Mens 2 v Beaver Hill (A) - 8/11/13

Mens 2 faced a trip to promotion candidates Beaver Hill while the rest of the club were playing club night. This time, Ben was absent through work, but luckily Rob, who has been waiting patiently in the wings for his chance, was available to slip into the six. Jethron and Ravi continued their long term pairing, and Clive and Deepak wanted to play together again after the Graves game. That left captain Steve playing himself with Rob for his 7th partner in 18 months as captain! Must be the aftershave……

Beaver Hill were after revenge for a 9-0 win we handed out at Ecclesfield last time out when they turned up with 4 players, and on last season’s away game evidence had a very strong first pair, with young James the performance centre junior now displaying a jump smash that is as high as Deepaks! Their usual second pair are usually the ones where we would need to take 2 rubbers to win the match, a tough ask against their captain. Their third pair we won all six rubbers against the usual two players last season. Unfortunately, one member of this third pair was sitting this one out, with a Yorkshire league player (and still younger than most of us!) filling in, presenting quite a different challenge than usual with a smash harder than anyone in our team can muster despite what seemed like zero effort! To add to our pain, it turns out this pair had played together for a lot of the last 15 years so also had good coordination! With this being our second team, we tend to be solid in most departments but the opponents playing a first team often have one or two exceptional players who could play in a much higher division. This was the case here.

There was a slightly late start, Steve had very efficiently sent out directions to his team, but after flying straight in from work in the Isle of Man and grabbing his bag, forgot the directions and promptly got lost, spending 15 minutes driving around the Manor! He was still the fourth Ranmoor player to arrive though, and at this point there were only 3 opponents! Luckily, everyone finally made it and we go underway.

The match went to form with some good play from Ranmoor and some classy stuff from the opponents. The father and son top pairing were made to work hard, with Ranmoor not allowing many net winners, but they had too much for us in the end and took all three rubbers, with Deepak and Clive managing 30 points in 2 ends, slightly ahead of our other 2 pairs who were both on 24.

The third pair were really the second pair in terms of power on the night. Steve and Rob took them on first and lost to 12 initially with Rob finding his feet in his season debut. In the second end he finished the last 5 minutes having a mini asthma attack, and was in bad shape after the rubber until he tracked down his inhaler. He ran out to the car before coming back in a state and realising it was in his bag all the time! That may be worth an award at Captain’s night! Despite the breathing problems, we got 16 in the second end, so incredible guts from Rob! Deepak and Clive took this pair on next, and again did the best against this pair, getting pipped to 16 and 20. Jethron and Ravi finished off against them, and only an unlucky line call at the end stopped another tie break, losing out to 15 and 18.

The second pair had won all three last year, with Ranmoor winning one end courtesy of Steve and Deepak. Encouragingly for the future, this year we did better. Jethron and Ravi took the first end in a tie break and cruelly lost the second in the same manner, 23-21. The third saw us edged to 15 but still a tight rubber with nothing in it, our guys proving again they are a solid pairing. Deepak and Clive didn’t manage to take an end but had another tie break to enjoy, losing out to 19 and 14. Steve and Rob suddenly clicked into gear as a pair, with less loose shot choices and some drop shots and back corner flicks dominating the first end, which we won to 6 with Rob doing more running than Usain Bolt! Beaver Hill tried hard in the second end but it wasn’t enough, Ranmoor edging ahead and pleasingly, holding nerve at 18-18 to come through and win the end 21-18. So a consolation rubber for Ranmoor.
Rob, or is it Alastair Cook, or Scarecrow? I get confused.....
So in the end the Beaver Hill replacement player made all the difference, with Ranmoor doing better than last year against the other two usual pairs but this time losing out 8-1. Well done to Martin and his friendly team! We are improving all the time so we aren’t giving up on this season yet despite 4 defeats! Man of the Match goes to Rob, for clinching the only rubber of the night on his season debut, with Steve getting plenty of stick from our first team bandits back at the Ranmoor Inn who keep trying to bully him into playing Rob every week!