A quiet night in the office at Hunters second home night

By Katie Garner

Risking hair-frizzling drizzle and near certain frostbite, February isn’t always a fun month; but for the ladies in Division One we have no time to contemplate such seasonal irritations, as straight off the back off last week’s match at Wychelm, we are battling once more in the tail end of the season. Tonight saw the troops gather at the home of Hunters over in Dagenham for fixture number eight. Dusting off the medically inclined book worms, Jess was joining me for our evening of shuttle sparring as we were due to take on the ever robust Harold Hill and the second Corinthians duo.

However, it turned out to be a rather quiet and lacklustre night in the office as Corinthians didn’t end up fielding any players for both of their pairs. Hunters also couldn’t get out their normal squad so had rustled up some reserves, who were lurking amongst the club night players until they were required. Since we were due to play Corinthians B, this meant that we were granted an automatic win for one of our games. Not the most stylish of victories, granted, but we never look a gift horse in the mouth so to speak.

l-r: Jess and Katie gearing up in a recent Challenge Cup match

l-r: Jess and Katie gearing up in a recent Challenge Cup match

First up though, we had to take on the bouncing and bantering Harold Hill – a pair always full of beans. The great thing about playing Harold Hill, is I like to think that we push each other’s buttons. Yes, they are far better players than us and much more accomplished in their general play, but our tactics and styles couldn’t be more different and this makes for some very edge-of-your-seat badminton. Until you check out the biceps of Donna and Jane you probably won’t fully comprehend the fantastic range of power they can display in their shots. Their clears will always reach the furthest and murkiest corner of the court and their smashes look simplistic, but in reality are well placed and executed. With high serves teasing the ceiling lights and a whack to make you wince, this pair pack an impressive punch.

In contrast, Jess and I bring our net play to the fore to try and catch the big guns out. With our teeny tiny short serves and ticklingly soft net play, we can occasionally catch the powerhouses off guard for long enough to sneak a few points in. It’s not all softly-softly however as we like to thump the shuttle one as much as the next player, but I would say that we definitely use our front of court interception skills and rapid reactions to our advantage. Rallies consisting of mad rush drives splintering through the air at a multitude of angles also seemed commonplace.

We ended up losing in two games, but hitting double figures with 14 in the first game, followed by a much closer 17 in the second. I know we at least gave them a decent game, and some of the rallies we had seemed to go on for years, as you fruitfully yearn for them to stuff it up but unfortunately they never do.  The worse thing is when you’ve been white-washed and feel like you haven’t produced your best play, as no one likes to make it easy for their opponents to defeat them. Luckily, I don’t feel like this was the case here and I sincerely hope that Donna and Jane enjoyed our games as much as we did. I reckon this team have got the division wrapped up, but we won’t know for sure until the final games after fixture number 10.

The next ladies match is now not until March, however the Mixed will now be ramping up the pace as we have only played two fixtures in our mixed division two.  Our squad will be heading over to Corinthians next Wednesday for the next mixed match instalment.

Wish us luck!