my favour which made me lose momentum” he said.
Charlie was also unlucky in his match, where he lost 3-1. After losing the first game, he brilliantly pushed the pressure back onto Surrey by winning the second. Yet he was unsuccessful in the next two games, which was frustrating to witness after seeing him battle with such determination.
He said: “I am happy that I won one game, but I was too inconsistent and my opponent took advantage of that.”
Next to face the music was Vishal Mistry, ranked 3rd, against Surrey’s Dan Heartshorne on court two and James Saunders, ranked 2nd, against Surrey’s Dan Toone on court one.
It was a heart-breakingly narrow loss for Vishal who dominated the first part of the match with a two game lead; unfortunately his nerves and the pressure got the best of him as it was his first match for the team, and he lost 3-2.
“He improved as I got tired and pushed me more onto my backhand further into the match. I didn’t play as well as I should have because there was too many errors, but there is always room for improvement!” he said.
James played a great tactical game full of skilled shots and won 3-1. Although he lost the first game, he responded to the pressure applied by his opponent and thrived by winning three games in a row. The turning point of the match occurred when it was momentarily interrupted by a racquet replacement for Surrey.
He said: “Squash is all about concentration. I was tired in the first game, but I knew I could beat my opponent. After self-reflecting in the break before my second game, I switched on and played to the level I knew I was capable of.”
For the grand finale, Herts Captain Declan Fields (ranked 1st) played Surrey’s Ben Wright and smashed it by winning 3-0. The first game was closer than the rest, but Declan managed to pull away and win the final game 11-0; he “bageled” his opponent.
“I was confident that I could attack his shots with a return volley to prevent his longer shots that would drive me into the back corners,” he said.
Overall Herts lost 3-2 to Surrey. Although it wasn’t the outcome we all hoped for, the team showed great potential and are determined to improve their game so that they leave with a victory in the next match.
Declan stated: “Everyone did their best today; it was disappointing that Vishal lost his match after his initial 2-0 lead, but for his first match as part of the team he did really well!”
If you are interested in joining the AU squash team, come along to a training session. Sessions are on Mondays 8.30-10.30pm and Thursdays 9-10.30pm every week.
Come and show your support for the team at their next home game against Brunel on 16th March!
Images: Tom Boon