Nuffield St Albans started the second half of their Herts Squash League Division 1 season with an emphatic 5-0 win over Luton & Dunstable to remain top of the table.
Adam Auckland was up against England over 35 international Marc Woolhead at number one string but the Luton player was unable to really cause any damage. Auckland kept a comfortable enough lead throughout the first game to take it 11-8.
Woolhead rallied well in the second game taking his younger opponent by surprise when he ran off a series of winners in the middle part of the game.
The game went to a tie-break with Auckland holding his nerve to win it 12-10. Auckland then sprinted into an early lead in the third game which he never relinquished, taking the game 11-6 and the match 3-0.
Nuffield’s number two Will John was even more ruthless against Luton’s Will Montgomery. The whole match took just over half an hour such was John’s dominance as he won 3-0, 11-7, 11-6, 11-2.
Arthur Moineau, fresh from a good performance in Nimes over the Christmas period, was playing to secure an unassailable lead in the match for Nuffield as he took on Steve Barlow. The young Frenchman’s performance was as impressive as John’s as he also ran out an easy 3-0 winner, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4.
Nuffield’s 6ft 7in Swedish giant Jesper Skarman consolidated the home team’s dominance with yet another 3-0 win at number four against Dylan Harris. Skarman was only mildly threatened in the third game but still managed a convincing performance in his 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 victory.
It was up to captain Tom James to make sure Nuffield secured maximum points against Luton’s Ian Thomas. This was the one match of the evening that proved to be slightly uncomfortable for the St Albans team. After losing the first game 11-9, James levelled the score by taking the second game 11-7.
The match swung back in favour of the Luton player as James lost 11-8 for Thomas to go into a 2-1 lead. However this proved to be the only chance of Luton salvaging anything from the match. James dominated the final two games, taking them 11-7, 11-5 and making sure Nuffield repeated the same scoreline against Luton & Dunstable as in the first match of the season.
With maximum points secured it guarantees that Nuffield stay top. Their position is bound to come under threat in the next couple of weeks as the majority of their players will be away playing on the Professional Squash Association world circuit.
This next period could determine where the title eventually ends up as their close rivals, including second-placed Broxbourne, will be at full strength.
Nuffield’s matches over the next couple of weeks are away to Tring tomorrow [Thursday] and at home to Harpenden next week.