Surrey League – Wimbledon Racquets 6 vs Spencer 3 – Match report
After 2 narrow wins out of the first 2 matches of the summer season, youth team Spencer 3 travelled the short distance to Wimbledon to take on Wimbledon Racquets 6 looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. With fine early season form securing call-ups to the senior teams for several of the higher nominations, an opportunity arose for a debut for newcomer Neil Barton and also the not-so-eagerly-awaited return to the side of Captain Mike.
First up on court 2 at third string after turning up 30 minutes early was Neil, clearly keen to make a good impression in his inaugural match. Despite the bright start, Neil’s opponent Byron took the first game 15-10. However, a visibly pumped up Neil roared back in the second set with a commanding 15-7 scoreline and looking the better player. However, the third set was a much tighter affair that swung the way of Byron and with fatigue setting in he also took the fourth to clinch a 3-1 victory for Wimbledon. Neil looked visibly disappointed but will be looking to bounce back in this week’s match no doubt. A sharp exit after the match raised valid questions about a new fine being proposed for Spencer players “not performing their social duty” after Surrey league matches – this will be debated at a near-future pub session.
Stepping out onto court 1 after a few weeks out of the side was captain Mike, looking to break a long-running habit to finally make himself useful down at 4th string. Luckily for Mike his opponent George was an older gentleman whose tactics seemed to include “getting in the way at every opportunity” and then pleading innocence, which seemed to work well on Spencer’s own visiting umpire Anthony. Mike was able to wrap up the the tight first set 15-12 making his opponent move back and forth at every opportunity and a good contest looked on the cards. However, despite some “interesting” decisions from the referee early in the second set, Mike used the frustration to spur him on and easily breeze through the next 2 sets to take a simple 3-0 win.
Next up on court 2 was resident kiwi Jason, ably supported by “the wife” Dana (clutching a glass of vino, naturally), taking on young Rishi at first string. Jason used his classic patient game to wear down his opponent, moving his opponent around at will and easily taking the first game but then somehow finding himself 10-3 down in the second. Jason used his song mental game and stepped up a gear to take the set 15-13 and at this point it looked like the game was only heading one way. However, Rishi came back in the third to take a relatively quick game 15-6 before Jason once again showed his superiority to take the fourth 15-8 and securing a valuable 3 points.
The final match-up saw Anthony take the step up to second string against opponent Paul, with Anthony looking to continue the fine form that saw him push Spencer Club Champion Leon very close in the recent Spencer Championship. A spluttering start saw Paul edge the first 15-13, much to the surprise of the travelling crowd. However, Anthony stormed back with some fine drives to push his opponent all around the court and take the second comfortably 15-9. The next game was a real nail-biter, with both players looking nervy by wasting multiple game points before Paul somehow managed to hold it together to edge it 20-18. Even with both players looking visibly tired after the epic third, the fourth set followed a very similar pattern, with lengthy rallies and high percentage shots taking their toll on both players. Unfortunately for Spencer Anthony was once again edged out at the death 16-14 leaving the tie tied at 2-2 and both captains frantically practicing a bit of basic mathematics.
As it turned out it was the third match in a row that has seen Spencer edge a win on countback, with the final score coming in at 9-7 and sees Spencer remain as one of two teams still undefeated in Division 7R. Despite the 100% record, Spencer remain firmly ensconced in mid-table due to lack of bonus points and will certainly be looking to take an outright win as soon as this week when they entertain Virgin Active Surrey 4 at fortress Spencer.