We see what new kids on the court Seven Kings have to offer

By Katie Garner

With another round of mixed doubles on the cards for a Friday night, we headed to the Isaac Academy in Ilford to try our hand against the newest club to join our league, Seven Kings. With men’s matches against these guys already underway, the men in our squad knew what to expect, but for us ladies it was all a surprise, since Seven Kings haven’t entered the pairs arena this season.

A little down on our luck, we had to make a few swaps in our squad tonight, with Luke stepping in to replace David to partner me, whilst an absent Kay asked Helen to play on her behalf with Het. Luckily, Luke and Helen are regular reserves for our mixed team, so we were keeping our fingers crossed that the changes wouldn’t impact on our chances too much.

Janet and Gary in action on court

Janet and Gary in action on court

Results: 9-0 to Wychelm

Gary and Janet:

  • 21-9 / 21-5
  • 21-14 / 21-11
  • 21-11 / 21-7

Luke and Katie:

  • 21-7 / 21-5
  • 16-21 / 21-9 / 21-14
  • 21-11 / 21-10

Het and Helen:

  • 21-17 / 21-14
  • 21-17 / 21-16
  • 21-13 / 21-11

Luckily for us, we managed to storm through with flying colours, tucking away nine tidy wins to take the victory of the evening convincingly. Oddly enough, Seven Kings play with plastics, and since we’ve now made the swap to feathers ourselves, it felt so strange returning to the much heavier, sturdier and cumbersome plastics. Now I can understand how other clubs felt when they played at ours in our plastic days – it is much easier to adjust to the lighter flight of feathers, than it is the dull thump of plastics. During our first game, Luke and I riddled our game with errors, costing us the initial win while we adjusted, with many of Luke’s clears hovering tantalisingly mid-court. We soon got into the swing of the games though to win the rest of our games like our teammates.

Of the pairs that we played, I personally felt that the men were the stronger players, with good shots in their portfolio, although they seemed unexperienced when unleashing them within the mixed doubles setting. With the only women present those playing in the match, I wonder how much practice Seven Kings actually have at working on their mixed tactics and partnerships, so I think this may have been a problem for them, although watching club games after the conclusion of the match, the men seemed much more confident and at ease playing either men’s doubles or singles.

On the whole, I think Luke and I played well – he played some phenomenal drop shots that had Seven Kings falling over their feet, making use of some really deceptive play to encourage everyone to think he was going to smash when instead taking the softer option to trip them up. Seven Kings also made use of the cross court, although they tended to use more clears and smashes than any other shot, sometimes with a smattering of drives to mix things up.

A successful night on the whole and another rung on the ladder of climbing into the next division!