The battering ram of feathered blows continues as we trudge over to Redbridge
By Katie Garner
Last night saw the conclusion of our battle against multi-squad club Redbridge, in their enormous green splashed sports hall, housing a roomy and polished 12 courts. Once again with Binu and Gary in the fold we were looking forward to giving these guys as good as we got, and hopefully knocking a few deciders out of them if nothing else. Redbridge have always been known as rather imposing opponents, with their quick fire movements and unerring momentum, but dogged to the end – we don’t do giving up.
Jess and Gary:
- 8-21 / 17-21
- 15-21 / 8-21
- 18-21 / 21-18 / 21-14
Katie and Binu:
- 9-21 / 10-21
- 11-21 / 15-21
- 18-21 / 13-21
Helen and Mike:
- 17-21 / 15-21
- 13-21 / 2-21
- 18-21 / 21-20 / 10-21
To be honest, the matches were rather a mixed bag on our side. From my perspective, Binu and I tended to play in patches – we would have a really good section and then a poor section. Redbridge also had this tendency to play in waves, although their ones were a lot smaller than ours and less damaging to the score line. I don’t think I have ever felt so stretched during games, as like Elastagirl in The Incredibles I would fling my limbs to various corners of the court in desperation to just get a touch on the shuttle. Most of the time this luckily paid off and I made a special effort to be more light on my feet, as Redbridge love the tram lines.
I can’t even pin point exactly what went wrong for us here, except that we were outplayed by an excellent and experienced team. They really excelled in hitting that sweet spot between the front and back player, right on the outer rim of the line, or with such dedicated force that no coaxing would get the shuttle up in the air again. When they came to ours last, I think they must have brought their reserve women with them, as when we faced them last night it was like a brand spanking new team, with three completely new women to line up against. All of the women were good servers, doing that pesky low float that I also favour. If I could get to the shot, playing at the net was a generally good tactic as it invited the clear to set it up for Binu, although any net rallies were vastly competitive and up for grabs.
Redbridge have an incredibly powerful smash from all of their male players in particular, so any clear was not safe in the slightest, and I don’t think I have ever ducked so low as I did in these games. Our strongest game in terms of how well we played was actually probably our first game, despite getting more points in our last. Unfortunately, we couldn’t drag any of the games to a decider, due to Redbridge’s slick shots and slides that saw them obliterate all that stood on the court. A very impressive and practised side on the whole, so we always knew it was going to be tough.
I suppose we should also bear in mind that we have been testing these new partnerships for the past couple of matches, what with half our squad out injured. This makes it all the more joyous that Jess and Gary managed to snatch a hard gained win in one of their games – our only complete victory of the night. Helen and Mike also played fantastically to push one of their games through to a decider, meaning that we at least held our end up and hopefully didn’t make it too easy for them, although we all got the feeling that they could go up another level if need be.
With a light-hearted and almost humorous atmosphere at times, it was actually one of our more pleasant evenings at this club and I did enjoy the games, despite being somewhat outclassed for rather a lot of the time. I think we gave them some grief and that’s all that matters at this stage. They had flickering and light movements, that saw them stride across the court in one smooth motion and this combined with the elegance of their shot combinations and execution proved too difficult to overcome.
We have one more mixed match to come at the end of the month against Ramgarhia. When we attended their home match last I never felt so completely annihilated and demoralised, so at the moment, I’m just hoping against hope that when they come to us for our home match, we can deliver our best performance to give them a decent game. Stuart B is hoping that his heel would have healed by then so fingers crossed that his recovery sees him back in the saddle at the back of court and the heart of the mixed squad.