On the night, Holt was definitely the name of the game!
Well, it may have taken me all night but eventually I sorted out one Holt from another, mainly by process of elimination. And, for once, I could almost have walked to this fixture from my house on Schofield Road!
Following some very healthy coaching from 7 till 8, taken by Goodshaw’s very own Val and Dean Bertenshaw, which saw lots of youngsters put through their paces (and made me feel very guilty that I didn’t even know there was a Sports Centre up here let alone coaching going on) the match got underway. Using all three courts as they did, occasionally made it difficult to know which game to watch, but I gave it a go.
First to play, Nigel-the-tournament-Holt partnering Kath Gillam, against the mother and son pairing of Tina and Niale Holt. I told you Holt was the name of the game, didn’t I! I immediately committed the cardinal sin of assuming Niale was his elder brother Cameron whom I’d played against on Tuesday. It did not go down well. The Goodshaw pair took command of the first game with some excellent cross court smashing from Nigel. Fighting hard in the second game, Tina’s quick anticipation at the net, coupled with strong smashes from Niale, resulted in a much more evenly matched game which Telecom were unlucky to lose. On the adjacent court, the ladies battled hard with Val Bertenshaw in her vibrant top playing with the experienced Kath Riley. They made their Telecom opposition work for every point. Lianne Dewhurst and Gill Luker fought hard but the controlled court coverage of Kath, coupled with her left handed partner’s delicate net shots, eventually saw the Goodshaw ladies take both games. Meanwhile, young David Holt, when he could be separated from his AS Chemistry revision, took on Nils McDonald and Jonathan (whose surname I didn’t copy down – my apologies for this) as he partnered Dean. Despite some excellent court coverage from both Nils and Jonathan, who both smashed well, the Goodshaw men won both of these games.
The second round of games saw Kath and Dean from Goodshaw take on Nils and Lianne from Telecom. Kath was quick to take control of the game, playing some lovely service returns to the oppositions’ backhands. Not to be outdone, however, Lianne’s accurate drop shot to the net off a long serve and Nils’ well controlled backhand drops, kept the rallies going. Eventually, however, the Goodshaw pairing proved too strong for Telecom as they won both their games. The father and son partnership from Telecom next took to the court, facing Niale and Jonathan. David’s relaxed approach frequently had spectators wondering whether he could in fact see the shuttle under that mop of hair! Dad’s off the body returns and unfailing smile on court saw the Telecom men take the first game. Niale was quick to respond, however, and he battled hard with Jonathan in the second game. The competitive rallies of their second game suited the long serve which Niale had switched to, and Jonathan’s strong net approaches resulted in this match being split.
One of the closest games on the night was up next, between Kath Gillam and Val for Goodshaw and Tina and Gill from Telecom. Kath reached the shuttle well, often deceiving her opposition with clever drops to the middle. Having lost the first game, Tina’s never give up attitude, and Gill’s accurate drop shots, made for a neck and neck second game which Telecom were,again, unlucky to lose.
In the final round of games, Nigel and Kath Gillam were up again, this time against Nils and Lianne. Kath’s steady serving and cross court net shots worked well as the Telecom pairing won the first game. In the second game, Lianne pulled back valuable points with some excellent net anticipation as Nils, resourceful as ever, found ways of using the net to bring errant shuttles back in to court. Despite their sterling efforts, however, both games were won by the Telecom partnership. Tina and Niale were back on court this time facing Kath Riley and Dean. Having lost the first game, the mother and son pairing began the second at a gallop. Keeping in touch, however, Kath’s steady play and Dean’s control at the net, eventually saw the Goodshaw pairing pull back to 18 all. Very much an evens stevens game, Tina and Niale were unlucky to lose by the narrowest of margins: 20,21. Believe me, I know what that feels like! The last game was between Jonathan and Gill from Telecom and David and Val. After losing to 20 in the first game, the Telecom pairing were out for revenge and took the second game, splitting the match.
As the points were carefully added up, checked and re-checked, and we wondered whether the points’ difference was 110 or 109, it was time to open the envelope. With a handicap of 120 and a half (Nigel was quick to point out the important significance of that half) it meant Telecom had won by 10 points. Good handicapping indeed.
Ever the optimist, the smiling Nigel took the defeat on the chin with the observation that they may have lost every game so far in the league but Goodshaw were certainly getting better as he organised who would make the long journey to Roefield the next day to play their rearranged fixture.