Mens 2 v's Gosforth (H) - 4/2/13

Mens 2 skiied in from Courchevel, removed the bindings, skis and boards, did a few stretches, applied a bucket load of deep heat, then tried to remember how to play badminton for our critical match against Gosforth, who with 1 win in 8 games are in deep trouble with the University at the bottom of the table. A win here though for them and tables would be turned.
Two of the boys still think they are on the slopes on their board and skis!
Gosforth are known to have a very strong first pair and captain Steve and Alistair put themselves into bat first to see what they could do against Al’s old club. Despite suffering from a lack of power until the sore muscles warmed up, we won the first end, but some great play from Gosforth turned it around, with our boys finally losing an end facing the curtain (see Wisewood match report) and Gosforth squeezed out the first rubber, to 18 in the third.
In the absence of Deepak, who only declared his availability late on, Ben stepped in to play with Clive and as the only non-ski pairing were right at it, winning the rubber to 11 and 11. Rich and Rob had to wait but when called upon against the third pair played some good stuff, and despite trying their best to throw the second end away won 3-4 points on the trot to win to 16 and 20. Two one to Ranmoor after the first rubbers.
The second round of matches saw Clive and Ben struggle against the top pair, losing comfortably to 14 and 9. However, Rich and Rob continued their good form with a win to 15 and 15 against the second pair and Steve and Alistair despatched the third pair to 16 and 19 despite lazily struggling to get over the line after a comfortable lead. Al’s smash long when a yard off the net we agreed would go in the match report! It was thus 4-2 to Ranmoor after the second round of matches – one more rubber and our season would look very different!
Next up was Rich and Rob playing the top pair and they looked like they wanted the glory when they took the first end to 16, but again, experience prevailed and Gosforth came back, winning the last two rubbers to 19 and 18 to have a 100% record for the top pair and reduce the deficit to 4-3. Things were looking tight.
With Clive and Ben on last against the third pair who had got at least 16 points in each end so far, and were a threat, Steve and Alistair needed to make sure of the match against the second pair. At 3-3 in points our boys clicked into gear and won 17 successive points on Al’s serve. Good short serving at the front from Al, and Steve at the back was alternating drops and flicks into the back corners at every opportunity. The tactic caused chaos. We won the game 21-4 and the second game proceeded in a similar but less dramatic fashion. When we heard “what’s the score, but it doesn’t really matter” from our opponents we knew the game was up, and then eased through 21-12. With Clive and Ben then winning the dead rubber to 17 and 14 in the final game it was victory to Ranmoor!
It was a match played in good spirit with some generous let calls from both sides. That is what we like to see!
Stats never lie so the usual man of the match award goes to Alistair, with the best stats on the night despite not having played for a bit and not having much sleep to boot!
Best wishes to Gosforth for the remainder of the season and good luck to Peter and the club with their hunt for more members so they can keep this good club going. For Ranmoor, we have passed two teams now with 9 games to go and have Graves in our sights wanting revenge for the away defeat at the start of the season. Roll on next Monday!