With Het out for the count, Jess has drafted in some help…

By Katie Garner

With the squads experiencing a shake up this season, we have another new pairing hitting the books this time around. Het is unfortunately still out injured due to his ligament problem and isn’t expecting to see the service line until January. With this in mind, we had a spare spot to fill and it only seemed natural to ask our starring reserve to now step up for a full time position partnering our net supremo and doctor-to-be Jess.

Granted, Het leaves behind him some impressively large and suitably speedy shoes to fill, but we believe that tube driver Gary is more than up to the task. With a calculated eye for detail and a competitive spirit with the same determination as a forest fire in the outback, Gary is more than ready to step up to the plate for his club. He featured in many of the mixed matches at the concluding end of last season, replacing whoever happened to be injured that week, so he is already rather integrated into squad life, wholeheartedly taking part in the abusive banter and laughter that is a regular part of our match nights. Gary is a fantastically well rounded player with a gritty dedication on court to lunge and leap after every single shot that dares come back over the net. He can rain smashes with the best of them, flinging himself in all directions to provide excellent court coverage, whether he plays front and back or sides. With his trademark cheeky smirk, he also enjoys playing the sneaky shots, so be careful not to be caught unawares by his drop shots or net play.

Jess and Partner Number 2 Gary!

Jess and Partner Number 2 Gary!

Winning ‘Best Newcomer’ at our Christmas Awards last year, Gary has been a real asset to the club since he joined. Not only is he now playing in the Mixed, but he will also be starting his second season in the Men’s starting line, partnering Stuart B. He also took part in the league’s handicap knockout tournament earlier this year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of our local league. With me as his partner, we managed to win our group before unfortunately losing in the semi-final.

Great though Gary may be, doubles is all about the teamwork and there is no-one I would rather have covering my back than our experienced squadster Jess. Winning ‘Best Net Player’ at our Christmas Awards for two years running, it’s safe to say that the front of the court is well and truly under control by our steady gripped left-hander. With trickling net shots, deceptive drops and an impossibly long lunge all in her ammo, there isn’t much that can catch her out. Although the front of the court is her natural territory, she can also still hold her own when taking the back, with a strong clear, drive and smash also featuring regularly in her game. Also playing the Ladies Pairs for yet another season, this allows Jess to really tinker with her game and tailor it for the opposition, since stylistically, the Ladies and the Mixed is very different.

Definitely one of our strongest pairs this season, I’m expecting the good results to come reaping in with these two. Separately, they are strong, composed and confident players. Together? Trust me, you don’t want to find out…

Jess’s best shot: This incredibly sneaky cross court return of serve that hits the pesky middle ground between the front and back players. Terribly annoying.

Gary’s best shot: His line-skimming smashes. This man knows his court dimensions and he uses them fully to his advantage. My arm is only so long.