Mens 1 v Phoenix (H) - 9/3/15

Mens 1 had the luxury of a full strength side when we played Phoenix at home, looking to go one better than the 8-1 away victory earlier in the season and build on the critical win over Venturers in the last game who we have now beaten home and away (still the only defeats Venturers have suffered since entering the Sheffield mens league). 

Tactical reshuffling of the order meant Rich and Steve gave up their usual first pair position, so that Steve’s bad neck, caused by a body slam from his three year old, would have time to warm up before taking on the best pair. Similarly Mark and Sam were shunted to third pair to give Mark time to arrive, so that meant Arun and Prithvi playing number 1 and taking on their top pair first.
It transpired that as in the first match, the Phoenix top pair presented us with some problems, but the other two pairs found it much more difficult. Their second pair went down 13 and 8 to Arun and Prithvi, 7 and 6 to Rich and Steve, and 8 and 14 to Mark and Sam. The third pair fared a little better, going down 14 and 6 to Arun and Prithvi, 11 and 12 to Rich and Steve, and 17 and 5 to Rich and Sam.
Arun and Prithvi taking on the top pair first let the first end slip to 18 against a pair who relish the longer rallies and don’t make many errors. Our boys managed to get a grip on the game though and soon the errors came more from the opponents, who we beat to 14 and 15 in the second and third ends.

Rich and Steve took on the top pair next, playing what Rich calls “boring badminton” and not taking any risks. Inspired by Rich’s forthcoming weekend nuptials, Rich was calmness personified with Steve chauffeuring the shuttle to him regularly to put away (yes, you have guessed correctly, Steve has agreed to be the wedding parties chauffeur for the day at the weekend!). Back to badminton, the rubber started off tight but then our boys eased away to win the first end to 15. The second end was over in a flash, around fifteen consecutive points won on Rich’s serve meant that the opposition were beaten to 4.  Ample revenge for dropping the rubber against this pair with too many errors in the away leg.

Finally, Mark and Sam took on the same pair. It was a much tighter rubber that looked for all the world like it was going to three ends until a final flourish from our boys saw us take it to 15 and 18.

So a 9-0 win which keeps our promotion hopes alive. Well done to all the team, three quick final games to follow shortly after each other in a month’s time following Rich’s honeymoon!