The Leicestershire Team Number 2,

Playing Hinckley knew just what to do.

To try and play well, to give their boys Hell,

Then hope it was enough to come through

In a Sporting Press first, the write up this week has been handed to our resident Poet, Robbie “Wordsworth” Wynne, who in his own style (which conforms to no recognised poetic rule or lexicon), will dutifully describe the events that transpired as the Leicestershire Tennis & Squash Club Second Team made their way down the M69 (to my money, one of the very best motorways this side of the M11), to take on the third best that Hinckley Squash could muster.

Still ravaged by injury, Captain Chris “The Don” Trafford again took the opportunity to freshen up the order and brought in crowd favourite Dave “Big D” Goodman, and landlord favourite, Paul “The Drinker” Hart. With Ollie “The Tactician” Wood still on the side-lines*, squash purist favourite Robbie “The Natural” Wynne lead the line ahead of Trafford and the Chinese Takeaway owner favourite, Matt “Embers” Williams.

* Word is that Wood has enlisted the help of some of the World’s greatest medical minds to aid his recovery and has arranged a behind-closed-doors friendly against relative unknown Ramy Ashour, who he has flown in on his private jet – known simply as, Titan.

The line-ups:

1. Robbie “The Natural” Wynne vs Ben “The Notorious” Daniel
2. Chris “The Don” Trafford vs Stephen “Spaceman” Mars
3. Matt “Embers” Williams vs John “One Leg” Trainer
4. Paul “The Drinker” Hart vs Neil “Not Ironic” Large
5. Dave “Big D” Goodman vs Paul “Quick” March

Match 1: Dave “Big D” Goodman vs Paul “Quick” March

Big Dave kicked off the first match of the night,
From the very first point he was in for a fight,
But his typical game he seemed not to play,
And some nervy exchanges saw the game slip away.

With Captain Don’s words now fresh in his mind,
Dave turned things around and started to find,
Much better length and time on the ball,
And within but a moment, the match was one-all.

The third game was tighter, the battle was on,
But at 7 points all it was Dave’s game that shone.
With a flash of his blade, his 9th point was claimed,
And the match rattled on into the fourth game.

By now Dave was flying, in perfect control,
The rigours of War had taken their toll.
With his opponent now spent, he took the match one to three,
A confidence boosting and deserved victory.

Match 2: Paul “The Drinker” Hart vs Neil “Not Ironic” Large

Paul is renowned for his penchant for ale,
But this wasn’t the cause of him looking so pale,
A bout of the flu and an infected ear,
Gave Captain Don Trafford good reason to fear.

With both players being, how shall we say, well built?
The opening game saw a lot of sweat spilt.
With winners aplenty and long rallies rare,
The game went the way of the man with red hair.

Game one in the bag, now Harty could press,
But his opponent stepped up and made Harty guess,
A to-and-fro affair ended up at 8-all,
And to Harty’s dismay, “Set 2” was the call.

Now Harty’s a fighter and despite dropping serve,
There was only one winner in this battle of nerve.
Reclaiming the initiative, for once he served in,
And a couple of shots later, the second game he did win.

We’ll brush over the next as it was a game to forget,
It wasn’t a classic from this rotund duet.
One eagle eyed observer however did boldly claim,
Paul was saving his batteries for the crucial fourth game.

I’m happy to say that this was the case,
As Harty opened up with furious pace.
It was too much to take for his floundering foe,
With the scores at 8-6 Harty struck the final blow.

A crucial point claimed for the visiting side,
Two wins out of two saw the pressure applied.
Next up Captain Don to enter the fray,
The spaceman Stephen Mars represented his prey.

Match 3: Chris “The Don” Trafford vs Stephen “Spaceman” Mars

Chris’s opponent is certainly no mug, in fact, we’ve met him before,
He once played young Embers, and beat him so bad, he restricted his points to just four.

The Don was hoping to fair slightly better, and maybe even spring a surprise,
His lightning fast start and his confident play, Mars couldn’t believe his eyes.

With the scores remaining tight the business end came, and The Don was on the brink,
But despite having chances, it was not to be, and the players went off for a drink.

After such a good start, it’s natural to all that the momentum would start to wane,
Couple with this some improved play from Mars, and the game was over again.

At two games to love it would have been easy, for the Don to call it a day,
But our Captain don’t quit and refused point blank to drown in the fug of dismay.

The third game was titanic, a real one to watch, and both players gave it there all,
With neither gladiator willing to give up an inch, the score ended up at 8-all.

A tie break would seal it and break the impasse, to the winner would go the reward,
Unfortunately dear Reader, I have to report, that our Captain was put to the sword.

An excellent effort and performance to boost, Captain Traffs should really be proud,
Despite the defeat he’ll do well to remember, there’s a (silver – don’t say it as it spoils the line) lining in every cloud.

Match 4: Matt “Embers” Williams vs John “One Leg” Trainer

The one thing of which you can always be sure,
Is that Matt will play squash in clothes for the poor,
Tonight was the same I’m sad to report,
That in a score out of ten, it’s not far off a nought.

In no way is that an attempt to offend,
Matt is well known for his disinterest in trend(s),
What matters more is the performance on court,
And last night at least, Matt did not fall short.

His opponent was adamant that they went on last,
By the time it kicked off, half nine had flown past,
But far from looking weary, Young Embers looked fresh,
And put his opponent’s game straight to the test.

A tie-break was needed in the opening game,
More nerves for both players to manage and tame,
But thankfully for us, the final point that was needed,
Went the way of the visitors, and into game two we ‘heeded’ (‘headed’ said in a Scottish accent).

The next game was close, but by now it was clear,
That Matt had his number and nothing to fear,
Despite a snapped string he surged further ahead,
Just one game to go to put it to bed.

The third game saw retrievals that were hard to believe,
As Matt’s tiring opponent tried to earn a reprieve,
But a game in response he was unable to peg,
And Matt took the match, against an old man with one leg.

Match 5: Robbie “The Natural” Wynne vs Ben “The Notorious” Daniel

Sweet taste of Victory long since gone
Bathing in the bitter waters of Defeat
Cowering below Doubt’s unflinching gaze
How would he fare

The remnants of shadowy obstinate ghouls
Lay strewn across body and mind
Awaiting fragility and opportunity to thrive again
How would he fare

In the glare of Expectation and Anticipation
The weight upon his shoulders immense
A choice to rise or fall
How would he fare

Cast from the sanctuary of Consistency
Nowhere to turn
Nowhere to run
How would he fare

A bright start
A flash of Hope
Outrunning the scampering claws of Downfall
Fare well, he did

Confidence tenderly whispers sweet nothings
Concentration’s head begins to turn
It ruefully snaps back
Fare well, he did not

Clarity returns
Focus and Determination arrive defiantly
Far in the distance, Joy’s song is faintly heard
Fare well, he did

Nervousness sweeps all aside
Carelessness incessantly mocks
Fatigue prods and probes
Fare well, he did not

Nothing but light
Assurance gently cradles and rocks
Awareness screams to awaken the Beast
Fare well, he did

Another victory for the beaten and the broken.

The Journey continues.

Gallery Section:

Official Match Scorecard:

Robbie “The Natural” Wynne showcasing a recent sponsorship shoot
(legal edit: 95% of the content in this photo belongs to, is trademarked by, and in fact is, George Parker
https://www.unsquashable.com/Ambassadors/George-Parker)

“He parks where he wants, he parks where he waaaaants, Chrissy Trafford, he parks where he wants!”

An Eagle-eyed Embers captures the exact spot where Adam “Hands” Popowicz decided to go into ‘Spartan-mode’ against an unwitting Heath “Hinckley Stalwart” Jennings, a few weeks ago.