Late off the blocks, the ladies games begin with gusto
By Katie Garner
So we’ve waited a while for the ladies matches to get underway, but Division Two kicked off tonight with a match on our home turf, and Wychelm A hosting the gathering of five pairs. After some strenuous trampoline shifting to clear our second court, we were able to get the games going, luckily with the majority of players arriving on time so that we could start as soon as possible.
With the new ladies format of each club only hosting one home match night, therefore each pair has to play double the amount of matches in one evening, time restrictions were a worry. However we managed to get all the games wrapped up tidily by 9.30pm sharp, so our smiley caretaker remained so.
Representing Wychelm tonight we had our two new pairings, both playing in the same division which is a first in quite a while I think. I was partnered with Kay after she switched allegiance to us after a dalliance with Emerson Eagles, whilst long term member Tracy was eagerly ushered into the ladies fold to replace an injured Clem to team up with Janet as the B pair.
Katie and Kay: 3 out of 4 wins
- Versus Emerson Eagles B: 18-21 / 21-19 / 21-14
- Versus Redbridge A: 19-21 / 19-21
- Versus Corinthians C: 21-10 / 21-8
- Versus Wychelm B: 21-15 / 21-16
Janet and Tracy: 1 out of 4 wins
- Versus Redbridge A: 17 -21 / 17-21
- Versus Emerson Eagles B: 8-21 / 17-21
- Versus Corinthians C: 21-17 / 21-15
- Versus Wychelm A: 15-21 / 16-21
On the whole, I think Kay and I played well together, despite still fine tuning our tactics. We played Emerson Eagles B first, a competitive mother and daughter combo who meant business from the moment they stepped through the sports hall doors. With direct front and back tactics, they delivered a succession of sharp shots that definitely kept Kay and I on our toes and cost us the first game. Luckily for us we managed to step up and steal the second, using plum on the line clears to confuse the back player, leading to us tucking away quite a few tasty points. We were also able to nab the decider here and I think our court rotation here really helped, as we have improved at covering each other’s spaces, indulging in rather vocal yelling which is actually immensely useful. Kay played brilliantly here, with some hungry smashes that saw her leap in the air for the final blow. Powerful stuff and it definitely did the trick in the conclusion of this this face off.
Next, we played a second mother and daughter duo, this time from Redbridge. This seasoned pair are no walk in the park, although we gave them a run for their money with a tantalisingly close 19 in both our games against them. The daughter in particular has an almost vicious smash which she unleashed with power, her drives also travelled at a fantastic speed and pace to snatch through the air before you could even blink. We managed to catch them out occasionally with some rapid fire net and drive action up close at the net, and also during the longer, more tactical rallies, however they still managed to find our gaps a bit easier than we liked which gave them the win. I think I made more mistakes in this one too, misjudging the tram lines far too often.
Next on the agenda were Corinthians C, although one of this pairing turned up rather late due to heading to the wrong venue. Again employing front and back tactics for the majority, our main plan of action was to get them moving, and in particular, push to the back of the court, where we decided they were a smidge weaker. At the front, their net shots were delicate, precise and annoyingly mostly cross court, so dealing in clears, drives and smashes worked for us here as the faster pace was more our scene. Honing the tactics did the trick and we were able to take the win in two games with a reassuringly comfy margin.
The final game of the night for us was against our fellow Wychelm teammates, and I must confess it did feel rather alien to be playing them competitively in a league match instead of our more sociable club nights on a Monday. Kay and I tried to stick to our guns however Janet and Tracy made things incredibly pesky. Janet’s interceptive drive has improved massively and often came hurtling through the air out of nowhere. Tracy’s high serve is a thing to behold and is really difficult to gain control of, as she has mastered unreachable height, yet perfect line placement. Tracy was also very dynamic at the net meaning that we had to be more careful about where we put our shots, ensuring that we pushed them out of harm’s way. Luckily for us, we took the win in two games, again utilising our new and improved court rotation, Kay’s power a real benefit, with my net play adding a new dimension to her ladies game. I even tried my hand at a few high serves during these games, which also worked better than I anticipated, although I would say our main strengths tonight were our persistence, shot placement, rotation and smashes.
In conclusion, I’m super proud of Kay for our first official match night, as we took away three out of a potential four wins, which is no mean feat for a new pairing. Hopefully we can only improve and continue to get better scores, as for me, it would be sensational to climb back into Division One after a disappointing final ranking last season. Although the next Ladies match isn’t until December, we have yet another mixed match next Wednesday in the outer reaches of Redbridge, so wish us luck for that!