Leicestershire Womens' team top the group!

It was a great team effort that helped Leicestershire Women’s squash team finish top of their group in Stage 1 of the Inter County Championship.
Leicestershire welcomed Staffordshire and Shropshire to Leicester Squash Club on Saturday 5th November.This year sees a new format to the competition, with each team playing two matches on the Saturday only.

Leicestershire met Staffordshire in the first match of the day. Rebecca Campbell started the match off at fifth string, she took the lead within the first few rallies and confidently took the match 3-0 (11-8,11-4,11-7), giving Leicestershire a perfect start. Kim Clayton took on Bethan Grinnell at number four string and started off strongly taking the first game 11-4. The next two games were much more closely contested with Kim coming back in the third game to lead 2-1. The fourth game was much more comfortable giving Kim a 3-1 victory (11-4, 7-11, 12-10,-11-1), and Leicestershire a 2-0 lead in the match. Leanne Herbert playing at no3 took on a very experienced Anna Vaghan-Hawkins, the first game could have gone either way with some great rallies but Anna held on to win 12-10. In the second game Leanne was always in control winning 11-4. Unfortunately Anna matched Leanne in third game and used her experience to take the next 2 games 11-4 and 11-5 to give Staffordshire a 3-1 win. Rachel Calver had a very close match at no2, after losing the first game 11-3 she took the next two games 11-9 but couldn’t win the fourth game losing it 6-11. Luckily she held on to win the fifth 11-8. Mari Taylor played Roxanna Keshavarz at no1 string, the first game was close with Mari winning 11-8. The next two games were more comfortable for Mari winning in three, 11-4 and 11-6, giving Leicestershire a 4-1 win and 18 points.
Staffordshire had minimal rest before starting their second match against Shropshire. This match was very close and could have gone either way with both Staffordshire’s Roxanna at no1 and Bethan at no4 having five set matches against their opponents Linda and Jodie respectively. Roxana winning 13-11 in the fifth and Bethan losing 7-11 in the fifth.
Shropshire showed strength at no2 and no5 both winning in three giving them the team win and the vital 5 bonus points. Anna playing at no3 for Staffordshire also won in three meaning it was a 3-2 win to Shropshire with 16 points to 8. It would now be between Shropshire and Leicestershire who would finish top of the group.
The final match of the day got underway almost straight away. This time Nina Parker was playing at number five for Leicestershire against Alice Oatham for Shropshire. Alice didn’t let Nina settle winning in three 11-3,11-3,11-3, 1-0 Shropshire. Kim Clayton was not looking for a long match and won 3-0 against Jodie Hodgkins 11-2, 11-5, 11-4. Leanne Herbert was also looking to reverse her morning result and kept in control of her match against Shriley Barre winning in three, 11-1, 11-5, 11-5. Rachel Calver started slowly losing her first game to Cheryl Heath 11-8 but somehow hung on to the second game 13-11 and took the next two games 11-9 and 11-7 for a 3-1 win. Mari Taylor ensured a good team win by beating Linda Pritchard 3-0 (11-5, 11-2, 11-2), giving Leicestershire a 4-1 team win by 17 points to 4.
A great start to the season with everyone in the team playing their part. Stage two is scheduled for the end of February with a strong possibility of an away fixture.
Region 1, Stage 1, Group B Total points
1 Leicestershire 35
2 Shropshire 20
3 Staffordshire 14

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