Title holders fire early warning

FIRST Division champions Harrogate Squash gave a sharp reminder to promoted rivals that there is a big gap between Division One and Two in the Hambleton Ales North Yorkshire Squash League.

Newly-promoted Bedale II went down 3-0 to the title holders with the underdogs taking only one game.

John Evans was the only Bedale player to capture a game against Nigel Heward.

He took the first game 9-4 but then faded 5-9 2-9 0-9.

In the battle of the two skippers Mark Harding (Harrogate) came out on top although John Abbotson came within a whisker of taking the second game, eventually losing 7-9 8-10 1-9.

The title holders are red hot favourites to retain the title with Paul Hotchkiss, Tim Russell and John Buxton all capable of stepping into the line-up if and when needed.

Harrogate Squash were led to victory at first string by James Lindley who played for Windsor Court last season and will be a major asset to his new side.

Meanwhile Bedale first team managed a 2-1 win at Leyburn, Alan Peirson and Robert Dent securing the winning points.

Hambleton Ales North Yorkshire Squash League Division One: Thirsk 3 (Steve Whiteley, Steve Wood and Steve Snodgrass) Harlow II 0; Bedale II 0 Harrogate Squash 3 (James Lambley, Nigel Heward, Mark Harding); Leyburn 1 (Nick Brown) Bedale (Alan Peirson, Robert Dent).

Division Two: Harrogate Squash V 1 (Alex Nowakowski) Bedale III 2 (Mark Allison, Alan Hebb); Leyburn II 0 Thirsk II 3 (Jonathan Harrison, Nigel Laws, Mark Fox); Thirsk III 1 (Shaun Hulme) Pateley Bridge 2 (Ben Bolton, John Bailey).

Division Three: Bedale IV 3 (Dave Wheatley, Gary Fullegar, Mike Lumley) Northallerton 0; Pateley Bridge III 1 (Phil Salisbury) Boroughbridge II 2 (Phil Smelt, Nigel Wick); Harrogate Squash VI 3 (Jonathan Yates, Jonathan Smith, Richard Finney) RAF Leeming 0.

A NEW influx of players has boosted a squash league to record numbers.

When the first balls have been struck in the Kall Kwik Harrogate and District League this season season extra players from Leeds clubs will be taking part for the first time.

More sides have been signed up from Collingham, Garforth and Chapel Allerton, the latter fielding what is virtually a Yorkshire county women's team skippered by Paula Arrowsmith against male opposition in Division Two.

League secretary Brian Anson says in all 74 teams will be taking part this season, the figure including 28 junior sides.

Chapel Allerton women will also field a second team in the league while Garforth have been given a First Division place.

Anson says the invasion from Leeds teams has been aided by Yorkshire Squash Association's announcement that a women's league will not be operating during the coming season.

Meanwhile the league secretary says the Kall Kwik League will not be totally submered by incomers with Harrogate Squash Club fielding no less than eight sides.

Meanwhile local leagues across the country are also gathering pace as players opt for less travelling in county-wide structures.

The Harrogate League will continue to operate junior leagues for U-11s, U-13s, U-15s and U-17s.

The junior section has shown a healthy growth since it started a just a few seasons ago.