AT THE seventh time of asking, the Isle of Wight’s top players avoided defeat against the cream of South African squash.

Played at Ryde’s Westridge Squash Centre, the IW team drew 2-2 against the South African Knights touring team — but claimed bragging rights by winning 8-7 in games over the four matches.

Isle of Wight County Press:

The Isle of Wight Warriors squash team, in dark blue, alongside touring side, the South African Knights.  

The young Knights, chosen from the country`s top tier every two years, is usually enough to overcome the Isle of Wight, as was the case in the past six meetings — but this year was different.

Warrior Chris Green was first on court and quickly established a 6-1 lead over Jonty Matthews — eventually winning the first game 11-7.

Green’s expertise and stamina overcame a Matthews revival in the second to win 11-9, and 11-7 in the third, to claim his first win against a Knight after six attempts.

Callum Arnott, in good recent form, was in a battle with Hayden Worth.

The South African took the first game 11-9, but Arnott reversed the score in the second and began to take control, eventually winning the third 11-5.

At 10-6 up in the fourth, Arnott allowed Worth to claw it back to 10-10.

But to his credit, Arnott showed great character to win 13-11 and his match 3-1.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Isle of Wight Warriors players Callum Arnott, left, and Chris Green.

With the Warriors 2-0 up, the Isle of Wight’s top player, Adam Dominey, took on Tyrone Dial.

Knight continually stretched Dominey, but the Islander also dug deep to put the South African under pressure.

However, Dial was able to raise his game to eventually take the match 11-7, 11-7, 11-7.

The Island needed George Shoulder to beat the Knights’ captain, Henning Holtzhausen, to take match honours.

Shoulder started well, winning the first game 11-9, but Holtzhausen raised his game to win the next two 11-6.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Isle of Wight Warriors player George Shoulder in action against the South African Knights.

Inexplicably, the Knight looked to have reached a point of exhaustion in the fourth, which Shoulder capitalised on to storm to a convincing 11-1 win and level the match 2-2.

The deciding fifth game created some battling rallies, punctuated by unforced errors, with Holtzhausen coming from behind to win 11-9 to ensure the match finished all square.