Last night our Men’s 2 team headed to Emerson Park to play Emerson Eagles 2 in the first fixture of the Men’s Division 3 season.  Matches against Emerson Eagles are always a close run affair and this one was no different.  Our team consisted of:-

Andy and Leo
Darran and Sohail
Ahmed and Me

As it’s a new season, the players are always a bit rusty and this season we were trying out some new pairs in the team so it was always going to be a tentative start.  First up on court were Andy and Leo against the first pair from Eagles.  Things were slow to start and our lads just couldn’t get into a rhythm having not played many games together.  This showed against a strong Eagles pair and we lost the first match 21-8, 21-10.

On the other court, Darran and Sohail were getting used to eachother’s games a bit quicker against the second pair from Eagles.  Despite losing their first game 21-13, they came back to win the second 16-21 to take it to a decider.  They kept their momentum going and won it 17-21 to make it 1-1 on the night.

It was then time for Ahmed and I to head onto court for our first game of the night against the third pair from Eagles.  Our first game was a bit of a mix of good shots and silly mistakes but we held on to take it 19-21.  The second game was a bit more comfortable and we found our stride taking it 16-21 to make it 1-2 on the night.

When we came off court, Andy and Leo were into their next match against the second pair from Eagles and were having some long rallies.  Unfortunately, they slipped to a 21-17 loss in the first game but quickly bounced back to take the second 16-21 and set up a decider.  It was neck and neck for most of the game and it was a desperately close game which Eagles just pipped at the end, 21-19 to tie the night 2-2.

Meanwhile, Darran and Sohail were on the adjacent court taking on the third pair from Eagles.  Unfortunately they just couldn’t capitalise on the momentum from their first match and slipped to a 21-13, 21-16 loss and making the score 3-2 on the night.

Myself and Ahmed were facing the first pair from Eagles determined to keep our run going.  However, despite some good rallies and some good shots, we continued to make small mistakes at crucial times and lost both of the games 21-16, 21-16 to go 4-2 down in the fixture.

Darran and Sohail were straight back on court for their last match against the first pair from Eagles.  Despite what seemed to be some extremely good rallies, the shuttle seemed to favour the home team.  Darran and Sohail played well but ultimately lost 21-14, 21-10 (the scores didn’t reflect the match at all) making it 5-2 on the night.

As Eagles had sewn up the league win, they were looking for the elusive bonus league point whilst we were also determined to come away from the fixture with a result.  It was all to play for going into the last 2 matches.  If we won them both, it would finish 5-4 on the night and we would secure the bonus league point.

So, on went Andy and Leo against Eagles’ third pair whilst myself and Ahmed went on court against their second pair.  Things went well for Andy and Leo in their first game, taking it 18-21 but Ahmed and I slipped to a frustrating 21-16 loss in our first game, despite a brief comeback having not got started and quickly falling behind by 8 points.  The roles were then reversed, with Andy and Leo slipping to a 21-12 loss and myself and Ahmed winning 17-21.  Talk about a nailbiting finish.  Both matches were into the deciding games and we needed a result from both.  Ahmed and I started off stronger this time and never looked back.  We led through the whole game (for the first time in this match!) and didn’t ease off until we’d secured the 18-21 win to make it 5-3 on the night.

All eyes were now on Andy and Leo’s game.  It was a tight game with our lads taking a slender lead.  However, to add to the tension, the caretaker of the school decided to enter the hall and disrupt the match insisting we should have finished by now.  After some diplomacy from Eagles the caretaker retreated for a brief spell and the match resumed.  It didn’t last long and, with the game scores in the mid to late teens, the caretaker was back, phone in hand saying we needed to be packing away.  After some more phone conversations, and a break of a few minutes, Eagles sent the caretaker off so we could finish the match.  Andy and Leo did extremely well to keep their concentration and avoid cramp and eventually won 16-21 making it 5-4 on the night and securing the bonus league point for us!

It was a very close match and the lads did extremely well to get the result we got.  As the season progresses, I’m confident the pairs will get stronger and we’ll start to see some more consistent results. Four of the five matches last night went to deciders (Andy and Leo seemed to like playing as two of their three went to deciders!) which showed how close things actually were.  Next up are Amigos 1 away on Friday 13th October.  Let’s hope it’s a lucky Friday 13th for us!


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