Close but no cigar…Image

By Katie Garner

Above: Your Ladies Pairs A team from left to right – Katie and Jess

Granted, the Ladies Pairs season hasn’t exactly gone to plan for me and Jess, battling it out as Wychelm’s Ladies Pairs A team against clubs Corinthians (A and B pairs), Emerson Eagles A and Hunters A. With only a few match nights left and no victories since the very beginning of the season, we were determined to bring our best to the overbearingly boiling courts at Becontree Heath Leisure Centre in Dagenham, the swanky new home for Hunters. A definite step up from the sweaty- feet-stink that constantly occupied the hall at Wood Lane!

In tonight’s games we faced home team Hunters, and Corinthians A, who must be a strong contender for the top spot this season. I think we played better tonight than we have done in a long while and I think maybe this was partly because we took the pressure off. We knew we weren’t going to score highly overall so it wasn’t so much an uphill struggle for the best position, but deciding to have a picnic and a slow stroll up the hill instead.

To be honest, our first enemy was the feather shuttlecock! We must have hit the benches at the back numerous times! However, in the first game against Hunters we played well, working better at the back of the court, which I believe is the main area of our game that needs drastic improvement. We had better direction in our shots, and luckily for us Hunters weren’t as smooth as usual. Despite a better performance from us, we lost the first game 15-21, but we still had a positive attitude because we had both noticed the improvement in our games. The second game was a scraped win of 21-20 to us, with better rotation around the court. The decider was annoyingly disappointing with a loss of 12-21, still playing better, but knowing maybe we could have won. Hunters are quite an aggressive and dynamic duo, but also the most like us regarding skill and playing style. Still pleased with our overall performance here though, as the teamwork was a lot stronger.

Our next match was against Corinthians A, who always seem to know exactly where we aren’t…and not a lot changed in the first game as we lost 10-21. However, the second game took an intriguing and never-seen-before twist as we were actually in the lead 13-6 at one point! We went on to lose, but with our best score against them to date; a very respectable 17. At this point, Jess’s short serves were less floaty because she has adapted to the feather shuttlecocks and I believe that my game at the back of the court had become stronger, with my centre aimed smashes doing quite nicely. Granted we were lucky in getting 17 as they hit loads out at the beginning, but no matter – beggars can’t be choosers! Corinthians A play some amazing drop shots and have excellent court coverage.

So, in conclusion, still another lose notched up on the scoreboard, but unusually still quite pleasing, as we both know within ourselves that we played better tonight in the ladies than we have done for the past few weeks, so in our eyes, we came home victorious… red-faced and knackered!