DON’T LET ME CRAMP YOUR STYLE
Unfortunately, the Roving Reporter had too many other commitments this week, so Stand-in Reporter was asked to oblige. Apologies in advance, therefore, if my literary style is found wanting!
This week I attended a Cup Tie between Blackburn Seniors B, currently enjoying success near the top of Division 2 and Westholme B, enjoying less success further down the table. ‘Twas a cold and snowy night when the teams met to do battle at Norden Sports Centre, Rishton.
The opening Level Doubles saw the Seniors pairing of Keith Last and Samir Kadiri against the Westholme duo of Simon Townsend and Graham Ainslie and, for the Ladies, Vicki Last and Helen Shanks for Seniors versus Helen Wharton and Sarah Avent for Westholme. Both games began nervously, but both soon developed into fast-moving and skilful games of badminton. Simon and Graham served well and their court coverage was very good, showing off Graham’s drop shots and Simon’s powerful smash. Their opponents, however, were not to be outplayed: Keith’s energy and refusal to be beaten by any shot, coupled with Samir’s incredible speed around the court ( aided, I believe, by his new streamlined haircut!) eventually proved too much for the Westholme pair. The Ladies game was also very closely contested: Vicki displayed the same energy and determination as her husband and was a perfect foil for Helen’s calm interception at the net. For Westholme, Sarah did some super drop shots, despite nursing a slight neck injury, and Helen hit some powerful clears and drives. Both games were close, but the Seniors pair was victorious.
The second set of doubles saw Keith teaming up with the very young and very talented Brad Savage to play Simon and a relative newcomer to Blackburn Badminton – Josh Lee. This was a most entertaining game to watch : Keith moved like a human dynamo, Josh showed off his acrobatic talent – on one occasion even doing the splits! – Simon performed with the grace of a ballet dancer, managing to catch the shuttle on his chest and Brad displayed that awesome potential which, I am sure, will make him One To Watch in the future. The Ladies game was a slightly more sedate affair. Vicki teamed up with young Emily Cholmondeley and Helen partnered Wendy Matthews, another newcomer to League badminton. There were some great rallies during the game; Wendy’s high serve was used to excellent effect and Helen once again showed why her middle name is Power! However, excellent smashing and placing of the shuttlecock by Vicki and Emily eventually proved too much for the opposition.
Unfortunately, the Mixed Doubles games were not as closely contested and Blackburn Seniors demonstrated why they are vying for promotion to Division 1. The night was not without drama, however: in the 3rd Mixed – Keith and Vicki against Simon and Helen – it seemed that all the incredible energy expended by Keith earlier in the evening had eventually taken its toll as he fell to the floor, suffering from a bad bout of cramp. As we looked on in horror and consternation Samir, the Knight in the Yellow T-shirt, sprang to the rescue. After much leg-stretching, pulling and massaging (?!) Keith was able to finish the game. His ordeal, however, affected his mobility and, on this occasion, Westholme was victorious.
Finally, the moment came to open the Little Brown Envelope, carefully signed by the President herself, Jean Wilson, which contained the Fateful Handicap! After much careful – and sometimes erroneous – adding-up of scores, the Blackburn Seniors team came out on top…….by 9.5 aces! What excellent handicapping!
Sorry, folks – no photos this week – my phone is a dinosaur.