Mens 2 v Venturers (H) - 16/12/13

Mens 2 faced an almost impossible task against Venturers, probably the best team to ever play in the third division, being forced to start at the bottom after entering the Sheffield leagues.

Venturers had two very strong pairs playing high standard front and back badminton, the kind you get regularly at the top level. The third pair had the captain playing with a junior player who he guided through the match.

Mens 2 went with three pairs who have each been the top scoring pair in one of the four matches so far - Steve / Rob, Jethron / Ravi, Deepak / Rich. It would be a good experiment to see how they each did against top quality opposition prior to picking the side for the crucial matches to come, because only 3 or 4 of our squad will have played much against this level before, whereas the opponents have done it for decades.

Getting the bad news out of the way first with the first Venturers pair. Steve and Rob played them first and took a while to get going losing the first 7 points, losing 21-9 in the first end despite some really nice winners. The second end was much closer, end to end with some really good stuff but us always a couple of points behind, losing 21-16. Two decisive shots were two incredible (deliberate?) air shots from Venturers with the follow through becoming the actual shot sending the shuttle in the opposite direction. I have never seen that in 10 years at this level, and we got it twice!

Ravi and Jethron took them on next and the game followed a similar pattern and a similar score, losing to 14 and 10. I didn't see much of this game on the far court so apologies but did see a few typically heroic chest slides from Ravi!

Rich and Deepak showed the danger a jump smash presents in badminton. Unfortunately the danger was to the smasher Deepak rather than the defenders, pulling his calf when jumping up whilst 16-3 down in the first end. This led to an unfortunate concession but he is adamant he will be fit for Combined on Wednesday! Oh, to be young again!

The second Venturers pair need not be lingered on! No Ranmoor pair scored more than 12 against them, with all our three pairs scoring virtually identical scores against a really solid pair.

After being mercilessly destroyed by the other two pairs, Ranmoor make no apologies for responding in kind against the captain and his young partner, who was given a bit of a rude awakening to Division 3 but will be much better for the experience (and much better than us in a few years too!). Deepak and Rich took them on first, winning a tight first end with a late flurry where Deepak suddenly turned into a tornado, and taking the rubber 21-15 and 21-11. Steve and Rob went next and won 21-11 and 21-14 with a few late erratic errors from Ranmoor after being 20-8 up. Ravi and Jethron polished off proceedings, winning the Men of the Match award by only shipping 8 and 6 points, pipping Rob to his second successive award, but our young gun proving yet again he isn't going to be dislodged from the team easily.

So well done Venturers for a 6-3 win, and on this evidence Mens 1, if we do go down from the top division (hopefully briefly) will have a tough battle to go back up again against this team. They were very friendly too, and we look forward to the reverse fixture.