Mens 2 v Jaguar 2 (A) - 20/1/14

"I was a little more conservative going into them, but my approach was always to just play a controlled aggressive style of play." Pete Sampras....on Tie Breaks.

Federer, Djokovic and Sampras are the three leading exponents of the tie break in tennis, winning far more than losing. Having written so much this season about badminton tie breaks (i.e. both sides getting to 19), it seems right to reflect that there is an art to tie breaks that the "greats" in any sport seem to pull off.

Ranmoor had won only 14 of 38 tie breaks so far this season, taking the opposition close so many times, before this weekends two matches. On Sunday this record was a little improved by Ravi and Deepak winning 2 out of 3 and Steve and Arun winning 1 out of 1. As Ranmoor Mens 2 faced off against relegation rivals Jaguar 2 away from home this Monday night what bet the tie break would rear it's ugly head again?

Jaguar had many old friends and foes, playing for them, with two members of the team that played us in combined, plus Ian who played for Ranmoor last season, and three other players also well known to us. We knew that they, like us, had lost 5-4 to Graves away, but winning 5-4 at home, so it was to be tight. One thing Jaguar had was probably 100 years of this standard of Badders between them, with Ranmoor probably amassing 30 if we were lucky.

Ravi and Deepak cemented their places for the season as a solid pair, with two wins in straight ends to 13 and 13 against Ian and his Steve lookalike partner, having a similar style as well as similar fashion sense! They then beat the older second pair to 17 and 10 before losing out to the best pair on the night to 15 and 15 who probably had the one player that was obviously better than ours, the rest being quite similar.

Rich and Rob played their first two games against the strongest and weakest pair, losing to 17 and 19 in a valliant effort against the strongest, before beating the other pair to 12 in a deciding third end with Rich unusually getting a little carried away and having to indulge in a little "kiss and make up" with the opposition afterwards!

Steve and Ben played the two strongest pairs first, being well ahead against the middle pair in both ends before losing to 17 and 23, then not starting against the best pair, losing to 8 then competing well and being ahead (again) before losing to 18.

That left it 4-3 to Jaguar with Ranmoor needing to win both winnable games to win the match. We were optimistic with both pairs winning their first ends, Steve and Ben to 18 after being 13 points behind, with, unusually, the pair dominating with Steve back and Ben front. Rob and Rich beat the second pair to 13.

The second end went against both pairs with far too many lifts and shuttles put straight onto an opposition forehand and far too many leads tossed away. That left the third end......

Ranmoor dug in well and had noses ahead in both at the death. Unfortunately, the advice from Sampras was not followed and we lost both by just 2 points, Steve and Ben to 23-21 after being 19-18 up on Steve's serve before a smash into the net, and Rich and Rob going down to 19 after a similar experience. Jaguar kept calm and kept it in at the death though Ranmoor did well for 95% of the match.

So Jaguar won 6-3 though we still have (faint) hope of survival with a good goal difference and both relegation rivals to come to fortress Ecclesfield! Well done again star men Ravi and Deepak being top pair. Unfortunately we had 5 more tie breaks in this match, and lost all 5 of them, proof of the value of experience, and memories rekindle of the sports psychologist who came to give us a talk a few years ago. We are happy to take offers from a sports psychologist, but if you have come from the England cricket team - no thanks!!!

Well done to Jaguar and thanks for the hospitality - we will see you (with relish) in the home game, where we hope to make amends.....
Steve K