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SQUASH AND RACKETBALL: Rodgers sees off test from Callum
4:00pm Friday 3rd January 2014 in Sport
THE annual Dorchester Squash and Racketball Handicap tournament reached its conclusion with four lively finals with the two Watts brothers looking to light up proceedings at either end of the squash draw.
The main squash final was up on court three with an, as yet, undefeated Nick Rodgers – who was unable to defend his 2011 title last year – the opponent for Callum Watts, possibly the club’s youngest main draw finalist.
Rodgers, surprised by his opponent’s well-coached style, managed to eventually wear him down to take the first.
Watts surged ahead in the second and Rodgers could not recover.
Rodgers reasserted his length game in the third to take the early points and despite some spirited play by his opponent, continued to run through the third, taking it to 10.
Watts won a point for the fourth to take the match into a final game, only for Rodgers to crush the chance of an upset with the more experienced man coming through comfortably.
The squash plate saw Nick Watts first on court three in deficit to his opponent, first-time finalist Jonathan Baker, to the tune of 11 points.
After some tit-for-tat early blows, Watts eventually eased his way into the match by taking the first.
Baker, gaining another two points advantage looked set to win the second only for Watts to claim it with a run of points at the end.
Baker got himself on the board by taking the third and pressed on by comfortably taking the fourth.
An anticipated tight fifth followed with all parts of the court (and rackets) being used, Watts finally seeing it out to 12.
The racketball plate saw Colin Turner face yet another first-time finalist, Keith Loader.
Turner quickly pulled back his handicap in the first with a succession of drops from all around the court. Loader hung in the game, however, and, once he got their measure, began to exert an element of his own control to the encounter.
A tussle ensued with Loader coming through on sudden death.
The second saw Turner again worked back his starting disadvantage and Loader again res-ponded but, this time, the former strung the vital points together.
The third proved an even affair to begin with before the ‘Turner drop’ again began to reign, coupled with some uncharacteristic errors from Loader, saw the former grab the game.
The ‘length against drop’ battle continued in the fourth with Turner again taking early proceedings.
A tiring Loader had to draw on his reserves to grasp some vital points and send the match into a decider.
An enthralling encounter reached its deserved conclusion.
Loader looked to have the match in the bag, leading 12-7, before Turner struck back to make it an all-or-nothing sudden death point.
Turner, starting the rally with an attempted cork-screw serve (a shot worthy of losing any match), and ultimately held his nerve to claim the game that neither deserved to lose.
The final court entertainment for the evening was the racketball main final as Lyn Stockham tackled Paul White.
There is seldom a finals night without one of these club stalwarts and it was a battle in the trenches for the first as White looked to overcome a seven-point gap.
This he failed to manage as Stockham worked enough to take the first, maintaining his starting advantage.
More rallies that tested the concentration of players and spectators alike followed as Stockham took the second before the repeating theme of the night took hold and White grabbed the third and fourth.
A calf problem hindered White in the middle of the fifth and Stockham took full advantage easing to a 15-6 conclusion and perhaps a fitting end in what he later admitted will likely be his last club tournament appearance, 30 years after winning his first title at the club.
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