Thick and fast, it’s the turn of the ladies once more to steam ahead in the season
By Katie Garner
With Christmas a mere stone’s throw away, Division One of the Ladies Pairs is beginning to shape up as we near the halfway point of the season. The fourth round of matches was played tonight at Bower Park School in Collier Row, the home of matching t-shirt clad Corinthians, who have two pairs playing in this top division. The B team were ruling the roost tonight however, laying out an assortment of biscuits for our snacking pleasure. This chocolate nibble trend that us ladies have developed really needs to be ushered into the other leagues…
Tonight the adventurer returned as I was once again partnered by my sister Jess, as we took on firstly Harold Hill and secondly our hosts for the night, Corinthians B.
Against Harold Hill:
- 7-21 / 8-21
I’m not going to lie to you, this one was a tad embarrassing. For some reason, it took us ages to adjust to the feathers, as we were whacking shots out of the court left, right and centre. This match felt a bit stilted to me, and I don’t think we found our natural flow very well at all. Everything we performed didn’t seem quite up to scratch and that is definitely not something you aspire to when playing such an accomplished and experienced pair. They had an A* answer for every hint of a question mark we put at them, and they demolished our poor shots perfectly. I feel we underplayed here and didn’t have our best game by a long way, which was disappointing but they did deserve the win. This duo have a very understated and good natured strength, with a very crisp an d clear style of playing – nothing looks untidy or unplanned with these two, which makes them marvellous to watch. In particular, their clears, smashes and placement is fantastic, and these guys will definitely be giving Corinthians A a run for their crown this season. I am intrigued to see the rivalry between those pairs develop as the season continues. A write off first match for us though.
Against Corinthians B:
- 19-21 / 19-21
Another annoying encounter, mainly for the fact that in both games, Corinthians managed to gain a lead, then we would catch up – usually due to my short serve – and then it would be neck and neck until it reached 19’s and then they would sneak the win from right under our noses. This match was a lot better for us on the whole though, despite the overall loss. I feel we were evenly matched to the Corinthians pairing, and some of the rallies felt as if they lasted a lifetime, with all of us flinging ourselves to the furthest reaches of the court with a dedicated fervour. I wanted to win this one quite badly and that always means I end up getting in my own way, however, I think the teamwork that Jess and I have been working on was definitely beginning to re-emerge once more. Our general rotation was good, although occasionally the back player was caught out by some serious right / left running around, but the front of the court was easily our strongest domain, and once we had grasped that section of the court, the point was usually ours. I hit some really nice cross court return smashes in this face off that skimmed the tram lines beautifully and I was also pleased with my consistent serving. I noticed an improvement in Jess’s drop shots which is brilliant, and she was raining them down regularly and for longer than she has done previously. Her clears were also flying nice and high to the back of the court which was great, although we also did plenty of pesky mid-court sitters! We felt stronger in these two games and I honestly thought we could nab a decider, so I’m disappointed that we couldn’t prolong the game in the end, although on the whole our performance was tons better than in our games against Harold Hill, who will be hosting the next round of Ladies games.
So, we’re still bottom of the division at the moment, but this seems to be our pattern in the ladies games. We have a rubbish first half and then a boost of brilliance come the new year which is oddly startling yet refreshing at the same time. The next games at Harold Hill are due to be played next Friday and that will be our fifth fixture out of the ten scheduled matches. We are just trying to clock up as many points as possible in the games, so that even if we lose, we may still have something in the bank when it comes to tally up time at the end. Fingers crossed for the next round!