The title race in the FNB Summer Squash League is wide open after Team FNB and Green Machine emerged victorious in third round matches at the Wanderers Squash Courts this week.
After a four-month break due to Covid-19, the league resumed this week, with the log leaders Team Alpha suffering a 35-28 defeat to Team Green Machine, while Team FNB beat the Conquerors 29-21.
With the competition now at the half way stage, Green Machine has taken the overall lead on 97 points, but Team Alpha and Team FNB are just behind on 95 points each, while the Conquerors trail in fourth place on 68 points.
Wednesday's encounter between the Green Machine and Team Alpha was a close affair with Green Machine winning the match count 9-7 and the games count 35-28.
With each team consisting of 16 players, and the corresponding seeds playing each other, the Green Machine's greater depth pulled them through.
They got off to a great start as most of their lower ranked players won their matches, and by the time the top seeds faced each other, they had taken an unassailable 8-2 lead.
Their were some comprehensive victories, with Jason Nott beating Deon Lochner 57-29; Zirk Jansen beating Jan Olivier 58-34; Wynand Slabbert beating Armand Esterhuizen 65-21; Brighton Zinyakatria beating Jessica Moore 45-29; Clinton Dauti beating Gregory Moore 47-30; Marco Himmel beating Clifford Steyn 47-28; and Luke Brinkmann beating Hannie Koelman 47-26.
Amongst the top six seeds, the Green Machine only won one match with Rowan McNamara beating Danie Grobler 44-26, but by then they were well ahead.
Team Alpha won the rest of the top-seeded matches with Max Endjala beating Sven Gruttemeyer 40-27, Nic Berry beating Samuel Kruger 38-24, Franco Lambert beat Gerhard Bruwer 39-30, Adri Lambert beating Ricardo Abrantes 51-40, and Hans Rack beating Colin Nott 45-35.
On Tuesday night, Team FNB (also known as Flippin Nice Blokes) beat the Conquerors 29-21 on points, while the match count was tied at 8-8.
The tie was evenly-balanced throughout, with the Conquerors taking a 7-4 lead, but Team FNB finished strongly to win the tie on points.
FNB won four of the top six seeded matches with Christof Knoetze beating Archie Botha 54-30, Eric Bruys edging Abdul Gester 33-32, Heiko Knipe beating Pieter Meuwesen 41-23, and Benneton Calitz beating Morne van Zyl 41-33, while the Conquerors' Jason Forrest beat Steven Berry 44-16 and Graham Watermeyer beating Gerhard Liebenberg 50-23.
Amongst the lower-ranked players, things were more even, with the Conquerors winning six and Team FNB four matches.
Some of the stand out players for the Conquerors were Mauritz du Preez who beat Lyle Bruys 63-22; Ralph Blaauw, who beat Jacque Falla 57-22; and Dene van Zyl who beat Etienne Fourie 60-39; while Carisia Masson and Michael Truter both got narrow wins against Reinhold Schurz (46-43) and Ramon Maasdorp (38-37) respectively.
Team FNB's other winners were Kirsten Fourie who beat Mar-leece Geldenhuys 50-44, Christian Kollard who beat Kotie Karstens 51-38, Jacques van der Smit who beat Liezel Wijgergangs 53-40; and Oliver Daub who beat Elmarie Kotze 54-33.