Week 2 – 43 Year Old Man Has Tantrum On Court
This week your Roving Reporter headed to St Wilfred’s to watch an early start 7pm match between College and Abacus in Division 2. As soon as I saw Dorothy Mennell with her pontefract cakes and Sheila Aldred with her cushion (those benches are hard!) I knew we were in for a good night of chat and badminton – followed by a quiz in the Postal Order, Darwen Street…if you’re ever at a loose end after a College home night you know where to go!
Throughout the evening I saw nothing but friendly, competitive play on court and nostalgic banter off it. Mick Crilly’s experienced cross court drives on his backhand, coupled with his partner Karen Lamb’s excellent serving, led the way to Abacus’s victory. Andy Shutt’s well- judged line calls and control of the game were impressive as were Darren Veevers’ flat drives across court. Not to be outdone, however, the top couple from the home team, College, namely James Aldred and Carol Yates, nobly battled point for point, only narrowly missing out in their matches.
In the second mixed doubles, Will Pang and Julie Pye battled hard against Andy Shutt and Rachel Hilary. In the end, despite Will’s aggression at the net, it was down to the well placed positional play of Andy to see off the opposition. Likewise, the third pairing of Paul Ainscoe and Hannah O’Grady (whose healthy glow just got rosier and rosier as the night went on) and Abacus’s Darren Veevers and Alex Bullock, played an evenly matched game in the best of spirits. Following firmly in his father’s footsteps, Paul’s play revealed an easy going love of the game and a desire to both listen and learn.
In the level doubles the strength of the Abacus ladies, particularly their captain, Karen, was at times difficult for the College ladies to control. To their credit, all three ladies continued to try their hardest, achieving very creditable final scores. The men’s doubles was another closely fought battle: Paul continued to be aggressive in his smashes for College aiming some accurate body shots at the opposing men. Unfortunately, the experience of Mick, Andy and Darren eventually saw off the College men, but not before James had worn off another layer from his already worn out trainers.
College is a friendly, family Club. When they get a player, they keep a player. Chatting to Sheila and Dorothy, we reminisced about one court halls we had all played in till 1 o’clock in the morning (does anyone else remember how wide the lines were at Harrison’s gym?!) and former players such as: Peter and Judith Dawson, Olive Barnes, Ray Fish, Sue and John Whittaker. It didn’t take Sheila long before she found out whose daughter I was: the gossip on Bert Metcalfe was that he was a nice gentleman on court and never shouted at his lady partner. (I had already told them to be careful as Dad has old photographs he’s not afraid to dig out for me to use!)
The generosity of both sides in their line calls and sportsmanship were a pleasure to see and were my lasting memory of this closely fought match.