Weds 8th November
Melbourn lost 8-18
Melbourn Men's 1st team were away to top of the league St Neots last Wednesday. Kate Bradshaw kicked off the matches at 5th spot against Mark ‘Sparky’ Emery. Although there were some purple patches of play, Kate wasn't able to sustain form and lost 4-11 5-11 6-11. [editors note – Kate is being very hard on herself here! Sparky played some matches at 1st string last year, with decent success. Running into him at 5 is a pretty difficult ask…]
Number 2, Vinod Duraikan, was playing at the same time and it looked like his game was heading in a similar direction. However, at 2-0 down he upped his game and maintained the consistency for which he is so well-known. This wore his opponent, George Zitko, down and forced errors, enabling Vinod to capture a much-needed 8-11 6-11 11-9 11-4 13-11 victory.
Mark Oppen at 4th string put up a valiant fight with excellent effort, but even a last point dive in the fourth game couldn't save the day and he lost 9-11 5-11 11-4 1-11 to Matt Nankivell.
Dan Easton (3rd string) again looked like he might have fallen early on to Jake Mitchell, but with some superb running and early takes managed to pull it back to 1-2. Game four went down to the wire and unfortunately, a few errant and eager shots meant that he was pipped at the post, losing 7-11 5-11 11-4 11-13.
The final match, and the one to watch of the night, was between Ed Wheeler and Chris Reeves at number 1 string. With youth on his side, Ed kept kept getting to ball after ball with unfeasible running and stretching, exasperating his opponent. But Chris with great experience was able to pick the right shots to confound Ed, putting such pace on the ball making many shots irretrievable, even for young legs. This match went down to a thrilling 5th set with each player determined not to give ground. Finally, Ed's excellent temperament and calm, matched with continued speed around the court forced Chris to make a raft of errors in the middle of the game and in the end to win out for Melbourn 11-9 6-11 11-8 3-11 11-9.
So, a loss on the night overall for Melbourn, but a superb night's entertainment for the crowd.