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.