Lee left to rue what might have been

Lee-on-the-Solent's racketball team
Lee-on-the-Solent's racketball team
Former Pompey striker Yakubu has retired from football. Picture: Mic Young

Former Pompey striker announces retirement

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Lee-on-the-Solent’s bid for National Club Championship glory ended in semi-final heartbreak as they fell to agonising defeat in Birmingham.

The prestigious tournament, held earlier this month, saw Lee defeated by the narrowest of margins against Broxbourne in an enthralling last-four encounter.

Halifax team Queens went on to claim title honours as Lee were left to reflect on what might have been – with another narrow loss to hosts Edgbaston Priory in their bronze-medal decider seeing them return home empty-handed.

Heading into their semi-final showdown with Broxbourne, Lee were able to call upon Tim Vail and Oliver Pett to get them off to a flier as they moved 2-0 ahead in their five-game decider.

Needing just one win from fellow team members Jon Geekie, Martyn Collins-Ballands and Aaron Cullingham, the Manor Way outfit were on course for their shot at national glory.

But with Cullingham and Collins-Ballands running into bother against experienced opponents, the task of carrying Lee into the final fell on the shoulders of Geekie.

His captivating tie with Broxbourne counterpart Scott Legg flowed one way and another until a fifth-set decider saw Geekie presented with the chance to clinch the match with a 10-7 lead.

Requiring just one point to win, an unforced error gifted Legg a way back into the tie.

And with the momentum on his opponent’s side, Geekie fell to an agonising 13-11 loss as Lee missed out in the most dramatic circumstances.

It was a case of deja vu in the third-place play-off clash.

With the impressive Vail and Pett both recording 3-0 wins and Cullingham and Collins-Ballands on the end of clear losses, Geekie was left to come up with the goods to claim a bronze-medal finish.

With his exertions in the previous day’s epic encounter weighing heavy on both body and mind, Geekie showed a remarkable resilience to play out another five-set thriller.

Sadly, though, the end result was the same as he lost 11-7 at the death and Lee had to settle for fourth spot.