Mon 4th December
Melbourn lost 6-15
Melbourn 2nds luck was out as they ran into a Fenland team that will be one of the forces in Division 4 in the second-half of the season following the dropping down of a couple of players from their 1sts, who have withdrawn from a higher league [not that there is any objection to this, I hasten to add. People should not be barred from playing from circumstances!].
The first indications of the difficult evening to come were when Rob Davis (4) and Roger Woodfield (5) found themselves up against much more handy players than the usual fare at these strings. Roger was taking on Brian Chapman, and despite a big effort from the home skipper than saw him get closer in each game, he went down 10-15 11-15 14-16. If only that third game had been different... but let’s not deal in hypotheticals.
Meanwhile Rob had his hands full with Mike Ford, who was commanding the front of the court well. Rob was involved in the first, with the scoring repeatedly coming back to level pegging. However at the end of it the game was Mike’s on a tie-break, which appeared to lift the away player and deflate Rob who struggled to hit the lengths he needed thereafter and went down 14-16 7-15 5-15.
The third string paired hard-hitting rallyer Gareth Jones with hard-hitting rallyer Sam Boden. Of the two, however, it’s Jones who tends to make the fewer errors. He just about kept these in check in game one, which went to an extended tie-break before ending our way. As with Rob’s game, that outcome lifted the winners game a fraction and suppressed the other player’s performance a little. Which, in a match this tight, is all it takes. Sam was getting increasingly frustrated with his mistakes, and Gareth was perfectly happy to hand him the rope to hang himself with, repeatedly cutting balls short to drag the Fenland man forward and into the tin. This worked to the tune of an 18-16 15-11 15-12 success.
Matt Walker (2) lost his opening game to Sam Peacock as he sought his normal deadly touch on the drop volley. Once this was in place Matt took charge, winning the next two by a distance as he set Sam up with deep shots and then killed it off with those early taken short cutouts. Game four was a little more back into the balance, but Matt always had the go-to play when he needed it, going to the well just often enough to secure an 11-15 15-7 15-5 15-12 victory.
That left it all down to Jan Brynjolffssen (1) and Dave Grant. The early sparring was nip-and-tuck, but then towards the end of the game Dave began to up his game, pushing Jan deep and waiting for the movement to wrong-foot. He was also stretching across well to cut things out. Game two followed a similar pattern to the end of the first, and for the third Jan went out with instructions to up his shot pace because “You may as well, as you are not going to beat him playing this way”. Worth a try but no dice – this just took more time away (a precious commodity) as Jan fell 9-15 6-15 5-15.
2nds captain Roger said of the match that “This was a disappointing result as we had hoped to finish the first half of the season with a win. However, overall we have played well in the first half and will end up in third or fourth position in the league at the Christmas break”