It’s back to Division One for the next instalment of ladies doubles
By Katie Garner
The only way to describe the Ladies Pairs so far is fast and furious – not only have the fixtures been constant and unrelenting with matches every week during the months before Christmas, but the games have also been high paced, passionate and full of competitive fever. We were back at Corinthians again last Wednesday, at Bower Park School, for another night of frenzied shuttle swashbuckling, where we were firing up against the explosive Hunters and telepathic Corinthians A.
- 12-21 / 21-12 / 21-10
Playing against the firecrackers of Hunters always makes me feel slightly nervous, bursting with anticipation and ready to get my determined ‘bring it on’ war paint out. Being of a very similar standard, these games are always incredibly close and this round of matches was no different. The first game saw us take a little while to find out feet, enabling Hunters to catch themselves a little lead, which ultimately led them to the win. Our play was slightly sloppy and they were definitely being more dynamic at the net than usual. However, with Hunters, there is always the air that they can be beaten, so we were nowhere near close to losing our hope just yet.
The second game was much better from our point of view, as we pulled our act together and worked hard to focus on some of Hunter’s weaker areas, such as straight tram line clears to the back players back hand, catching their foot work off guard. Also working the net with our trademark quick fire shots paid dividends. To be fair as well, Hunters did seem to having an off game with some of their easier shots bouncing into the net or out. It is so difficult though, as a player, to climb out of a rut when you feel you are playing badly. The more annoyed you get with yourself, the worse you end up playing (and I know as I’ve been there myself), and I think this is ultimately what was happening with Hunters. Granted, me and Jess were playing well, and I was particularly pleased with some of my cross court drop shots that are finally working as I hoped! We snatched the second game, and took the match through to a third game.
With a renewed energy and focus, we really hunkered down in that third game to win, although it wasn’t the same intense burning rivalry that we experienced with Hunters a few weeks ago at Emerson Eagles. We really played for the spaces, encouraging Hunters to move and they deployed the same tactics with us, opting for fast, interceptive shots to catch us out. Again however, they seemed slightly sloppier in their play than usual which enabled us to build up points quickly on my short serve, which is my best shot and asset – normally a winner for me. Winning the third game and therefore the match was brilliant for us, as I was so worried that after spending the past couple of fixtures winning at least one match, that this would fizzle out, so to maintain the one win per evening quota is fantastic.
This match also saw me at my most acrobatic…unfortunately. At one point, I did an incredibly interesting feat of tripping and then almost collapsing on myself to land sitting cross legged at the net. Rather neat and elegant for my usual style! However, that was not my most dramatic stunt of the evening. As I was sprinting towards the tram lines for a particularly far reaching shot, I soon discovered I couldn’t quite stop, so with a high charge of momentum, I fell over my own feet, leapt flying forward, and managed to skid across the sport centre floor for the width of about two courts! Needless to say, I am still cursing my numerous friction burns today!
Against Corinthians A:
- 14-21 / 10-21
Needless to say, this one didn’t quite go as well as our face off against Hunters! Corinthians A are a fantastic side full of flair, elegant movements and unbelievable grace around the court that disguises an amazing depth of power and placement skills. We were rather firmly outclassed in both of these games, and we didn’t really get going in any decent run of points. It was very stop start, with shuttle issues and forgetting the scores, so we couldn’t really build up a flow of points, which can actually be rather hampering.
We tried to stay focused on our tactics, but I think we were pulled a bit from our usual play and maybe this is another reason why they were able to gain the advantage so easily. We were definitely more careless in this game too, hitting far too many out with sloppy play, so we were to blame for rather a lot of the dropped points. However, despite the lack of challenge we presented to the reigning champs, it is always fun to play against them as they are full of laughter, jokes and banter as well as just plain niceness. I don’t feel like we delivered at all in this game, and in no way did we present our best, which is slightly disappointing.
With only two fixtures left on the Ladies circuit for Division One, things are definitely heating up now as people are playing to win this shindig. I confidently believe that Corinthians A will have this in the bag for the second year running, as they are quite simply phenomenal. However, I am secretly keeping everything crossed that Jess and I can rank better this year after coming in last in the previous season. It would be nice if our hard work and development on court was actually reflected in at least some of the scores sheets and I feel that our play has been more consistent on the whole, with much better rotation and anticipation of shots. The next match is our home one so fingers crossed for the home advantage!