Comb 2 v Oakbrook 1 (h) - 23/1/17

We reached the halfway point of the season with another tough match, this time against unbeaten Oakbrook 1. We were struggling for ladies but luckily Helen was already lined up to play her first combined game for 2 years and Maxine agreed to fill in too, Ruth making up the trio though still ill with the flu. Fantastic, all three ladies. For the guys we went with the same three who helped beat Wisewood last week – Sam, Ben and myself.

The match didn’t start well because the ladies were heavily beaten in the two ladies games, to 15,11,11 and 9. Oakbrook’s first team having some very strong ladies to their credit.

The guys matches lasted a long longer and became brutal battles. After a tough week playing against feathers players and the likes, my three games were all up against Dan this time, and as we have a similar style they were ding dong tussles, which made for a fun evening. Ben and I played Dan and 8ft tall James, pushing them hard but going down to 17 and 15. Sam and I then played Dan and Chee’s old partner Pat, who is a very solid, classy and aggressive player. We took the first end to 17, then the game turned on an outrageous frame in the 2nd end when we were 12-7 up, instead of going down our right tramline it span off their racket and landed right on the left sideline instead! They then won 6 points on Pat’s serve immediately after and edged the end to 19 with another frame (!), squeezing home in the decider too to 17. Tough luck that one but a great game of two pairs fairly equal in style and ability.

So 4-0 down entering the mixed. Ben and Ruth lost to 14 and 12 and Sam and Maxine lost to 23 and 17 which won Oakbrook the match.

The pressure was now off so we know what that means! We all play better!

I went on for my mixed with Helen (my third in 3 years, Helen’s first in 2 years). After losing the first end to 15 playing levels (as the opponents were) a shift in strategy moved me to the back so I could use my smash, and we won the second end 22-20. The third end was nip and tuck all the way to 17 all but then a couple of errors lost it and gave the rubber to Oakbrook. It was as though Helen had never been away though - the smile, the smash, and the forgetting what side to stand on for every point!

Ben and Ruth had a similar experience, going to 3, in this case winning the first end to 19 but then losing heavily in the next two. Sam and Maxine though outclassed their pair to win our only rubber of the night to 11-14!

So well done Oakbrook for an 8-1 win, we have always considered you a bit of a sister club just up the road, so good luck for the promotion push.

Player of the Match  - King Sam (pipping me to it statistically by winning his last rubber of the night, he loves to feel important and he is!)