Comb 2 v Venturers (A) - 11/5/14

On a cold and windy Sunday afternoon, Combined two travelled to Chesterfield to play their penultimate match against the league leaders Venturers. A long way for the players, but a nostalgic trip for me as this was my Grammar school back in Err  1964 at the tender age of 12 and also the first place I started to play badminton. ( The badminton club could get into dinner first so that's why I joined !!)

Venturers are also old friends and I have played many close matches against them over the last 25 years. Anyway, enough of the nostalgia.
I arrived late and missed the first 2 rubbers, but Janes red cheeks, Cats smile  and Shiraz and Ravis demeanour told me that it was probably 1 up to the girls (mature girls that is) and 1 down to the men. Close games though with our ladies taking it to 13 and 16 and the men going down to 15 and 9. Honours even. 
Round two went a similar way with Cat and Lesley thrashing their opponents 22-20 and 21-19. Well ok it was very tight  with some good badminton on both sides, but our experience helped us take the crucial few points at the end. Shiraz and Deepak fought hard again but couldn't get the upper hand against the experienced Venturers pair, going down to 17 and 10. The scoreline doesn't really reflect the game which had some long rallies of attacking and defending. Honours still even all to play for.
The next round also went one  all with Ravi and Jane fighting hard to an 11 and 10 defeat (including Janes trademark squealing which kept everyone's adrenalin flowing). Lesley and Deepak took their mixed with a full on tactical game of smashes drops and clears to all areas of the court. There was tension on both sides with some un-characteristic serves into the net and smashes on to the neighbouring court etc. It was though a great game to watch and we took it in two to 16 and 17.
So, poised at 3 all, both sides needed 2 of the last three rubbers for the win.
New pairing of Cat and Shiraz gave there all but went down to 16 and 11. Lesley and Deepak gave us some nailbiting moments as they took the first to 11 but lost the second to 18. Having gone something like 9-2 up in the third end, Deepak thought he would  rest his aching arm and demonstrate some fancy drop shots !!! All of a sudden it was 13 all. Not sure whether it was Lesleys glare or the supporters growling on the bench, but I think the message was received and we quickly finished it off. Great win guys.
4-4 now.
At this point Jane realised when she said "does that mean we have to go on and win the last one then, against the guy with the big smash?"  And off they went. Ravi and Jane gave their best along with some more squeals and dives but couldn't quite do it going down to 12 and 15.
Oh well 5-4 loss against the league champions. Great effort team hope you enjoyed it, it was great to watch.
Well done to all and particular thanks to Cat for playing with some very sore limbs due to a Speight of close together matches.
Also thanks to Steve Rivington and his team who made us very welcome. Won't be playing you next year. Good luck in Division 1.

Dave H