Bushfields 1 V Stamford Green Man
This was the first game of the second half of the season that saw Stamford leading the division by a comfortable 31 points. Jon Oakley unable to play due to prior commitments (“I didn’t know the season had re-started yet and I’m taking my wife out to dinner!”) meant we had a second guest appearance from Adrian Chappell. Ade wasn’t too keen on playing at Bushfields stating “I remember when I was good enough to tell captains to *%&^ off and select someone else, if I didn’t like the venue!” They were the days eh Ade?? Anyway onto the match. Barker brothers on court first.
Richard played Peter Martin at four and Simon played Ken Bell at five. Richard was soon into his rhythm hitting good length and playing some excellent lobs. Consistent rallying from Richard put too much pressure on Peter securing the tie 3-0 to Stamford.
Ken played a more tactical game against Simon playing lots of short balls. Simons improved fitness came through though, enabling him to pick the short drops up and put Ken back under pressure at the back of the court. Excellent running from Simon saw a comfortable victory dropping only 3 points. A fine effort from Ken but unable to find a winning shot cost him dearly. 3-0 to Stamford.
Next on was Adrian Chappell playing canny Andrew Woodward. Andrew started strongly putting Adrian under pressure by volleying everything and playing a tight short game. Continued pressure and few mistakes from Andrew saw the veteran master Adrian, lose the first. Some quality advice from his protégé Yorkie (“Come on Adrian sort it out”) saw Adrian fired up for the second. Hard battling by both players and some interesting marking by the Stamford captain, saw an entertaining match with the next three games going to the wire. Adrian taking all three to win the match 3-1, but not in the style of the old master and whilst recovering from his exertions on the balcony was heard to say, “I really don’t feel very well”. 3-1 to Stamford.
Mark Smith on the other court was playing Neil “mutha” Hoskins. This promised to be a good match with Neil well up for it. The first game saw some good rallies with Neil blasting the ball around the court. Mark used this pace to his advantage, stroking the ball around and using the short game well to take the first. Neil came back strongly in the second working Mark well and not giving him the chance to get into it. Good finishing from Neil and it was 1-1. The third saw Mark regain control with a slow boast from the back of the court that kept catching Neil flat footed and was enough to go 2-1 up. The fourth saw Mark take a strong lead looking like a sure winner when concentration failed him and another fight back from Neil took it to 8-8. Mark though, managed to find enough reserves of energy to hit another two trickle boasts and seal the tie 3-1. A close call but Stamford win again 3-1.
Finally Paul York was on against Carl Taylor. Yorkie started well, putting behind him some crushing defeats over the Xmas break and dropped league games to lesser mortals in the team (namely the captain), hitting a good width and length. He moved Carl around well and finished many a rally with his cut backhand dropshot from the ¾ court area. The first game secured for Stamford. Carl fought back in the second playing an assortment of skid boasts (why play off one wall when you can play off three?), forcing Paul to work harder countering the vicious spin with accurate volleying. A close second game but Paul managed to hang on to go 2-0 up. Carl tiring in the third worked hard initially but as the continuous pressure of being worked around the court took its toll, Paul finished it off with a comfortable win in the third, 3-0 Stamford and the match 5-0.
Many thanks to Bushfield for an entertaining match and social evening in the bar afterwards.