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’)