Pipped to the post in our third mixed fixture
By Katie Garner
Last night saw us step into the fold for the mixed doubles once again after what feels like a massive break. With only four teams in Division Two, matches are few and far between – before Christmas we had only played our two rounds against Shuttlers. However, our mixed squad has always been our forte, and we were looking forward to getting stuck in to some ducking and diving action against the guys and gals from Corinthians 2, who had left their club night at Bower Park School and instead hired some courts at Hornchurch Sportcentre. Due to some double booking drama, we didn’t end up getting the games started until a bit later on in the evening, but I have to say, they were some of the most evenly matched and competitive mixed games we have played. Janet and I already knew the ladies who were playing due to the pairs circuit, so we knew that the games were going to be no walk in the park.
Gary and Janet:
- 16-21 / 21-10 / 21-16
- 14-21 / 10-21
- 16-21 / 21-19 / 21-16
Stuart B and Katie:
- 21-12 / 21-16
- 20-21 / 12-21
- 21-19 / 21-15
Barry and Helen:
- 12-21 / 9-21
- 15-21 / 13-21
- 20-21 / 21-20 / 15-21
4 wins for Wychelm versus 5 wins for Corinthians 2
It was definitely a close call and you can’t ask for a tighter final tally up than that. So many of the games went to 21-20 to one side or the other, so it really was nail biting stuff. Stylistically, Corinthians 2 have very similar mannerisms to us – for example all three of their pairs played attacking front and back court coverage tactics, so short serves were in abundance, as were high flying clears and air-shudderingly violent smashes. The men of their team seemed to be able to stretch everywhere rather annoyingly, and their smashes held a laser like power that made every clear wrought with danger. Let’s just say, I once again honed my reaction speeds and thigh muscles with some very impressive squats and ducks.
Most of the rallies were all really fast paced with cross court drives along with both cross court and straight line smashes flying literally everywhere. Despite the breakneck speed, there was plenty of net action, more so in fact than in other mixed games we have played recently. I believe this definitely gave us some more opportunities to get our own game plan on and I feel I was able to deliver some interception net attacks as well as some cross court sneaky shots that aimed to wrong foot the opponents. My mixed partner in crime Stuart B (or Stu Man, or Stu Pot as he is affectionately known at Wychelm) was simply incredible at the back of the court. Shots I thought were goners he still managed to pick up and return with his vaguely exasperatedly gusto. They ran him about from side to side, but he did his fair share of dictatorship with his legendary smashing skills.
Our net play was an advantage for us in these games and once again, my short serve came into handy winning us mini strings of points. Keeping the shuttle out of the clutches of the Corinthians men was a difficult task but a necessary one, as they were so polished with both their movement and delivery of smashes. The Corinthians ladies also knew the net like the back of their hands, so it was more a bid to out-intercept each other. The rallies were all rather lengthy as well, although not so much headless chicken sprinting around but more trying to recover well executed shots.
Stuart and I won two out of our three games which I am happy about, despite Wychelm losing the night on the whole, with 4 wins to Corinthians 2’s 5 victories. They all played extremely well so I don’t begrudge them the win at all – the games were satisfying, thought provoking and knackering in equal measure and I must say I spent just as much time thinking about what shots would work as I did actually playing them. On the whole, a really fun evening so thanks to the Corinthians bunch for having us. Let’s hope the home advantage sees us through the next time we meet them.