9th November, 2015 – Westholme v Blackburn Seniors B
In the gloom that is Westholme, Blackburn Seniors B found themselves having a double whammy from yours truly as I reported on my own team’s fixture against them.
In the opening doubles, the Legend himself, Andrew Finch, played with the tall left hander, Sam Ames, against Matt Cole and Sameer Kadiri. I’m not sure how long this match lasted but I know we were ready to start the mixed by the time they came off! It was a l-o-n-g game. Sam’s strong smashes complemented well with Andy’s disguised drops to the net and exhaustive court coverage. Not to be outdone, however, the Seniors’ men battled hard with Sameer as quick as always to dominate at the net and Matt matching Andy stride for stride in his retrieval. At one point (and I’m sorry to say I didn’t catch it on camera) Matt dived to the floor, injuring his elbow. Like the stalwart he is, however, he played on, receiving ‘treatment’ (ie a wet towel) when he eventually came off court. This mighty battle resulted in split points with each team winning one game. A just result.
On the adjacent court, the ladies’ match featured Lynn Hosegood and Jemima Cheetham for Westholme against Captain, Helen Shanks, and Amanda Hodkinson. Jemima’s aggressive clears and Lynn’s delicate net shots and clever cross court drops forced the Seniors’ pairing to work hard. Some excellent judging of the lines by Helen and Amanda’s trademark attacking centre line smash frequently had the Westholme couple stretched. Again, the match was split and the fixture remained very much on even terms.
As the opening men still battled on, the second ladies’ match went on court. This time Jemima partnered Maxine Watson as they faced the Seniors’ pairing of Amanda and Emily Cholmondeley. Another neck and neck battle, Emily’s fluid movement around the court and Amanda’s accurate line shots forced the Westholme ladies to dig deep. Maxine controlled the play well, using some very clever drop shots to stretch the opposition. The Seniors’ pairing won both games, however, and the away team crept into the lead.
In the final level doubles’, Graham Robinson partnered Sam against Sameer and young Brad Savage. This game saw some delicate wrist play from Brad and Sameer’s usual dogged determination to win. Despite Graham’s experience and tactical awareness, the Westholme men were again forced to split the games. As the match went in to the mixed doubles’, the audience (namely yours truly) were biting their nails!
The opening mixed saw the Legend and Lynn face their number one opposition of Matt and Helen. Taking advantage of Matt’s sore elbow, Andy marked his control upon the game by immediately selecting to go to the dark side when his opponents started to serve. Throughout the game, Andy’s tactical awareness, coupled with Lynn’s excellent anticipation at the net, were a difficult wall for the Seniors’ pairing to break down. Despite exploiting the home side’s weaknesses by pushing deep shots to their back hands, Helen and Matt had to concede defeat in both these games. In the second mixed game, Graham and Maxine faced Emily and Brad. Graham’s clever cross court drops stretched the young pairing to the limit resulting in a very close second game which eventually fell to the Westholme couple. Andy and Lynn were next up against the same pairing of Brad and Emily. Andy made good use of his attacking clear to the oppositions’ backhands and Lynn showed her killer instinct at the net. The young Seniors’ pairing were not outfaced by the experience of their opposition, however, and Brad in particular bounced quickly round the court producing some delicate net shots. The penultimate mixed game saw the number three couples face each other. Sam and Jemima showed some solid tactical awareness throughout these two games. Sameer and Amanda were worthy opponents, however, and, once he’d run off for his ‘sugar fix’, the match was again split between the two couples. In the last match of the night, Graham and Maxine faced Matt and Helen. Like a whippet, Graham continued to dash around the court with Maxine producing some excellent reaches and anticipation at the net. Matt’s effective slice smash and Helen’s accuracy on her full length clears forced the home team to concede a game and the match was split.
With tournament week next week, and a Frank Turner concert the week after, the intrepid Roving Reporter is hoping to dust off her racquet, support her repaired knee and get back on court. Watch this space!