Harpenden III vs Melbourn I
Weds 13th June
Melbourn won 9-4
Melbourn 1sts travelled to Harpenden looking for our first win of the season for the second time following the withdrawal from the league of Radlett, who we beat 10-7 last time out.
First on court was Jan (3), taking on Tom Harker. The first came was close, with each player edging a few points ahead and then being pulled back, up until Jan made two unforced errors from 13-all to gift it away. Thereafter Jan tidied up, keeping it more conservative and the freebies to a minimum whilst benefitting as Tom still went for his shots and often unexpectedly found the tin. A strong start to game 2 made that one a cruise and then a good middle bit to game three did the same. The fourth started nip-and-tuck but a run of points from 6-5 put Jan 13-6 up. However a loss of focus saw this come back to 13-10 but that was as nervous as it got as Jan closed out 13-15 15-8 15-6 15-11.
Next on was Mark (2) against Andy Hingson. The match started with some extended rallies, but each seemed to end with Mark forcing an error from Andy in the back corners. This lead to a comfortable win of the opening game a big lead in Game 2. Some looser rallies and shot choices saw that close back up a little but Mark then refocused, got some more oxygen into the blood and reasserted his suffocating game to ultimately win easily 15-3 15-8 15-5.
That meant we had our win prior to Dan’s meeting with Mark Godfrey-Evans at top string. This was a high quality match, but unfortunately for Dan the dominate theme was the exceptional retrieving of the Harpenden player. Some of the pick-ups were extraordinary, with one towards the end of the third game, when Mark was floored mid-rally but still scrambled up to fight on and ultimately win it being the most jaw-dropping. Dan was just not able to put the ball away enough in the face of the athleticism and went down 12-15 11-15 12-15.
Skipper Jan called it “A good win. I found my game after the first and Mark did well to stay focus and keep working his opponent around rather than relaxing and trying to coast through it, which might have been dangerous. Dan was unlucky to come up against a player who was seemingly able to pick up everything.”