Burton Manor Sports Association

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Burton Manor blitz Bilston in penultimate game of the season


In the early part of the season, Burton Manor only managed a close win at home to Bilston in the South Staffs squash league. However, on their home patch Bilston found the going tough against a rampant Stafford team.

Visitors to Bilston have always found it difficult to find their range on the new, slightly unresponsive courts and it was no different as Stephen Hole and Simon Ehrenmark got proceedings underway. Both looked frustrated as they struggled to find some depth to their shots and both lost their first games. Hole rallied in the second in his match, and began to play some telling shots, relying on his considerable power to subdue his opponent. Having levelled the matc,h Hole then seemed to lose his focus - his game peppered with scrappy shots and no clear strategy. This enabled his opposite number to gain control and take the match 3-1. On court 2 Ehrenmark had changed tactics and was attacking the ball early, never allowing his opponent to settle to level his match 1-1. Looking more comfortable with the court conditions, Ehrenmark then began to dismantle his opponent’s game with chopping drop shots and clever disguise to take a well-deserved 3-1 win.

Colin Gallow and Alan McDonald were next on court for the Manor. Gallow started slowly and was clearly having trouble with the lack of pace of the court. Gradually he clawed back the early points, settled into the game, and then never looked troubled as he outplayed his opposite number in a comprehensive 3-0 win. Similarly, McDonald played unhurried, consistent shots, never allowing his opponent’s antics to disrupt his style. His opposite number recovered briefly in the third, but McDonald simply raised his level to close the game out and take a comfortable 3-0 win.

Although the match was already theirs, Richard Smith was determined to maintain his current form in the final match of the evening. Smith started in his usual forceful style and his opponent found his deep, penetrating shots hard to match. Despite fighting tenaciously for points, and taking an injury ‘time-out’, his opposite number was unable to make any inroads into Smith’s game. Smith looked imperious in his demolition of the number one string and closed out the match with maximum points for the Burton Manor team.





After a narrow 3-2 away reverse earlier in the season, Burton Manor ‘A’ got their revenge against local rivals Cannock with a resounding 4-1 home victory in their latest Staffs & Central Squash League outing!

Fifth string Simon Ehrenmark got them off to a flying start with a 3-1 win against an unconventional opponent hell-bent on short, frustrating rallies, but he stayed focused to edge the first game 9-7 and then eased away to win the second 9-3. A momentary blip saw him lose the third, but he powered past his opponent in the fourth and stormed it 9-0.

Next up was fourth string Steve Hole against an opponent who hit the ball as hard and fast as he does, which led to some long and arduous rallies. In a fluctuating match of unrelenting pace and power, it was the Cannock player who just had the edge on control and finesse and although Hole pushed him hard every game, he ultimately lost 3-0 and it was all square.

Manor third string Greg Rees got them back on track, however, when running out a comfortable 3-0 winner (9-4, 9-6, 9-6) in a sometimes fractious, physical encounter. He kept his cool and let his shot selection do the talking – patiently moving his opponent around and then moving in for the kill when the opportunities arose.

And Alan McDonald sealed the Manor win with a ruthless 3-0 demolition job against a handy second string opponent for the loss of just two points. McDonald controlled the T and had his opponent floundering in the back corners on numerous occasions, before claiming the spoils with trademark drop volleys and boasts.

With the match victory secured, Manor number one Richard Smith could have taken it easy, but against an opponent who has pushed him close in previous matches, he set off at a scorching pace and didn’t let up. An impressive 3-0 win (9-2, 9-0, 9-3) was never in doubt as Smith used his proven combination of power, speed and accuracy to great effect.




Burton Manor ‘A’ continue to rack up the points in the Staffs & Central Squash League after a resounding victory over Bilston and a very narrow defeat to Four Oaks.

The 5-0 demolition of Bilston began with No.5 string Simon Ehrenmark – close to match fitness again after an enforced lay off – notching up an easy 3-0 victory as if his opponent wasn’t there. And No. 4 string Steve Hole dropped only two points in his 3-0 win as he played accurate and powerful squash that his opponent just couldn’t deal with.

Manor No.3 string Greg Rees and No.2 Alan McDonald were both kicking themselves after dropping the odd game in their 3-1 victories, but otherwise they were comfortable – Rees wearing his opponent down with accurate boasts and lobs and McDonald sending his opponent this way and that with deft drop shots and angles.

Manor No. 1 Richard Smith finished things off with aplomb when after a tight first game he easily closed out the remaining two with relentless, tight length for another impressive 3-0 victory.

The same five Manor players acquitted themselves well against high-flying Four Oaks in a tense and lengthy struggle that could have gone either way.

Ehrenmark nicked a tight first game and then lost a marathon second 10-9, but rather than wilt he snatched the third 10-8 and then clung on to win the fourth 9-7 for his best and most satisfying victory of the season.

Hole started like a train in winning the first, but the second slipped from his grasp and he expended a lot of energy in snatching the third 9-7. His opponent took advantage to ease away in the fourth, so it was down to a deciding fifth game – and after some arduous, long rallies it the Four Oaks player who just triumphed 9-7.

Likewise, Rees unluckily went down 3-2, but not after hauling himself back in the game after going two down and a slow start. He battled to win the next two but it took a lot out of him and he finally ran out of steam in another tight decider.

McDonald got Manor back on level terms, however, against a much younger and lightning quick opponent, just edging all three games with a winning combination of coolness under pressure and shot selection.

So, with the match tied at 2-2, it was down to top string Smith, who found himself up against a player specifically brought in from the higher level Warwickshire leagues. He raised his game accordingly and ran him all the way, but just lost out in one of the closest 3-0 defeats you will ever see.






Burton Manor ‘A’ got back to winning ways with a hard fought 3-2 victory against Walsall

based Sprintz in the Staffs & Central Squash League.

First up, fifth string Andy Laker dominated from the start with some tight length and deft angles, only dropping seven points in winning the first two games. He switched off momentarily in the third however and allowed his opponent to claw a game back, but easily closed out the fourth to get Manor off to a flying start.

And this was carried on by second string Alan McDonald who ruthlessly dispatched his hapless opponent 3-0 for the loss of only six points with a consistent combination of power, accuracy and court craft that lasted less than 20 minutes.

Next up was number one Richard Smith against a very tricky and unconventional opponent. Smith is renowned for his fitness and there were some punishing rallies in the first game, but the Sprintz number one just edged it courtesy of some remarkable drop shots that even Smith couldn’t recover.

Smith ground out the second to make it all square, but his opponent’s combination of relentless length and trickery was dragging Smith to all four corners of the court and he had to work much harder for his points. Always playing catch up, Smith lost the next two games and suddenly Sprintz were back in it.

Manor’s fourth string Scott Middleton is on the comeback trail after a few years out of the game, but he blitzed the first game with his trademark power driving. His opponent started reading his game however and edged the second – with the third also going to Sprintz 10-8 after some gruelling rallies. This took its toll on Middleton who is still somewhat short of match fitness and the Sprintz number four pulled away in the fourth to win 3-1.

So, it was left to Manor third string Greg Rees against a much younger opponent and Rees nicked a tight first game 9-7. The second was much easier as Rees slowed the pace right down to take the sting out of his opponent’s power game, but when he just lost the third after some arduous rallies, it was the younger Sprintz player with a spring in his step.

Rees kept his nerve however and went back to his favoured lob and boast game that frustrated his opponent and denied him momentum, eventually closing out the fourth 9-6 to secure the Manor victory.

This deserved win followed a crushing 5-0 victory against basement team Oak Park from Brownhills, even with a weakened team. Alan McDonald, Simon Ehrenmark and Robin Padmore all won 3-0, with Pete Matthews and Luke Underwood only dropping one game.


Burton Manor beaten by close rivals


Burton Manor’s A team has been putting in solid, if not spectacular, performances this season in the Staffs and Central Squash League. In their recent encounter with close rivals Burntwood, the Stafford team needed one such spectacular performance to knock their neighbours off the top of the table. However, typical of most of the matches this season, it was another tough encounter.

None of the team played particularly badly, but they all seemed to lack the extra edge as one by one they lost key points that are so crucial to winning games. Andy Laker started particularly well, playing with tenacity and flair. But as the game progressed, Laker’s ease of movement appeared to desert him as he struggled to close out opportunities. Gradually his opponent asserted his authority on court and closed out the game 3-1.

On court 2 Terry Horne found it hard going. Despite getting himself into good winning positions on many occasions, Horne’s shot selections were poor and he slumped to a disappointing 0-3 defeat.

In a match of fluctuating fortunes Colin Gallow started slowly and, at 2-0 down, looked in danger of never getting started. Taking the pace out of the game, his opponent appeared to find nicks at the front of the court at will. However Gallow rallied well and came back strongly, winning the next two games and forcing the match into a decider. In a closely contested final game, the Burntwood player snatched a win to take the match 3-2.

Alan McDonald, one of the most consistent players in the league, once again produced the goods. Despite an awkward, hard-hitting opponent, McDonald took control of the match from the start. Playing a steady game with the occasional flair shot thrown in, his Burntwood opponent never looked threatening as McDonald made it look like a comfortable 3-0 win.

Despite being down in matches, the Stafford team still expected Richard Smith to secure additional points for Burton Manor. Smith started at a very high tempo, stamping his authority on the match immediately. His opposite number could only look on as the ball sped past on numerous occasions. But gradually the Burntwood player worked his way back into the contest. Playing to a crowded gallery, the two engaged in a fast, attacking game and striking the ball with ferocious intensity. The games all followed a similar pattern – no finesse, just sheer power. At 2 games apiece and 8-8 in the final game, there was still nothing to separate them. But there are no draws in this gladiatorial arena, and the Burntwood player grabbed the vital points to take the victory and earn the visitors a 1-4 win.

Burton Manor A Squash Team Winter Storm


First match in the Central Midlands Winter league saw Burton Manor travel to Burntwood which has traditionally always been a close encounter. However on this occasion Burntwood were much too strong winning the match 4-1.

Match scores; Rich Smith (0-3), Alan McDonald (3-0), Stephen Hole (0-3), Simon Ehrenmark (0-3) and Andy Laker (1-3).

Next up was another away match at Four Oaks in Sutton Coldfield, this proved to be a much more successful trip with Burton Manor taking the match 4-1.

Match scores; Rich Smith (3-1), Alan McDonald (3-0), Stephen Hole (3-1), Pete Mathews (3-1) and Andy Laker (2-3).