Matchbericht ¦ Nationalliga B ¦ Allschwil I vs. Grasshopper II ¦ 2:2

The last away match before Christmas and once more we were making the trip to Basel, this time against Allschwil. A couple of last-minute unforeseen events meant that both Yves and Dalvit were unable to play. Fortunately, the strongest Scottish player of the club, Robin ‘William’ Wallace,  could step in at very short notice. 

First up were JB vs Dominique Chiquet and Tom vs Jasmin Ballmann. In the first Tom settled into steady rallies but found himself on the wrong end of a series of very accurate drop shots. Fortunately, an increase in the pace was enough to force more errors and Tom took a 1-0 lead. Keeping this momentum he managed to secure the next two games with a bigger margin and get GC a 3-0 win. Meanwhile JB found himself cruising at 7-2 up in the first set with his opponent struggling to stay with the pace of play. However, Dominique played classic “experienced player” squash and clawed back the score to go 10-8 up. Thankfully, JB re-found his earlier form and converted the tense first set 13-11. The next set was more consistent from JB and he went 2-0 up going into the third. Another tense affair with the score flicking back and forth Dominique ’Cheeky’ Chiquet managed to win a classic “Valpi-let” at 7-7, much to the frustration of JB. This gave JB enough of a boost of angry adrenaline to push through the next few points and win 3-0, thereby ensuring at least one point for GC. 

The following matches saw Magdy play Mike Brändle whilst Robin was against Alan Sütterlin. Magdy had a slightly slow start in his match with too many unforced errors giving his opponent a 1 game lead. The second looked like it was going the same way as the first with Magdy finding himself at 8-10 down but then a sudden burst of spectacular squash, including some diving, saw Magdy save several game balls before converting his own to take the games to 1-1 and secure at least 2 points for GC. However, the accurate hitting and consistency of Mike was proving to much for Magdy in the third, which then ended in controversy. Magdy was 6-10 down with serve when a confusion over the score meant he stopped mid serve only to be told he’d lost the point. The fourth, in Magdy’s own words, felt like “I can do this” for 3 points followed by 6 points of “get me out of here”. This was reflected in the score line with Magdy succumbing 1-3.  

As this was playing out Robin was making his NLB debut against Alan. Playing his first of 4 interclub matches this week his ideal tactic was to win or lose in the shortest time possible. Needless to say it didn’t work out as planned! Both Robin and his opponent played a solid length game with lots of hard hitting to the back corners. Unfortunately the short game wasn’t quite as clinical which led to some lengthy rallies. However, Robin got off to a quick start and managed to go 10-8 up before his opponent saved a few game balls to force a tie break. Some well weighted shots from the Scot saw Robin win 13-11 and put himself in control of the match. The second was also a closely contested game with back and forth squash all the way until Alan just edged it 11-9. The third was perfectly judged by Robin, playing just the right shots to exploit his opponents weaknesses which gave him a nice 2-1 lead. However, the exertions of the match were taking their toll and so Robin took a breather in the fourth, narrowly avoiding a bagel but regaining his composure. Despite trailing for part of the fifth Robin dug in and fought to level it at 9-9. Unfortunately a side wall/front wall nick from Robin spilled the ball into the middle of the court and gave away a stroke leading to match ball against. Then, despite a mammoth rally using all corners of the court, a final cross court proved too much and Robin went down 9-11. It was a match fought with the heart of a lion but the body of a man! 

Nevertheless a winning draw and a very respectable performance all round. We now sit at 4th in the table with one more match before Christmas.