Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Greg Lobban gets a grip to beat Joel Hinds in Aberdeen final

Trophy time for Greg Lobban in Aberdeen
Trophy time for Greg Lobban in Aberdeen

Hinds loses his grip as Lobban makes a racket to win North of Scotland Open in testy Aberdeen final
By DAVE IRESON – Squash Mad Reporter in Aberdeen

Joel Hinds ran out of rackets, and momentum, as he lost to home hero Greg Lobban in the final of the Trac North of Scotland Open in Aberdeen. 

The first rally saw Joel (who had only brought two rackets with him) break the second set of strings this week. He managed to borrow a spare from one of the ASRC Juniors with possible the worst colour of grip the crowd had ever seen – not sure that boy had ever washed his hands…

Anyway, onto the squash. The first few rallies were pretty cagey from both players – neither wanting to open the court up too much. A few lets followed as both players eased their ways into the game. Greg seemed to make a push at 3-2 up, and looked to increase the tempo and volley more balls quickly taking a 7-2. Joel managed to claw back a few points before some relentless retrieval from Greg took him to 10-5 up, where he managed to close out the game on the second attempt. First game to Greg 11/7.

It was good to see that despite the high tempo both players were maintaining good quality under pressure in the second game, and also trying to play through any minor interference. In the early stages of the game there were some good holds (& head fakes!) from both players, but both players’ retrieval remained solid.

Greg seemed to be a little better at punching a volley length off a poor cross court from the front and this saw him edge ahead slightly taking a 5-3 lead. Greg was finding it difficult to get the ball past Joel on the backhand – Joel’s reach coupled with some slightly loose play by Greg allowed Joel to start controlling more of the rallies. Back to 6-6.

At 8-8 Joel broke another string!! He had now moved from a Black Knight to a Dunlop to an Eye racket. He should definitely swap to Eye. Slotting the ball now. Hit 3 winners to take the game 11/9.

A lot more interference in the third. Joel’s refusal to let anything past him was creating problems for Greg. At 3-3 Greg seemed to start varying the height and pace on his drives on the back hand side – this stopped Joel’s volley and allowed Greg to get in front and start opening up the court – moving the ball around all four corners.

Greg looked to lose focus at 7/6 down after some interference in the front right, losing the next 2 points, however an overhead forehand smash on the backhand side into the front right nick followed by 2 straight volley drop winners on the backhand took him to 9-9. A cheeky body shot down the middle from Greg moved him to 10/9 up. Greg closed out the game 11/9.

At least Joel’s racket didn’t show that much sign of string wear at the start of this game… in the early part of this game there as a lot more interference again on the back hand side. Greg not managing to keep the ball out of Joel’s volley.

It looks like Greg is going to have to hit the ball a bit harder and lower on the backhand to get it past Joel… at 8/7 Lobban played a boast into the front left corner and Joel fell on the way through to the shot and “Glasgow kissed” the side wall (for those non Scottish people this means head-butted).

Joel looked in real discomfort. Following a few nervous moments play resumed with Greg leading 9/7. Greg hit the tin to go lead 9/8. No let for Joel and Greg has 2 game balls. An outrageous no let for Greg 10-9. Backhand drop winner and Greg takes the title 11/9.
Results title (i.e. First Round):

Greg Lobban (Sco) beat Joel Hinds (Eng) 3-1: 11-7 9-11 11-9 11-9 (82 mins)

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