Twenty years later and Jack of all trades is still here
News of the roving reporter has certainly started to circulate: my appearance at Roefield brought an immediate confession of ‘I’ve got tourettes’ from St Nicholas’ number 1 man, Chris Silverwood, as he apologised in advance for the bleeps I would need to build in to my report. Between that and the requests to have all pictures taken from a certain angle and then touched up, I could see I was in for another very entertaining night.
Young Michael Boothman, an enthusiastic left hander for Roefield, gave Chris Silverwood and Ian Grimshaw, a run for their money in the men’s doubles with his experienced partner, Gary Walton. Michael’s aggressive smashes and anticipation at the net frequently had the St Nicholas men relying on their defensive play. Unfortunately, however, the understanding between Chris and Ian proved too much for Roefield with Ian’s well controlled backhand drops forcing lifts which Chris was always ready to put away. The Roefield ladies’ pairing of Judith Thompson and Kate Wilde, likewise, battled hard against the strength of Louise Hustler and Linda Vickers for St Nicholas. Linda make good use of all of her racquet as she covered the court well, using her tight net play and serves to excellent effect. Louise played with intelligent court awareness, forcing the opposition around the court with some lovely well placed backhand drives.
The diminutive St Nicholas Captain, Yvonne Kay, then partnered Louise in the second ladies, playing against a new pairing for Roefield of Kate with Jean Salisbury. Again it was Louise’s strength and court sense which dominated this match, coupled with some very effective drops from Yvonne. The confidence between the new partnership for Roefield, however, visibly grew on the night and I am sure they will take comfort from a very creditable first performance and score. In the second men’s, Mohammed Aslam and Ian took on Jim Donnelly and Gary. This was another extremely close fought game with all four men covering the court to good effect. The jump smashes and court scampering from Jim with his clever drop approaches to the net were met by Ian’s well- judged clears and cross court drives. A lovely mixture of respectful competiveness and good humour surrounded the game which ended up split between the two men’s pairs.
In the mixed doubles, Judith Thompson for Roefield was partnered by Jonathan Sharples as, unfortunately, Michael had to retire ill after his men’s games. Judith was grateful that Jonathan had already thoroughly warmed up on the adjacent practice court as his effective cross court drops showed to good effect. Kate and Gary at number 3 for Roefield had an excellent win against Ian and Louise, with Kate’s delight obvious to see at the end of another close game.
So many of the games went down to the wire and could have gone either way on the night. It was lovely to see the friendly competiveness between the teams and the good humoured banter which had started the evening, remain constant right to the end. The sports hall that Bunty Meadows so desperately wanted in Clitheroe, and which she still frequents to help with coaching and practices, is definitely still going from strength to strength in the Ribble Valley. Hopefully this will encourage Jack of all Trades (aka non playing captain of Roefield, Jane Rodia) to go for another 20 years!