The concluding match commences on our home turf
By Katie Garner
So, it’s been a long old season, and in the mixed, it’s been one that has been impeccably and impossibly close. Trying to deem the winners is like selecting a needle from a haystack since the final tally ups are so tight. With everything to play for, our last mixed match for the season was a rescheduled home match against the guys and gals from Emerson Eagles, based at Emerson Park School. They had fielded an almost entirely different team and we also had one reserve – Janet – in play so we had no idea how the night was going to turn out.
Janet and Gary:
- 17-21 / 19-21
- 16-21 / 21-17 / 21-16
- 21-17 / 21-13
Katie and Stuart B:
- 21-8 / 21-20
- 18-21 / 21-13 / 20-21
- 9-21 / 21-20 / 15-21
Helen and Barry:
- 21-10 / 14-21 / 12-21
- 20-21 / 19-21
- 18-21 / 9-21
Emerson Eagles won 6 games to 3 Wychelm wins.
It was definitely rather a mixed bag of scores tonight, but we did have quite a few of the games hitting 20-20, which really piles the pressure on that final point. Stuart and I kicked off our evening by playing their second pair, which featured the friendly face of Al, a left handed sneaky shotster who attended our club for a while a few years back. He has an incredibly good serve which makes producing a decent return a difficult task, and at times we found it hard to get going, with some of the rallies being really short. Stuart however was on fine form with his cross court drop shot which gave us the openings we needed to clock up some points of our own. With one game apiece, the decider went to 20-20 so to lose that by one point was gut wrenching. However, on the whole I would say we played well and just needed to tighten up a bit to bring our best for the next game.
I honestly believe that Stuart was rocket fuelled for our games against their number one pair, with the loveable and bright Charlotte who I used to see out on the ladies pairs circuit. He was dishing out drives that simply hummed over the net as well as his trademark super smash. I think I was able to get more into the rallies here as well at the front of the court, tackling the net for smashes and interceptions, although I also ensured to do some net play as well. I think these were our best games even though again, the second game went 20-20, although luckily this time it was us walking away with the win. Stuart was completely fired up, attacking every serve with a jump and a flourish as it thwacked the floor encouragingly.
Our last game of the evening was against their third pair. The guy covering the back of the court was fantastic, as he kept pulling out the trick shots that clipped the net playfully and then went somewhere entirely different to where you actually were. He also had a great smash so our mission was to just try and keep it out of his reach. The girl at the net was also very interceptive, as the impressively blossoming lump on my eyebrow is testament to. Despite being a tad black and blue, I feel I still managed to retrieve many of the shots that peppered from left to right at the net, although I still feel Stuart was the star of the show, really exerting himself for that added reach to produce some fantastic straight drives and smashes. We managed to push a win in the second but I personally found it hard to get a look in, as any shot that floated was ironed out by the interceptor at the front of the court (hence the bruises).
We won one out of our three matches, our victory done and dusted in two games and our two losses going to deciders, so at least our opponents had to work hard for their wins. Janet and Gary won two of their matches – both of which went to three games, although they lost in two to the Eagles first pair. Helen and Barry played exceptionally well with some of their tightest score lines all season which must have been so frustrating for them. I have no idea how this is going to reflect on the final table, as at the last league meeting, a couple of other teams also had to play Eagles. I think it really depends on what team they bring, as in my opinion, this squad was stronger than the one we played in their home match. I doubt we will be able to win the division now, but I suppose it all depends on how the other league teams did as well. Hopefully we’ll find out soon!