Holmer Green 2 (home) 02 Feb 16 – Chris Jordan
Close but no cigar – Seniors miss out 2-3 (12-16)
Having prevailed 3-2 in the away leg in December, the Seniors were hoping for another win in the return game. Holmer Green however had other ideas and rather disappointingly not only fielded a team of 5 players this time but also had Ross back at #1!
Richard at #3 started proceedings against Bradley who although winning the first game convincingly admitted later to having run out of legs (possible at that age?) due to lack of recent play, giving Richard a chance to gradually take control and pull through in 4. Peter meanwhile was locked in battle against their 2nd youngster and did well to go 2-1 up. However, Jasper’s speed around the court, good technical skills and sensible rallying took him to a creditable 3-2 win. Neil took on Mark the grinder at 2 in a match which saw the game score to-ing and fro-ing. In the almost inevitable 5th game, Mark edged his way to match ball at 8-6 but Neil’s determination saw him come back in one hand to claim yet another victory and keep intact his impressive 100% record, now standing at 10 out of 10. Meanwhile Rob, still suffering from a calf strain, did well to go 2-1 up against their quick and effective number 4 Trevor but the Bucks O55 player gradually began to read Rob’s game and show good class to come through in 5.
So with the match poised at 2 all, the number one’s fittingly went on court for the decider. Tim fairly soon found himself match ball down in the 3rd to the talented, if sometimes slightly nonchalant, Ross. However a good fight back by Tim took the match the full distance. Unfortunately Ross then upped his game as Tim’s legs started to tire and came through the winner. So another ‘might have been’ night, with three of the four 5 setters not quite going our way. Great fighting spirit showed by all though. Our sequence of scores in the last 3 matches is 6, 9 and 12 so hopefully we will be back in the teens next week at Booker!
Beaconsfield Bulls (home) 26 Jan 16 – Chris Jordan
Seniors unlucky to lose tight matches to go down 1-4 (9-16)
Three Bucks O60s players were back in action after the inter-county weekend two days earlier in which they excelled in reaching the National final, only to be denied by a super strong Surrey team. Peter (O60s #2) playing at 5 now faced his weekend teammate Phil who was making a rare appearance for the Bulls. Playing a mixture of disguise, delay, cut shots and clean, powerful hitting, the O60s #1 was just too strong and came through in 4. Meanwhile, Richard recovered from a 2-0 deficit to hold match ball at 9-8 in the 5th, only to be denied by Joe who was now galvanised back into action. Tim at #1 managed to steal a close 3rd game against Ollie and was on the verge of closing out the match at 8-5 and 8-7 up in the 4th but Ollie grabbed the lifelines presented and came through in 5. The re-match between Neil and Heather promised to be another close encounter (Neil won 10-8 in the 5th last time) but the imminent prospect of one of Mary’s excellent chicken curries again appeared to spur Neil on to a 3-0 win in short order and notch up another victory (now a very creditable 9 from 9 playing at #2). This left the final O60s player Rob to try and salvage some points at #4 against Dan. Although Rob won the first game and was close in the 2nd, an improved Dan had a little too much and pulled through a 3-1 winner.
RAF Halton (away) 19 Jan 16 – Peter Smith
Off the boil Seniors well beaten 1-4 (6-16)
Simon and Peter were first on at 3 and 4 but were both out of form and failed to take their opportunities so were soon 2 down and hoping for rescue. The two Neils then went on and as expected Neil Hinds playing at 2 beat Sam Mueller comfortably. Neil Thomas who had generously turned out after a last minute call played well in a tough 5 setter (having held match ball in the 3rd) but his touch went off the boil in the 5th when his legs ran out. In the final games Ian Digby beat Tim Paul in straight sets so we lost the match 4-1.
Wycombe Drifters (home) 13 Jan 16 – Chris Jordan
Seniors have lucky escape to pull through 3-2 winners (15-10)
Ed started off in what later turned out to be one of the defining rubbers of the night. Playing at 4, he looked initially in total control but his opponent gradually worked his way to match ball at 8-3 in the 4th. Had he asked for a let in the ensuing rally, Jon would have been awarded a stroke and the match. However, Ed survived and fought off 2 further match balls at 3-8 and 7-9 to win the 4th and then the 5th comfortably. Meanwhile, Andy at #5 stormed to a 2-0 lead over Laura but was unable to close it out, largely due to her determined retrieving and excellent short game. So honours even after 10 games of play. Tim P again drew the short straw, coming up against Freddie at 1. Un-phased by Tim’s brand of winners and attempted winners, he was just too strong (not to mention nimble and quick) and, despite a fight back from Tim in the 3rd, cruised through 3-0. A second Houdini act, this time from Peter at 3 who recovered from 1-2 down against Tim H, another young and quick opponent to set up a 2-all finale between Neil H and Rob W. If we had to pick someone to pull us through in the decider, I think most would have gone for Neil. Our choice would have been vindicated as Neil came through in 3 with some excellent clean hitting, although hearts were momentarily set a flutter when Neil called ‘one’ at 8-all in the 3rd! The prospect of Mary’s supper (she was on the balcony) may have had something to do with it. So a somewhat fortunate win but great fighting spirit showed once again by the team.
Aylesbury 1 (away) – Peter Smith
Seniors pull through 4-1 (16-6) in epic match
Ed played first and got the Seniors off to a flying start by winning 3-0 with steady pressure and tidy work to keep his opponent safely at the back of the court most of the time. Simon Brown had a very tough match with many good rallies in a game lasting 1 1/2 hours but some great retrieving just gave him the edge when he most needed it for an excellent 3-1 win. In the time Simon took to win the 3rd game, Tim started and finished but although quite a lot of turkey was burnt off he couldn’t sneak a game from Ian who is just too strong for him. That left us needing just one of the last 2 matches. Peter and Neil controlled their games sufficiently to each win 3-1 by taking their opportunities to play winning shots once they had their opponents out the way. A good solid result for the Seniors, showing that the Christmas and New Year Festivities have not done too much damage.