Madibaz Super League Squash 740

The Madibaz men’s squash team kept their cool when the heat was on to land the Eastern Province Super league title for the third year in a row last week.

The Nelson Mandela University outfit, spearheaded by player-coach Jason le Roux, edged perennial rivals Londt Park 3-2 in matches in the deciding tie to emerge from a difficult two years in which the varsity courts were closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was a tightly contested competition throughout, with both Madibaz and Londt Park having to work hard to defeat Old Grey 3-2 in earlier fixtures.

In the end, the depth of the Madibaz side made the difference, said Le Roux.

“We do have good depth in the men’s team, but we didn’t necessarily want to rely on that. Although Londt Park have a lot of firepower at number one and two, we were aiming to try to win one of those,” he said.

“In fact, it could hardly have been closer because Warren Bower at number two, after being 2-1 down in games, was up 10-7 in the fifth against Sean Bailey, but lost it 3-2.

“It was a massive comeback from Sean, who is always a tough opponent, but it could have gone either way.”

After Siphelele Mpini (Madibaz) had beaten Quintin Masters in the opening match and Le Roux had gone down to Rudi van Niekerk, it meant Londt Park led 2-1 with two matches remaining.

That is when the depth Madibaz possessed came to the fore, added Le Roux.

Madibaz Super League Squash 740

The Madibaz team which won the Eastern Province Super league men’s squash title for the third year in a row is, from left, Murray Schepers, Siphelele Mpini, Warren Bower, Jason le Roux and Gershwin Forbes. Photo: Supplied

“Murray Schepers has been playing good squash – we had him as one of our bankers at number three and he came through with a solid 3-0 win over Tyler Whitby to set it up at 2-2 with Gershwin Forbes to play Rian Raubenheimer.

“Gershwin also played well and worked hard to take a 2-0 lead. But Rian made it tough and a few cracks appeared as he fought back to win the third game.

“However, Gershwin focused on the original gameplan and maintained the pressure on his opponent, which allowed him to win the fourth and to give us the title.

“We are very happy with the win and will continue to work hard with the top players and try to bring those just below through the system so we can continue to improve our depth.”

Since 2012, Madibaz and Londt Park have been the chief protagonists in the Super league. Madibaz won the title four years in a row before Londt Park took it in 2016, only for the varsity side to regain it in 2017.

Londt Park won it in 2018 and 2019, but Madibaz have made it a hat-trick with their latest triumph.

Madibaz Sport squash manager Theresa le Roux praised the team for the effort they had put in.

“We are super excited about the win,” she said. “If we take into consideration the circumstances of the last two years with Covid, I can only applaud our team for the excellent results.

“Our courts were closed for two years and, in that time, they managed to organise and arrange some alternatives for them to train and play.

“I am looking forward to USSA this year as I am sure this team of students will do well.”