Leahy Leads Great Escape...
Winchester's Veterans second team, sponsored by Sigvaris, turned the form book upside down with a terrific 2-1 win at Abshot to finish the season in style and give themselves a great chance of staying up in their first ever season of Premier squash.
A win was looking anything but likely for the Bereweeke Road side as Hampshire Ladies captain Bev Mackay, despite chasing hard and hitting some flashing winning drives, lost out in three close games to the accurate play of Phil Laurenson.
But club chairman Trevor Leahy (pictured) showed real tenacity and self-belief to come back from a game down to go 2-1 up against the in-form Simon Brooks. Leahy's tough training regime since the turn of the year is starting to pay handsome dividends and, despite dropping the fourth game, he was able to increase the pressure in the decider, forcing mistakes from a despairing Brooks to clinch the match by the narrowest of margins, 9-7 in the fifth.
And not to be outdone, skipper Patrick Fisher also stormed back from one down against England Over 55 international Paul Reader to take the next two games 9-0, 9-2. The fourth game ebbed and flowed until Reader's deceptive shot-making and uncanny anticipation helped him sneak through 10-9, saving a match point in the process. But Fisher's was unphased, his steadiness and control ultimately proving too much for a tiring Reader, and he ran out a comfortable winner 9-4 in the final game to the dismay of a boisterous but appreciative Abshot crowd.
So a tremendous win for Winchester which, although still leaving them dependent on results from elsewhere, makes them favourites to remain in the top flight of Hampshire Veterans squash for a second season.