Although struggling for players, the Seniors team had improving fortunes around the half-term break. Two match reports tell the story.
Seniors v Beaconsfield Tigers (home) 23 Feb 16 – Chris Jordan
Seniors tame the Tigers 5-0 (19-4)
The Seniors once more had to call in last minute reinforcements, this time in the form of Chris W and the ever-helpful Wayne (again!). The former agreed to play in place of Tim who picked up an injury in the previous evening’s league match. As it happens, this was against Chris, so if there were any twinges of conscience, they certainly worked in our favour as you will read below.
The number 1s kicked off proceedings and were soon producing some good quality squash. Rising star Will Smith (ranked 17th in the country at U15) took the first game 9-2, looking capable of claiming the scalp of our 1st division reinforcement. Chris, however, dug deep and with slightly altered tactics and great retrieving took a close 2nd and then the next 2 games to win 3-1. Well done to Will for a high class performance and very encouraging to see such talent emerging in the County. Ed Ivory at 4 also had to change his tactics against hard hitting Richard W, lifting the ball more and keeping it tight to nullify the power and gradually wear down his opponent and come through 3-1. Wayne had too much variety of shot and retrieving ability for his opponent Dave F at 5 and finished a comfortable 3-0 (on the 4th match ball though!). Neil H took on skipper Gareth at 2 and although the 2nd game was close, the home player showed his class and extended his unbeaten run to 12 with a 3-0 win. Last but not least Richard EH took on Chris G at 3, playing well to take the first 2 games. Chris however won a close 3rd and the 4th to set up a late night 5-set finale, now becoming the Seniors trademark this season; at least it keeps the bar bill down. Nip and tuck all the way, Richard shrugged off fatigue to reach match ball first at 8-7 only to be denied by Chris who then earned himself match ball twice at 9-8 before Richard found some excellent boasts (no change there then!) to pull through 10-9, much to the appreciation of a crowded balcony of players and supporters, including Mary who was no doubt wondering if we would ever get to eat!
So many thanks to Chris and Wayne for stepping in and fortuitously helping us to our first maximum and what’s more against a team hopeful of regaining their Div 1 status next season.
Seniors v High Wycombe 2 (away) 09 Feb 16 – Chris Jordan
Depleted Seniors make Nomads fight for it with help of Upstarts players, 2-3 (7-15)
With 8 out of 10 players either away, inured or unwell, this was always going to be a tough one. The Seniors captain even had to find a last minute replacement for one of the Upstarts replacements at one point before the match!
Neil H was in action at the start this time and although losing the first game, he managed to find a way to exploit the slight chinks in Mark B’s armour. Playing some deft soft volley drops and boasts, coupled with occasional hard cross-court drives, Neil maintained his record to come through the winner in 4, albeit on the 7th match point! Wayne and his opponent Matt were well matched and had similar styles of play, resulting in a close match in which the Upstarts #1 (proudly sporting his team’s T shirt!) just managed to squeeze some tight games and also won in 4. Next on were two more Upstarts players, Kate B and Andy K. Although coming back from large deficits to almost level two of the games, Kate eventually came second to young Mattie at 5, himself normally a 1st or 2nd string Division 3 player. Andy started well against Duncan at 4, taking a close first game. The home player then got his shots going and had the better legs on the night, pulling through in 4. Still, a valuable point from our match-day afternoon stand-in! So Tim took to the court once again to decide the match. His opponent Petr, who used to train with a Pro player in his homeland, had a little too much speed and weight of shot and although holding match balls in the 3rd, Tim succumbed in 3.
So although losing 2-3, some consolation can be gained from raising a team of 5 players in the circumstances and moreover taking the opposition to a decider. Many thanks to Wayne, Andy and Kate for agreeing to stand in, the latter two at very short notice, and managing to win the lion’s share of the points for us to boot!