Fenland I vs Melbourn II
Mon 18th March
Melbourn lost 18-7
It came down to this, moreorless. Third (Fenland) vs Second (us) in Division 4, with the top two to go up. There was some uncertainty on points as Fenland’s game at Kimbolton last week hadn’t actually taken place possibly through some kind of misunderstanding or similar (we were only getting hearsay) which meant that it wasn’t know exactly how many points were needed by either team. Therefore it was just win, and wait to see.
The first match underway pitted John G (4) against Sam Boden. Game one when the home players way, but John fought back in the second, catching Sam out with his clever disguised boast to level. A further good game put John 2-1 up, but it was clearly that the pace and fitness of his opponent was starting to get to him. The fourth felt like all or nothing, particularly after John saved three game balls to level at 14-all. Sadly, the next two rallies went Sam’s way on forced errors. By now not only was John blowing, he was also limping with a calf injury. Sam exploited this well, playing many more drop shots than his ordinary style to take it 3-2. The game scores (Melbourn first) were 11-15 15-9 15-12 14-16 9-15.
Next door, Sean H (5) was taking on Anthony Turner. It took Sean a game and a half to get his head around Anthony’s unusual style, by which time he was one down. However, Sean clawed out the second and with that Anthony’s head seemed to go. He made a lot of errors in the face of Sean’s consistency and also had a few run-ins with the marker. This was all grist to Sean’s mill as he won 9-15 15-13 15-6 15-7.
Gareth J (3) followed Sean on Court 1, taking on Mike Ford. For most of the first game Gareth was ahead as he kept his consistency up and Mike (a very strong 3rd string for Div.4!) made unexpected errors. Unfortunately, with the first game tape in sight, Gareth tightened up and made mistakes whilst Mike cut them out, allowing the home player to turn it around. A sluggish start to game two for Gareth proved unrecoverable, and by now the pattern was set so, whilst the third was closer, the 12-15 7-15 10-15 defeat already felt settled before it got to match ball.
Court 2’s second match pitted Matt W (2) against Tim Dean. I must admit I saw nothing of this match, so I’ll go by Matt’s comments, which were it took him a game to get going, but then his volley drops started to be effective. However a loss of focus at the start of games 3 and 5 meant too big a deficit in either as Matt went down 13-15 15-5 8-15 15-10 9-15.
That match wasn’t over when Jan B (1) took the court against Dave Grant. A slow start hampered Jan’s chances in game 1, but not as much as his opponent’s ability to generate vast power from seemingly nowhere. Jan was always chasing, and though a late game resurgence made the scoreline fairly close, Dave always had things in hand. He certainly did in the second, which was over nearly before it started! Game three saw Jan digging in and possibly Dave’s concentration wandering. The four straight missed returns early on were certainly not up with his best play of the match. Jan’s early advantage was eked back though, with the game reaching double figures at close to level pegging. A key point occurred at 11-10 to Dave, when the home player read boast at the same time Jan was trying a straight kill. Sadly, he couldn’t quite drag the ball around enough and put it in the top of the tin with his opponent heading completely the wrong way. That miss killed the momentum and Jan went down 10-15 3-15 11-15.
Skipper Roger commented “We gave everything we had to win this match but, at the end of the day, we were beaten by a stronger team. We can take considerable satisfaction from finishing in a very creditable third spot in Division 4”