So much to talk about, so little time, as once again I plunge forth into league goings on…

By Katie Garner

Another month and another league committee meeting had arrived, where your loyal and dedicated cross-club committee members congregated to discuss all the happenings and events in the past month. Comfortably squadged into our poolside meeting room at Becontree Heath Leisure Centre, feeling a bit like a BBC commentator, we discussed the comings and goings of club life.

This meeting not only revealed the usual match updates that we listened to whilst nibbling our nails, but also brought with it an excited feeling of anticipation, as we continue to build up to the league’s great 70th celebratory events. Hunters regular Kellie has done a fantastic job of arranging a dinner and dance at swish golf club Top Meadow on Saturday 29th June, complete with three course sit down meal, DJ, and plans for a raffle. With tickets at only £30 each, and plans for the league to maybe subsidise some booze, I must say, I’m genuinely looking forward to promoting this one. The set menu choices all look incredibly tantalisingly so not only is the quality food a lure, but the chance to mingle with one time opponents and family over good food, drink and embarrassing dancing should provide a lure all too tempting to resist. If any Wychelmers fancy this event, then I will need your food order asap as I will need to get tickets from the lovely Kellie for you. Feel free to bring family and I think there are also talks of a children’s menu too if that helps sway your vote.

The second event to hail the passing of 70 fabulous league years is a cross club knock out tournament, to be held in Greys on Saturday 12th May. Organised by league assistant match secretary and Hunters old timer Mike, entry is £12 and you can enter more than one event, if you fancy tackling mixed, men’s or ladies doubles with your club partner. Any possibility to grasp silverware should be seized upon, so can Wychelm members please see me or Jess for an entry form. Your entries have to be in by the end of April, so please, please make sure you enter – represent people!

Next on the agenda was dissecting the various scores and results that had been trickling in. With the match secretary absent, it fell on assistant match secretary Mike’s shoulders to divulge the secrets of the Challenge Cup as it continues into semi-final week, as well as the concluding results from the ladies pairs divisions. Knocking out Harold Hill causing a controversial and delightful stir amongst committee members, so kudos to our team that evening for delivering the results. Granted, Harold Hill are an incredibly high ranking club, and we even surprised ourselves, so shocking the rest of the committee was only a natural reaction really! Our handicap of plus eight was discussed, and Mike revealed that the handicaps across the tournament had in fact worked very efficiently, with games across the board heading into deciders with close skimming scores frequent. It’s great that the league hit the nail on the head with the accurate handicaps, as this really allows lower league clubs, such as us, to get completely stuck in, and it gives us the opportunity to fight for top spots. With chins up and rackets higher, we are now through to the semi -final of the Challenge Cup, due to be played on Wednesday 27th against Emerson Eagles 2 – a side that we actually played against in Division 2 of the mixed doubles last season. Fingers crossed we can repeat our successes there, although Stuart B has had to pull out due to a continuing Achilles heel injury, with steadfast warrior Gary stepping into his spot with boundless enthusiasm.

Of course, the most exciting news to come out of the entire meeting relates to Division 1 of the Ladies Pairs, in which me and Jess play against lofty big shots such as Corinthians A and Hunters. All of our ladies matches had come to a close, having been incredibly consistent early in the season. With all the results sent off and done and dusted, we were due to receive the final results for this division in this meeting…and I nearly fell of my chair! Originally placed in third, I was chuffed to bits that we had managed to go up two spots from our place last year bringing in the rear. Sitting squarely in the middle of the table and in the top three, I was relieved that we had pulled it off. However, my glee was soon mounting, when Mike revealed that he was unsure what pulled rank when looking at the points for / against or the points average. To be honest, that table is pure gobbledegook to me, but my ears pricked up when Mike wanted to clarify with the chairman whether it was Hunters, or in fact us, who would snatch the second spot. Nodding solemnly yet praying feverishly, it turns out that points average is deemed the more important – so your favourite Wychelm twins actually ranked second in Division 1 of the ladies pairs, following winners Corinthians A who won every single game they played. I was literally jumping with fidgeted happiness as this is by far the best we have ever done in the ladies, and proves that our hard work is finally paying the dividends that we dreamed of.

On the whole, Wychelm had a very good evening (partly because our mixed results were not spoken of!). I was positively glowing with an abundance of club pride, gently simmering like a neon glow stick warming up before being waved in the rave. Through to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup against all the odds and also second in the ladies pairs for me and Jess, which we always believed to be unreachable, was in fact attainable and in our sticky paws. So exciting so far, and plenty more games approaching. The mixed matches are still flooding in, yet with our team falling apart at the seams with injuries and our general lagging behind, I don’t hold much hope of progression there. I’m interested to see how many of you decide to enter the celebratory tournament, as I feel that we could have a fair chance of performing well here, so that would be some more results to look out for.

The next league meeting is actually going to be a meeting to discuss the handicaps for the 70th commemorative tournament, so please come and speak to me (in person, via text, facebook or email) if you are interested in either league social, as it would be great to get as many Wychelmers as possible to get involved and represent our merry club!

Well done again to all of our squad players for their commitment and hard work so far! Keep at it!