Surrey League – Spencer 1 vs Reigate 2 – Match Report
“Bouncebackability” – Some ten years ago Ian Dowie famously went all German and made up a new word by sticking together lots of existing ones. And it worked. So well in fact that Spencer 1st team decided to revisit the concept in a hard fought 3-1 victory against Reigate 2nds last night.
Spencer had pipped Reigate to the winter division 5R title so there was a little extra something in the air as a slightly depleted and very late team arrived in the leafy stockbroker belt suburbs. Missing Jannus (knee), Dan (holiday/fitness camp) and Jamie (auditioning to be the next James Bond in Cannes) we instead had Mike and Leon stepping up to fill some big shoes. And boy did they deliver!
Mike was first on court against Reigate captain Pete at fourth string and both players struggled to adjust to a hot court and bouncing ball. The match descended into a bit of a slug fest as each player struggled to find a good length and, getting increasingly frustrated, hit the ball harder and harder. Mike forced Pete to work hard for his points through great retrieval but wasn’t able to punish him when in a winning position making too many unforced errors in the heat. At 2-1 down the secret coaching tips were offered (a snog from Mike’s significant other which isn’t a universal tactic we can adopt) and which seemed to work to level the match. Mike then raced into a 7-0 lead in the fifth with some aggressive volleying and never looked back wrapping up a great hour long hard fought victory and a few tasty ranking points. Bouncebackability indeed.
The first string match between Grant and Nick was a more one sided affair on the other court. Grant spent the first game finding his length and rhythm and once established cruised through to be comfortably one up and dominating the second. Despite a bit of typical summer feistiness in the middle of the match – dubious lets, erratic marking and Nick calling Grant a tw@t – the metronome wasn’t disrupted as Grant took the ball early, had confidence to use the front of the court and never allowed the dangerous Nick on to the T to take control. 3-0 and Grant’s 5,000+ ranking defended!
With the knowledge that at least a draw was in the bag Leon took to the court after nearly 5 hours of commuting to and from Milton Keynes. For our South African members, Milton Keynes is responsible for about 25% of all the concrete in the UK and a significant percentage of army recruitment and teenage pregnancies (these may be related – I don’t know). It’s the sort of place that’s better to be coming-from rather than going-to if you get my drift. Anyway, Leon was playing the evergreen Godfrey who moves better in his 50s than most of us in our younger years. To be brutally honest Leon was just far too nice to beat Godfrey which requires a cynical old hack (nominations?!) and lost in a closely contested 3-0 match.
I went on at second string against Ian who probably featured in the second row during his school days in the final match. Neither Ian nor I are renowned for our fitness levels and the game quickly became a technical exercise. Unfortunately Ian did this better than myself in the first and dominated the centre of the court whilst I did shuttle runs (well – jogs) around him. A few magic words from Grant in between games (but no kisses) helped to 16-14 levelling in the second. Ian was suffering by this point and the third and fourth were swift as I managed to get an unassailable lead in both to survive his inevitable onslaught and steal a very close 3-1 victory.
So 3-1 to Spencer and 12 points in the bag. Two players coming from behind to win and some real strength in depth shown. Thanks to all and Reigate who were as good a set of hosts off the court as they were combative on the court!