Match Report: GC1 vs GC2
The eagerly anticipated season ending match between the GC Legends and the GC Sauna Snakes had been postponed due to the coronavirus situation. Though on a positive note the relaxing of restrictions meant the match could be still be played and combined as a farewell party before I’m due to leave Switzerland at the end of July.
The first games were outgoing and incoming captains matches respectively, with me playing Luc on court 1 whilst the two new NLB captains, Mic and Lubo, started on court 2. I had arrived at the club early to start prep for dinner only to find that Luc was on court warming up and had already changed his shirt 3 times. We started promptly at 7 with the brave Anton Eggmann taking on the refereeing responsibilities. It was a nervous start to the game for both of us with this being the first time we’d played against each other competitively. Though the match experience and focus from Luc shon through and he took a 2-0 lead with not much resistance from myself. However, in the third a change of tactics gave me a better chance and the points went back and forth until Luc built a lead of 9-5. Then Luc switched off for a moment and some match nerves crept in allowing me to level the scores and force it to a tie break. Both of us saved and messed up game ball opportunities with a tense set of exchanges. The game, which had lasted more than half the total match time, eventually ended with a final gut-wrenching boast from Luc giving him a 16-14 game win and therefore a 3-0 victory and the first points on the board for the Old Boys.
Meanwhile, Lubo and Mic were involved in an epic encounter of their own. Lubo had made it his personal goal of the year to beat Mic in a competitive game but Mic wasn’t going to give in easily. The fast legs of Lubo and the quick hands of Mic were well matched. No-one knew which way it would go as it went into a fifth and final set. It looked like Lubo would finally realise his wish when he got to 10-9 up and had his first match ball before Mic cruelly crushed his dreams and stormed through to win the tie break 12-10.
With both the first and second string matches going the way of the experienced Legends it was down to Joel and Yves to rescue some pride for the Young Boys. Yves was up against the formidable Fernando whilst Joel had to contend with the veteran Valpiani.
Joel was trying out a new, not yet on the market, racket. This proved a bit too much of a gamble with Joel’s already ‘win or tin’ style being pushed further toward tin. Nevertheless, Joel refocused in the third and pushed through to force it into a fourth set. However, the decades of match experience from mind-game professional Valpi began to pay off. Valpi opened a lead and had several game balls before Joel managed to valiantly save a few but then the experienced fisherman whipped out his rod and won the match on a stroke. That sealed the match win for the legends and left everything down to Yves to salvage some points for GC2.
The Portuguese Panther had only just got back to Switzerland a few days earlier and hadn’t been on a squash court for months but had nevertheless managed to maintain his shape (‘round’ - in his own words). Yves meanwhile was suffering slightly with a minor injury so the match was wide open. Naturally, the contrast with the more attritional games played earlier was to be expected and both players made every effort to keep the crowd entertained with nicks and trick shots. Yves took a close first set 11-9 before FF saved 3 game balls in the second before then going on to take the tie break 12-10. In the third and fourth the well-strengthened wrist of Fernando proved too much for Yves (we can only guess what wrist-training regime FF has been conducting during lockdown...) and gave the legends the final win of the evening 3-1 for a total 4-0 whitewash.
Naturally, the post-match social was the true highlight of the evening. One of the most important topics discussed, apart from the golf-technique of one of Anton’s clients, was what names to submit to Swiss Squash for next year’s NLB teams. We had the disappointing decision this season that ‘The Sauna Snakes’ was not accepted despite the animal theme matching the Kriens teams precedent. Names that were judged unlikely to be accepted next season included the ‘Sauna Young Boys’ and the ‘Sauna Anacondas’. The conclusion was that we probably needed to accept that, until the new changing room was installed, it would be dishonest to include ‘sauna’ in our name when the club didn’t even have one in service.
It was really great to see so many friends at the match but it must be said it was tinged with a bit of sadness because it marked the end of my time in Switzerland and at GC. I’ll never forget the great people I’ve met, the brilliant matches I’ve seen and the fun atmosphere of the club I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the last few years.
I hope to be back in the future and if anyone ventures to the UK please get in touch!