Mens 2 v's Gosforth - 10/12/12

A cold night saw us venture out to Dronfield to take on Gosforth in a hotly anticipated match against a side who, like Mens 2, have suffered a sticky start to the season. Gosforth are struggling a little for members and have now moved from two teams to one.  They are a friendly club and we wish them all the best in getting their numbers back up to former levels.

Captain Steve was without Jamie (flu), Jethron (diary dyslexia) and Ian (clashing fixture). So he brought in Clive and Rob for their debuts in Mens 2 and split up himself and Deepak to give some even balance across all the pairs.  Deepak played with Clive, Steve with Alastair and Rich with Rob. A front and back court specialist in each – after boring everyone to tears about this strategy for the last 5 years in Ranmoor, it was only appropriate he would stick to this in combat.  Sam and Dave Henry were also spotted lurking in the shadows for some moral support, or bollocking, depending on the situation.
In another tactical switch, Rob and Rich were played as first pair, to use their settling in game against the Wisewood top pair who were expected to be strong based on past encounters.  Unfortunately, our visitors also had a touch of diary planning issues and one of their top pair was awaited but n ever arrived, meaning a late deputy from club night.  They were still too strong for Rob and Rich, but our guys mustered 19 in each rubber in a brave attempt, with the calm and unflappable Rob steering the more experienced but emotional Rich through the match like a veteran!
The other four visitors were all well known to Ranmoor, especially to Alastair who used to play at Gosforth for a season.  They are good players but Ranmoor’s aggressive front and back strategy proved dominant with alternating drops, pushes and clears sending the opponents dashing all over the court, with the front specialist often waiting for a net kill.  Deepak had his calm and controlled head on tonight and his partnership with Clive flourished as they won all 6 ends without difficulty, conceding no more than 16 points in any. Steve and Alastair picked up where they left off against Forum last season, also winning all 6 ends conceding no more than 16 points.  The last game against the second pair when the match was already won was eventually won to 16 and 13, but started bizarrely with Steve (on a new court) not being able to see the shuttle for the first 10 points despite wiping on some lens cleaner, several shots being played totally blind while the eyes adjusted, swiping the racquet where the shuttle was meant to be, and gifting Gosforth a big lead! Even when the lights aren’t fluorescent he still moans about them!
Rob and Rich decided the party needed to be joined, so hoovered up the other two pairs, albeit with slightly more difficulty but in straight ends.
It ended 8-1 to Ranmoor, moving us out of the relegation zone without having played a home game yet and with 11 games to go.   A superb performance from all the guys, some really good stuff and top tactics played from all three pairs.  Man of the Match could be anyone tonight but I give it to debutant Clive, with him and Deepak pipping Steve and Alastair in terms of points conceded. Well done them!
The next game is against Wisewood 1 at home on Monday 7th Jan, favourites for the title with the bookmakers and likely to be exceptionally difficult. With 12 main players in the pool for Mens 2 after our influx of new members, selection problems are inevitable – so some chopping and changing will result in order to keep a happy squad.