Matchbericht ¦ Nationalliga B ¦ Bern II vs. Grasshopper II (Englisch)

A new season and a new team. Our first fixture was vs Bern II away which they’d scheduled for a Friday evening. This proved to be a bit inconvenient for us with Cindy, Csaba, Dalvit, Yves and JB all unable to play. Luckily Lubo could step in as could Sergio Tocalini, making his interclub debut for GC.

So our international lineup was:

Magdy El Barbary (EGY)

Tom Mitchell-Williams (ENG)

Lubomir Jakubovic (SVK)

Sergio Tocalini (ARG)

With none of the players owning a car we had to hire one to get over to Bern. To stay alert for the drive I’d had a large coffee before setting off; this proved to be a mistake after negotiating the inevitable traffic for two hours my bladder was at capacity and there wasn’t a service station in sight! Just as I was contemplating using an empty water bottle a rest area appeared and proved to be my salvation. After a quick stop we set off again much more relaxed and made it with 15 mins to spare. When we arrived we found out that Bern had also been struggling to get out their regular NLB players but unfortunately for us their replacements were stronger than their regulars with Jakob Känel (CH 17) coming in to play at Nr 1 and pushing the rest of their team down a position. First on court were Sergio vs Shamir Chaudhary (CH 103) and me vs Jan Rink (CH 42). Sergio found it tough to force winners against his young opponent and, in his own words, just made too many bad shot decisions. Despite battling throughout the match he ended up with a 0-3 loss. Meanwhile I had started against German newcomer Jan. With Jakob not yet at the club Lubo took over marking and I found myself 0-2 down. Thinking about how we had driven for more than 2 hours to get here I thought I better at least maximise my time on court. So with a change of marker and tactics I managed to win the next two with some even more patient squash. However, in the fifth my opponent stopped making as many unforced errors and improved his dying length to the corners and closed out the match 3-2. In the meantime Lubo had started against Simon Oswald (CH 63) and was finding his defensive squash frustrating. After losing the first two games Lubo refocused and played more constructively to get 2 game balls in the third but much to his annoyance couldn’t convert and in the end went down 0-3. Finally, Magdy, playing his first match in 6 months, was up against NLA regular Jakob. Much to the crowds surprise our very own GC Ramy managed to nick his way to two game balls in the first with some lovely deceptive winners. However, the consistency and class of Känel showed through as he focussed to close out the first 12-10. Disappointed not to win the first Magdy thought it would be best now to try and use the match as good practice for playing that level of opponent. However, after some tough rallies he realised his only chance was to revert to his preferred tactic of win or tin. Going in to the third 0-2 down Magdy still managed to play some impressive winners but Jakob’s superior fitness and consistency proved to much and he sealed it for Bern 3-0 giving them a win across the board. Despite the result there were positives for everyone to take away and work on for the next match. Magdy even says he plans to do more fitness work! Big thanks to Sergio for stepping in to play at short notice and Magdy for missing lectures to make the trip over to Bern.