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Highlands and Islands Squash Association league defeat for Forres at hands of Nairn A 'Tree Fellas'

By Craig Christie

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FORRES played their first home match of the Highlands and Islands Association (HISA) squash league season.

Graeme Spreng (right) ready to drive against John Kynoch.
Graeme Spreng (right) ready to drive against John Kynoch.

Following their opening day win against one Nairn side in Speedy Pancakes, they faced a daunting task of trying to defeat another.

For Nairn A's 'Tree Fellas' team finished second in the Premier Division last season and would prove to be formidable opponents.

The new HISA qualifying league mixes the old First Division with the Premier teams which will split later in the season to decide the title winners.

Read more: Forres flip over Speedy Pancakes.

At number four seed, Forres welcomed back Neil “Stretch” Martin to face treeman Grant Campbell.

A little ring rusty, Martin was slow out of the blocks in the first game as he slipped to an 11-6 defeat.

The second saw improvement from the Forres man who was starting to take the shots early and find some killer drops as he only just lost out 11-9.

Into the third and Martin started with determined intent. His attacking game plan had Campbell on the back foot, now he was driving good length and controlling the game from the tee with those long limbs as he stormed to a fine 11-4 win.

Campbell regrouped well in the fourth and Martin, blowing a bit, was unable to keep the intensity - the tree fella chopped him back down to earth with a thudding 11-4 reply. First match of the evening went to Nairn 3-1.

Grant Campbell powers a drive against Neil Martin
Grant Campbell powers a drive against Neil Martin

Forres now looked to Billy Montgomery to get them back on terms against Nairn’s Donald Beaton.

'Monty' was on his A game straight from the start going point for point with Beaton. Extra points were needed and the Forres player blew his game point chance in this nip and tuck game as Beaton edged it13-11.

Beaton was better on the percentages in the second game and took a close battle 11-8.

Extra points decided the third and this time 'Monty' found enough with a lunging reverse drop to win out 14-12.

The Forres man now needed to take the fourth game to draw level and once more this game was as tight as a submarine's hull going all the way to extra points to decide it.

Unfortunately for 'Monty', Beaton found the precision torpedo shots to sink him 13-11 and take the match 3-1 for Nairn.

Forres were now 2-0 down on the night as their next player Robbie Watson took to the court to try and get his team back on track against Kyle Bruce.

Bruce was the more clinical in the first game as Watson struggled to find his rhythm and groove, going down 11-5.

Watson was so much better in the second and put it all out there to get to game point. The finish eluded him and Bruce showed his metal and nerve to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat 12-10.

The second game effort had taken its toll on Watson as Bruce dominated the third to take it 11-4.

Nairn had the third match in the bag 3-0 and now had an unassailable lead 3-0 in matches.

The last game of the night between the number one seeds would at last give some joy to Forres.

Graeme Spreng (right) after his win over John Kynoch.
Graeme Spreng (right) after his win over John Kynoch.

Having started the season not at his best in his last outing, Forres player Graeme Spreng looked back to his snappy energetic best as he started as underdog against the much lauded John Kynoch.

Extra points were needed to separate the players in the first game but Spreng showed great spirit and grit to clinch it 14-12.

Kynoch recovered to edge the next game 11-8 but he worked hard to win it.

Spreng was on fire in the third as he ripped the ball around the court, scorching to an 11-4 victory.

Kynoch was not going away however and back he came finding the shots to win 11-7 to draw the match level 2-2.

The crowded balcony was buzzing in anticipation of the deciding game. Spreng started solidly and was now showing the full range of drop, drive and deception as he edged ahead at the mid point stage.

At the business end he was now hitting the ball with telling accuracy and Kynoch was toiling. Without further ado Spreng surged to a magnificent victory taking the deciding game 11-7 and match 3-2.

Forres had lost on the night 3-1 in matches and 11-5 on points.

However they had gained some good points against a very good team and their number one had excelled to win a tough match.

It all bodes well for the next match on resumption of games past the pending three-week league break.

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