Category Archives: Match Reviews

Mixed First v Mansfield Oaktree First – 21st Feb 2014: 2-7 Carlton Loss

Playing their third mixed match in a month, Carlton knew they had a difficult job on their hands to beat a regular First Division team in Mansfield Oaktree. Carlton worked hard and put up a stern fight, but overall Oaktree were too strong and ran out comfortable winners on the night.

Adam and Jess, looking to continue their good form from winning their last 6 out of 6 rubbers, started well winning their first game. However they sadly lost the rubber in 3, narrowly losing two very tight, tense and exciting games. They then bounced back with a strong performance, breezing past Oaktree’s 3rd pair to get a rubber on the board for the home team. In their final rubber they couldn’t quite manage to find their rhythm, going down in 2 to cap a frustrating night’s play.

James (back in the team after missing the last two fixtures) and Kim put in a great shift all evening, exerting plenty of effort and sweat!! Playing Oaktree’s two stronger pairs first, they battled and kept level up to around the 10 point mark. Unfortunately their opponents always found a run of points, putting the chance of winning out of reach for the Carlton duo. After their evenings perseverance they got their much deserved win in game 9, with only pride to play for as the match was already lost, they stayed focused and put in a strong performance to take the rubber in 2.

With Mark out for the rest of the season and Holly stuck in Manchester, (don’t you just love trains!) it was the 2nd Mixed pairing of David and Becky who stepped up to complete the team. Having seen how strong Mansfield’s first two pairs were, they knew their best chance of a rubber was against Oaktree’s 3rd pair. After a nervous start, they eventually settled down to their task. Losing to 14 in the first game, they knew a little more consistency could turn the game around. Unfortunately, even with a stronger performance they couldn’t quite get in front, just losing 21-18. They continued to play well in their remaining rubbers, enjoying themselves helped them to gain some respectable scores in the toughest rubbers they will face all season.

So with Oaktree being too tough to beat, can Mixed 1 find a win in their two remaining games in order to avoid relegation?! What we do know is that it won’t be an easy task…

Men’s First v. Phoenixwood First – 7th February 2014: 8-1 Carlton Win!

First men’s were at home against Phoenixwood for their first match of 2014. After a disappointing loss against Beeston Fields just before Christmas they bounced back magnificently.

The team lined up with just the one change, Chris coming in to pair with James (replacing the absent Andy).

Chris and James made a stuttering start, dropping their first game 16-21 against Phoenixwood’s first pair. After settling down they then fought back to take the second game 21-19, continuing their form into the third to repeat this score line and take their first rubber. They then continued their good form to take a second rubber against a strong Phoenixwood third pair, getting their tactics spot on in victory. Against the visiting second pair they started a little sluggishly, dropping the first game, however they soon turned things round to take the next two games and the rubber. A maximum for Chris (in his second appearance for Men’s First this season*) and James was more than deserved, and was particularly notable considering it was their first ever competitive game as a pair.

Looking to recover from a run of poor form David and John started like a pair lacking confidence (somewhat bizarrely considering their early season exploits!). Dropping to around a 6-14 deficit early on, things didn’t look good, however they did well to battle back but still lost the game 18-21. Clearly in the ascendancy they started to dictate rallies more frequently, taking the second. They then looked to reproduce this form in the third, up at the turn they were in the driving seat but nerves got the better of them (not to mention the steely determination of their opponents) and they fell to an agonising 22-24 loss. A quick turnaround meant they had little time to lick their wounds, however this probably worked in their favour as they responded with a strong showing to beat Phoenixwood’s first pair in two. Adding another rubber to their tally by beating Phoenixwood’s third pair with the match won.

Adam and Glen are currently the in-form pair, however they too started slowly. Getting caught into playing to their opponents strengths they lost the first game. Half way through the second and down again, Adam ‘engaged brain’ (his words, not mine!) and changed tactics, this proved to be a masterstroke as they fought back to take the second. With their new approach Adam and Glen then blew their opponents away in the third, taking the first of their three rubbers. From here they went from strength to strength, emphatically beating a tired Phoenixwood first pair, before beating Phoenixwood’s dogged second pair. This was another fantastic showing from Adam and Glen, having taken a maximum haul in their last three games we’ll be hoping for more of the same in the final match against Rolls Royce.

This was an excellent team performance, keeping the first men’s in the race for promotion. A win against Rolls Royce and a few results going their way could see Carlton in the prem!

*Corrected on the 02/03/14 (initially stated as ‘first appearance’)

Men’s Thirds v. Unity First – 31st January 2014: 1-8 Carlton Loss

Men’s Third were back in action for their first game of 2014 – unfortunately it wasn’t the happiest return to competitive action! With this being a regular fixture in previous seasons we knew we could expect a tough fixture. With some new faces strengthening their side, Unity powered to an 8-1 victory.

Captain James looked to change his line-up in a bid to shake things up after losing 7-2 to Beeston Fields in the previous game: James & Matt, Jonathan & Eric and Mohammed & Arthur made up the pairs.

James & Matt made a tough start against Unity’s first pair, whose consistency proved too much, before bouncing back magnificently to beat Unity’s third pair. Both players showed a cool head to hold out to take their games and the rubber, especially with the Unity pairs resurgence at the back end of each game. Against Unity’s second pair they couldn’t quite find their rhythm, however, and so were left frustrated with one rubber for their efforts.

Jonathan & Eric looked bright early on, pushing Unity’s second pair all the way. Unity having to put strong runs of 3-4 points in a row to take each game away from the Carlton pair. Jonathan & Eric then suffered the same fate as James & Matt against Unity’s first pair – consistency again proving to be the defining factor. They then endured a frustrating time against Unity’s third pair, struggling to take control in a competitive rubber.

Arthur & Mohammed were playing their first competitive game together, and struggled to assert themselves in the first game of each rubber. Often finding their feet in the second games to push the Unity team close, it unfortunately all proved too little too late. A quicker start against any of their opposition could well have seen them sneak a rubber.

All in all this was a tough night for Carlton, against a much improved Unity side. No-one can fault their effort and desire to win, but they will have to dust themselves down, regroup and throw everything they have into their next game against Beeston Valley away on the 24th of February.

Mixed First v. Mapperley Park First – 29th January 2014: 5 – 4 Carlton Win!

First Mixed travelled to local rivals Mapperley Park looking to bounce back from their 5-4 defeat to Byron, and in a close match they did just that!

With an unchanged team Jess M & Adam once again did the business. Starting well they took 2 rubbers in quick succession, looking comfortable in doing so. Then came their biggest test, Mapperley’s in form third and strongest pair (Craig Day & Louisa Spooner). Having to adapt to the excellent attacking game from the opposition proved difficult, as they dropped the first game 18-21. Once up to speed they started to take control of the rallies more and more, edging the second game 21-19. They then continued their resurgence with an assured performance in the third; frustrating their opponents with their reading of the game they took the third game 21-16 to seal the rubber. As with Byron Jess M & Adam delivered to take the rubber against their strongest opponents, super stuff!

David and Kim had a better night performance wise, obviously more settled than against Byron. Unfortunately they didn’t quite get that elusive rubber, despite going so close to beating Mapperley’s second pair (they even had match point in an agonising 21-23 loss in the second game). Plenty of positives to take from their performance, add some consistency to their strong spells during games and a rubber will surely yield.

Looking to build on their fine performance against Byron John & Jess C’s evening got off to a tough start; facing Mapperley’s strongest pair first they lost the rubber in two. Not letting their heads drop they then proceeded to take a hard fought rubber against Mapperley’s first pair, coming from a game down to win 21-23, 21-15, 21-16.

They then walked on court against Mapperley’s second pair knowing that they were playing the deciding rubber. Well, pressure? What pressure?! John & Jess C put in an assured performance, edging the vital points to take the first game 21-18. In the second the score bounced back and forth, however they took the initiative to build a small lead and to bring up several match points, each one saved by the unrelenting Mapperley duo. The pairs then swapped game points as the tension built and built, before finally John & Jess C emerged victorious, winning 28-26 to take the rubber and the match!

A cracking win with three regulars out, this was one to savour! Up next is Mansfield Oaktree at home on the 21st February, here’s hoping the good form continues.

Mixed First v. Byron Second – 26th January 2014: 4-5 Carlton Loss

Mixed First traveled to Byron at the weekend, facing Byron Second with 3 regular players unable to play – John, Jess C and David filling the gaps alongside regulars Adam, Jess M and Kim. Despite throwing everything they had at them the Carlton team fell agonisingly short, losing 4-5.

With the change of personnel captain Mark decided to shake up the pairings: handing John and Jess C a chance to step up and play higher than they had before, moving Adam across to play with Jess M, and putting David with Kim.

John and Jess C made a fantastic start, beating Byron’s third pair 21-16, 18-21, 21-15. Their first game in division one and they took their first rubber! Although they battled hard against the other two pairs they were unable to pick up another.

David and Kim had a frustrating evening, despite going through spells of dominating play their inconsistency lead to them not picking up a rubber. Their best chance came against Byron’s third pair, but a desperately close 25-27 loss took the wind out of their sails with them never fully recovering to challenge in the second game.

Adam and Jess – playing their first competitive game as a pair – made a stuttering start against Byron’s first pair, losing the first game 12-21. This, however, proved to be merely a case of getting used to each other’s playing styles, as they proceeded to bounce back magnificently by taking the next two games to win the rubber. After such a strong performance there was no looking back and they took the next two rubbers with little drama.

All in all it was a fantastic team effort – the result could so easily have gone the other way.

Up next is Mapperley Park 1 on Wednesday 29th January.

Men’s Second v. Southwell First – 24th Jan 2014 : 4-5 Carlton Loss

Carlton came into the match with high hopes of avenging the previous season’s 4-5 away loss – especially since that match had gone right down to the wire, the teams locked at 4-4 before the final decider saw Southwell edge 1-2 to claim the match – and in the end – the higher league placing. In the end, however, history was to repeat itself in heart-breaking fashion.

With home advantage, Carlton ran into an early 2-0 lead – but even with confidence high, the warning signs were there with both rubbers needing the full three games. Chris & Phan took their first 2-1, the last game to 16. Aidan & Matt lost their first game, but came back once more in magnificent style to take the rubber 2-1 – confirming their excellent form from the week before to be no flash in the pan, and looking like they could take more games from an experienced Southwell side.

Unfortunately this was the high point for the Carlton side. In the next three games, Southwell fought back well to take two from a strong Glenn & John – both rubbers needing the full three games – and then their first pair edging Aidan & Matt’s fearless game to turn the match in their favour.

Chris & Phan took their next rubber to even the overall score, but Southwell managed to edge head again to take the match to 4-3. It needed an excellent performance from Glenn & John to take their final game against Southwell’s first pair – and with Aidan & Matt going down fighting, we were back to 2013 again with the match at 4-4 and Chris in the final game!

Desperate to avoid a repeat of last year’s scoreline, Chris & Phan had to pull back from 0-1 down to take the match to a decider in the final game of the final rubber.  At the turnaround Carlton were ahead 11-10, but neither team could quite finish the other off – the game see-sawing between the two with neither pairing pulling ahead by more than two points. At 19-20 down Carlton saved a match point, then gave themselves a chance of the match at 21-20, but Southwell refused to give way evening the scores up to 21-21 before putting the game, the rubber, and the match to bed with a 22-24 score!

Repeating the score of last year was heartbreaking enough for Carlton, but this win also sees Southwell – deservedly – as one of the strongest teams in the promotion mix. Men’s Second now have a couple of weeks away to lick their wounds before their next game against local rivals Mapperley Park.


Mixed Second v. Southwell First – 19th Jan 2014 : 5-4 Carlton Win!

Second Mixed travelled to Southwell Centre looking to bounce back from defeat against University, knowing that they needed a win to keep their hopes of promotion alive.

In a hard fought match they managed to deliver, battling to a 5–4 victory. Second team regular Andy and super sub Jay, pairing up for the first time this season, produced a stunning performance to take all 3 of their rubbers. John & Jess and David & Becky picked up a rubber each to seal the away win.

After a stumbling start Andy and Jay recovered from a game down to take Southwell’s first pair in three, never looking back as they stormed through the next two rubbers without dropping a game. Such an accomplished performance from a pair playing competitively for the first time was a pleasure to see, with both deserving to take the plaudits for an outstanding showing.

John and Jess made a strong start. However, a niggling elbow injury to Jess and an unusually misfiring John led to them dropping their first rubber. Things were looking up as they recovered to take Southwell’s third pair in two. Unfortunately the inconsistencies were to return as they lost their final rubber – the second game being an agonising 26-24 loss.

David and Becky flew out of the blocks, beating Southwell’s third pair to open their account for the evening. They then proceeded to get as close to beating the other pairs as is possible without actually winning! Losing 21-17, 19-21, 21-18 to the first pair and 23-21, 22-20 to the second.

All in all this was a good win against a solid home side, demonstrating the strength in depth at the club. Up next for Second Mixed is East Leake Seconds at home on the 14th of February.