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.