Opposites attract with our blonde-brunette badminton takedown team

By Katie Garner

With ladies always being rather thin on the ground at Wychelm, you get to learn a lot about the various tactics and play of the other random female players you face up against, and coming up against the tennis-playing duo of Tracy and Liane is never an easy feat. With Tracy re-joining Wychelm this season after a year out of badminton, we threw her unceremoniously back into the deep end pairing our loveable Liane in Division Two of the Ladies Pairs, where Liane has struggled to maintain a constant partner. With Tracy putting her smash-worthy stamp back on court, I now have complete faith that the ladies of Wychelm can once again make their mark.

Leftie Liane may have an incredibly gentle and soft personality, brimming with endearing likeability, but this is very often her opponents’ downfall on court as they underestimate that she is in fact made of sterner stuff. Liane has completely developed her net game to make it her speciality, learning all the subtleties and strengths of taking on the front of the court. Behind her quiet façade, is that ambitious competitive streak which reveals itself when she misses a point and you can see her clear frustration at herself and how badly she wants the win, which I see as an essential feature in any sports person.  It’s this drive that makes her lunge for every cross court return and makes her fling herself to every corner to retrieve the shot. This is fantastic when combined with her net play, her dribbling drops and nifty net shots literally stroking the strings of the net as it trickles down. With Liane at the net, you know that all mistakes will be punished and that all your shots will have to be carefully considered to outfox her.

l-r: Tracy and Liane ready to roll

l-r: Tracy and Liane ready to roll

With Liane comfortably covering the net, powerhouse Tracy suits the back of the court to a tee. Superbly strong yet with the cunning to match, Tracy knows how to whack it one and see the shot home – this skill to finish the point is vital. Also determined to provide excellent court coverage, you won’t see Tracy let any shot bypass her without at least an attempt to drive it back. The ideal juxtaposition to Liane’s little net play, Tracy brings the big guns to the partnership providing the stunning smashing, the fast paced and whistling drives, as well as a very tricky high serve that is oddly deceptive – I still haven’t got the hang of it if I’m honest. What is also brilliant about this duo is the fact that they are friends off court as well as on court, and this does wonders for your team work and rotation skills believe it or not. Also, the fact that both women also love their tennis means that they are unafraid of the bigger shots and rallies and also know how to wield a racket no matter what they are whacking with it.

Now that Liane has a consistent partner for the Ladies Pairs, they can further develop the team work they already harbour, so I can really envisage this pairing going from strength to strength and really bouncing well off each other as they complement their opposing advantage points. Not only are they great players but they are also two of the loveliest ladies you will ever come across.

Liane’s strongest shot: Her cross court net return. How it goes that wide and still hits the tram line I will never know.

Tracy’s strongest shot: Her high serve. A good quality serve makes all the difference when building up points and Tracy sure knows how to deliver on this.