First Mixed v Bingham 4 – 10th October 2014: 5-4 Carlton Win!

Mixed 1 got their season under way with a home game against Bingham 4. With Adam unavailable Glenn got the call up to play with Jess M. Glenn who last season played 3rd mixed managed to settle the nerves against the Bingham’s first pair coming from behind in both games to win in 2 (21-13, 21-19). Their next game was against Bingham’s 3rd pair, with the new partnership having found their feet, Jess and Glenn managed to carry on their good run of form and win in 2 once again (21-13, 21-16). Finally they had to play Bingham’s 2nd pair, with the match tied at 3-3, knowing that Carlton needed 2 out of the remaining 3 rubbers they stepped up. With the confidence really flowing for Jess and Glenn they had the chance to seal the match, and yet again they won convincingly in 2 (21-8, 21-10) to win the all important 5th rubber. Overall a great night for this newly established partnership, not dropping a game and seeming to gel very well.
Our second pair was Jess C and John. Having played last season together in 2nd Mixed and playing well in that team, they both got given the call up to 1st Mixed, could they continue their form? Their first game was against Bingham’s 2nd pair, they started off well taking the first game 21-11. Then after the change of ends Bingham came out fighting, just edging Jess and John out to 17. With the rubbers tied at 1 – 1 it went to the decider. At the half way point Bingham were just in the lead (11-9). Unfortunately for Jess and John they couldn’t catch Bingham, who managed to extend their lead and win 21-15 and take the rubber 2-1. Next up was Bingham’s 1st pair, with the frustrations from the previous game still visible Jess and John couldn’t find their winning form from earlier and lost in 2, although they came very close in the 2nd but to no avail (12-21, 19-21). After a long sit off and knowing Carlton had won the match could this help Jess and John? They went close in the first but just lost out and then could not find the spark to their game and lost again in 2 (18-21, 13-21). So a frustrating night for Jess and John but they will be looking to bounce back in the next match.

Our 3rd pair was Hollie and David. This was a new pairing, with Hollie having played 1st mixed last season while David played 2nd mixed last year with an odd run out in 1st mixed. They started off against Bingham’s 3rd pair, knowing that the match was tight (1-1) they knew they that need to get off to a good start. It was a close encounter with Hollie and David just edging the first 21-19, they went back on with confidence and managed to keep their momentum going and took the second 21-11. Next was Bingham’s 2nd pair, with the confidence from winning their first game they hoped to keep their form going but didn’t quite manage to get going and lost the first 11-21. After the turnaround they fought back in the second to take it 21-15. So it was down to the 3rd game, the decider. At the half way point there was nothing in it with Bingham slightly ahead (11-10). Unfortunately Hollie and David couldn’t quite get the better of their opponents and lost 21-18. Next was Bingham’s 1st pair with the match tied at 3-3, knowing that Carlton needed 2 out of the remaining 3 rubbers, Hollie and David managed to find their form from their 1st game and won in 2 (21-15, 21-16). So a good nights work for Hollie and David, with a little set back in the middle they remained strong and positive to overcome their disappointment to take 2 out of 3, a good start to the new partnership.

Overall a hard fought 5-4 win to get the season under way for Mixed 1, next up Mapperley Park 2.

Second Mens v Phoenixwood 2nd – 14th March 2014: 8-1 Carlton Win!

After two consecutive defeats in Division 3b, Carlton’s Second Men were hoping for a quick return to winning ways in their final game of the season. Though promotion was no longer possible, there was always pride to play for!

The start of the match was delayed by some forty minutes thanks to a power-cut in Carlton. Thankfully, both teams managed to hide in reception at Carlton Forum long enough to see power restored and the match get the go ahead.

Starting slowly, Chris & Phan dropped their first game against Phoenixwood’s first pair in three rubbers. It took John and the returning Martin to power through their first game to even the score up at 1-1, and from that point Carlton never looked back.

Glenn & Aidan took their first game in 2 to push Carlton into the lead, and we then saw Martin & John defeat Phoenixwood’s first pairing – taking the first rubber to just 11 – to see the match 3-1 in Carlton’s favour. It was particularly good to see Martin back on court and in the thick of the action after being away from competitive badminton for a few weeks – his return also seeing a return to winning ways for Carlton.

Another impressive win for Glenn & Aidan in two straight rubbers saw Chris & Phan set up to potentially take the match with the score poised at 4-1. However, with things never quite turning out the way expected, they contrived to lose the first rubber 19-21 to Phoenixwood’s third pairing. Finally stung into some form of action (if for nothing other than the fact that Chris was older than the Phoenixwood pairing combined) they took the next two 21-16 to see the win out.

Even with the match over, Carlton didn’t let up with Phoenixwood – Glenn & Aidan with a fine win against Phoenixwood’s first in 3 – the second rubber only going against the Carlton pair at 22-24, and Martin & John pushing through to take all their games in two.

Ending the season on a positive win bodes well for the future of Carlton’s Second Men. With young players – like the ever impressive Aidan, Matt & Phan – and the more experienced, the future looks bright for the second team.


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’)

Mixed Third v. Byron 4 – 3rd February 2014: 2-7 Carlton Loss

In review, It would be fair to say that the 2-7 scoreline flattered Byron somewhat – it would also be fair to say that a scratch team from Carlton (with three new partnerships and only two of the regular lineup available) gave a strong performance that on another day perhaps could have been more fairly reflected in the score.

However, take nothing away from Byron – they did exactly what was needed and ran out deserved victors. In truth, the closest Carlton came was early in the match with the scores tied at 1-1.

Aidan & Jay – playing for the first time together no less – may have taken the first game to settle, but they came back to push Byron’s first pair all the way in the second, losing to 18. Their second rubber saw them lose 21-23 & 14-21 to a strong Byron second pair, but it was the final rubber when they really started to play well together. They lost the first to 15, but fought back for a splendid 21-13 win in the second. In the deciding game they pushed Byron all the way – falling only at the last to a heartbreaking 22-24 score.

Another new pairing – Matt & Claire – saw them push their opponents all the way in each game. They lost the first game of each rubber played to a very creditable 18 – especially considering their lack of experience playing together, and this being Matt’s mixed debut. They may not have managed to win a game, but there is little doubt that they caused each of their opponents all sorts of problems which, on another day, would result in them picking up points.

Chris & Becky started well, taking the first rubber against the Byron second pair with little issue – winning the games to 12 & 13. Unexpectedly perhaps, they struggled with the third pair and couldn’t quite get their game together well enough – losing in two straight games 14 & 15. They saved the best to last, however, against Byron’s first pair. They initially seemed to suffer a little from the previous rubber, losing the first game to 13. This did seem to force a reaction, however, and they took the second 24-22 to setup the decider. The match may have been over by this point, but their was pride to play for. 6-11 down at the turnover and at one point 16-19 down with Chris having sprained his ankle, Becky stepped up and took the game by the scuff of the neck – the Carlton pair edging a close game 21-19.

This is the second defeat for the Mixed Third having conceded the first match of the season to Boots. With Notts Vets and Byron having only lost one each, those two ought be considered favourites for promotion – but having put up such a strong display with so many new players, it’s likely Carlton will be pushing them all the way.



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.