Weds 6th December
Melbourn won 14-7
Melbourn 1sts picked up a key win in our Division 1 survival battle with a 14-7 success at Addenbrokes against Frank Lee.
In a break from protocol, the third strings were first on court, Vinod Duraikan representing Melbourn and Guy Weatherhead the hosts. The first two games were tight affairs, shared one-all as Guy battled hard to stay with Vinod. However once Vinod found his length in game three the match took a decisive turn in his favour; Guy was suddenly scrambling whilst Vinod could play his normal smooth game and came through 11-9 8-11 11-3 11-2.
Meanwhile Mark Oppen (4) was up against Andrew Dawson. These two have met before, with Andy normally coming out on top but for most of the first game it was anyone’s guess who would win as the home player made some uncharacteristic errors in the front court. Mark was chasing and battling well, but then a mistake of his own at 10-all proved costly as Andy took the opener. Mark continued to scramble well but was not managing to shift his opponent from the front position enough, which was leaving him too much to do in each rally. The second and third were also fairly even in terms of scoreline, but in these it was the home player who was always two or three points ahead as Mark fell 10-12 8-11 6-11.
Jan Brynjolffssen (5) took the court against Ed Hadcock with a suspicion that he was in for a tough evening. That quickly proved the case as he found himself pinned back, with Ed stepping in to cut out all too frequently and easily. Attempts to turn rallies around were failing on lack of accuracy, which combined with the usual iffy movement meant a losing fight. Then Ed stepped it up in game three! Final score was 7-11 8-11 2-11.
Melbourn were left needing to win the top two strings, but with Matt Sampson and Ed Wheeler there was a good chance of doing so. Matt (1) was up against Chris Shaw, who ran and chased well but at times appeared to be being yanked around the court on a string. Matt’s tactics were not his usual fare, repeatedly breaking the play up with boasts and short balls to draw Chris forward, looking for the chance to counter-punch away the winners. This worked spectacularly well as Matt came through 11-7 11-2 11-8.
That left Ed (2) taking on Adam Searle with the win on the line. Adam is known for breaking up the game and undermining the rhythm of his opponent, but Ed was having none of this, moving rapidly in to the short balls to lift it deep and reset rallies. Having nullified his opponent’s main weapon, Ed’s own attacks were also going swimmingly as he repeatedly found stinging winners and cute drops. It all added up to a comprehensive 11-2 11-4 11-4 victory.
That left the final score at 14-7 to Melbourn, who sit 9th in Division 1 at the halfway point of the season, 16 points clear of improving bottom side Stamford and just seven behind 8th-placed Cambridge.