Mens 2 v The Drone (A) - 24/4/13

Mens 2 played their 11th game of a 14 game season against the promotion chasing Drone with yet more availability problems resulting in only 5 out of the 12 man squad being able to play! With Clive failing a late fitness test after being begged to come in, Captain Steve was forced to play himself to avoid disappointing one of the five, despite having been diagnosed with torn ankle ligaments two weeks ago and facing his allergic nightmare of flourescent lights (being adamant he would never play under them again).

The difficulty for Mens 2 is that every side in the Division is a first team (like the Combined 2 team with the exception of Abbeydale). First teams tend to play their strongest six every week, whereas second teams like us rotate it to give the whole squad experience. This is what our opponents second team do too in the Chesterfield league. It leaves us up against it every week, but that is better than having half the number of members!
With more strapping than a typical bondage party, and the same ankle brace Andy Murray has worn for the last decade, Steve played with Arun in the third pair, with Arun playing his second game for Ranmoor. Nathan and Rob took the lead as top pair. Rich played with Matt as second pair, who was making his debut for the season. Drone are a friendly club who we lost 6-3 to at home but they were missing two players and had pulled two in from their 2nd team who play in the Chesterfield league. At full strength tonight, they needed a 9-0 win to help with their fight with Phoenix for the second promotion spot.
Man of the Match Arun - A crutch for the night
The Drone top pair had won all 3 games very easily in the first fixture, but turned out to be ever so slightly the weakest on the night tonight. Nathan / Rob and Rich / Matt got into the 'teens' on each end, but just came up short. Arun and Steve lost the first end, but seized the second as the whole hall could tell based on Arun's whoops and fist pumps. At this rate Arun will get the award on Captain’s Night for the biggest celebration of a normal non critical point! The third end was close up to 14-16 until a slightly contentious incident rattled Ranmoor and the Drone grabbed the rubber.
Rob and Nathan take the defeat hard
The second Drone pair and the third were both as strong as the top pair this time around, with no obvious weaknesses. They both eased through the ends without dropping one, although Ranmoor can be proud of getting to at least 18 on four separate occasions. It was a 9-0 win for the Drone and a similar result as Phoenix away, playing a very classy side, though at least we won one end this time! Away matches are proving very different to home with alien court conditions and superior opposition proving an unbeatable combination at this new level.
Rich and Matt - City slickers
For Ranmoor, Nathan and Rob played superb defensive badminton, some great blocks with Rob hitting a phenomenal backhand clear which is beginning to increase in length. This style got them the best record against the 2nd pair, as it did in the home match. Rich and Matt were more attacking, with Matt dominating the net a lot, playing some tremendous drops and flicks, putting the opponents in trouble on their backhand, and setting up Rich's smash. Steve played his usual game of dominating serve and then putting the opponents to the front or very rear of the court, and Arun raced around the court smashing at will. It was a good performance by all, especially the more inexperienced team members who all played very well and will benefit from the games. It wouldn't be Ranmoor if we didn't throw in a few mid court lifts, unforced errors, and difficulties closing out tight ends  - so a few things to work on!
Man of the match as usual goes to the statistically best pair, so tonight this goes to Arun, who had to cover Steve limping around court, and cope with him trying to tell him what to do every other point! All three pairs were close though so well done to all!
Next up is Phoenix, a match the Drone desperately want us to win. With 3 changes to the team planned, we don't know how that will affect us, but we shall do our best!